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5 awesome apps are hiding on your iPhone right now, and you had no idea

Published May 31st, 2021 9:00AM EDT
iPhone Apps Hidden
Image: Arik/Adobe

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Lurking behind the scenes on the iPhone are a handful of hidden apps that you probably had no idea existed. And while you might be inclined to believe that any app Apple doesn’t make conspicuous probably lacks any meaningful utility, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

We’ve highlighted a few of these hidden iPhone apps in the past, but Gadget Hacks recently compiled them into an informative and easy-to-digest list. I think it’s fair to say that even seasoned iPhone users will be somewhat surprised at a few of the apps Apple has, for whatever reason, made somewhat tricky to find.

Code Scanner

The first example is an app called Code Scanner. As the name subtly suggests, Code Scanner is a QR scanning app that is seemingly no different than the built-in QR scanning functionality of the Camera app. Code Scanner, though, does have a few benefits. Most notably, scanning a QR code with Code Scanner will open up a corresponding link immediately via an in-app browser. By sidestepping Safari, Code Scanner helps clear up some clutter to the extent that you won’t have innumerable Safari tabs open with restaurant menus, for example.

You can add Code Scanner to the Control Center by going to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and then tapping the green “plus” icon alongside where it says “Code Scanner.”


Next up is a feature we originally highlighted all the way back in 2016 when it was introduced with iOS 10. Dubbed Magnifier, this app is an accessibility feature that allows users to zoom in on text or an object to a serious degree.

The feature can be enabled by going to Settings > Accessibility > Magnifier and toggling it on. Once enabled, you can activate the Magnifier by triple-clicking on the side button of either your iPhone or iPad. If you’re naturally wondering why you can’t just use the regular zoom feature on the Camera app, the zoom capability via Magnifier is significantly more capable.

Back Tap

And while we’re on the topic, I wanted to highlight not an app but a hidden feature that is truly a game-changer. As we highlighted last month, Apple with iOS 14 introduced a Back Tap feature such that you can perform a specified action when tapping on the back of your iPhone either two or three times. Some of the specified actions include muting a call, activating Siri, viewing the Notification Center, taking a screenshot, and more.

You can take advantage of this feature by going to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Physical and Motor. From there, scroll down and you’ll be able to select “Back Tap.” Next, you can indicate if you want to use a Double or Triple tap to activate it and specify which action you’d like to be triggered by the back tap.

You can read more about the other two hidden apps, which include Print Center and Field Test, over at Gadget Hacks. They’re not as intriguing as the first three, but if you’re keen on learning all the ins and out of your iPhone, you’ll most definitely find it of interest.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.