Personal tech: Tips for using iPhone like a pro | Science and Technology

A woman using her iPhone.UNSPLASH

If there is one thing that sets Apple apart, it is the habit of providing the iPhone with functions and features that are not publicly announced and that the user can discover through use.

To add more spice to this formula, with each update of the operating system, the company adds new and interesting functions.

The iPhone is often rated as a very simple device and has a few extra possibilities, especially among fans of Android, its great rival, but do we really know how to make the most of it?

Here we review a series of tricks that increase their usefulness that you may not know very well.

The back, a more customizable button

For those who want to customize the device, the accessibility features offer many possibilities; Some of them are really useful. Apple included in its iOS 14 an update to the Back Tap function, which uses the phone’s sensors to detect the touch of fingers on the back of the phone. Thus, by giving two or three clicks, the command chosen in the settings can be executed. For example, you can double tap to take a screenshot and triple tap to lock the device.

System actions that can be performed by clicking on the back of the device.
System actions that can be performed by clicking on the back of the device.

In addition to the features provided by the system (everything can be controlled with a finger), Apple allows the use of shortcuts, which are functions and commands that the user can program himself. With them, the possibilities are almost endless. If configured, you can turn on the heating or lighting with a few clicks or send WhatsApp to a friend. To access it, just go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Touch again and configure the taps and desired function.

“Hey Siri, send this photo to…”

Siri can sometimes be abused for being a little clumsy and unhelpful, but the truth is that it can do so much more than you can imagine. The trick that few people know is to send what appears on the screen to a contact. To do this, simply say: “Hey Siri, send this to…”.

If what’s in front of you is a photo, Siri will send it to the contact; If it’s a web page, you’ll do the same with the hyperlink. But here comes the cool part: if it’s neither a photo nor a web page, the system will send a screenshot of everything that’s on the screen at that moment, which can be very convenient. The only fee to pay is that iOS, the company’s operating system, will use its own messaging platform, Messages.

Best way to share photos? Take advantage of the clipboard

Users often complicate their lives when they attach an image in a WhatsApp message, in an email, or even on Twitter or Facebook. They open the app, look for the attach option, and slide their finger across the spool until they find the shot. However, Apple has an ace up its sleeve that not everyone knows: copy and paste photos. To do this, simply locate the photo in the device’s camera roll, in the gallery, select the share button (located in the lower left) and choose Copy Photo. Then, just open the mail app, WhatsApp or the social network of your choice and hold your finger on the text field until the paste button appears. After doing that, the image will be attached.

Option to copy an image and then paste it into another application.
Option to copy an image and then paste it into another application.

This option also works interchangeably between certain apps: when you tap your finger on an image on Twitter or Facebook, the option to copy it will appear, so you can paste it anywhere you want. As always, if the user regrets attaching the photo, they can always shake the device to undo the operation.

How to password protect photos

The Cupertino company is committed to the privacy of its users, and therefore, in addition to protecting the mobile phone with passwords, it allows you to hide photos from prying eyes. While the California giant doesn’t offer the ability to password protect snapshots, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to achieve the same goal. Fran Pesora, iOS expert and creator of the Apple Twitter community in Spanish, suggests an alternative: “Create a note with photo in Notes and protect it with Face ID.” This would be, basically, to attach the image to a new note from the same app or paste it with the above trick.

Before you protect the note with the attached image, you must set a specific password for the Notes app. To do this, go to Settings > Notes and enter the chosen password in the Password section. The user can activate the option to unlock using face recognition, face ID, or touch ID (depending on the iPhone model). Once done, under the note to be encrypted, select the lock option – in the three dots in the upper right corner – and enter the password that was set in the settings.

Note locked on iPhone.
Note locked on iPhone.

No More Writing: Use the Camera (or Voice)

The iOS 15 update has added an interesting feature that can save a lot of time for iPhone users when typing texts (or rather when copying them). It is a built-in text box scanner. This function consists of using the iPhone’s powerful camera as an OCR scan, so that you can point the device at the text (regardless of whether it is a photo or a computer screen) and the system will recognize the content with great accuracy and transform it into characters.

To make use of this functionality, just double-click on the text box and the Scan Text option will appear. However, it is important to remember that it is applicable only in those applications that offer space reserved for text entry. If you want to save time typing on longer compositions, the best option is to tap the microphone on the bottom right to activate voice transcription. The system will recognize some commands like ‘comma’, ‘period’, ‘new space’ as well as ‘open question mark’, etc.