After 12 years of the iPhone, it’s no longer a novelty—and neither are most of the “hacks” that you’ll find online. You probably already know that you should close out your background apps for faster performance or that you can put the device into Airplane Mode to charge it up more quickly.
Here’s something you may not have considered, though: with every operating system update comes new hidden tricks. Last September, iOS 13, the latest software, introduced some fancy new features like Dark Mode on all devices, but as with previous software rollouts, there are some covert Easter eggs to discover.
Send Spam Calls to Voicemail
Sick of robocalls? You can now direct unknown callers directly to your voicemail. Of course, some robocallers may spoof a friend or relative’s phone number so that it actually looks like they’re calling you—and iOS can’t really help you there—but otherwise, if the phone number isn’t saved in your contacts, you won’t have to deal with it until later. Exceptions include phone numbers that you’ve recently made an outgoing call to or phone numbers that Siri finds in your email, for instance.
Settings > Phone > Switch on Silence Unknown Callers.
Turn on Dark Mode Only at Night
The army of Dark Mode disciples finally got what they’ve been begging for all of these years with iOS 13, but if your primary preference isn’t a dark little screen—but you still want to reap some of Dark Mode’s benefits, like reducing your eye strain at night—consider turning it on only during certain hours.
Settings > Display & Brightness > Turn on Automatic > Tap Options, which should appear as a list right below. There, you can create a custom schedule for dark mode, either based on dusk-to-dawn settings or your own specific timing.
Type Faster With One Hand
Apple is nearly a decade behind in enabling this feature, as Android users have long had the option, but better late than never. QuickPath swipe typing lets you slide your finger across the letters of whatever you’re trying to say, rather than tapping. It’s much faster and, in some cases, prone to fewer errors. Even if your finger isn’t directly touching all the right letters, the right word will be selected, similar to the regular autocorrect and suggestions feature in iMessage.
If you already use a third-party keyboard app like SwiftKey, this isn’t new for you. However, if you don’t, you can skip paying for one of these apps.
QuickPath is turned on by default when you download iOS 13. To turn it off, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Slide to Type.
Pair Two Sets of AirPods to One iPhone
There’s something romantic about sharing one of your AirPods with someone so that you can both hear the same song, but I’ve been handed my fair share of grimy, waxy AirPods that I’d love to decline. If that sounds familiar, ask your friends to pair their grody AirPods to your device.
This also works with wireless Beats headphones. The following are all the supported models that you can use with this setting:
- AirPods Pro
- AirPods (1st generation) or later
- Solo Pro
- Powerbeats Pro
- Beats Solo3 Wireless
- Beats Studio3 Wireless
Connect your AirPods to your iPhone > Tap the AirPlay icon in the Control Center or from your lock screen or the app you’re listening to > Share Audio > Hold your friend’s AirPods or Beats headphones near your device (keep the AirPods in their case, but with the lid open, put all others into pairing mode) > When your friend’s headphones appear on-screen, tap Share Audio.
Customize Your ‘Do Not Disturb’ Gates
With a parent who’s been a loyal Do Not Disturb user for years, I’ve had a number of minor emergencies where I couldn’t reach her. No, she still hasn’t turned off Do Not Disturb, but she has added me to a list of contacts that can breach its ironclad gates. If you’d consider them an emergency contact, you should consider adding them to that list.
Find the desired person in Contacts > Tap Edit in the top right corner > On the edit page, click either Ringtone or Text Tone > At the top, you’ll find Emergency Bypass, which will allow sounds and vibrations from that person even when Do Not Disturb is Enabled. You may want to select a quiet ringtone if you choose to do this—after all, not every text and call after bedtime is a dire emergency.
Charge Smarter, Not Harder
No reason to rehash #BatteryGate, but the company’s new “Optimized Battery Charging” feature is certainly a response to the controversy.
“A battery’s lifespan is related to its chemical age, which is more than just the length of time since the battery was assembled,” Apple writes on its website. “As lithium-ion batteries chemically age, the amount of charge they can hold diminishes, resulting in reduced battery life and reduced peak performance.”
Optimized Battery Charging was introduced last fall with the debut of iOS 13. It supposedly reduces wear-and-tear on the battery by delaying charging past 80 percent. On-device machine learning algorithms learn your charging habits so that the feature only kicks on when your iPhone thinks it’ll be plugged in for an extended period of time, like overnight.
The aim is to give you a full battery when you do finally unplug, so if you typically wake up at 8 a.m., Optimized Battery Charging will juice up that last 20 percent of the battery just before you wake.
This setting is turned on by default when you update to iOS 13. To turn it off, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health > Optimized Battery Charging.
Play Radio Stations Through Siri
This feature isn’t exclusive to iOS 13—a limited number of iOS 12 users can enable it–but this is the first time that all iPhone users can ask Siri to play a given radio station, from your local pop FM channel to NPR.