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Hidden iPhone Features

written by: Donny Yankellow•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/20/2011

If you have an iPhone you probably know how to use the main features (make calls, use the iPod, use the Internet, etc). However, there are many features that the average user may not know about. This article will point some of these hidden iPhone features out to you.

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    iPhone Features You May Not Know About

    There are all sorts of iPhone tips and tricks you may not be aware of. In this article we take a look at some hidden iPhone features that can make using your iPhone that little bit easier.

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    Hidden iPod Controls

    If you use your iPhone as an iPod you know how to access your content through the iPod app and you know how to control the content (play, stop, rewind, etc.) through that app. Did you know there are other ways to control audio content on your iPhone without going into the iPod app? There are.

    First, if you are playing something through the iPod app and your iPhone goes to sleep there is no need to unlock the phone and go into the app. You just have to wake up the phone and double click the home button. By doing this the iPod controls will pop up on the screen (volume, forward, backward, and play/pause) right on top of the lock screen. You can’t select new content, but you can control what you are playing.

    The second way to get to the iPod controls without opening the iPod app is in the dock. Once again, you can’t choose the content itself, but you can control it. To use this method the phone has to be unlocked. Double click the home button so the dock pops up. Slide the icons all the way to the right and you will see the iPod app icon and the audio controls for the iPod. You can use these controls without going into the app, just like above. If you need the app, just tap the iPod app and it will open.

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    Search Your iPhone With Spotlight

    Have you ever found yourself looking for an app that you know you have but you can’t find it? Maybe you want to find an e-mail that is in the Mail app.

    To help you find things you are looking for you can use Spotlight on your phone. To access Spotlight swipe all the screens to your right until you come to a black screen with the search field in the top of the window. You can also access Spotlight by double clicking the home button.

    From this screen you can type what you are looking for and Spotlight will try to give you results, hopefully with the right one, for what you are looking for.

    If you find yourself getting too many results you can modify what Spotlight searches (apps, mail, etc) through the setting in the Settings app.

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    Control Your iPhone With Voice Commands

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    Did you know you can control your iPhone with voice commands? There are voice commands for making phone calls (for example you can say “Call Bob”), and there are voice commands for controlling iTunes. These voice commands are great when you are driving a car and using a handsfree device. Most phones have voice commands for making calls, but not for controlling media. A nice list of the commands you can use on your iPhone can be found here: Guide to iPhone Voice Control Commands. To access voice commands directly on the iPhone push and hold the home button. The blue themed Voice Control screen will pop up and you say your command. Of course, if you are using a Bluetooth device you would access the voice commands through the device itself (usually by pressing the call button).

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    Other Quick Tips

    There are a lot of other small features you may not know about that can improve you usage of the iPhone. Here are a few quick tips:

    1. Tapping a downloading app while downloading will pause the download. This will let another download start, or just hold the download until you are on a faster connection. You can tap it again to continue the download.
    2. Double click the home button to bring up the dock. Swipe to the right, this time going past the above mentioned iPod controls and you’ll find a button that allows you to lock the orientation of the phone. If you don't want the phone turning when you rotate lock the orientation with the final icon/button on the dock. To unlock just go back and tap it again (see the picture posted in the iPod controls portion of this article).
    3. Finally, this may seem obvious to most users, but many people may not even know you can access recently opened applications by double clicking the home button to bring up the dock. In the dock are recently accessed applications. Many, if programmed right, will be paused when you leave them and until you go back they will be in that paused state. Others will basically restart when you return to them. This is where multitasking on iPhone comes into play, but that is not what this article is about.

    Have any iPhone tips or hidden iPhone features that you want to share? Leave them in the comments below.

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    References

    • Screenshots taken by author.
    • Article written based on the experience of the author.