A low-key iPhone feature that's been around since iOS 10 can make the iMessages you send to family and friends more exciting overall. One particular element is, if you'll forgive my decades-old slang, "da bomb" for emoji.
Almost 190 secret characters are hiding behind your iPhone's default keyboard, and I'm not talking about what you see after tapping the "123" or "#+=" keys. These special composite characters can include accents, dots, and other diacritics, and you'll even see some strange typographical characters like the section sign, inverted marks, and per mille symbol. Here's how you find them.
How To: If 'Messages' Consumes Too Much iPhone or iCloud Storage, Don't Delete Your Conversations Just Yet
When iOS starts barking at you that you've run out of iCloud or iPhone storage, a quick trip to your settings to see what the culprit is may show that Messages is one of the worst offenders. But if deleting message after message doesn't free up your storage much, it's likely because "Messages" doesn't really mean messages.
How To: Disable the iMessage Typing Bubble Indicator So Others Don't Know You're Currently Active in the Chat
Apple's iMessage is one of the main reasons to use an iPhone, and there's a lot you can do in chats without being overly complicated. But there's one issue that continues to drive people nuts, and that's the blue typing bubble indicator with the moving ellipsis (•••). Can you stop it? Not officially, but there are workarounds.
Ah, the dreaded "green bubble" group chat. All it takes is one non-iPhone contact to turn an entire thread from iMessage paradise to SMS slog. Normally, it isn't that bad since the group chat still functions. However, sometimes, you end up getting messages individually instead of in a single group thread. Before you go blaming your Android friends, know that the issue is probably on your end.
How To: Prevent Thieves from Turning On Your iPhone's Airplane Mode, So You Have a Better Chance to Track It Down
When an iPhone is lost or stolen, it's imperative to start tracking it via Find My as soon as possible, whether that's from a computer, tablet, or someone else's phone. However, if it's stolen, there's a good chance the thief or robber turns on Airplane Mode, blocking all communication with the iPhone. If this is a scary thought, you can prevent thieves from accessing Airplane Mode altogether.
How To: Your iPhone Uses a Hidden Tracker to Keep Tabs on Your Recent & Most Visited Locations — But You Can Stop It
Your iPhone keeps track of every single place you go, especially those you frequent most often, and syncs those locations across all your iCloud-connected devices. People who gain access or already have access to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac may be able to view all of these locations to see where you've been and where you might be. If this worries you, there are things you can do.
How To: If Your Sneaky Kids Keep Making In-App Purchases on Your iPhone, This Will Block Them for Good
You can't hand over your iPhone to a kid and expect everything to be OK. Not only will they drop your iPhone (and they will), they could also do something much worse than a cracked screen — in-app purchases.
When you look at your status bar on your iPhone, you'll almost always see the battery icon, which gives you an estimate of how much battery life you have left before you need to charge the device. What you won't always see is the exact battery percentage, but there are multiple ways to force it out of hiding.
Whether you drop your iPhone into a toilet or your dog's water bowl or regularly take it into the shower or pool, water will likely become nestled inside its speaker grilles. Water exposure causes audio playback through the speakers to soften and sound muffled, and getting that water out is no easy task. Luckily, there's an app for that.
Apple's Shortcuts app lets you make and use custom icons for any app on your iPhone, but it won't actually replace any icons. If your goal is to change the official icon for the app itself without any redirects, there's a growing list of third-party apps that'll let you do just that.
Your iPhone goes with you pretty much everywhere you go, and unless you have unlimited data on your cellular plan, you've probably connected to dozens of Wi-Fi hotspots over the years. Wi-Fi passwords are saved to your iPhone so you can auto-connect to the router or personal hotspot again, but finding the plain text password for a network hasn't always been easy.
Unless you have unlimited cellular data, you probably connect your iPhone to every Wi-Fi network you come across. It could be a local coffee shop, public library, or just a friend's place. Wherever it is, you'll need to ask for the access point's password if it's a secured network, and that can be a hassle if the place is busy or the owner forgets the credentials. Luckily, Apple has a solution for this problem.
How To: The Secret iPhone Dialer Trick That Dials Extensions Automatically & Navigates Automated Call Menus for You
Automatic phone menus are the worst. You call the number, listen to prerecorded prompts, press button, listen, press button, listen, press button, listen, until you're routed or connected to the right extension, directory, menu, person, or whatever. But you can bypass these automated attendants to get right to where you need to go by setting up a simple shortcut on your iPhone.
Apple's stock keyboard for iPhone has gone through many changes over the years. Some have been significant, and others more subtle. Overall, most of these updates have been fairly obvious, so you're probably already using them — but there are more than a few interesting features that were slipped in under the radar that you may not know about.
While there's no denying that iPads are better when it comes to multitasking and productivity, your iPhone has a few tricks up its sleeve to rival even the best iPad features. One thing about iPadOS is that it's really easy to highlight editable text with gestures, but it's just as simple on iOS if you know all the secrets.
Screen mirroring software has been around for ages, allowing you to mirror your iPhone to a projector, laptop, TV, or another device. It's useful to have during lectures, presentations, and meetings, so it's no wonder why Apple created its AirPlay technology. However, AirPlay doesn't work in all situations.
Malevolent hackers can divert your incoming calls and texts to any number they want, and they don't need to be a criminal mastermind to do it. Even friends and family members can reroute your incoming calls and messages so that they know exactly who's trying to reach you, and all it takes is seconds of access to your iPhone or wireless account. These secret codes can help uncover them.
Next to spam calls, few things are more annoying than being inundated with spam, scam, and smishing texts. Your iPhone's Messages app should be a place for your friends and family to stay in touch, not a minefield of phishing attacks, malicious links, and viruses. Luckily, there are quite a few methods to block and report your way to a more spam-free iPhone.
The signal bars in your iPhone's status bar are great visual indicators for knowing how good your cellular reception is, but they're not very accurate. Instead of showing the actual amount of signal you're receiving, they just give you a general range, and you'll have no idea if three out of four bars is actually a good connection or not. But there is a trick to see the real numbers.