Every iPhone has a series of hidden Apple apps installed by default, most of which work behind the scenes to perform actions such as filtering SMS messages, trusting computers, and dealing with payments. However, there are a few secret apps you can access right here and now, but they take a little work to unlock.
One of the coolest aesthetic features of iMessage is its animated message effects. If you're like many users, you might even have discovered them by accident, where wishing your friend a "Happy Birthday!" or congratulating them on a promotion unexpectedly flooded your screen with balloons or confetti.
How To: Auto-Play New Podcast Episodes on Your iPhone When Connecting Headphones, Starting a Trip, Tapping an NFC Tag & More
The Shortcuts app can help you play the next unlistened podcast from one of the shows, but getting the latest unplayed episodes from your whole queue of shows in the Podcasts app is a little trickier. There is an easy way to do it on your iPhone, though, and you can even automate it so that Podcasts plays your most recent untouched episode automatically.
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.
Over 115 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.
Your voice is the key to unlocking many features on your iPhone. For example, you can ask Siri to send a text message to a friend, add items to a list, run a custom shortcut, or turn on your lights, but Apple does not allow you to unlock your iPhone with a Siri voice command. Instead, you can turn to a lesser-known feature to unlock your iPhone without Face ID, Touch ID, or typing your passcode.
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.
Warning: Sensitive Info You Black Out in Images Can Be Revealed with a Few Quick Edits on Your iPhone
These days, most images we post online or share with others come from our smartphones. Whenever personal data is in them, such as debit card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information, it's easy to jump into your iPhone's markup tools to black out the text before sharing. But a digital marker may not hide everything.
Siri Suggestions is one way Apple makes your iPhone work better for you. These recommendations offer helpful actions and shortcuts based on how you use iOS. Still, they can frequently get things wrong, suggesting irrelevant shortcuts to apps, contacts, and other items repeatedly. Here's how to stop them.
Apple's Tapback is a great way to react to iMessages you find funny, surprising, confusing, and anything in between. However, in group chats, keeping track of who reacted with which Tapback can be difficult; iOS often just shows you how many people reacted but excludes many of the names. Luckily, there is a way around this — it's just a bit hidden.
Since iOS 13, your iPhone's come equipped with a fonts manager that lets you install custom fonts for use in Apple apps and supported third-party apps. To add fonts, you need to use a font provider app that'll load them on your device and register them system-wide, and one of these apps shines above all else.
When you enable Low Power Mode on your iPhone, it's not always clear what measures it's taking to reduce battery drain and conserve power. Energy-hungry features you use daily may be noticeable right away, but some things you use frequently may be disabled or reduced without any obvious indicators.
The TikTok obsession is real. The variety of content is so wide that you could watch a video guide on making a baked feta pasta while you cook and then a seven-part series on some crazy historical event you've never heard of while you eat — all in a span of a few minutes. And thanks to a hidden iOS feature, you can watch all the TikTok clips you want without even using your hands.
Apple's iCloud is a fantastic way to ensure that all of your photos, messages, notes, and other important data are backed up and appear on all of your connected devices. However, you may have information like reminders attached to accounts other than iCloud, which won't appear when signing into iCloud on a new device. Here's how to get the full picture of where your reminders are stored.
Out of the more than 200 new features Apple included with iOS 13, perhaps none is more anticipated than system-wide dark mode. Finally, we no longer need to blind ourselves when responding to an iMessage late at night or checking Reminders to see the following day's tasks. But this benefit also applies to third-party apps, so long as they are updated accordingly.
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.
Apple Card is the iPhone OEM's big leap into the credit card market. Its low barrier to entry and ease of use make it an appealing option, especially for those who often pay for goods with Apple Pay. To get the best rewards possible, make sure you use the Apple Card at stores where you can get 3% cash back.
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.