iPhone Tips & Secrets

By Todd Bowerman

You already know that your Apple iPhone can make phone calls, send text messages and browse the Web. It can also download and run any of the million-plus apps in the Apple App Store, along with capturing and sharing video, voice memos and photographs. However, your iPhone has a few secret features and functions that aren’t often mentioned by Apple in marketing materials; some of the iPhone’s functionality isn’t even mentioned in its manual.

Large Text

Apple’s iOS 7 shipped with a built-in feature that allows you to make the text on-screen easier to read. To access this feature, touch the “Settings” app, select “General” and then choose “Text Size.” Adjust the slider to make the iPhone text bigger or smaller; most apps updated for iOS 7 support this feature and will adjust their text according to your specifications. Press the "Home" button on your iPhone to return to the home screen.

Teaching Siri

Siri does her best to pronounce street names and other text, but she doesn’t always get the pronunciation right on the first try. You can teach her the right pronunciation by saying “Siri, that’s not how you pronounce that” whenever she makes an error. Siri will ask you to repeat the word again so that she can do a better job of pronouncing it next time. Additionally, tell Siri about your relationships to specific contacts, and she’ll remember them later. For example, saying “Katie is my wife” means you can tell Siri to “Call my wife” on future calls.

Camera Tricks

Apple’s iOS 7, coupled with the iPhone 5, includes a bevy of camera features. For starters, you can access your camera directly from the iPhone’s Control Center by swiping up from any screen and touching the camera icon. Swipe the camera to Pano to take a panorama shot by moving your phone from right to left or left to right, and take burst photos of high-speed action by holding the shutter button when your camera is in Photo mode.

Hidden Leveler in Compass

The Compass app is handy for figuring out which direction you’re facing, but it also includes a hidden bubble leveler. Open the Compass app and swipe to the left to reveal the bubbler, which you can use to test the level of any surface. The leveler turns green when the phone is placed horizontally or vertically on a perfectly level surface and displays the degrees away from level when placed on a surface that isn't perfectly level.

Block Messages and Calls

Originally, the iPhone had no built-in way to block messages or calls. Apple added this feature with iOS 7. Select any entry in the Contacts app to open the profile. Touch the “Block This Caller” button, and you’ll never receive a call or text from that phone number again. You can unblock the contact with the same button.