You might not have ever noticed, but your smartphone's keypad for phone numbers has a few mysterious buttons. They'll appear in your phone and contacts app whether you have an iPhone or Android phone, but most of these puzzling keys aren't explained by Apple, Google, Samsung, and other device brands.
If your current cellular provider costs too much, has poor reception in your area, or doesn't support features you'd like to use, switching to another carrier is the obvious move. But can you bring your current iPhone or Android phone?
While the Maps app hasn't received as big an update in iOS 16 as Books, Messages, Photos, and Weather did, there are still quite a few exciting new features to enjoy on your iPhone.
Apple's dictation tool for iPhone is a useful hands-free way to enter text without typing anything manually. While its transcriptions aren't always precise, it's better than having to type out long messages, emails, and notes by hand — and it just got a significant improvement in iOS 16.
You can set a GIF as the wallpaper for your iPhone's lock screen, but it won't animate like it does when looking at the image in the Photos app. It's an annoying limitation on iOS, but one that's easily bypassed with a tiny bit of work.
While it doesn't come with any iPad models out of the box, the Apple Pencil is perhaps the best iPad accessory you can get. It's a powerful writing and drawing tool with an intuitive design and user-friendliness that makes it easy to take notes, draw sketches, mark up documents, and more. And there's a lot you can do with it — some of which you may not have noticed yet.
There's a new hidden feature for Safari in iOS 16, one that makes it even easier to find words, numbers, phrases, and other text on a webpage.
How To: Tell When Someone Opens the Emails You Send Them (Using Hidden Trackers or Read Receipt Requests)
You may not always want to, but there will probably be a time when you'll want to know if an email you send — like a job application or a support request — is opened by the recipient. It's actually easy to implement, and you may be using an email client on your device right now that supports email tracking.
Google Voice has a hidden feature that lets you record any phone call you're participating in, and unlike other apps, it doesn't cost a dime.
Among the many exciting features coming this fall to iPhone, iPad, and Mac is the ability to recover recently deleted texts. Imagine never being frustrated again for accidentally deleting an important text or iMessage, knowing that you can recover it in just a few taps. The feature is long overdue, but it's better late than never.
How To: Finally! Permanently View Battery Percentage in Your iPhone's Status Bar Instead of Battery Levels
When the first iPhone with Face ID came out, Apple removed a popular feature — the status bar's battery percentage indicator — because of how much space the TrueDepth camera system's notch took. It's been absent on all Face ID models since. Now, almost five years later, it's finally made a comeback.
Your days as an ordinary Muggle are over, as long as you have an iPhone. With just a word or two, you can use your iPhone and newfound Muggle-born powers to cast spells just like Harry Potter and team. Only your "wand" is from Apple, not Ollivanders in Diagon Alley.
How To: Use Your iPhone's Hidden Microphone Effects to Improve Your Audio in FaceTime, Zoom, and Other Video Calling Apps
Being seen clearly is an essential part of any video call you're on, but being heard is equally important. Lousy audio from your side can ruin the experience for others on the call if they can't understand you or hear the sounds they need or want to hear. To improve your audio feed during FaceTime, Google Meet, Instagram, WhatsApp, Zoom, and other video calls, unlock your iPhone's hidden audio filters.
Remember when water and iPhones couldn't mix? Pools, tubs, and toilets would suck down the working iPhones of clumsy and careless owners and spit out expensive paperweights like they were nothing. Times have changed, however, and the newest iPhones can take a swim without fear of certain death. But a dip in liquid can still cause muffled music and audio from the speakers.
How To: iOS 16 Has a Hidden Unit Converter for Temperatures, Time Zones, Distance, and Other Measurements
Fans of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" will remember the Babel fish, the universal translator you put in your ear so you can understand every language you hear. While Apple has its Translate app, there's another iPhone feature reminiscent of the Babel fish, but it lets you convert measurements, times, and other units without having to leave the app you're currently using.
If you scan the notification panel on your Samsung Galaxy smartphone daily, all those red circles with numbers that litter the apps on your home screen and app drawer can feel like persistent nagging and unnecessary clutter rather than friendly reminders to check your app alerts — but you can do something about it.
How To: Upgrade Your Screenshots by Framing Them with Your iPhone or iPad's Body — No Third-Party App Needed
Have you ever seen an image on social media, somebody's blog, or a news website that shows an iPhone or iPad screenshot with an actual iPhone or iPad model framed around it? You can do that too, and it's really easy to accomplish with a third-party app — but you can do the same thing with a shortcut that won't bug you to pay or subscribe.
How To: Edit Your Sent iMessages to Fix Spelling Errors and Other Mistakes (Works on iPhone, iPad, and Mac)
Apple is finally letting us edit iMessages after sending them, and I can honestly say it's a game-changer. Editing texts after sending them can prevent miscommunication and allow you to fix embarrassing mistakes before the other person even notices them.
While Apple has included a vibration motor in the iPhone since the beginning, it's never let us use it for haptic feedback on its default keyboard — until now.
Many of Apple's apps, including Books, Messages, Photos, Shortcuts, and Weather, are getting significant upgrades in iOS 16. Another app with lots of exciting new features to explore is Notes, and some of the new tools it offers might end up being things you use every day to make lists, save ideas, jot down thoughts, create outlines, draw sketches, record observations, and more.
Some iOS and iPadOS apps give you an option to lock them behind Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode, but there aren't many.
Apple's controversial iMessage-editing feature in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS 13 Ventura is now less likely to be abused by malicious users.
We've been able to mark all or individual unread conversations as read in Apple's Messages app since iOS 8. Eight years later, Apple is finally letting us mark individual text and iMessage chats as unread.
Apple is finally giving the Books app for iPhone the attention it deserves in iOS 16, making the experience even better for reading books and listening to audiobooks on the go. You can even do more with Books in custom shortcuts you develop.
Apple's bringing big changes to your iPhone's lock screen in iOS 16, and one of those changes lets you pick an always-updating wallpaper for your local weather conditions. If you don't want to wait until the fall for the stable iOS 16 version and don't want to install any iOS 16 betas, you can still get an always-updating weather wallpaper for your lock screen on iOS 15.
How To: Unlock Your iPhone's Hidden Selfie Portrait Mode for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Zoom, and Other Popular Apps
If you like using Portrait mode for selfies on your iPhone, there's a hidden feature you need to check out that adds a shallow depth of field effect to video when using the front-facing camera in FaceTime and even third-party apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Zoom.
How To: 7 Things You Need to Know About iOS 15.6 for iPhone, Which Includes Over 35 Security Patches
After nearly two months of beta testing, Apple is finally pushing the iOS 15.6 software update to all iPhone users. While it's not as feature-rich as the iOS 15.5 or iOS 15.4 that came before it, there are still a few things you'll want to know about it.
Most of you have probably wondered at least once who has been checking out your social media profiles. While most platforms prohibit you from seeing who's viewed your profile, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, TikTok is one of the few places that lets you track profile visitors. And unlike with LinkedIn, you don't have to pay for the privilege.
Apple has given third-party developers access to Picture in Picture on iPad since iOS 9 and, more recently, on iPhone since iOS 14, but YouTube has been one of the few not to support the feature outside of Safari or premium memberships. Thankfully, that's no longer the case if you live in the U.S.
Apple is adding controversial features to its Messages app that lets you edit or delete any iMessage you send in a conversation. You may only use them to fix autocorrect failures or take back something you accidentally sent, but others may have malicious intentions. Luckily, there are a few ways to protect yourself from evildoers and nefarious tricksters.
You probably receive an overwhelming number of notifications on your iPhone every day — maybe even every hour — which can quickly clutter your lock screen. With Apple's focus on lock screen customization in iOS 16, there are now options that can reduce the screen space that lock screen notifications take up, giving you more room to enjoy all your different wallpapers.
Instead of responding to a WhatsApp message with short texts like "LOL" or thinking too hard about something meaningful to say, use an emoji reaction. They cut down on clutter in group chats and take up less space than typing emoji individually in a conversation. WhatsApp initially limited reactions to just six emoji, but a new update lets you use any emoji you want.
For years, Android has provided easy ways to view all the Wi-Fi networks you previously connected to, and you could even see the saved passwords in plain text. With iOS and iPadOS 16, Apple finally gives us a similar way to view saved Wi-Fi hotspots, copy passwords for them, and remove old ones without being near any of the access points.
It's easy to lose the TikTok video you were watching when you accidentally refresh your For You feed, but it's not gone forever. TikTok has a new feature for your iPhone, iPad, or Android device that can show you all your watched videos over the last seven days. There are also other, more hidden ways to see your watch history — one that goes well beyond a week.
When the very first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs in 2007, it sported a clownfish wallpaper throughout the keynote presentation — a wallpaper that never actually ended up on any iPhone models. Now, 15 years later, it's finally made its appearance in the latest iOS 16 beta. If you don't want to run beta software, you can still download the wallpaper for whatever iOS version you use.
You may use Safari on your iPhone or iPad to open links and browse the web, but there's so much more it can do for you. Since iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, you can implement third-party Safari extensions in your browser that go above and beyond content blocking, sharing, and performing basic actions.
Your iPhone's lock screen is about to explode with your personality. With iOS 16, Apple has made its most significant update ever to the iOS lock screen, and there are a lot of features to be excited about.
If you hate matching images or typing letters for CAPTCHA human verification, you'll love Apple's newest iOS, iPadOS, and macOS software updates.
You may be tempted to install the iOS 16 developer beta on your iPhone to try all the exciting new features it has to offer, but it may be a good idea to wait if you only have your personal iPhone that you use every day.
How To: Apple's New Cutout Tool Magically Isolates Subjects and Removes Backgrounds from Images on Your iPhone or iPad
Apple's upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 software updates bring an exciting new feature that lets you instantly lift the subject out of a photo, separating it from the background. Once extracted, you can paste, save, or drop the cutout wherever you want as a new image, and you can even make it a sticker in messaging apps.