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The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks



iPhone cases are always great, but they are not the only way to customize it. The software on your device is full of customization options, from a better-looking home screen and cool lock screen wallpapers to app icon changes and a system-wide dark mode. There are literally over 1

00 ways to make iOS on your iPhone genuinely unique, some of which are hiding in plain sight.

While there are plenty of tweaks available for iPhone without jailbreaking, you will not find many options as you would on Android. Instead, you need to get a little more creative on iOS, exploiting clever tactics to get around Apple's rigid ecosystem. Want to place your home screen icons wherever you want? How about changing those icons entirely?

Many of the system's tweaks and personalization features are listed below on iOS 12, so if you're using iPhone 5 S or newer, you 'll be able to take advantage of most of our tips. If you're rocking something a bit older, do not worry – there are plenty of options here for you to try as well. Interested in something specific?

Jump to a section: Wallpaper | Lock Screen | Authentication | Notifications | Ringtones & Text Tones | Home Screen | Overall Appearance | Accessibility | Siri | Apps | Phone | Messages | Keyboard | Photos & Camera | Safari

Wallpaper

What's the first thing you see when you wake up your iPhone? Your wallpaper, of course. Wallpapers are more than just a simple decoration for your iPhone. Here's a quick list of all the fun ways you can customize your iPhone's device to make your own device.

1. Hide the Notch on Newer Face ID Models

Although initially controversial, the notch on modern iPhones seems pretty standard, especially nowadays. That said, many Android devices do not let you do that.

While Apple is a stickler for their ID cutout, there are ways around this issue. While you will not be able to turn off the notch in apps, you can cleverly use your wallpaper to disguise it. With the right image, your iPhone X can become "notch-less."

However, this applies to OLED models, since they are "on the screen iPhone X R

2. Use Apps to Find Cool, New Wallpapers

Apple's stock wallpapers are often varied. <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br>

While you can always use the iPhone for your iPhone or the Internet for some high-res solutions, one of the best ways to quickly find new wallpapers is to download an app to find them for you. [19659007] . 3 Disable the Parallax Effect

Apple wants your wallpaper to contain a "parallax" effect. That's what enables the wallpaper on the screen to move on. Different things on screen, creating an illusion of depth. If you do not want this effect on your iPhone, however, there's an easy way to fix it.

When setting up your wallpaper, make sure to choose "Still" rather than "Perspective," as is the default for all but live photos.

However, you'll notice that even with "Still" selected, your home screen icons move ever so slightly when you move your iPhone. The motion gone for good.

4. Bring Back Old Favorites, Like the Fish

While Apple adds new wallpapers with every iOS release, it inexplicably removes old ones as well. Apple, iPhone and iPad models.

One of the most notable – and devastating – removals what the suite of live fish wallpapers. These options were initially included with the iPhone 6 S and 6 S Plus to show off 3D Touch. However, Apple removed the wallpapers just two years later with the introduction of iOS 11. However, with a little elbow grease, you can turn the animations into Live Photos and use them on 3D Touch devices only. [19659031] The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone ” width=”532″ height=”532″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>

 The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone
Images by Justin Meyers / Gadget Hacks

Lock Screen

The Lock screen – the barrier between the iPhone and the iPhone , You probably spend more time on the lock screen than you think, browsing interesting notifications, as well as fending off unnecessary ones. If you need some help keeping your lock screen orderly, we've got you covered.

1. Choose Which Apps Can Display Siri Suggested Shortcuts

Siri Suggestions Try to guess the action you want or need to take on your iPhone. These can be helpful, especially on the lock screen, but it's not perfect. Siri offer Suggestions for on the lock screen.

Customizing Suggestions is simple. Head over to "Siri & Search" in the Settings app. Disable the toggle next to "Suggestions on Lock Screen" to turn off Siri's Suggestions on the lock screen for all apps. To choose which apps to show on the lock screen, leave this enabled. Next to "Allow on Lock Screen."

2. See Weather Right When You Wake Up

Apple has never been one to embrace widgets in the same way as Android, opting instead to place them all in a "Today View."

Unfortunately, once you unlock your iPhone, tap the widget, or let yours iPhone goes back to sleep, the widget goes away for the rest of the day. We hope to see more widget integration like this in future versions of iOS. Right now, however, this is a pretty neat feature.

Image via Apple

3. Disable USB Accessories Lock

With iOS 11.4.1, Apple is introducing a new security feature for iPhones, a lock for USB accessories. One hour after you lock your iPhone, the feature kicks in, blocking all USB accessories from connecting to your device.

Of course, this might be a bit annoying if you frequently use USB accessories. If you find yourself unlocking your iPhone, you can disable this security feature for good.

4. Disable Certain Features Access to the Lock Screen

In addition to USB accessories, there's a treasure trove of features that allows iOS to lock on the lock screen. You'll find the following in "Touch ID & Passcode" or "Face ID & Passcode" settings. You decide whether to allow access to any of these features while your iPhone is locked. If you disable a feature, that means you'll need to unlock your iPhone using Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode before using it.

5. Only ID Notification Previews Face ID or Touch ID

If your iPhone is running iOS 12, it's equipped with either Touch ID or Face ID. You can view those previews without unlocking your iPhone.

Owners of the iPhone X, X S X S Max, and X R have this feature enabled by default. However, regardless of your iPhone model, you'll need to give up hiding notification previews while your iPhone is unlocked. Candy Crush wants, unfortunately, be visible for all to see.

Images by Justin Meyers / Gadget Hacks

6. Make Your Own Live Photo Wallpapers

For iPhones with 3D Touch (sorry, iPhone X R owners), live wallpapers are part of the package. However, you do not need to rely on Apple's offerings to see you live on your lock screen – so you can relive your favorite moments every time you wake up your iPhone.

While you can you take any photo in your photos app to the lock screen, in general, Live Photos are very shaky, since you are moving in the camera while shooting your picture. If you plan on taking a photo for your wallpaper, you should try to use a stable surface, like a window or even a tripod. That way, when you look at your wallpaper, it will not distort as a typical live photo typically would.

7. Set a GIF as Your Lock Screen's Wallpaper

Maybe you like it? If you want to expand your horizons, look for GIFs – you can turn any GIF into your iPhone with 3D Touch (Not Haptic Touch).

While the Photos app supports GIFs, iOS does not want to let you choose any to your wallpaper. ” width=”532″ height=”532″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>

 The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone
 The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone
Images by Justin Meyers / Gadget Hacks

Authentication

Touch ID, Face ID, passcodes, oh my! When to come to authentication, Apple's got you covered. Whether your iPhone reads your face or fingerprint, your security is paramount and is well-protected by Apple's cutting-edge tech. But what about authentication can you really customize? Well, take a look:

1. Is your iPhone unlocking itself without you? You might want to check "Require Attention for Face ID." The setting works exactly how it sounds.

Face ID does not unlock your iPhone unless it's sure you're looking at your iPhone. If the TrueDepth camera senses that your attention is elsewhere, it will not budge. [IPhone]

Disabling the setting is simple, at least – in settings, select "Face ID & Passcode," then enter your passcode. Finally, disable the toggle next to "Require Attention for Face ID."

2. Add a Second Appearance to Face ID

If you do not solve your incontinence, there are lots of tips to take your iPhone back on track.

Introduced with iOS 12, this feature allows you to do an extra scan of your face that wants to take in concert with your original one , If you have a strong second appearance, make sure you look at each other and make a different look. Even if you keep your style consistent, you might want to try a second face scan. The more information your iPhone has, the better Face ID will work.

3. Bypass Touch ID's Five-Fingerprint Limit

When you're on iPhone with that iconic home button, you'll know you can only save up to five fingerprints. However, did you save it?

Ready for this? Try saving two fingerprints with each scan, i.e., your right-thumb and right-one scan, your left-middle and left-hand on another, and so on;

The trick is to alternate between two fingers with each scan. Scan your thumb, then scan your index finger. Back to the thumb, back to the index finger.

4. Use Nose Unlock with Touch ID

If you're trying to get your hands on your iPhone with Touch ID, try using another body part with a noticeable skin pattern. For Instance, the nose makes a pretty good finger replacement with the Touch ID, and it could not stop you from unlocking your iPhone.

Notifications

Who does not have a relationship with notifications? They can be great to keep up to date with our favorite apps and people, but so can be, well, annoying. Luckily, your iPhone has a few tricks on it.

1. Choose How You Receive Notifications, App by App

Apple is no longer trailing behind Android when it comes to notification game. With iOS 12, the company introduced "Instant Tuning," a notion that allows users to change their own settings.

Not only can you choose to disable notification for specific apps, but you can also select a new feature, "Deliver Quietly." This option will not buzz or alert you when there's a new notification. Instead, you'll find it in Notification Center, minding its own business.

Images by Dallas Thomas / Gadget Hacks

2. Have the Flash Go Off When Receiving Notifications

Android devices, but you can set the next best thing – a flash that goes off when you receive notifications. It's a neat feature but unfortunately comes with zero customization.

Image by Justin Meyers / Gadget Hacks [19659034]. 3 Schedule Do Not Disturb

The Last Thing You Want When You're Getting Sleep Is On Your iPhone To Remind You To Play It. You do not always remember to tap that Do Not Disturb icon in Control Center, however, so any night you forget, you risk such a disturbance. What are you to do?

Easy – just schedule DND ahead of time. DND for automatically, so you know you'll get the time you need to relax, iPhone-free.

4. Set Persistent Alerts

Have you ever received a notification, just before you have a chance to interact with it? That's because the app is set to "Temporary" banner alerts. These are some nice features for some notifications, but you may need more time for them.

Luckily, with the flip of a switch, you can change this setting to " persistent. " Once adjusted, all future notifications will stay on screen until you interact with them, which is by opening the notification, dismissing it, switching apps, or going home.

5. Group Notifications by App

Another excellent option introduced in iOS 12, Notification Center Neat and Organized. By default, iOS wants group notifications "intelligently," meaning you can have multiple stacks from the same app if the system thinks it appropriate.

If you'd rather combine all the app's notifications in one stack, however, you're in luck – iOS lets you change grouping settings from "Automatic" to "By App." The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone ” width=”532″ height=”532″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>

 The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone
Images by Amboy Manalo / Gadget Hacks

Home Screen

Once your iPhone is unlocked, you're greeted by the home screen. At first glance, nothing has changed since the first iPhone – your apps rest on the same, fixed grid. That said, there are quite a few unique and creative tricks you can pull off to customize your home screen.

1. Swap Your App Icons

One creative advantage Android has the ability to customize your app icons. While you can not find out how much freedom to customize your iPhone's settings, you can change your app's icons. Some apps even offer native support to do so.

The list of apps that support this kid's thing is quite small as of now. However, it's likely you have an app that is compatible. App developers can now offer custom app icons for their users to choose from.

We've compiled every iOS app we know that offers this customizability into a list. If you know of an app that we're missing, make sure you let us know in the comments!

2. Create Your Own Icons Using 'Bookmarks'

If your favorite apps do not support them, take them into their own hands. With a little effort, you can make your app icons anything you want, by using something called bookmarks.

Bookmarks look just like apps. At first glance, you would not think anything of them. Instead, they redirect you to a linked application.

It's not a perfect system, it's open with a slight delay since the bookmark needs to be redirected to the app in question. So you need to know the URL scheme for the app you want to create a bookmark for. Without it, the connection will not take.

If you're willing to put in the work, bookmarks can be a great way to make your home screen super unique.

3. Install Pre-Made Icons Using iSkin

Does your own bookmarks seem daunting? Then do not do it! Instead, turn to a service that has plenty of them ready to go, like iSkin. This site has an extensive collection of bookmarks for your favorite apps. Want your Facebook logo to look 8-bit? Done. Want to old-school iOS mail icon? You got it. Just browse iSkin's vast library of app icons and choose the ones you'd like to see on your iPhone.

Even more convenient, iSkin offers individual app icons as well as packs which let you download a suite of icons under the same theme so you do not need to download them one by one.

Use Apple Configurator to Organize Your Home Screen

hundreds of apps to deal with. Luckily, you do not need to rely on dragging and dropping your icons in iOS. Rather, use Apple Configurator 2 on a Mac to quickly get the job done.

Once you download Apple Configurator 2, plug in your iPhone, and unlock it. Then, open Apple Configurator 2. You'll be greeted by a window featuring your iPhone. Go ahead a double-click on your iPhone to continue.

Next, in the bar menu, click "Actions." Hover over "Modify," then click on "Home Screen Layout …"

The program will load a bit before displaying your home screen. Now, you can move around and reorder your home screen just as you would normally on your iPhone, this time with your mouse.

When finished, click "Apply," and let Apple Configurator 2 save your layout. [19659007]. 5 Or, Use This Quick Trick

If you do not have access to a Mac or if you want to go through the more complicated process above, iOS has gotten better at home screen reordering. Specifically, your iPhone now allows you to grab multiple app icons at once, freeing you up to move whole pages of apps wherever you'd like.

This tricks works across pages, so you can pick up some or all of the app icons on one page, swipe over to another page, and continue to pick up icons. Feel free to drop your icons wherever you go.

Image by Dallas Thomas / Gadget Hacks

6. Hide Folder Text on the Home Screen

Depending on your wallpaper, it may seem pretty jarring. Fill the whole screen with folders, and you've got yourself on an unpleasant home screen.

Using a workaround in iOS 12, you can not find any folders on the home screen entirely. No emojis, no one-letter names, nothing .

7. Hide App Icon Text on the Home Screen

In the same vein, you can get rid of app icon text as well. Just follow the same steps, but this time, you'll need to create a bookmark for your app first.

8. Hide the Dock

Unlike macOS, iOS does not let you hide and show the dock. It must remain at the bottom of your display, even if you remove all apps from it.

Image by Brian Lang / Gadget Hacks [19659034] . 9 Place Your Home Screen Icons Anywhere You Want

While Apple Configurator 2 and the new multi-grab feature allow you to get more control over your home screen, they do not change anything when it comes to how the grid works in iOS.

With this technique, you can place your app icons anywhere on the grid, creating whatever arrangement you see fit. The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone ” width=”532″ height=”532″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>

 The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone

10. Hide Apps on the Home Screen

If you like me, you like it. Why should not you have the same for your iPhone? The trouble is, it does not focus on your wallpaper of choice. That's okay, though – you need to know how it's done.

Clutter (left) vs. iPhone. no clutter (right).

Overall Appearance

There are a lot of tweaks you can make to iOS to give it a personal feel. Use a few or all of these tips, and nobody else's iPhone will quite feel like your phone.

1. Enable the System-Wide Dark Mode

There's no real dark mode on iOS yet. However, there is a pretty decent workaround. "Smart Invert Colors" is a setting that will turn all the essential colors on your iPhone. For example, it will change white background to black, but try to keep photos, videos, emoji, etc. in their color scheme.

As you can see below, Smart Invert Colors works better than using Classic Invert for a dark fashion. The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone ” width=”532″ height=”532″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>

 The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone </p>
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Smart Invert (left) vs.. Classic Invert (right). Images by Justin Meyers / Gadget Hacks

2. Add Control Center Buttons

Introduced in iOS 11, you can customize Control Center's buttons and layout, other than the connections pane, music pane, orientation lock, Do not Disturb, brightness, volume and screen mirroring, that is. [19659173] The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone ” width=”532″ height=”532″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>

 The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone

3. Customize the Share Sheet

The Share Sheet is a powerful tool in iOS – you can send photos, videos, links, and more to contacts across apps. But it's not just for sharing – so you can share it with others.

On top of its awesome features, you have a lot of freedom to customize your share sheet. Make sure your Share Sheet looks like no one else's.

4. Choose Your Zoom Level

If you want a change in appearance, why not adjust your zoom level? Apple bakes two zoom sizes into iOS for certain iPhone models that impact app icons, chat bubbles, keyboards, UI accents, and so much more. Which level you choose is completely up to you – apps wants to perform the same, just different in appearance.

Standard (left) vs.. Zoomed (right).

5. Artificially Dim the Display with 'Reduce White Point'

If you find yourself silently squinting at iPhone, this one's for you. "Reduce White Point"

You'll find the option in Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Display Accommodations. 100% of the way to 100%.

6. Disable TrueTone

TrueTone is a cool feature that automatically changes the white balance of your iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, X S [196909013] X S Max , or X R Display depending on the light conditions of your surroundings. That's right, TrueTone is not for you.

Luckily, it's easy to disable. Alternatively, you can find the option in "Display & Brightness" in the Settings. Just make sure the toggle next to "True Tone" is disabled.

7. Turn Off Colors (Grayscale)

If you're looking for a change of pace, why not turn off colors on your iPhone? It helps with viewing your iPhone in dark conditions and potentially curb smartphone addiction as well. Plus, keeping your iPhone on grayscale makes everything [1969033] to make it look more colorful.

To enable grayscale, head over to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Display Accommodations. Select "Color Filters," then enable the toggle next to "Color Filters." Finally, select "Grayscale" from the list below.

8. Add a Color Filter

While checking out the grayscale setting, you may have noticed that there are a few filters at your disposal. You have Red / Green, Green / Red, and Blue / Yellow filters to choose from, each with its own levels of customization. The [19455910] The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone ” width=”532″ height=”532″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>

 The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Your iPhone
Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

9. Enable Button Shapes

Button shapes add a bit more depth to your iOS experience — active buttons on-screen will appear underlined or surrounded by a box, which can give you a better idea as to what's interactive and what's not. It adds a unique style most of your friends' iPhones probably don't have. To activate the feature, head over to Settings –> "General –> Accessibility, then enable the slider next to "Button Shapes."

10. Enable I/O Buttons for Switches & Toggles

Here's a fun tweak — iOS lets you add I/O (on/off) symbols for switches and toggles. It won't change how these toggles behave, but it's a fresh look. Quickly enable the feature in by tapping the "On/Off Labels" toggle in Settings –> Accessibility under the Vision section.

Notice the difference between symbols on (left) and symbols off (right).

11. Schedule Night Shift to Turn On & Off Automatically

Night Shift is a tool that turns your iPhone's display more orange at night, to help you fall asleep easier. While you can e nable the feature manually, there's a better way, one that changes the screen color without you needing to think about it at all.

12. Choose Night Shift Color Temperature

Once Night Shift is scheduled on your iPhone, you'll want to tweak it to match your style — you can choose to have the orange color more or less intense, depending on what looks better to you. You'll find these options in the Settings–> Display & Brightness –> Night Shift.

Just move the slider in either direction, and you'll see a corresponding color preview overlayed on your display. Leave the slider at the color point you prefer, and you'll be all set.

13. Reduce Transparency

Apple includes plenty of exciting designs in transparency in iOS. If you want your iPhone to stand out a bit, consider enabling "Reduce Transparency." This setting will take away the transparency design throughout much of iOS, giving your iPhone more defined elements. Just take a look at the docks below to see what we mean. To enable it, jump over to Settings –> General –> Accessibility –> Reduce Transparency.

Notice the difference between the docks

14. Increase Contrast

All iPhones have the same color scheme. Why not change that up? By increasing the contrast of your display, colors become significantly darker. Your friends will probably ask you why your iMessage bubbles are "bluer" than theirs. If they do, show them this trick! Go to Settings –> General –> Accessibility –> Increase Contrast, then toggle it on.

Increased Contrast (Middle) vs. Standard (Right)

15. Use 24-Hour Time

Want to follow military-time instead of the default a.m./p.m. structure on the iPhone? Go ahead and switch. Jump into Settings, then tap "General," followed by "Date & Time." Finally, tap the slider next to "24-Hour Time." If you switch in the morning, you'll see a 0 now in front of the time (e.g., 09:15 vs. 9:15).

16. Change Region Format

If you travel with your iPhone regularly, you might want to change its programmed region, for various formatting corrections. You'll find these options in Settings –> General –> Language & Region. You'll see a preview of your chosen region's formatting at the bottom of this screen.

17. Disable Status Bar (When Applicable)

Some apps let you disable the status bar, so all you see is the content you're meant to see. If you want to look at the time, network connections, etc., great — this is just an option in case you don't. You'll find this option more on Home button iPhones, as the corners of notched iPhones add extra real-estate for the status bar.

Ringtones & Text Tones

Apple's suite of ringtones and text tones are iconic (how often have you heard a classic iPhone ringtone and thought your phone was going off?) That said, Apple hasn't updated their library en masse since 2013, so it's possible you're a little bored with the selection. Unless the iPhone X's "Reflection" is enough for you, you might want to expand your horizon with custom tones.

1. Make Your Own Ringtones

That's right — you can make your own ringtones for your iPhone. In fact, it isn't that hard. You just need a song or sound file, an iPhone, and a computer running iTunes.

2. Make Your Own Text Tones

Along the same lines, you can also make text tones for your iPhone. Apple is a bit annoying on this front and won't let you separate your custom text tones into the "Alert" section of the Sound Settings. That said, as long as you label correctly, you won't have a problem finding your text tones alongside your custom ringtones.

3. Make Ringtones & Text Tones from GarageBand Songs

Don't have access to a computer with iTunes? No problem! You can make custom ringtones and text tones directly on your iPhone using GarageBand. GarageBand comes free with every iPhone, so you won't have to spend a dime to make your own sounds.

Accessibility

Accessibility settings in iOS have a wide array of functions. They're essential for those who need them but can also add some customization to your overall iPhone experience.

1. Set Accessibility Shortcuts to Your Home or Side Button

First thing's first — if you flip between accessibility settings, you're going to want to enable Accessibility Shortcuts to your Home button or Side button. That way, if you wish to enable or disable specific accessibility options, your settings are just a triple-click away.

Images by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

2. Stop Your Friends from Swiping Through Too Many Photos

It's your worst nightmare — you hand your iPhone over to a friend to show them a photo, and then begin swiping through photos they should never have seen. Other than beg people not to swipe, what can you really do?

Thanks to a specific accessibility setting named "Guided Access," you can stop friends from swiping dead in their tracks. The feature lets you block all touch controls on your iPhone. If your friend tries to swipe, they might as well assume your iPhone is broken!

3. Change 3D Touch Sensitivity

Sorry iPhone XR owners (and owners of iPhone 5s6, 6 Plus, and SE) — this one's not for you. For all others running iOS 12, did you know you can change the sensitivity of 3D Touch? Even if you like how 3D Touch works on your iPhone as-is, it's worth taking a look at these settings to make sure it's ideally suited to your needs.

To change sensitivity, open Settings –> General –> Accessibility –> 3D Touch. Here, you can set 3D Touch sensitivity to either "Light," "Medium," or "Firm," using the slider below. Test out each setting using the image of the flowers at the bottom of the display.

4. Ask Your iPhone to Read to You

On your computer, it's not too difficult to highlight some text and have your selection read to you. On your iPhone, that feature is buried a bit deep. Once you know how to activate it, however, it works like a charm.

In your Settings, jump over to "General" > "Accessibility" > "Speech." Here, you can tap the slider next to "Speak Selection" to enable Speech on your iPhone. Now, whenever you highlight text on your phone, you'll find a "Speech" button in the array. Tap that, and your iPhone will begin reading the text.

You can also enable "Speak Screen" directly below "Speak Selection." This feature will read all of the text on-screen without needing to highlight. All you have to do is drag down from the top of the display with two fingers to activate. Try it slowly — too fast, and iOS thinks you're trying to access Notification Center.

Once your iPhone begins reading, you can adjust the speed by tapping the tortoise or hare symbols. Skip lines by pressing the fast-forward and rewind arrows. Pause and resume audio by tapping the play/pause button. Tap the X to exit, and tap the arrow to collapse the player, and move it wherever you'd like on screen.

5. Activate the Magnifier

Your iPhone's camera has a decent digital zoom, but what happens when you need to get even closer? No, you don't have to move — just use the Magnifier. This setting in iOS allows you to zoom in super close to your subject, and while things get pretty grainy at full zoom, you can check out details you might've missed while relying on the Camera app.

Max zoom with Camera app (left) vs. max zoom with Magnifier (right). Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

You can even enhance your zoomed image with flash for additional lighting, exposure lock and unlock, and color filters. When you're ready, you can snap a pic of your subject just as you usually would.

Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

6. Adjust Click Speed for Home & Side Button

You frequently click your iPhone's Home button or Side button — triple-click for Accessibility Shortcuts, double-click for Apple Pay, that button gets pressed a lot. If you're unhappy with how quickly you need to click the button for your iPhone to register the action, you can adjust the speed it takes to do so.

You'll find these speed options in Settings –> General –> Accessibility –> Side Button or Home Button. Under Click Speedyou'll find "Default," the default click speed, "Slow" a slower click speed, and "Slowest," the slowest you can go. When you tap each option, iOS will buzz your iPhone at its corresponding click speed.

7. Add Subtitles & Captions

If you want to make sure subtitles and captions come on automatically when available, make sure to enable "Closed Captions + SDH" in the Settings. You find this option under General –> Accessibility –> Subtitles & Captioning.

8. Customize Your Subtitles & Captions

If you enabled "Closed Captions + SDH," you might have noticed you can customize you subtitles and captions however you'd like. Apple made sure to bake plenty of options for fonts, colors, and backgrounds into iOS, so you'll see your styled captions in any app that supports them.

Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

9. Disable Ask to Join Networks

If you're tired of getting popups for Wi-Fi networks you don't typically connect to, consider disabling "Ask to Join Networks." When no known networks are available, this setting tries to pair you to another network in your area. However, the resulting popup might not be worth it, especially if you don't know that networks credentials in the first place. You'll find this option in the Wi-Fi settings.

Siri

The iconic iOS digital assistant is better than ever in iOS 12. Not only is Siri smarter this time around, but the assistant also offers you more control over your own choice of apps in iOS than ever before.

1. Type to Siri Instead of Talking

If you're uncomfortable asking Siri a question out loud, why not type it instead? Introduced in iOS 11, you can silently type your queries to Siri, assuming you've set up the feature in Settings ahead of time. Unfortunately, by enabling "Type to Siri," you won't be able to use the Home or Side button to speak to Siri. On the bright side, you can still use "Hey Siri," so you won't be missing out too much by opting for typing.

Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

2. Mute Siri

What's the point of opting to type to Siri if the world is going to hear her answer anyway? In these cases, you're going to want to make sure Siri is muted. IOS even lets you customize Siri's voice feedback — choose whether the assistant will only respond to you vocally when using "Hey Siri" or whether you control the feedback via the ring switch.

3. Change Siri's Voice to One of 10 Options

You read that right — as of iOS 12, Siri now supports up to ten different voice options. Choose between American, Australian, British, Irish, or South African, and, of course, whether Siri is male or female.

4. Set Up Siri Shortcuts

Siri Shortcuts are one of iOS 12's shining features. You can assign a shortcut — either one you've made or one you've downloaded — to Siri using a custom phrase. Whenever you speak that phrase to Siri, the digital assistant jumps into action and runs the shortcut in the background. It adds a whole new level of customization and efficiency to iOS.

Here are a few reasons why Siri Shortcuts changes the customization game on iPhone:

5. Use Your Own Weather App with Siri

While there are plenty of excellent third-party weather apps out there, the only one compatible with Siri used to be the stock Weather app. That's changed — with Siri Shortcuts, you can use your weather app of choice — assuming compatibility — with Siri, to get updates, check tomorrow's weather, whatever you'd like to know.

6. Use Your Own Email Client with Siri

In the same vein, you can set up your favorite email app to work with Siri, over the stock Mail app. If you prefer to use, say, Spark as your email client, you can set it up to open a folder, search your archives, or compose a new email, including specificity for contact(s), subject, body, and signature. Each client may differ in what you can do with Siri. However, it's all in the name of customization — you choose what works best for you.

7. Use Your Own Navigation App with Siri

While Apple Maps is significantly better than the flop it was upon release, you might be partial to other apps such as Google Maps or Waze. Fear not — Siri is no longer tied to Apple Maps in iOS 12. You can set either of the other two popular third-party navigation apps to the digital assistant in the Shortcuts app.

8. Use Your Own Apps with Siri

At the end of the day, there are too many different types of apps you can use with Siri to list here. If an app's developers make it possible, you can use that app with Siri instead of an equivalent stock app.

Apps

There's an app for that. No, really, there is. With over 2.1 million titles as of March 2018, it's hard to imagine there not being an app to solve any given problem. With all those apps comes personalization. Apps are designed to solve problems for all users, but that doesn't mean you can't add your spin to things.

1. Enable Widgets for Instant Updates on Your Favorite Apps

As previously mentioned, Apple's widgets aren't quite as versatile as Android's. However, they are beneficial for quick updates on the apps you use most, in one easy-to-access location. Unlike iOS 12's new Weather widget, general iOS widgets rest in the Today View next to your home screen, lock screen, and Notification Center. Once added, widgets, and their data, are just a swipe away.

2. Set Timers for Apps to Reduce Your Usage

Screen Time in iOS 12 offers users more control over their iPhone use. One feature of Screen Time, "App Limits," allows you to set timers for apps you feel you use too much. Once you've used up your allotted time for the day, the app locks up, until the timer resets the next day.

3. Find More Powerful Alternatives for Stock Apps

The App Store is a big place, full of apps designed to compete for your use (and your money). If you find Apple's stock apps, such as Mail or Weather, to be lacking, know there are dozens, if not hundreds, of alternatives for you to test out instead.

4. Delete Stocks Apps

Speaking of underused stock apps, why keep any you aren't using? The Stocks app is only taking up space on your home screen, and you don't need to shove it in an unnecessary folder either. You can remove many staple apps from your iPhone, so you never need to look at them again.

In the past, "deleting" stock apps would only remove the icon from your home screen, to ensure the user could redownload the app no matter what. Nowadays, iOS will truly delete the app in questions, requiring an internet connection if you ever want it back.

Phone

"Who makes phone calls anymore?" There's some truth to that common joke, but in reality, many of us still rely on our iPhones to make calls. To get the most out of the iPhone's namesake feature, try out these fun customizations:

1. Have Phone Calls Answer Automatically

Have you ever needed to pick up the phone, but something was stopping you from doing so? Maybe your iPhone was too far away, or maybe you have food all over your hands from dinner. What are you supposed to do?

Well, you can enable your iPhone to answer phone calls for you automatically. This setting, introduced in iOS 11, erases your responsibility to pick up calls yourself. You can even adjust how long your iPhone waits before answering the call, giving you time to notice the call in the first place.

2. Choose What Audio Source Calls Are Sent To

Whether you enable "Auto-Answer Calls" or not, you can control what audio source your iPhone directs your calls to. By default, your iPhone sends the audio to the location it thinks makes the most sense; This might not always be to your advantage, however, as a call might be routed to your iPhone's speaker while you're using wireless headphones.

Instead, dive into this setting by going to Settings –> General –> Accessibility –> Call Audio Routing. Other than "Automatic," you can set your iPhone to "Bluetooth Headset," which will always favor your Bluetooth headphone or speaker, or "Speaker," which will likewise always favor your internal speaker.

3. Announce Calls

Want to know who's calling you up without having to look at your iPhone? Enable "Announce Calls." This feature will audibly speak the name of the incoming caller, so you'll always know who's trying to get your attention.

You'll find this option in the Phone settings. Once there, you'll have the choice between "Always," which will always speak the contact name; "Headphones & Car," which will only speak the contact name when you're wearing headphones on connected via Bluetooth in the car; "Headphones Only," which will only speak when connected to headphones; and "Never," which is the default. Choose what works best for you, and the people typically around you!

4. Set Custom Text Responses for Phone Calls You Can't Answer

When you get a phone call, you can send one of three text responses to let the caller known you can't chat that moment. However, you aren't confined to the stock responses iOS provides. You can go into the settings and change these options to whatever you'd like. When you get a call you can't answer, your personality comes through their Messages app.

In the Phone settings, tap "Respond with Text." Here, you can tap on each of the pre-written boxes to type responses of your own.

Now, just tap the "Message" option when receiving a call, and choose one of your custom replies.

5. Disable Vibration for Calls (& Texts!)

Setting your ring switch to "silent" is intended to make receiving calls and texts more peaceful. However, sometimes the vibrations alone can still get your blood boiling. To disable vibrations across the board for all alerts, head to Settings –> General –> Accessibility –> Vibration, and ensure the toggle is disabled for "Vibration."

6. Block All Incoming Calls During Do Not Disturb

By default, iOS allows incoming calls from contacts listed in "Favorites" to break through Do Not Disturb. If you'd rather no one get through during your beauty sleep, you can disable this feature entirely. Just head to Do Not Disturb in the Settings, then tap "Allow Calls From." Finally, choose "No One" to ensure your rest remains restful.

Messages

Texting — it's not just for the kids. No matter how young or old, you probably use Messages quite frequently throughout your day. As such, it's an area of your iPhone that you should tweak to your liking.

1. Disable 'Send Read Receipts'

Unlike Facebook Messenger, you have total control over whether iOS informs your friends that you've opened their messages. You can even choose specific contacts to enable Read Receipts for.

Image by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

2. Show the Character Count

Character counts typically don't matter for iMessages, but standard text messages still "cap-out" at 160 characters. If you want to keep a closer eye on the character count for your texts, head to "Settings," then "Messages" and under SMS/MMSenable "Character Count."

You won't see the counter when typing an iMessage, but you also won't see it until you start a new line on an SMS message. Once you do, however, you'll see the number of characters you've written out of 160.

First line, no counter. Second line, counter.

3. Show the Subject Field

Want to get a little formal? You can add a subject field to your iMessages and texts, so your colleagues, friends, and family know what you're there to discuss. To enable this field, jump to your Messages settings, then tap the toggle next to "Show Subject Field."

4. Auto-Delete Messages

You might enjoy keeping messages on your iPhone, but that data adds up. Fast. If you're running out of space on your iPhone, and don't mind losing some conversations, you can set up iOS to auto-delete your messages after either 30 days or one year. It'd be nice if Apple were to offer more options than just these, but, hey, it's better than nothing.

5. Hide the App Drawer

Does the App Drawer in Messages drive you crazy? Would you rather look at a clean window while texting than look at a bunch of Messages apps you don't care about? Don't let your frustration get to you — hide the App Drawer.

Not Hidden (Left) vs. Hidden (Right). Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

Keyboard

Your iPhone's keyboard is how you communicate with friends, family, colleagues, even your iPhone! It's an essential component of your iOS experience, but just because the keyboard is so integral to every iPhone doesn't mean there isn't room for personal customization. On the contrary, Apple affords you a wide variety of options to make your keyboard your keyboard.

1. Download a Third-Party Keyboard for More Options

Apple's stock iOS keyboard has plenty of perks to keep you typing. But there are other keyboards out there, with additional features that might be worth your time (swipe-typing, anyone?). If you want to see what else is out there — and why Gboard is by far the best option — make sure to branch out and try some new keyboards for yourself.

2. Enable the Secret Emoticon Keyboard

Here's a keyboard you won't have to download — iOS contains a secret Emoticon keyboard, which allows you to send friends a variety of cute emoticons you'd typically need to copy and paste from the internet.

3. Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Personalized Typing

Keyboard shortcuts are fantastic tools to type long words or phrases with just a couple of letters. If you find yourself meticulously typing the same, lengthy phrases over and over again, you might want to let your iPhone handle the hard work for you.

Images by Brian Lang/Gadget Hacks

4. Use One-Handed Typing

Our iPhones continue to get bigger and bigger, but our hands remain the same size. Apple knows this, which is why iOS now comes with a one-handed mode for typing. When enabled, your keyboard shrinks to the size of what you'd expect on an iPhone 5 display size, harkening back to the days when you could effortlessly go one-handed on an iPhone.

Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

5. Hide Lowercase Keys

When not using Shift or while in Caps Lock, your iPhone displays lowercase keys on the keyboard. Makes sense. However, if you want to throw it back to a time when iOS didn't make the switch to a lowercase keyboard, you can always disable this feature in Settings.

Head to General –> Accessibility–> Keyboard, then make sure "Show Lowercase Keys" is disabled. Now, when you start typing on your keyboard, the keys will remain capital, even when typing lowercase.

Show Lowercase Keys Enabled (Middle) vs. Disabled (Right)

6. Add a Dictionary

If you want to look up the definition of a word you come across on your iPhone, but it's not in the language of the dictionary installed on your device, you won't have any luck using the "Look Up" feature. However, if you add the proper dictionary to your iPhone, presto — iOS will pull up a definition.

Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

7. Add a Thesaurus

Why stop at dictionaries? Once you add iOS' secret thesaurus to your iPhone, you'll be able to look up synonymous to words you find in a heartbeat. In a flash. In an instant. (You get the idea.)

Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

8. Disable Keyboard Clicks

Don't like the fake clicks your keyboard makes? Neither do many iOS users. It's a common dislike, but luckily, you can disable the sound entirely, not just when you ring switch is set to mute. Just dive into "Sounds & Haptics" in Settings, then, towards the bottom of the page, ensure the slider next to "Keyboard Clicks" is disabled.

9. Disable 'Shake to Undo'

"Shake to Undo" is a way for Apple to include an undo tool without needing an on-screen button to get the job done. That being said, you might have accidentally activated the feature one too many times to see it as useful. If you're sick of worrying about shaking your iPhone while writing anythinghere's how to disable the setting:

Photos & Camera

Your iPhone has an excellent camera — why not take full advantage of it? From framing your shot to editing your masterpiece, you'll find more than enough to tweak in Camera and Photos.

1. Preserve Your Camera Settings

By default, iOS will reset the camera to "Photo" with stock settings, even if you were on a different camera mode with different filters, settings, etc. If you want to see your camera as it was when last used, you can do so via the Settings.

In the Camera settings, tap "Preserve Settings." Here, you have some options. "Camera Mode" preserves the last camera mode used, such as Video or Panoramic, rather than resetting to Photo each time. "Creative Controls," when enabled, preserves your last used creative settings, such as filters, lighting, or depth setting. Finally "Live Photo" lets you decide whether to preserve your Live Photo setting, rather than see iOS reset Live Photo to "On" every time.

2. Use Third-Party Editors Right in Photos

If you've done some digging on the App Store, you'll know there are plenty of third-party photo editors out there for you to use instead of Photos. However, with the right apps, you won't even need to leave Photos to use them.

Some editors allow you to access their tools directly from the Photos app itself, simplifying the editing experience. You can shoot a photo with your iPhone's camera, then hop right into Photos to begin editing, rather than export your photo to a third-party editor.

3. Enable the Grid

If you want help setting up the perfect frame for your shot, enable the grid! With it, you'll have an excellent guide to line up your shot with.

Image by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

4. Enable the Level

Once you enable the grid, iOS' secret camera level also becomes available to you. Use this to make sure your photos are perfectly balanced, without needing to use a tripod or stabilizer. Just line up the yellow and white crosshairs in the middle of the display, and you'll know your photo is correctly aligned.

Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

5. Change Your Frame Rate & Resolution

Want to make sure you're shooting video in 4K on your iPhone? How about film-like 24 fps? Maybe you're tight on space and need to shoot in the lowest quality possible. No matter the situation, you can adapt, just by changing your camera's frame rate and resolution settings.

6. Hide Private Photos

For one reason or another, you might want to hide photos on your iPhone from your friends and family. Once you know how, iOS makes it easy, using the "Hidden" folder option.

Images by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

Safari

As iOS' portal to the internet, you probably spend a lot of time using Safari. So why not tailor the experience more to your needs? From UI tweaks to powerful search tools, iOS' iteration of Safari offers you plenty to customize.

1. Enable Favicons

Favicons are the little icons you see in your web browser's tabs. Firefox and Chrome on iOS have both had this feature for some time now, but as of iOS 12, Safari now has it as well. It isn't forced on you, though — you can choose whether to display these icons or not.

Favicons (left) vs. no favicons (right). Images by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

2. Customize Default Search Engine

Want to browse the web with something other than Google? Head to your Safari settings, then tap "Search Engine." Select one of the four options from the list. Now, that search engine becomes the default whenever you search with the URL bar in Safari.

3. Disable 'Preload Top Hit'

"Preload Top Hit" is a default feature in Safari that automatically loads the "top hit" site for your search query. While this action cuts down the time it takes to load the site in question, it does preemptively use your data. If you're trying to be conservative with your internet use on mobile, consider disabling this feature.

4. Add Quick Website Searches

Quick Website Searches allow you to enter a search in your web browser contained to just one site. For example, by typing "ios.gadgethacks.com" and "iPhone," your web browser will search only ios.gadgethacks.com for the term "iPhone."

You'll find this option in Safari's settings page. Just tap "Quick Website Search," then make sure the toggle next to "Quick Website Search" is engaged. Shortcuts are added automatically to this page when you search them, but you can delete them by swiping left on each.

5. Open Links in Background

By default, iOS requires you to leave your current tab to opens new tabs. With "Open Links in Background," however, you can quietly open a new link as a tab in Safari without interrupting your browsing.

This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' annual Tweaks & Hacks Celebration week. Read all of the Tweaks & Hacks Celebration stories.

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Cover image, screenshots, and GIFs by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks (unless otherwise noted)