8 Essential things you should learn to do on an iPhone

How well do you know your way around your iPhone? You don’t have to be an expert to get a lot of use from these remarkable computer-telephone hybrids, but learning a few tricks will help you get the most from your device. Here are eight essential things that every iPhone owner should learn to do.

16646514046 e8ff42bb21 zImage via Flickr by Aktiv Phil

Manage Your Battery With Airplane Mode

When you put your iPhone into airplane mode, the battery will last quite a lot longer because it doesn’t have to constantly seek a signal, which can save a lot of energy. Use airplane mode to prolong battery life when it’s getting low or while the phone is on the charger to dramatically shorten the time it takes to juice up your phone. If you’re in an area without a signal, your phone will be working constantly to find one, so your battery will be draining faster with no result. Always switch to airplane mode in this situation to conserve power.

Shake, Shake, Shake

Have you ever pressed the delete button a hundred times so you could start your text message over from the beginning? Give your phone a shake and it will offer you an “undo” option that will remove your last burst of typing with a single click. You can also shake to redo. If you don’t want this feature, you can turn it off under “accessibility” in your general settings.

Take Photos With the Volume Buttons

Holding the camera steady while getting your finger or thumb on the camera button is such a nuisance, especially when you’re already in an awkward selfie position. Luckily, you don’t have to do that. You can use the volume buttons on the outside of your phone to snap a photo. Once you discover how simple this is, you might feel a little smug when you watch other people juggle their phones to reach the camera button.

Learn to Use Spotlight Search

You don’t have to open iTunes and look for your song or scroll through your contacts to find a person. Just swipe down on your home screen to bring up the Spotlight Search function and type a name, title, or word. Your iPhone will give you search results from across all your apps. This is so much faster than opening each app and scrolling or searching within it.

Reset Your iPhone

Resetting your iPhone to factory settings is a major step that will delete everything you’ve stored on your phone, but if some incompatible app or setting locks up your phone, it can save you, especially if you’ve backed up your contacts, photos, and other data. Resetting is also a good security protocol if you are selling, giving away, or trading your old iPhone, so it’s a necessary skill to have.

Timestamp Your Texts

Arguments often hinge on who said what, and exactly when they said it, or how long it took to reply. Luckily, you can find the answer quickly by simply swiping left while you’re looking at a text conversation. When you swipe left, the time stamp for each message will appear.

Create Your Own Shortcuts

Do you find yourself typing the same phrases over and over? You can create your own typing shortcuts for those phrases. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Add New Shortcut. Enter any word or phrase that you use a lot and choose a shortcut you’d like to use. Now when you type the shortcut, your word or phrase will spell itself out.

Make the Most of Siri

Siri is good for a lot more than just looking things up on the web. You can tell Siri to post to Twitter or Facebook and she will ask you to dictate your post (which you can confirm before sending). Siri can also solve math problems, convert distances, temperatures, and currencies, read your latest e-mails to you, and set your timer, all without you having to type a single thing.

Your iPhone is a powerful device, and you could spend a lot of time learning how to use all its features, but this short list is a great place to start.