Improve Your iPhone Experience With These 3 Tips
Reduce brightness below zero and get better sleep with these little-known iOS features
The first iPhone was released in 2007, and while it clearly had potential to revolutionise smartphones, it also has major software and hardware limitations. Naturally, Apple incrementally improved both the hardware and software over the years. Today, iOS is a very mature operating system. What tends to happen when we get to this point with mobile operating systems is a lot of useful features can be introduced and not get a mention during keynotes in favour of more headline grabbing updates. Some of these settings can make the experience of using the system so much better. Here I will show you the settings that may have slipped past the radar on iOS 14 and are very important in the way I use my iPhone. I hope you find at least one somewhat useful.
Reducing brightness below zero
We have all been in that situation when you wake up in the middle of the might and go to check the time on your phone only to get blinded by the super bright display. Or maybe you’ve had a partner tell you off for interrupting their sleep while you are answering some late-night emails. Reducing the brightness to zero still leaves an uncomfortably bright display sometimes. There is a setting buried deep in Accessibility on iPhone that can help with that. The Reduce White Point setting reduces the intensity of bright colours, leaving you with a much dimmer display than you can normally achieve. To toggle this feature, navigate through these settings.
Settings > Accessibility > Display and Text Size > Reduce White Point
Paradoxically, to get the dimmest display possible you need the slider at 100%, but you can tinker until you find the right percentage for you.
If you only want to have this setting on at night, or any other specific time, there is a handy shortcut you can configure to toggle the setting quickly. In Accessibility again, you can configure a triple-tap of the power button to toggle some action. Here, we will can change it to toggle the Reduce White Point feature.
Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut > Reduce White Point
If you only select that one option, it will automatically trigger each time you triple-click the button — if you select multiple options, you will be prompted to select the one you want after a triple-click.
Long press the back button
While we are this far deep inside a Settings menu, there is another annoyance with iOS you can quickly address. If you want to navigate back to the top-level Settings, you have to tap that back button until you get there. This is not a major inconvenience, I will grant you that, but there is a shortcut to make it even easier. Long press the Back button and you can skip to the level you are interested in. A perfect example of the little features mature mobile operating system acquire that don’t necessarily get the headlines!
Bedtime mode in the Health app
If you are like me, you go to great lengths to protect the quality of your sleep. Apple used to have a Bedtime mode in the Clock app that always helped me get my sleep back on track when it got disrupted. That Bedtime mode is still here on iOS14, but you will find it in the Health app now.
Health App > Browse > Sleep
In the Sleep section, if you select the Full Schedule and Options menu, you can configure some settings to help you get a better night’s rest. You can set up Wind Down time, so your iPhone becomes less exciting a little while before bedtime. You can also track your average time in bed. I have to say, I have some questions about how iPhone knows the amount of time I am asleep. I don’t have any sleep tracking devices yet there is a graph showing how much time I’ve spent asleep over the last few nights. Anyway, there are some helpful tips on sleeping better and some suggested apps that can help with that towards the bottom of the Health app.
I will leave you with this nice little feature where you can identify the song playing on your phone internally. Shazam has allowed you to ID songs playing out loud for a long while now, but I’ve only recently discovered you can ID songs that are playing internally, through your headphones for example.
Settings > Control Centre > + Music Recognition
This will add Music Recognition to your Control Centre — a very useful feature if you want to ID a song from a movie, or a YouTube video as it’s playing on your phone.
iOS has come a long way over the decade plus since iPhone was released. There are plenty of headline features every year, but sometimes it’s the little-known settings that can really improve your experience with these devices.