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The iPhone is known for its simplicity. On the face, iOS has stayed the same since the day it released—the home screen is still just a grid of apps.
But over the years, iOS has gained a lot of new functionality, including new default apps.
Features in iOS are usually hidden behind a nondescript icon or gesture. Once you know how to access these, you’ll get a lot more value and productivity out of your iPhone.
1. Pedometer in Health
If you’ve never opened the Health app on your iPhone, you’re missing out. Health uses the motion co-processor built into the iPhone. It can track the steps you take and flights of stairs you climb every day.
Plus, the Health app can turn into a repository of everything related to your health and fitness. You can easily track your weight with it. And if you use a third-party app, you can view your workouts and sleep analysis in a single screen as well.
2. Level Tool in Compass
There’s a hidden level tool in the Compass app. Open Compass and swipe left on the view. You’ll now enter the Level tool. Just put your iPhone on top of a surface and the screen will tell you if the surface is perfectly leveled.
3. Scan Documents in Notes
You don’t need a third-party app for scanning and sharing documents. You can do it right inside the Notes app on iOS 11 and later.
- Open the Notes app and create a new note.
- Tap on the Plus button in the toolbar and select Scan Documents.
- Bring a paper in the view of the camera, and the app will automatically recognize and capture it. You can capture multiple documents in this view.
- Tap on Keep Scan and then hit the Save button. The image will now show up in the note. You can export it as a PDF using the Share button.
4. Bedtime Mode in Clock
Next time you open the Clock app to set an alarm, tap the Bedtime section in the middle. This little feature can help you go to bed at a proper time.
Tell the Bedtime wizard what time you want to wake up and how many hours you want to sleep, and it will automatically remind you when it’s time for bed.
5. Share Location With Friends in Messages
Find My Friends makes it easy to share your location with your friends continuously. But you can quickly send your current location, or share your location for a couple of hours, right from Messages.
Open the Messages app, find a conversation, and go into the Details section. Here, you’ll find two options: tap Send my Current Location for a one-time update or choose Share my Location to share for some amount of time.
6. Drag and Drop in Files
iOS 11 introduced the Files app, which is a feature-rich replacement for the iCloud Drive app. Files can show you items stored not just in iCloud, but on Dropbox and Google Drive as well. The app also makes it really easy to organize files using drag and drop.
Drag and drop on iPad was one of the biggest features in iOS 11, and Files has one of the best implementations of it. But did you know that you can use drag and drop to move files from one place to another on iPhone as well?
Just tap and hold on a file and keep it pinned with one finger. Tap a different file to select it. Then use another finger to navigate to a folder and release your finger to move the files.
7. Awesome Filters in Camera
If you want to add awesome effects to your photos, there’s no need to look for an app. In fact, you can preview them live, as you’re snapping the picture. Next time you open the camera, swipe up in the viewfinder or tap the icon with three circles from the top toolbar.
You’ll see some amazing and funky filters inside. Swipe to change between them. Personally, I’m a big fan of Vivid and Vivid Cool.
8. Fun Image Editing Features in Photos
And once you’ve captured the photo, the fun doesn’t stop there. Open the picture in the Photos app and swipe up. If you have Live Photos enabled, you’ll now see a preview with loop and bounce effects applied.
Go into the Edit page, and you’ll be able to toggle Portrait mode. You can also do some basic editing with colors, saturation, and lighting.
9. Automatic Reader View in Safari
You might already know about the Reading List and Reader View features in Safari. Reader View automatically strips the formatting and styling from an article and only gives you the text and images, in an easy-to-read format.
Tap and hold on the Reader View button, and you’ll see two new options to turn on Automatic Reader View for the current website or all websites. Next time you open a link from the website, it will open automatically in Reader View—no need to click the button again!
10. Swipe to Delete in Calculator
— Digital Riot Media (@DigitalRiotM) May 4, 2017
This one trick is going to save you a lot of time.
You’ve probably noticed there’s no delete key in the Calculator app. If you tap on the Clear button, it clears out the entire field. What if you just want to delete the last number you mistyped? Just swipe left or right on the number itself, and it’s done.
Of course, this one trick won’t transform your iPhone’s stock calculator app from basic to advanced. If you want something more impressive, try one of these top iPhone calculator apps. They work on the iPad and the Apple Watch too.
More Hidden Productivity Features in iOS
Now that you’ve explored some of the secret features in stock apps, it’s time to take on the operating system itself. iOS is filled with little features and settings that are immensely useful. For example, did you know that the keyboard turns into a trackpad when you 3D Touch it?