Our iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus tips and tricks guide reveals the best secret and hidden Apple features that you might not know about, as well as some cunning shortcuts to make life easier. Here’s how to get started and get the most from your new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus handset.
If you’ve decided to treat yourself to a spangly new iPhone 7, or the super-sized iPhone 7 Plus, the following tips and tricks are a great starting point. Even if you think yourself a bit of an iPhone connoiseur, chances are you’ll find a secret or two lurking within.
This quick and easy guide will show you some of the best hidden features that Apple tucked away, including using the flash as a notifications light, customising the Touch ID scanner for your own purposes, clever WiFi hacks and plenty more besides.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to use the keyboard as a trackpad
Composing an email on a phone can often be fiddly, especially when you want to skip back and forwards through the message, tweaking it as you go. Thankfully Apple has added a secret feature into the virtual iOS keyboard, to help us out.
Poking the cursor to the precise bit you want to edit can often be a challenge, so try pushing hard on that keyboard instead. The iPhone 7’s 3D Touch screen will register this firm press and you’ll see the keyboard turn blank. Without lifting your finger, try swiping around the keyboard. You’ll see a cursor moving around the screen, allowing you to position it wherever you like.
This touchpad feature even allows you to highlight blocks of text. Just ease off the pressure without completely lifting your finger and then push hard again, and the current word underneath the cursor will be selected. You can move the cursor around to highlight more or less text.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to quickly erase a message
If you’ve started to type a text message but then you change your mind and decide to say something different, don’t bother mashing the backspace key. Instead, just give your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus a swift shake and you’ll be asked if you want to delete the entire thing. Easy.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to change the feedback level of the new home button
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus feature a new home button, which isn’t actually a button at all. When you ‘push’ it, that clicking sensation you get is actually just vibration feedback.
If you want a softer or stronger vibration, you can actually set this up in the iPhone 7’s settings. Head to General, and then Home Button. In here you can choose between three levels of feedback, with the option to test each level before selecting your favourite.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to quickly check for any waiting notifications
Simply pulling your phone out of your pocket, or lifting it from its resting place, will now briefly activate the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus’ display. This allows you to quickly check for any waiting notifications and messages, without having to tap the home button. Granted that’s not exactly a massive time saver, but it’s something at least.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: Make your phone flash when you have notifications
If you’re constantly missing notifications, you can go one step further than above and actually make the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus flash when something’s awaiting your attention. In other words, you can make the phone’s camera flash ping on and off until you take a peek.
To activate the notification flash feature, go to the iPhone’s settings menu. Now go to General, and then Accessibility. In here you’ll see the LED Flash for Alerts entry – just give this a tap to activate it. Be aware of course that your handset’s battery life will take a hit if the flash is constantly going off.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: The all-new iOS 10 lock screen
The lock screen is now more helpful than ever before on the iPhone 7. For instance, you can now 3D Touch your notifications to see more details – just push hard on a calendar entry for full details, for instance.
You can also now swipe your finger left across the lock screen to immediately launch the camera app and take a quick photo or record a video without delay. Just tap the home button to return to the lock screen when you’re done. And if you swipe right instead, you’ll bring up the nifty new Today View (see below).
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: Get to grips with Today View
If you swipe your finger right from the lock screen or your first home screen, you’ll bring up Apple’s new Today View. This gives you a quick glimpse of all of your most important info, as well as shortcuts to your most-used apps.
You can easily add a new ‘widget’ to the Today View, remove an existing one and change their order. Just scroll to the bottom of the Today View panel and tap ‘Edit’. If you poke the minus icon next to any existing widget, it will disappear. You can also add new ones by tapping the plus icon next to them. And to change their order, just hold the icon that looks like three lines to the right of a widget and then drag it up or down.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: Do more in the iOS 10 Control Center
Apple’s Control Center got a big overhaul in iOS 10, so it’s better than ever on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Just drag your finger up from the bottom of your desktop, and you’ll pull the Control Center onto the screen. From here you can toggle some of the iPhone’s most-used features on and off, such as WiFi and Bluetooth, as well as jump straight to popular apps such as the camera. There’s also controls for AirDrop (which allows you to swap files with another iOS device) and AirPlay (for throwing your iPhone’s screen to another device like an Apple TV).
These days you also get Night Shift controls. This allows you to quickly activate the blue filter mode and make the screen easier on the eye when using the iPhone 7 in the dark. And if you swipe your finger left across the Control Center, you get simple media controls. This helps you to pause, play and skip through your media, or jump into the previously used media app.
Handily, if you’re playing music when you bring up the Control Center, the media screen is the first thing you’ll see. Saves you a swipe.
Note that the Control Center icons are 3D Touch sensitive. In other words, if you hard poke something like the camera icon, you’ll see a sub-menu pop up on screen. This allows you to quickly jump to specific features, such as shooting a video or taking a selfie.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to master the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus’ camera, with our complete camera guide
Apple has improved the camera tech on its iPhones for these two new handsets, making them better than ever for low light shots while also adding in some fresh new features. The iPhone 7 Plus in particular can do a lot more than before, thanks to that dual-lens setup – which adds the funky Portrait mode as well as a proper optical zoom.
We’ve compiled a massive guide full of tips and tricks on how to use the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus’ cameras, including essential info such as how to turn on 4K video recording and how to use the Portrait mode. Check out the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus camera guide for everything you need to know.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to set up restrictions for apps and make the iPhone kid-friendly
In the iPhone 7’s settings men, head to the Restrictions section. In this PIN-protected menu you can enable restrictions, which allows you to disable key apps and features such as Siri, AirDrop and CarPlay. You can also prevent the installation and deletion of apps, App Store purchases and more – handy if your young one is going to be handling your iPhone without supervision.
If you’re giving the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus to a kid to use full-time, you might also want to set which content is allowed. For instance, you can prevent movies above a certain rating from being downloaded, and even restrict what websites your child can browse.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to use the Touch ID fingerprint sensor for Apple Pay, iTunes and App Store purchases and more
That Touch ID fingerprint sensor that’s built into the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus’ home button is very handy for getting into your mobile, while keeping out thieves or misbehaving younger members of your family. However, it can also be used to validate your Apple Pay, iTunes and App Store purchases.
Jump into the iPhone’s settings menu and then head to ‘Touch ID and Passcode’. From here you can choose exactly what the Touch ID scanner can be used for.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to turn your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus into a personal WiFi hotspot
If you’re on the move and your kids want to get online with their personal tablets or other devices, you can set up a WiFi network for them.
Head into the iPhone 7’s settings menu and go to Personal Hotspot. Tap the switch at the top of the menu to turn this feature on. You can also change the password of your private network by giving that a tap beneath, and setting it to whatever you like. Now other devices can connect to your iPhone in their WiFi menu, using the password you set.
Bear in mind that some network contracts forbid the use of personal WiFi hotspots, so this feature may not work depending on your network and contract choice.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to use WiFi and mobile data at the same time
If your chosen WiFi network is a bit ropey, giving you timeout messages while you’re browsing the web or taking ages over anything, you can use Apple’s ‘WiFi Assist’ feature to use both WiFi and cellular/mobile data at the same time (be aware that this will of course eat into your data allowance, something that WiFi by itself doesn’t).
To activate WiFi Assist, just head to the iPhone 7’s settings menu and then tap ‘Mobile Data’ (this may be ‘Cellular’ in the States). From here scroll down and you’ll see the WiFi Assist option. Make sure this is switched on by giving it a tap.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to see your current battery percentage
At the top right corner of the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus’ screen, you’ll see a battery meter. This gives a rough indication of how much power you have remaining, but for a more accurate measurement, head to the iPhone’s settings menu. From here, scroll down to ‘Battery’.
You can now tick the box which says ‘Battery Percentage’ to permanently display how much battery charge is left in your mobile in that top bar.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: Use your Apple phone for DIY
You might not think that your precious iPhone 7 doubles as a handy DIY tool, but there’s a built-in level that not many people know about. Just tap Apple’s Compass app and then swipe your finger left across the screen and the level tool pops up. Now you can see the exact inclination, to make sure those new shelves are perfectly straight. Nice!
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to change the screen timeout length on iPhone 7
It can be quite annoying when your iPhone keeps on hibernating when you’re in the middle of using it, and as the default screen timeout is just a minute, this is a pretty common complaint.
You used to be able to change the iPhone’s timeout length in the settings menu, in General > Auto-Lock. However, the Auto-Lock setting has now moved into the Display & Brightness menu, which we think makes a lot more sense. Boost the time up to five minutes and you’ll rarely see the iPhone 7 hibernate when you’re busy using it.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: How to connect an Apple Watch to your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus
If you’re lucky enough to have the funds for a new Apple Watch as well as your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, then check out our full Apple Watch starter’s guide. This tells you how to set it up, connecting to your iPhone as well as personalising your watch face and other handy hints.
Best iPhone 7 tips and hidden features: Fix most issues with our iOS 10 bugs guide
If you’re having any problems with your new iPhone 7, just head to our handy iOS 10 issues and how to solve them feature. Most iOS 10 issues are thankfully experienced by people updating their old iPhone and iPads to iOS 10, rather than iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus owners. But every now and then you might stumble across some kind of irritating bug or some other annoyance.