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16 Things You Had No Idea Your iPhone Could Do

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Once upon a time, all phones could do was let you talk to someone else over a long distance. Voice only. Truly, it was a dark time.

The future is here, thank goodness, and it’s a bright, animated, selfie-friendly future!

As if smartphones weren’t already incredible devices, putting email, texts, the web, a camera, and countless other applications in the palm of your hand, there’s actually more to them than you realize. You just wouldn’t know about so many of the things they can do. And they’re gaining more and more functions all the time. So here’s an attempt to catch you up!

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Apple dominates the smartphone market for a reason.

The iPhone is so much more than just a phone. It’s a handful of potential, with more getting unleashed with every update.

Check out all the amazing things your iPhone can do!

1. See every photo you’ve been texted, and that you have texted others.

In fact, you can see all the attachments by tapping Details on the conversation you’re in.

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2. Reply to texts without unlocking your phone.

When a text comes in, just pull down on the notification drawer and swipe left on the text. Tap on the “Reply” option to type your response without unlocking your phone.

3. Send audio and video messages that delete themselves.

Just like Mission: Impossible, you can send a message that self-destructs. Go to Settings > Messages and tap Expire under Audio or Video Messages and select After 2 Minutes.

4. See which apps drain the battery most.

Go to the Settings menu and go to General > Usage > Battery Usage to see which apps you need to shut down to save power, and to see how much each app has drained the battery over the past week. And you can even see which apps drain power more when the screen is off than when it’s on.

And yes, there’s a way to make your battery last longer…

5. Make your battery last longer with Low Power Mode.

If your battery is running low and you can’t charge it up, extend its life by using less power. Under Settings > Battery, turn on Low Power Mode to disable battery-draining features like mail and app refreshing, brightness, animated backgrounds, and motion effects.

6. Launch a music app by plugging in your headphones.

Those earbuds have more functions than you would think, and they can turn on your music player too. If you listen to music at around the same time every day — maybe on the bus to work or school — your phone will recognize what’s happening as soon as you plug in your headphones and launch the app.

Ariel Zambelich | Wired

7. Change how Siri pronounces names.

When Siri doesn’t pronounce a name right, just say “That’s not how you say that.” Siri will ask you how you pronounce it. When you say the name, Siri will offer three choices. Tap each sample to listen to it, then tap Select to choose the closest pronunciation.

8. Find out where you’ve been.

The iPhone does a good but creepy job of tracking your locations. Go to Settings, tap Privacy > Location Services > System Services. Near the bottom, select Frequent Locations and see your history.

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9. Provide emergency medical information without anyone having to unlock your phone.

It’s hard for first responders to call your emergency contact if they need to when your phone is locked. Setting this up can provide them with life-saving information, including a contact number, without them needing your passcode. Open the pre-installed Health app, tap the Medical ID tab in the lower right, and fill in the blanks.

10. Search the Settings menu.

If the setting you’re looking for is buried under a gazillion sub-headings and you can’t figure out the path to follow, just type into the Settings search bar.

11. Create a custom ringtone from any track in your iTunes library.

Maybe you want your phone to play “Unchained Melody” when that special someone calls, or maybe you want it to play Darth Vader’s “Imperial March” when your mother-in-law calls. Good news: you can make it happen. You have to use iTunes and massage some files, but you can take your favorite song and turn it into a ringtone about 30 seconds long.

12. Tap to the top.

If you’ve just been scrolling down your emails and want to go right back to the top without a time-wasting scroll, just tap the gray bar at the top of your iPhone’s screen. It doesn’t work for every app, but it does for most of them, including Safari.

13. Identify an unknown caller.

Your iPhone will try to identify unknown callers. If you’ve emailed someone but you don’t have their number in your contacts, the phone will generate a guess about incoming calls based on those emails. Obviously it won’t have a guess for complete strangers, but it can be handy for co-workers, extended family, business contacts, and the like.

14. Search old photos by date or location.

Once again, no need to scroll through months and months of photos looking for that one hilarious vacation pic from three years ago you want to post on Facebook. You can just ask Siri to do the search for you by asking something like, “Show me photos from 2013 taken in Cancun”.

15. Make Siri read for you.

No need to use your eyes like a sucker, just get Siri to read it for you. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech and turn on Speak Screen and Speak Selection. When you swipe from the top of the screen, Siri will read whatever is on the screen.

16. Let me guess, you’re pretty annoyed that your iPhone doesn’t play music loudly enough? Go to Settings > Music > EQ > Late Night.

It won’t sound like you’re at a concert or anything, but it will definitely sound louder.

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