It only takes mere moments to power up a new iPhone and start
using it, but it's worth taking a couple of minutes to delve a
little deeper. Just by changing a few settings you can vastly
change and improve your overall user experience. Even if you've
been using your phone for years, these often-overlooked toggles and
tweaks can make your iPhone feel brand new again.
Silence Unknown Callers
If it seems like robocalls have increased exponentially over the
past year, it's because they have. Spam callers have gotten more
sophisticated and plentiful since the start of the pandemic, and
they're a regular nuisance on our iPhones. But you can put a stop
to them without needing to block every number that comes in. In the
Phone settings, you'll find a toggle to silence unknown callers,
which will stop your iPhone from ringing or vibrating when a number
comes in that isn't in your contact list.
Why should you change it: While unknown numbers
do need to get through sometimes, it's a small price to pay for
silencing the dozens on spam call we get each week.
Full Screen Incoming Calls
Apple changed the way Siri handles calls in iOS 14, moving from
full-screen alerts to small banners that are easy to miss. But you
have a choice of how the caller information is displayed. To change
it back to the old way, head over to Settings, tap Phone,
then Incoming Calls and finally Full Screen.
Why should you change it: We like the idea of
the small banner to alert us to incoming calls, but since we're
going to stop what we're doing anyway, we prefer the full-screen
notification that makes it easy to see and silence.
Default App (Email and
Ever since iOS 14, Apple has given users the option to change
the default email and browser apps from Mail and Safari, so when
you open a link it'll send you to your preferred app. To change
them, take another trip to the Settings app, scroll down to the app
that you want to make default (such as Chrome), and then tap either
Default Email App or Default Browser App. Note
that if you ever delete the app you've selected, Safari will
automatically be restored as the default app.
Why should you change it: There are lots of
great third-party browser and email apps out there and this setting
will let you use them to their full powers.
Siri's default voice is everywhere, so you probably don't want
to hear it on your iPhone too. Luckily, you can easily change Siri's voice by going into the Settings
app, selecting Siri Search and then Siri
Voice. Once you're on the menu, you can select the
Variety (American, Australian, British, Indian, Irish,
South African) and then choose between several voices. For example,
selecting American under Variety brings up four numbered
Voice choices (two male and two female). That way, your
iPhone's voice won't be like everybody else's.
Why should you change it: Why should Siri on
your iPhone sound like everyone else's?
Appearance (Light and Dark)
Your iPhone will appear in Light mode when you power it on for
the first time, but many people choose to join the Dark side to
reduce eye strain from heavy use and save a little battery life. If
you want to enable Dark mode, tap on the Settings app icon followed
by Display Brightness. Inside you'll find
Light and Dark options as well as
Automatic which lets you set your iPhone to go
Dark at sunset or a specific time.
Why should you change it: Dark mode saves
battery, but mostly it's just cool when your phone changes with the
time of day.
In the past, if you wanted to have a cleaner home screen with
just a few apps on it, you would have to actually delete the ones
you didn't want or collect them in folders. Now, you can keep your
downloaded apps in the App Library without ever seeing them on your
home screen. Just tap and hold on an empty spot on your home screen
and tap the dots that appear at the bottom of the screen. Then just
unselect the ones you want to hide.
You can also choose to have downloaded apps automatically go to
the App Library. Go to Settings, tap on Home Screen and
then choose App Library Only to turn it on. Then when you
want to open a new app either search for it or just swipe left past
the last home page.
Why should you change it: We've hated the icon
grid for as long as we can remember, and the App Library is a great
way to access your apps with needing to see them all the time.
You'll want to get to know a setting called Back Tap, which allows you to perform common
tasks such as muting, bringing up the App Switcher, or accessing
the Control Center by double or triple tapping the back of your
phone. Go to Settings, then the Accessibility tab, tap on
Touch, and then Back Tap to pick the action you
want to tap-ify.
Why should you change it: Give it a try and you
won't know how you lived without it.
Before you start downloading apps and browsing websites, you may
want to go into the privacy settings and turn on Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, which stops
apps from tracking you outside of their own sandbox. Just go to
Settings, tap on Privacy, then Tracking make sure the
Allow Apps to Request to Track button is toggled on if you
want to make an app-by-app decision or flip it off to stop all apps
from tracking you.
Why should you change it: App tracking is one
of the worst parts of the web, and Apple is doing its part to keep
it in check.
A hidden feature that was created for users who
are hard of hearing can be used by anyone to improve the clarity of
some sounds (such as making vocal mixes sharper) in AirPods and
Beats headphones. Tap on Settings, then Accessibility and
Audio/Visual to find Headphone Accommodations, where you
can tweak the tone and level of some sounds.
Why should you change it: The AirPods have
precious few settings, so this one is a great way to customize your
Apple's new Focus feature was introduced in iOS 15 as a
grand extension of Do Not Disturb. It's powerful and can be a
little overwhelming, so you'll need to spend a little time setting
it up. To start, tap on Settings, choose Focus and then
you can select from several modes, including Do Not Disturb,
Driving, Sleep, Personal or Work, or set a custom one. Most
importantly, you'll want to set which contacts and notifications
can get through the filters while you're Focusing.
Why should you change it: Focus isn't as clear
as it could be, but if you can get the hang of it, it's an
excellent way to manage your screen time.