2022 was a big year for Apple Fan. The year brought us new phones, like the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, and new software updates, like iOS 16. Whether you bought something new, updated your iPhone with new software, or just kept on trucking with the same old tech, we were here to help you use it all. These are our favorite iPhone hacks and tips of 2022.
If you dive into the Settings app, you can find some cool iPhone hacks you might not have even known existed. Want to declutter your home screen? Use your battery a little less throughout the day? You can do all that — and more. Some of these iPhone hacks are relatively straightforward, while others are hidden deep within your device.
In this guide, we’ve got 25 iPhone hacks that you’ll definitely want to try today.
1. Stop apps from tracking your exact location
Apps like Doordash, Postmates, Google Maps and Waze all require your exact location to deliver food to the right location or direct you to where you want to go. But not all apps need to know precisely where you are at every moment.
Thanks to this iPhone hack, you can easily prevent any app from tracking your exact location. In the Settings app, choose an application (like Instagram, for example), tap Location and then toggle off Precise Location. Any app with Precise Location off will only know your approximate location, within a few miles.
Don’t toggle this feature off for apps that require exact location, like food delivery and navigation services.
2. Turn the back of your iPhone into a button
With this cool iPhone hack, the back of your device can be used as a secret button to activate certain actions, like take a screenshot or enable low power mode, and run shortcuts that can automatically play music when you arrive at the gym or turn on your smart lights when you get home. However, the option is hidden deep in your settings — here’s how to find it.
In the Settings app, go to Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap and choose one of the two tapping options (double or triple tap). You should see a list of actions you can run by tapping the back of your iPhone, like opening your camera, turning on the flashlight, scrolling up and down and more. Tap on on action or shortcut to set it for double or triple tap.
3. Bring back full-screen incoming call alerts
If your iPhone is unlocked and you receive a phone call, a banner-style notification will appear at the top of your screen, with a photo and name of the person calling, and the options to pick up or deny the call. But this banner wasn’t always there.
Before iOS 14, the incoming call screen would take over your entire display when your iPhone was unlocked and in use. It was disruptive, sure, but it also got the job done.
When the banner appeared, it was a welcome change for many, because it’s more discreet and allows you to still use your phone while receiving a call. However, if for any reason you’re not a big fan of the banner and want to revert to the more attention-grabbing full-screen alert, you will appreciate this hidden iPhone hack. Go to Settings > Phone > Incoming Calls and tap Full Screen.
4. Turn off 5G coverage you don’t want or have
Apple touts a Smart Data feature that’s specific to its 5G phones (iPhone 12 and iPhone 13) that will automatically switch between 4G LTE and 5G networks based on how you’re using your device.
However, you may find that your iPhone’s battery drains faster than it did before. If you don’t want to sacrifice battery life for faster 5G speeds, shut it down with this neat iPhone hack. You can always turn 5G back on when you want it, or when service in your area improves.
To turn off 5G on your iPhone 12 or iPhone 13, forcing it to always use 4G LTE even if you have 5G coverage, open the Settings app, then go to Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Voice & Data and tap LTE.
Alternatively, if you want your iPhone to exclusively use a 5G connection when available, you can select 5G On.
5. Fine-tune how much data is used by a 5G connection
If you’re happy with your 5G performance, here’s a related iPhone hack you should check out. Go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Data Mode, where you’ll find three different options: Allow more data on 5G, Standard and Low Data Mode.
Even though there are brief descriptions below the three different settings, they don’t paint a complete picture for the first option. According to an Apple support document, allowing more data on 5G will give you high-quality video and FaceTime calls. It also enables your phone to download software updates and stream high-definition Apple TV and Apple Music content, and it allows third-party developers to also improve their respective apps.
The default setting on this page will depend on your carrier and your data plan, so it’s a good idea to check your iPhone and make sure it’s correctly set to your preference.
6. Stop apps from cluttering up your home screen
The App Library is a place where you can quickly find and access all of your applications. And while apps are housed here, all newly downloaded apps also appear on your home screen. This may not be a problem if you download apps sparingly, but if you’re installing new apps on a consistent basis, they can quickly clutter up your home screen.
Thanks to this iPhone hack you can stop downloaded apps from appearing on your home screen. Go to Settings > Home Screen and select App Library Only. If you want to find the app, you’ll have to swipe left on your home screen until you reach the App Library.
7. Stop unexpected (and embarrassing) photo popups on your iPhone screen
Apple’s artificial intelligence helps surface photos and videos in various places across your iPhone, as a reminder of family vacations, couple photos and holidays — but you may not always want your personal pictures to pop up unexpectedly, especially if they’re private, embarrassing or inappropriate.
With this iPhone hack, you can now prevent Featured Photos, as well as curated collections known as Memories, from appearing in photo widgets on your home screen and the Search and For You sections in Photos.
To block these tailored photos, make sure you are running iOS 16 or higher. Now, launch the Settings app, go into Photos and toggle off Show Featured Content. All featured content will no longer appear across your device — instead, it’ll only be available in your photo library and albums.
8. Put the address bar in Safari back on top
The address in Safari migrated to the bottom of the screen with the introduction of iOS 15 — a welcome addition for those with smaller hands who had difficulty reaching it with one hand at the top. While this move might feel more natural, since it’s closer to the keyboard and where you typically place your thumbs, it can be off-putting since many people are used to seeing the URL bar near the top of the screen.
Thanks to this hidden iPhone hack, you can easily put the address bar back at the top of the screen. Go to Settings, tap Safari and choose the Single Tab option under the Tabs subheading.
9. Add features that can be used when your iPhone is locked
There are times when you might want to have certain info handy even when your phone is locked. That’s why Apple allows you to enable some features without having to unlock your device, such as the notification center, Control Center, the ability to reply to messages and the Wallet app.
To customize the features you’d like to access on the lock screen, simply use this iPhone hack. Launch the Settings menu, tap Face ID & Passcode and enter your passcode when prompted. Scroll down until you see the Allow Access When Locked section, and toggle the sliders based on your preferences.
10. Make your favorite email app or web browser your default
It was a long time coming, but 2020’s iOS 14 update finally brought the ability to choose your own default apps — at least for email and web browsing. That means that when you tap a link or an email send button, your iPhone will automatically launch the web browser or email provider of your choosing rather than Safari or Mail.
To set up this iPhone hack, open the Settings menu and select the app you’d like to set as a default (such as Google Chrome or Outlook). You should then see a button that says Default Mail App or Default Browser App. Tap that option and select the app of your choosing instead of Safari or Mail.
11. Get full notifications on your lock screen
The first time you experience Apple’s Face ID tech, you’ll notice that you can’t see the content of new alerts and notifications on the lock screen. For example, instead of seeing who sent you a text message and what it says, you’ll only see a generic Messages alert.
By default, all iPhones with Apple’s Face ID tech will hide the content of an alert until you pick up your phone and unlock it. It’s a privacy feature that I rather enjoy, but I also understand how it could be annoying (I’ve heard a few complaints from readers and family members alike).
Thanks to this cool iPhone hack, you can change how notifications appear on your lock screen by going to Settings > Notifications > Show Previews and selecting Always. Conversely, you can select Never if you want to keep the content of your notifications always hidden from the lock screen.
12. Turn off (or on) HDR video for sharing videos
Phones in the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups can record high dynamic range (HDR) video with Dolby Vision. That means your videos will be brighter with more accurate colors and improved contrast. Sounds awesome, right? It is. But there’s a problem — not every app or service will work with HDR video.
Developers will need to update their apps in order to accept HDR video, but even then, the person viewing the video will need a capable device to see the difference in quality. For Apple devices, those include the iPhone 8 or newer, the 2020 iPad Air, the second-generation iPad Pro and some Macs.
So, what can you do to share videos universally? Well, you have a few options:
You can turn off HDR video by going to Settings > Camera > Record video and turning the switch next to HDR Video to the Off position. Going forward, all videos will be captured in standard dynamic range, and you shouldn’t have any issues sharing or editing it.
Leave HDR Video turned on, but when you want to share the video, with Facebook for example, use the Photos app instead of going into the Facebook app and uploading it. When you use the Photos app, your iPhone will automatically convert the video to SDR and upload it. When you send the video to another iPhone user, Apple will detect if their iPhone, iPad or Mac is compatible with HDR Dolby Vision. If it’s not, Apple will convert the video automatically.
If you leave HDR Video on and need to edit your video, you can use Apple’s iMovie app or the Photos app that’s built into your iPhone. You can even use iMovie to export the video as SDR if needed.
13. Customize your home screen with fancy wallpaper
Another iPhone hack related to home screen you should implement involves your wallpaper or background. Apple has added some new wallpapers of its own, with a pretty cool twist.
Open the Settings app on your iPhone and select Wallpaper from the list. Make sure the switch labeled ”Dark Appearance Dims Wallpaper,” which you’ll see below the two thumbnail previews of your wallpaper, is turned on. Now, tap Choose a new wallpaper and select either Stills or Live. See the circle near the bottom of each wallpaper? It’s half black, half white.
That circle means that the wallpaper has both light and dark mode versions and will change automatically based on the system status of your phone.
You can also set live wallpapers as your background if you’re not sold on dark and light mode.
14. Turn on dark mode to save your battery
Speaking of dark mode, if you don’t want to have to repeatedly adjust your screen’s brightness, you can use your phone’s dedicated dark mode. Dark mode converts all of the white backgrounds in apps to, more often than not, a black background. In turn, your phone is able to save battery power thanks to the darker colors.
Turn on this cool iPhone hack by going to Settings > Display & Brightness and selecting the Dark option at the top of the screen.
Apple’s apps will automatically switch to a dark color scheme, and most third-party apps have also adopted the feature.
15. Manage your notifications with Focus Mode
We get a lot of notifications every day, but not all of them are relevant all the time. With iOS 15, Apple introduced a feature called Focus Mode. Think of it as a custom Do Not Disturb feature that’s tailored to specific circumstances.
Focus Mode blocks less relevant alerts, while allowing notifications from important people and apps to come through so that you don’t miss anything. You can set up different types of Focus Modes for specific circumstances.
Apple currently offers options for Do Not Disturb, personal, sleep, work, driving, fitness, gaming, mindfulness and reading, but you can also create your own custom mode. You can schedule Focus Modes so that they turn on automatically when needed, and display your status in apps so that others know you have notifications silenced.
To set up this neat iPhone hack, open the Settings menu, tap Focus and choose one of the available options to set up your notification preferences. Tap the plus ( ) symbol in the top right corner to add a new Focus.
16. Make your screen text bigger or smaller
With a couple of taps on your iPhone’s screen, you can adjust the font size to make it easier to read. Open Settings and go to Display & Brightness > Text Size where you can use the slider until you’re happy with the font size.
For a little added oomph, you can turn on Bold Text (it’s just below the Text Size button).
17. Add an alternate appearance to Face ID
Apple’s facial recognition feature — Face ID — constantly learns different aspects of your face with each scan. If you’re struggling to get Face ID to consistently recognize you, try this hidden iPhone hack.
Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > enter your PIN > Set Up An Alternate Appearance and go through the process of enrolling your face again.
18. Disable auto brightness for longer battery charge
Your iPhone’s screen brightness level can have a big impact on battery life. By default, iOS will automatically adjust the display’s brightness based on how much light its ambient sensor detects. But if you want to take complete control, you can disable auto-brightness using this iPhone hack, meaning the brightness level will stay where you set it until you adjust it again.
Open Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size and at the bottom of the page, you’ll find a switch to turn off Auto-Brightness.
Now, whenever you want to adjust your screen, you can do so by opening Control Center with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen on a device with a home button, or a swipe down from the top-right corner on newer iPhones.
19. Triage your privacy settings
The first time you set up an iPhone with all of your apps, you’re bombarded with prompts asking for permissions to access personal information ranging from tracking your location to your Apple Health information or your camera roll.
It’s far too easy to get in the habit of approving everything just so you can use the app, but take a few minutes and go through your privacy settings to tailor what each app can and can’t see. We walk you through the whole privacy process in two quick steps.
20. Go back to using old iPhone lock screen notifications
Apple’s latest redesign brings widgets, customizable fonts and colors, a wallpaper gallery and stylized date and time to the lock screen, as well as one overlooked change to notifications. Instead of appearing at the top of your lock screen, notifications now appear at the bottom, which you can then tap on to appear full screen.
However, not everyone may be happy with this change. If you want to go back to the way notifications appeared on iOS 15, simply use this iPhone hack. Launch the Settings application and go to Notifications > Display As. You’ll then see three options:
- Count: Notifications appear as a numbered count at the bottom of the screen.
- Stack: Notifications appear in a stack at the bottom of the screen.
- List: Notifications appear fully across your screen.
To go back to the old notification style, choose the List option.
21. Use Control Center to access apps with a swipe or tap
The iPhone’s Control Center is a convenient spot to quickly change songs, turn on airplane mode, connect to Wi-Fi or start a timer, but there’s so much more to it than that. You can quickly turn your flashlight on, check on a timer or start recording your screen with a quick swipe and tap.
Customize which apps and features are available in Control Center by opening Settings > Control Center. Remove an option with a tap on the red minus button or add an option by selecting the green addition button. Drag features up or down using the three-line icon on the right side of the screen.
Personally, I like having quick access to the Wallet app and toggles for low-power mode and dark mode.
As a reminder, if you have an iPhone with a home button, like the iPhone SE, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center. If you have an iPhone with Face ID, you’ll need to swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen where the battery icon is.
22. Strip the new search button from your iPhone’s home screen
Your iPhone’s search feature lets you quickly find a text message, third-party app, file, note or location — pretty much anything on your device or on the web. As you know, to get the search bar, you just swipe down anywhere on the screen, and it appears.
With iOS 16, Apple adds another way to access Search from the home screen, via a small button right above your dock.
However, the new search button is easy to accidentally trigger, because it’s near where your thumb might go when you swipe between your various home pages.
But, like many new features on iOS 16, you can turn this setting off. Simply launch the Settings app, go to Home Screen and toggle off Show on Home Screen to remove the search button from your home screen.
The Search bubble should disappear, replaced by a few small dots representing your various home screens.
23. Organize alerts with Notification Summary
Apple wants to help you manage your notifications in iOS 15, starting with the Notification Summary feature. Rather than letting notifications pile up on your home screen, you can schedule alerts that aren’t urgent to arrive in a bundle at a specific time of day.
Important notifications like calls, direct messages and other time-sensitive alerts (like the status of your Uber or Lyft ride, for example) will still appear immediately.
To try this iPhone hack, open Settings, press Notifications and tap Scheduled Summary.
24. Keep from accidentally ending your own phone calls
The side/power button on the side of your iPhone allows you to quickly sleep and wake up your device, but if you accidentally hit it during a phone call, you’ll prematurely end your call. If that’s something you’ve encountered in the past, this iPhone hack will let you prevent that from happening.
Make sure you are running iOS 16. Then go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch and toggle off Lock to End Call to prevent the side button from ending your calls. If you do hit the side button accidentally, your screen will go to sleep, but you’ll stay on your phone call, uninterrupted.
25. Change Siri’s voice
If you’ve recently set up a new iPhone, you may have noticed that Siri no longer defaults to a female voice. Instead, you’ll be asked which Siri voice you want to use, including several more recent options. Once you’ve made your selection, Apple will change Siri’s voice across all of the devices linked to your Apple ID.
You can check out the voice options by going to Settings > Siri & Search > Siri Voice.