9 sweet iPhone features you (probably) didn’t know about

Collage of a woman in her iPhone.

Let’s face it: Apple iPhones these days are scarily good. From AI in your camera to lightning-fast 5G, Apple consistently finds ways to make our lives easier, smarter, and way more fun. 

But, with so many exciting features on offer, which ones have fallen below our radar? Here are ten sweet things you (probably) didn’t know your iPhone could do.

NOTE: Older iPhones may not have these abilities, and you’ll need to check if your software is up to date. Interested in upgrading? Here’s how to trade up your phone.

1. Share Wi-Fi passwords instantly

Collage of two friends sharing Wi-Fi passwords.

Got a complicated, gobbledygook Wi-Fi password? Share it instantly with friends’ iPhones and iPads with this simple trick.

To start, unlock both devices. Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (if hotspot is on, toggle it off). Have your friend select the Wi-Fi network they want to join. A white square should pop up on your iPhone with a Share Password button. Hit the button, then tap “Done”. Voila! Best friends* forever.

*Also works for family members, partners, and acquaintances. Just not for people with a Samsung or Google.

2. Crop out the background from your favourite photos

Collage of a smiling young woman cut out against an orange background.

Whoa, instant photoshop! If you’ve ever thought your favourite selfies could do with just you, less background, isolate your beautiful face with this simple trick. You can then paste and share the new cutout to messages, posts, and more. 

Crop the background out of an image by heading to Photos. Select the image you want to edit then tap and hold the subject till a white light ripples across it. Select “Copy” or “Share”, then swipe to the app you want to share to (such as Messages or Instagram). Simply tap the cursor icon to paste or drop your new cutout. Ta-da! Your photo game has just levelled up.

This hack also works especially well if the original photo is in portrait mode. Switch your camera settings to Portrait by swiping right in the Camera app.

Life hack: drop your cut-out into Messages > tap and hold the blue “Send” arrow > swipe to screen effects > send with ‘echo’. This instantly inundates your mates with your photo. Winning.

3. Personalise your wallpaper based on the time of day

Collage of two people as iPhone wallpapers interacting.

Setting healthy phone boundaries can be a great way to manage your screen time effectively in 2023. But did you know that, much like the “Do Not Disturb” function for your notifications, you can also personalise your background based on the time of day? It’s a great way to instantly reset your brain (and keep your screen professional).

In your lock screen, press and hold the background, then swipe left to add new. You can also tap “Customise” at the bottom > “Add new” to do the same thing. From there, personalise your new wallpaper options to your heart’s content. 

Once you have more than one option, switch between wallpapers manually or automate it to a time of day through “Focus” in the Settings app > “Personal” > “Customise screens”, then choose your custom option and set it on a timer. This is especially useful if you work regular hours.

4. Set a time limit on your music

Collage of a woman jumping while trailing rainbows.

Are you someone who likes to fall asleep to soothing tunes? How about completing chores on a time crunch? Good news: your iPhone lets you set a timer on your music so it stops after a custom length of time. 

Access it by going to the Clock app > “Timer” > “When Timer Ends” > scroll down to the bottom and hit “Stop Playing” > “Set” > then scroll the timer to set how long you want your music to play. Tap “Start” and hey presto: you’re in business! When the timer stops, so will your music. 

Luckily, this trick works for both Apple Music and Spotify.

5. Delete specific groups of photos, like old screenshots

A man taking selfies. Collage.

Keeping your phone clutter-free can feel Sisyphean, sometimes. Luckily, there’s a nifty shortcut in the Photo app for clearing much-needed space.

Head to the Albums section of the Photos app. Scroll down to “Media Types”. This sorts everything in your camera roll into kinds of media, from selfies and videos to screenshots and screen recordings. 

To get rid of everything in a category, tap “Select” > “Select All” > bin icon. (Unselect anything you want to keep before trashing it, though).

6. Hide photos in your private albums

Collage of a man looking through a keyhole.

Swiper, no swiping! Avoid Chris Evan’s mistake by hiding your private photos from prying eyes with this simple trick.

Head to Photos, select the photo you want to hide, then hit “Share” > “Hide”. Doing this moves the image from your camera roll to a new “Hidden” album. Want it back? Just redo the process and unselect “Hide”.

7. Get notified when the weather suddenly changes

Collage of a woman receiving alerts on her phone.

If you live in a region known for five-minute weather (“Don’t like the weather? Just wait five minutes!”), this handy feature could save you a lot of grief. 

Head to the Weather app then tap the little bullet-list icon at the bottom right corner. Tap on the three dots in the top right corner > “Notifications” > then toggle on “Location”. Now you’ll get an alert when sudden snow, rain, or shine breezes through!

8. Never hear your notifications? Set a flash!

Collage of a bright white iPhone emitting light on a green background.

If you crank your volume up but still manage to miss every call (or just prefer to keep it on silent), you can now set your screen to flash instead of ringing or vibrating. 

To enable, open the Settings app then tap “Accessibility” > “Audio/Visual”. Scroll down and toggle on the LED flash for “alerts” and/or “on silent”.

9. User, meet Shortcuts

A person beckon you to enter their phone.

Finally, the best for last. Ultimate customisation! The Shortcuts app truly has a lot of wild tricks up its sleeve, from opening apps, instantly creating gifs, and initiating music quizzes on command, to getting your iPhone to say “yes daddy” whenever you plug it in. Wild.

Essentially, the app lets you program your iPhone to do certain things after specific inputs. To make a new shortcut, go to the Shortcuts app > hit the plus sign (+) in the top right corner > then tap “Add action”. Choose your fighter (AKA what you want to happen and when) and have fun! 

Now no one can argue that your iPhone isn’t truly Your iPhone.

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