Got a new (or used) iPhone: Here’s some tips and tricks to make the most of it – USA TODAY



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There’s lots to love about Apple’s new iPhone 11 Pro. The phones are available September 20th. USA TODAY

Whether you’re a seasoned user or brand new to the iPhone, chances are you’re not using your smartphone to its fullest.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone, as these pocket-sized computers boast many hundreds of features, with several more added in the recent release of the iOS 13 mobile operating system.

“Of course we all know the basics – making calls, downloading apps, playing games, sending texts, and taking photos – but the beauty of the iPhone is that it can do so much more than meets the eye,” says Rich DeMuro, author of 101 iPhone Tips and Tricks ($8.97 for ebook, $18.97 for paperback) and technology reporter for KTLA in Los Angeles.

“Apple wants to make the iPhone simple to pick up and use, but you can dive a lot deeper, if you want to,” continues DeMuro. “The latest iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, in particular, have several camera features you can take advantage of, too.”

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The following are a few handy – and lesser known – things you can do with iPhone 11 (from $699), and many other iPhone models, too.

Super quick camera tips

You don’t get a second chance to take that once-in-a-lifetime shot. To easily switch between cameras on iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro (from $999), tap the 0.5x button at the bottom center of the camera, which then launches the ultra-wide camera. Press and hold the button and you will activate the zoom dial.

To quickly take video, tap and hold on the shutter button. The video will stay in the same frame as the photo (like Snapchat), but if you want to keep recording the video, swipe right on the shutter to lock it into video recording mode.

While you’re at it, record at the highest quality possible by going into Settings>Camera>Record Video and choose 4k at 60 option.

Want to take a “slofie” (slow-motion selfie)? Activate the front-facing camera, swipe left or right over to the Slo-mo option and tap the red Record button.

The Photos app in iOS 13 gives you even more control over editing, including access to the same video editing tools as for photos: crop, rotate, apply filters, and more.



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Bring back the Home button (virtually)

If you miss having a Home button – last found in 2017’s iPhone 8 – you can bring it back. Well, sort of.

By enabling the AssistiveTouch feature you’ll see a white virtual button appear onscreen, which you can drag to an edge of your choice. (Turn it on in Settings>Accessibility>Touch.) Tap it to go to your home screen (when inside an app or website), open the Control Center or Notification Center, lock your screen, restart your device, summon Siri, or use multi-finger gestures. By the way, this works on any iPhone and has been available to bail out those missing the physical home button when it was removed on the iPhone X in 2017).

Give yourself to Dark Mode

One of the most buzz-generating new features brought via iOS 13 to any compatible iPhone, Dark Mode reverses the color scheme on your device to improve readability (especially in dim environments). Instead of black text on a white background, it’s white text on a dark background. If your car has GPS maps on the dashboard, this feature may be familiar.

To enable Dark Mode, go to Settings>Display & Brightness and choose Dark. If you like, tap to enable Automatic if you’d like to automatically switch between the dark and light theme.

Faster iPhone charging 

Those who own a pricier iPhone 11 Pro get a fast 18-watt (18W) charger in the box, but those who buy a regular iPhone 11 do not, unfortunately.  But there’s no reason, iPhone 11 owners need to be stuck with a slower 5W charger.

If you have a 12W charger for iPad, it can charge up the iPhone 11 faster, or you can pick up Apple’s 29W USB-C adapter ($49) and a USB-C to Lightning connector ($29). Or go with a third-party solution from a company like Anker, for less.

Swipe to text

If you still struggle to use the virtual (on-screen) keyboard), iPhone 11 ships with a swipe option – similar to third-party apps SwiftKey or Gboard and a functionality on Samsung phones for years – that allows you to simply swipe your finger on the letters on the keyboard to form words (without lifting). After a short while, you might find yourself whizzing through sentences.

On a related note, you can take advantage of iPhone’s hidden trackpad, a feature quietly added in 2017. Say you’re composing a message, email, or note, and you need to change something you typed before sending or saving. Simply press and hold on the keyboard and the cursor will automatically become a mouse-like trackpad.

Now keep your finger or thumb on the screen and drag around the cursor to reach the part of text that you want to tweak – or to highlight text, just press a little harder while continuing to slide your finger — and then let go for the keyboard to return.

Siri, pronounce it correctly

Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant may be great at giving you information such as the weather, directions, and sports scores, but sometimes she just doesn’t say things right. This is especially true for some names and places – perhaps with origins in other languages – that may be difficult for Siri to pronounce.

And you can’t blame her, if it’s spelled one way but pronounced another. (For example, I work with a PR person named Alissa, but her name is pronounced “Aleesa.”)

If Siri says something wrong, just tell her. After she mispronounces something, say “That’s not how you pronounce [XXX].” Siri will ask for the correct pronunciation, and let you check she got it right.

Control your mobile games

Finally, iOS 13 supports Bluetooth-enabled PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Xbox One controllers – to be used with the many games that support a controller. 

First, put your game controller into pairing mode. With PS4, hold the PlayStation button and Share button together for three seconds. On an Xbox controller, hold the pairing button on the back until the front light begins flashing quickly.

Now open Settings on your iPhone, select Bluetooth, and turn it to On. Select your controller from the list of wireless devices ready for pairing. Launch a game with controller support and you are set to play.



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On Tuesday, Apple unveiled its iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max as well as the latest Apple Watch Series 5. Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. Email him or subscribe to his Tech It Out podcast at www.marcsaltzman.com.

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