45 of Lifehacker's Favorite iPhone Hacks of 2022

2022-12-29 09:31:35 By : Ms. Lingzi Yang

From iOS 16 to the iPhone 14 , the iPhone had a big year. We started 2022 with iOS 15.2, which gave us features like Apple Music Voice and legacy contacts , and end the year appropriately with iOS 16.2 , with Apple Music Sing and end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups . In between, we discovered a lot of hacks that make life with an iPhone even easier. Here are 45 of our favorites.

The Apple Music vs. Spotify debate will continue to rage on, and we’re not here to swing you one way or another. If you are an Apple Music user, however, one thing you can do to improve your experience is to drop the app—not for Spotify, but for a better client that improves the interface, customizability, performance, and features. Pranay Parab recommends apps like Soor and Marvis when using Apple Music on your iPhone.

The iPhone’s default alarm is terrible, and I have no idea why Apple still uses it. The problem is that the other options aren’t great either, seeing as they’re just ringtones. As it turns out, Apple hides its best alarm tones behind its “Sleep” feature. If you don’t use Sleep for your alarms, you’ll never know about these, but they’re way better, featuring sounds you’d expect to hear from an alarm clock. Follow our guide here to improve your wake up calls (at least, as much as waking up can be improved).

Well, you can’t cast spells, but you can speak spells to Siri, who will respond in kind with actions on your iPhone. There are three spells built into your iPhone : “Lumos” will turn on the flashlight, “Nox” will turn off the flashlight, and “Accio” opens apps on your iPhone (e.g., “Accio Instagram” will launch Instagram).

Those are the three spells Apple programmed into iOS, but you can add more yourself using Shortcuts. Gadget Hacks has a guide for those , including “Lumos Maxima” for setting your flashlight to the brightest setting, or “Silencio” for activating Do Not Disturb.

Every iPhone comes with digital zoom, but there’s a limit. If you want to keep zooming, whether to crop the image further or to make something easier to see, use your iPhone’s hidden Magnifier app . This function used to be a Control Center-only feature but now has its very own app, which lets you double the amount of digital zoom you normally get with the camera and allows you to edit these images to see them more clearly.

Apple has a buried option in Voice Memos ’ settings, Enhance Recording, that improves the quality of memos going forward. When enabled, the app will cut out background noise, boost speech, and try to enhance audio quality in general. If you frequently use Voice Memos to record your thoughts, this is a good setting to flip.

With iOS 15, Apple quietly released a feature that lets you improve the audio quality of FaceTime calls . When you’re currently in a call, open Control Center to find the following options on a supported iPhone:

Mask wearing has definitely plummeted since the beginning of this year, but it’s not gone forever. Try to remember how ubiquitous they were though, and how frustrating it was to try to unlock your iPhone when wearing one. That’s why it was monumental when Apple offered the ability to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask . Since then, you can scan your face while wearing a mask, so iOS will recognize you even if your face is half covered.

Finally. Anyone running iOS 16 (or macOS Ventura, for that matter) can edit or undo iMessages they send in error . When you send an iMessage, you have 15 minutes to edit it, after which time the message will lock itself in. Be warned, though: Any edits you make will be visible in an edit history available under a convenient “Edited” tag, so this feature is best for making small corrections you’d usually fix with a follow-up message.

If you’d rather cover up a message entirely, delete it instead. You have two minutes after sending a message to remove it from your device and the devices of others in the chat. Of course, they have the same power, too.

Apple doesn’t make it easy to manage the storage iMessages take up on your iPhone or iCloud. Luckily, Pranay Parab walks you through how to do it . There are different steps to take whether you’re trying to free up storage on your iPhone, clear space on iCloud, or prevent messages from continuing to take up unnecessary space on both platforms.

When you take a photo of something on your iPhone, you might see an (i) with a star attached. Tap it, and you’ll be able to use what’s called “Visual Lookup” to identify the subject of the photo, ranging from animals, landmarks, and plants. This feature can tell you what breed your dog is, what statue you’re looking at, or what plant is about to come home with you from the nursery.

If you have that one family member who always sleeps through their alarm, you can remotely turn it off yourself. As long as you’re under the same Family Sharing account, both iPhones are connected to the same wifi, and Siri understands their name, you can ask your Siri to turn off their alarm, and she will.

Pro iPhones come with three cameras, the third being a telephoto or “zoom” lens. But in many cases, Apple doesn’t let you use that zoom camera, even when you are, in fact, zooming. Your iPhone makes the call for you: If the lighting is “good enough,” you can use your zoom lens; otherwise, it uses digital zoom on the standard camera and doesn’t make it clear when it does so. Fortunately, there are ways to force your iPhone to use the lens you paid extra for. You can learn more about that from our guide here .

If your iPhone ever takes a swim, it should be okay, seeing as it’s IP68-rated water resistant. However, you might notice your speaker takes some time to come back to normal after it’s filled with water. Unlike the Apple Watch, Apple doesn’t have a built-in way to get water out of the speaker. And whenever Apple won’t do something useful, someone else has to step in, which is why the shortcut Water Eject exists .

Apple’s timers don’t always need to end in an alert tone. In fact, they can do the opposite: They can stop whatever is playing on your iPhone when the timer runs out, which is perfect for anyone who enjoys falling asleep to music, but doesn’t like waking up to that music hours later. You just need to choose “When Timer Ends,” then scroll to the bottom of the list and choose “Stop Playing,” rather than choosing a typical alert. Just be warned: Your iPhone remembers your last chosen timer, so if you set a timer you need to hear in the future, it won’t make a sound until you change the setting.

With iOS 16, Apple finally gave us the tools to customize our iPhone Lock Screens. There’s a lot you can do here, from changing the font, to implementing dynamic wallpapers, to adding helpful widgets below the clock (finally). It gets a bit complex, so if you need some help, check out our full guide to the system here .

You no longer need a third-party keyboard app to feel haptics every time to type on your iPhone. As long as you’re running iOS 16, head to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Keyboard Feedback, then tap “Haptic” under “Sound.”

The Photos app has been a capable image editor for some time now, but only for editing one photo at a time. If you needed to make similar edits to multiple images, it was a pain, since you needed to repeat the process for each individual photo. No longer: Just edit one photo and save it, then tap the three dots, choose “Copy Edits,” then select other photos, tap the three dots again and choose “Paste Edits.”

We live in the future, people. Not only can we start instant video calls with anyone across the world, our iPhones can transcribe those calls in real time. To try it out, head to Settings > Accessibility > Live Captions (Beta). Enable “Live Captions,” then enable “Live Captions in FaceTime.” The next time you start a FaceTime call with someone, you’ll see a transcript of what you both say appear in a floating window.

There have been ways in the past to use your iPhone as a webcam, but Apple made it so easy this year. As long as your Mac is running macOS Ventura , and your iPhone XR or newer is running iOS 16, you can bring your iPhone close to your Mac to have it to turn into your webcam. The feature, called Continuity Camera, also lets you use Center Stage if you have the right iPhone, as well as Desk View, which takes a bird’s eye view of your desk without having to move your iPhone. Check out our guide to learn more about this awesome feature .

This feature is magic: Long-press on the subject of a photo, and iOS will cut them right out of the image. You can drag and drag them to another app, or copy and paste for easier transfer. Either way, it’s easy, and work really well.

Forget Snapchat, the best discrete messaging app on your iPhone isn’t a messaging app at all. Thanks to the Notes app’s Shared Note feature , you and a trusted group of individuals can all keep a running chat log together in an app no one is going to suspect to have a conversation hidden. But if they do, you can lock the note behind a passcode so no one can read it.

Safety Check is a new iOS 16 feature that gives you the tools to remove permissions for any contacts or apps you no longer trust. The feature lets you make small changes on a case-by-case basis, or lets you go nuclear by resetting all permissions at once. If you have anyone in your life you no longer want having access to your location, photos, or other services, Safety Check is a great tool.

Long-time iPhone users know we used to have the option to see our battery percentages all the time. Once the iPhone X launched, however, Apple stripped this feature from most new iPhones, relegating the percentage to Control Center only. With iOS 16.2, the battery percentage is back, if you want, from Settings > Battery > Battery Percentage.

If you find yourself unable to stay away from addicting apps like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, this shortcut can help . It’s called “one sec ,” and essentially fills your screen with a soothing animation any time you try to open a blacklisted app. It even tells you how many times you’ve tried to open the app since installing the shortcut. Shame is a powerful motivator.

Apple also gave iPhones users the option to hang up phone calls with Siri this year. Head to Settings > Siri & Search > Call Hang Up and flip the feature on. Now, the next time you want to end a phone or FaceTime call, just say “Hey Siri, end the call.”

It’s all too easy to let apps run amuck on your Home Screen, and I personally can’t stand it. There are a few strategies I use to keep my screens clean and organized, including hiding Home Screen pages, keeping new apps away from the Home Screen, and batch-deleting apps with special software. You can check out these tips from my piece here .

On a similar note, the Messages app can fill up with junk and spam fast, making it hard to see what texts are from people you care about and which ones are trash. You can head to Settings > Messages and enable “Filter Unknown Senders” to access filters for the Messages app. You can choose to see messages from known senders, unknown senders, unread messages, and those you recently deleted.

Being the parents of a child with an iPhone is a harrowing experience. Luckily, there are a suite of settings you can employ to help ensure your kid is safe with their device. You can choose which apps and settings they have access to, when they have access to them, who they can contact, and what they can buy. Check out our guide to learn how all these features work .

It’s tough to justify updating your iPhone every year, but the iPhone 14 has a feature that might just save some lives. The device is able to make calls and text using satellite connectivity, which is particularly useful in situations when cell service is nonexistent. While satellite connectivity is temperamental and slow, it works, and can get you help when another cell phone couldn’t.

Most of us open way too many tabs during the day, and all those articles and videos get lost in the shuffle. If there’s one in particular you know you’re going to refer to again and again, you can pin it to the top of Safari so you always know where it is. Just tap and hold on the URL of the site you want to pin, then choose “Pin Tab.”

In select states, you can use your iPhone as an ID when going through security at the airport. It’s a limited use-case at the moment, as it only works in Arizona, Maryland, and Colorado, but shows how, someday soon, you might not need to leave your house with anything but your phone. Ten more states are working on bringing the feature to their airports, so keep an eye out for yours throughout 2023.

If you’re someone who likes to quit all your apps because it keeps things running faster, cut it out . Turns out Apple designs the iPhone to work best when apps are left open: iOS will suspend unused apps on its own, but not fully quit them, so when you do need them, they can boot right up. If you quit these apps, iOS has to fully reopen them, which not only takes more time, but more battery.

If you have an iPhone 14, you have the first Apple phone to ship with startup chimes —a perfect accompaniment to the Mac. To try them out, head to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual, then tap the toggle next to Power On & Off Sounds. Unfortunately, they’re not available on older iPhones, as they’re apparently baked into the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro’s hardware. Go figure.

It works , so long as you have an Apple Watch Series 6 or newer running watchOS 9, and an iPhone running iOS 16. Head to Settings > Accessibility, then look under the Physical and Motor section for Apple Watch Mirroring. Tap the toggle, and you’ll see your Apple Watch display appear on your iPhone.

Tamagotchi fans, rejoice: You can now add a digital pet to your iPhone’s Home Screen and Lock Screen. You originally needed to have the Reddit client Apollo installed on your iPhone, but the developer, Christian Selig, released it as its own Pixel Pals app . While anyone can add a Pixel Pal to their Home Screen as a widget, it works best if you have an iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max. That’s because you can have a Pixel Pal in your Dynamic Island, feeding it, playing with it, and checking on its stats.

It’s 2022, and your iPhone is a computer. Sure, Macs and PCs are still necessary for some tasks, but even some functions that seemed tied to desktop computers are available on your smartphone. The iPhone’s Files app, for example, can zip and unzip files no problem. Check out our guide to see how .

Speaking of Mac-like elements of the iPhone, downloading files has never been easier, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s not clear where these files go (spoiler, they’re in Files > Browse > iCloud Drive > Downloads), but you don’t need to go digging around to find them every time. Instead, set up your own Downloads folder shortcut on the Home Screen .

The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max come with an Always-On Display (or AOD). It’s a great feature that came way too late to the iPhone, but Apple’s first attempt wasn’t perfect. The company decided to make it so your entire wallpaper stayed illuminated when the display went to sleep, which made it look like your iPhone was still on when it wasn’t. That’s not an ideal AOD by any means.

So, they fixed it . With iOS 16.2, you can choose to disable everything but the time on the AOD. Head to Settings > Display & Brightness > Always On Display, and you’ll see two new options: Wallpaper and Notifications. Turn either or both off to simplify your AOD.

Apple used to include a handful of stock games with its line of iPods, including a Music Quiz that would test your knowledge of your iTunes library. It seems the company can’t kick the habit: While there’s no true Music Quiz game on your iPhone, there is a hidden shortcut you likely didn’t know about . Search Music Quiz using Spotlight, and you’ll be able to see just how well your know your current library.

Sometimes, Apple doesn’t make its most useful feature clear to users. One of those is the ability to schedule iPhone updates for later. This is different than relying on the Automatic Updates feature, which can sometimes take weeks to install an update on its own . If you head to Settings > General > Software Update, hold down on the “Download and Install” button, then choose “Download and Install Tonight” to actually install the update overnight.

Again, we’re living in the future . If you come across text written in a language you don’t understand, you don’t need a translator, nor do you need to copy it into a translator app by hand. Just make sure “Show Detected Text” is enabled in Settings > Camera, then point your iPhone’s camera at the text. Tap the Live Text icon that appears, and your iPhone will translate the text for you in real time.

This year, Apple started showing ads in more places across the iPhone. How else is the two trillion dollar company supposed to make money? If you don’t feel like dealing with these advertisements as you scroll through the App Store, we have a list of ways to fight back .

It’s fascinating to see how developers take advantage of new Apple features. Take Live Activities, for example, which allows developers to create real-time notifications that live on the Lock Screen. Lock Launcher takes this a step further, turning that Live Activities window into a makeshift dock . That way, you can place your favorite apps right on the Lock Screen and launch one before you even unlock your iPhone.

Here’s an easy way to personalize your iPhone : You can create a defunct Focus mode that blocks no apps or notifications, but does have a fun emoji tied to it. That emoji will appear in your iPhone’s menu bar, one of 47 different options you can choose from. It doesn’t actually do anything, but it’s a fun trick to customize your iPhone a bit more.

Friends have been fighting over who’s the tallest forever. Now, all you need to settle the score is an iPhone Pro. Using iOS’ Measure app, you can point your Pro iPhone at your friend, and it’ll measure them right then and there.