5+ iPhone shortcuts most of us forget

Thanks to Julia Buchner/Flickr

Thanks to Julia Buchner/Flickr

Operating systems. The older they get the better they become, even while layers of new versatile simplicity complicate the already simple features we still haven’t quite gotten used to just yet. Here are just 5 iOS shortcuts I think most of us forget do exist (and most of these are not exclusive to iOS 10).


I have a shameful confession – I can’t read the small print. Fortunately, iOS 10 wants to help me by giving me a built-in magnifying glass in the iPhone. To enable this drop in at Settings>General>Accessibility, choose Magnifier and set to ‘On’. In future, just three taps on your Home button will turn your iPhone into a useful magnifying glass. Now you too can read the food labels.

Get a better signal

Stuck in a building with lousy signal and need to send an important message or make an urgent call (or just check your Tweets)? This will sound a little geeky, but you need this tip: Type *3001#12345#* into your iPhone’s dialer and hit call to enter something called Field Test. What’s useful now is that in this mode the top left-hand signal indicator is replaced by numbers. Now you are in this mode hold down the Power button until the “Slide to Power Off” message appears, release the Power button and hold down Home. Field Test will quit but your iPhone will now show the signal in numeric form. If it’s -110 or less you got nothing, but if you find a spot where you are with a -80 or higher you have good coverage. Now you can explore where you are to leave your phone in the best spot to receive the communication you are waiting for. (One more thing, tap the numbers at the top left to return to ordinary view, tap them again to go back, and restart your iPhone to get things back to normal).

This single tip has saved more relationships and shaky business deals than Donald Trump has golf courses. Probably.


No one remembers this when they need it. This is you: You are using the iOS Calculator to run a sum but enter a character incorrectly. What to do? You can: 1/ Hit C and start the whole thing again, or 2/swipe your finger to the left or right of the number to clear the last digit. Each time you swipe you’ll delete another number.


Taking a panoramic picture is great. They really remind me of some of the beautiful places I’ve been. Did you know that you can reverse the shooting direction so you can take a panorama picture from left to right or right to left just by tapping the arrow that appears in Panorama mode?

Where is?

Reading a Web page about Lord Byron and want to drill down directly to the events around his visit to Sintra, Portugal? Why not type the word Sintra into the search bar in Safari and scroll down the page past Wikipedia and Search until you find the ‘On This Page’ option – tap the word there and iOS will search the copy on the currently selected Web page. Clever.

5+ The most essential tip

Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV or iPod Touch, when the system hangs or behaves erratically, don’t call tech support (unless you’ve dropped the device, got it wet or are otherwise aware of a wider situation), just give it a force restart. Force Restart is the one true step that fixes almost every known Apple device platform. Don’t give up hope until you’ve tried it:

Mac: Press and hold the Power button. Some models may require you to press and hold the button again to restart.

iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch: Press down the Home button and Power button at the same time until the Apple logo appears, unless you are using an iPhone 7 or later, in which case follow these instructions.

Apple TV: Press the Home and Play/Pause button until the display goes black and restarts once again.

Apple Watch: Press and hold the side button until you see the Power Off slider, drag the slider to turn your Watch off and then hold the side button again until the Apple logo appears and you let go.

Ultimately this is the tip every user needs to know the most.


Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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