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Only power users know about these secret iPhone features

Published Jan 5th, 2017 12:11PM EST

How long have you been an iPhone user? A year? Three years? Five years? Did you buy the original iPhone all the way back in 2007 like we did? Whatever the case, and however long you’ve been an iPhone user, we can promise you with absolute certainty that there are features buried in your smartphone that you had no idea were there. It’s completely unavoidable; there are so many features baked into iOS 10 these days, that it would be impossible to remember all of them.

Some of the lesser-known features in iOS 10 that you’re unaware of are probably useless to you, so it doesn’t matter if they stay hidden forever. But other features you’re currently unaware of could completely change the way you use your iPhone, and that’s why we share hidden iOS features as often as we can here on BGR. Today, we came across a nifty little resource with some secret iPhone features that only power users know about for the most part, and we would be remiss if we didn’t share it with you.

Reddit user “slidescream2013” took to the site on Wednesday to ask a simple question of the folks in the Apple subreddit. He or she recently purchased a new iPhone 7 Plus, and while it’s unclear if a jump was made from another platform, the user was looking for good examples of “little features or tweaks that aren’t super obvious or featured.”

The resulting tips were a good mix of key iPhone features that less savvy users are typically unaware of, and lesser-known features that only power users typically know about.

In the former category is one that we find ourselves explaining to people all the time, even though it seems obvious to most savvy iPhone users out there. When you pay at a POS terminal with Apple Pay, you don’t need to open the Wallet app or even use the double-tap shortcut on the home button (seriously, why is that shortcut even there?). Simply hold your iPhone next to the payment terminal, and Apple Pay will automatically open whether your iPhone is locked or unlocked on any screen.

Then there are some tips that power users are very familiar with, but that most other users are unaware of because they’re not obvious at all in iOS 10. Examples include 3D Touch shortcuts like a firm press on the flashlight icon in Control Center to choose low, medium or high brightness, or firmly pressing anywhere on the iOS keyboard to enter trackpad mode.

Beyond those, we move into tips that cover features that are far too obscure for anyone but a power user. For example, did you know your iPhone is hiding a special low light mode that’s different from Night Shift? Try this:

  • Open Settings > General> Accessibility> Zoom
  • Toggle Zoom to on
  • Three-finger tap the screen twice to zoom out
  • Exit the Settings app
  • Three-finger triple-tap anywhere on any screen to open the Zoom overlay
  • Tap Choose Filter > Low Light in order to enable low light mode
  • Set the filter back to None to disable low light mode

There are some other gems in there as well, such as the ability to connect to a Mac and run the Console Log app to watch all background activity on your iPhone in real time. Definitely check out the full thread on Reddit, and check out this post from last week to learn even more hidden tips and tricks.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.