25 hidden iPhone features that are really, truly hidden
” and it was one of our most popular iPhone posts ever. Why? Because over the years, iOS has grown more and more feature-rich, which means there are more and more features that get lost in the shuffle for many users.
Simply put, there is no way to remember everything the iPhone can do. I have even spoken to people who work at Apple who learn things they didn’t know from the tips and tricks content we publish.
Our last post covered 25 hidden features and some of them are awesome — if you haven’t checked it out already, you really should. As we mentioned though, we’ll continue to post nifty how-to content covering hidden features as we find it because you can never know too much about your smartphone.
Yup, it looks like the iPhone 7 is going to be huge
We recently came across a nice little collection of tips on Distractify. All of them have been covered at one point or another over the years here on BGR but as we said, it’s impossible to remember all of the features Apple has stuffed into iOS 9. In fact, even though there are only five features on this list, we guarantee that unless you’re a hardcore iOS lover with a killer memory, you will learn something new or be reminded of something you’ve forgotten.
Here we go:
Custom Vibration Alerts: I personally rely on this one so much that I’m not sure how I could live without it. Open the Settings app and go to Sounds >Ringtone/Text Tone/Etc > Vibration. At the bottom of the list, choose Create New Vibration. This will let you tap out a new vibrate pattern that you can then use for all calls or texts, or just for a specific person in your contact list.
Text Shortcuts: Do you type the word Triskaidekaphobia all the time while you’re texting? Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement and tap the plus symbol. Then input Triskaidekaphobia in the Phrase field and something like tdp in the Shortcut field. Now, every time you type “tdp” your iPhone will auto-correct it to “Triskaidekaphobia.”
Head Control: Apple’s iOS platform has the most robust set of accessibility features available. While they’re aimed at users with special needs, many of them are also handy for others. Try this: go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Switch Control. Turn it on, tap Switches, and then add Camera as a new Switch. Once you do that, you’ll be able to configure specific actions that will take place when you move your head to the right or the left while looking at the iPhone’s display.
Hide Unwanted Apple Apps: This is a feature that tons of users wish for. Little do they know… it’s already there. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions and enable them by entering your PIN or passcode. Then slide toggles to off next to any Apple apps that you want to hide from your home screens. Never want to look at that awful News icon again? Done.
Blinking Message Alerts: This is another example of a feature that many people request despite the fact that it’s already there. Open Settings and go to General > Accessibility, then slide the toggle next to LED Flash for Alerts to on. Now your camera flash will blink whenever new messages arrive.
for more details including graphics that walk you through each process. And for even more great hidden features, check out our earlier article:
25 hidden iPhone features that are really, truly hidden.
The Albert A. Ruel Road to Blindness
A 21 year old man stood on the beach at the Sproat Lake Provincial Park with friends early in May of 1977, and upon gazing across the lake found the Gulf Oil sign missing from the dock-side filling station there. When this fact was shared with his companions they glanced at him with puzzled looks and said, “No Albert, the sign is still there”.
That was the beginning of a road through confusion, anger, isolation, loneliness and discovery for me. It all began with a visit to a local Optometrist who could see that my vision wasn’t right, but that corrective lenses wouldn’t help. He then referred me to a General Practitioner, where I received a clean bill of health and an additional referral. This time to an Ophthalmologist. Immediately upon peering through the dilated pupils, Dr. McKerricher was able to see the problem, Retinal Vasculitis.
Now, you would think that all would start to improve at this point, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You see, CNIB, from 1918 until 1985 only served the needs of people who were “Legally Blind”, a level of vision loss I wouldn’t reach until November of 1979. The words of Dr. McKerricher still echo in my mind today, “Albert, I don’t know what has caused this and nothing we’ve tried is helping to stop it, and you’re not blind enough for me to refer you to CNIB”!
In the middle of this transition from 20/20 vision to “Legally Blind” came the Motor Vehicle Branch and it’s rules of the road. On August 3, 1978 I drove a car for the last time as my vision had reached the level at which operating a motor vehicle became too dangerous, further intensifying feelings of fear, isolation and anger. Sadly, through this period the only available guidance and support was through family and friends, but not the experienced professionals I needed at the time. Although these support systems are critically important they can often be smothering and facilitating, rather than encouraging and supportive.
With gratitude, and some trepidation I finally was able to access CNIB services in November of 1979, and the world opened up then. There I was able to meet other blind people and receive the daily living and mobility skills required to live independently in this sighted world. I learned elementary braille and began to discover technology as necessary tools of independence.
Thankfully, in 1985 CNIB’s National Board altered the course of service to visually impaired Canadians forever. They added a third prong to their Mission Statement, “To promote sight enhancement services”. This opened the door to all Canadians who were beginning to lose sight, as well as those who had a fear of vision loss to access the full range of CNIB Support and Rehabilitation Services. So now, whether it’s someone’s Mother who is experiencing Macular Degeneration, or an Uncle experiencing the affects of Glaucoma, all have the ability to seek information, guidance and support as all involved deal with the fear and anxiety that accompanies such life altering experiences.
With the help of professional Rehabilitation Workers and Employment Counselors I was able to continue traveling independently within my own community, and even more remarkably anywhere in the world I desired to go. I managed to attend College in Nanaimo and New Westminster, as well as traveling to the Mayo Clinic and to doctor’s appointments in Nanaimo and Vancouver without assistance. All of this while living with some usable vision, but not yet needing a white cane for travel.
During the mid 1980’s I was a stay-at-home Dad and did all that was required of that challenging work, from changing diapers to preparing meals, and from cutting the grass to maintaining our home. I even took a woodworking course through Alberni’s Adult Education program and built and restored several pieces of furniture. Of course the 1958 Chevy Impala in the garage was my pride and joy, and I devised ways to do much of the work it required.
I also joined and participated in many community activities, like the local Car Club, and a disability support group that catered to the needs of people with many different disabilities. Of course, continued participation in family life remained of critical importance through this period.
In 1989 a secondary condition began to extinguish the vision that remained, which set into motion a new stream of professional rehabilitation services and supports. By the spring of 1990 Glaucoma had turned out the lights completely, and the darkness I had feared so desperately was upon me. Strangely though, I found this to be a great relief rather than the tragedy I had imagined it would be.
Through several professional rehabilitation sessions, and by joining peer mentoring and advocacy groups I was able to come to terms with this strange feeling, and to learn additional skills and strategies for living with no visual cues of the world around me. This is also about the time that I decided to explore CNIB as an employer, and to see if I could provide the sort of guidance and support to others that had been my pleasure to receive. Those 14 years were a wonderful experience of ongoing discovery for me, as teaching may be the best way to solidify one’s own learning. In other words, those we assist through this transition in turn help us all as we develop best practices and improved service.
Following a 14 year career with CNIB I also served the blind community as the first National Equality Director employed by the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), and as a Basic Computer Literacy Trainer with the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB). Most recently I have enjoyed coordinating the CCB’s newly launched Get Together with Technology Program in Western Canada, which brings to the fore my passion for assistive technology and the power of peer mentoring.
Without sight I have continued to travel far and wide, with trips to Conventions of and for the Blind in Anaheim California and Melbourne Australia, as well as to many events and activities in Toronto and Vancouver. Of course my work has taken me to many communities throughout Western Canada, and most particularly nearly all regions of BC and on Vancouver Island. None of which would have been possible without the services and support of organizations like CCB, AEBC and CNIB.
For most people blindness generates a fear of extended movement, both within one’s home and community, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Independence comes from personal desire and increased skill. Many community organizations can assist with both through their mentoring and skill development programs. I remember always that life has little to do with what happens to me and 100% what I do about/with it. There is a quote I like to use from the National Federation of the Blind in the USA, “With adequate skill development and opportunity blindness can be reduced to the level of a nuisance”, and nothing could be closer to the truth.
Helen Keller said many years ago, “There is nothing more tragic than someone who has sight, but no vision”. She also challenged the Lions Clubs of the world to become the “Knights of the Blind, and to take up the crusade against darkness”. I too joined a Lions Club in 1992 and continue to work on the crusade that Helen Keller began in the 1920-s.
View all posts by Albert Ruel