Top 8 iPhone 11 Tips and Tricks 2021 + 1 Bonus

Check out this rundown of the top 8 iPhone tips and tricks for 2021. An explanation of little known iOS features is included. Plus a bonus tip.
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iOS 14 and all of its new goodness was just announced recently, but we won’t see it until the fall. To hold you over until then, I wanted to update you on some great tips and tricks you can do with iOS and iPhone 11 right now. For my demonstration, I used the iPhone 11 Pro Max to share these top 8 iPhone tips and tricks with you.

Tip #1: iPhone sleep timer

So, do you like to fall asleep to the smooth vocal styling of Bob Ross describing a deciduous forest? Maybe you listen to LeVar Burton reading you a bedtime story like Matthew Cherry’s Hair Love, or maybe you’re into heavy metal and your dark soul is uplifted by the classics like Rammstein.

Well, if it’s bedtime and you want to set a limit on all that love, your iPhone has a sleep timer you may not know about. Here’s how you can use your clock to set a timer to turn off anything you’re watching or listening to on your iPhone:

  1. Simply start the Clock app on your iPhone, tap on the Timer tab located at the bottom of the screen.
  2.  Choose the length of time you want, then tap on “When Time Ends”.
  3. Scroll down and tap Stop Playing, then tap Set in the upper right-hand corner of the display

Voilà! Sleep timer activated!

Tip #2: iPhone trackpad mode magic

Are you lost without a trackpad? If so, I can help you turn your iPhone keyboard into a magic touchpad with a simple trick.

Hold down the space bar and you’ll see the characters on the keycaps disappear. You’re now in trackpad mode and can move the cursor around the screen in the appropriate app with reckless abandon.

Tip #3: iPhone keyboard shortcuts

Here’s another typing tip. Normally, when you want to use special characters, you have to tap that 123 key, and you type and that’s it. If you only need to type one or two special characters quickly and don’t want to go back and forth between the different keyboards simply tap and hold the 123 key, then drag and add that single character.

Tap and hold the 123 key, drag to the character that you want to use, pause briefly, and the character you selected will be inserted. The only downside to this useful feature is that it only displays the most commonly used numbers and symbols.

This doesn’t work with the extended range of symbols you get by selecting the 123 key’s menu itself.

Tip #4: iPhone calculator: hidden feature

Do you ever wonder why there is no backspace button in the calculator? Yes? I did too, up until now. You may have hated using the stock Calculator app because you thought that every time you erroneously entered a number, you had to start all over. This is not the case anymore.

The iPhone Calculator app has had a backspace button this entire time, it’s just been hiding from all of us.
Here’s how it works, and it’s so simple that it’s quite funny that we didn’t know it was there before. All you have to do is swipe to the left or the right at the top of the screen where the numbers are displayed. That swipe will delete the number you tapped last.

Tip #5: iPhone calendar reminders

Let’s say you’re setting up a calendar appointment and it’s for 10:00 AM. You want to set a reminder. It’s a phone call you need to make, so you just want a two-minute warning. But wait, Apple does things in five-minute increments.

Well, if you want to set your reminders in one-minute increments, simply double-tap the time in the calendar to change that to one-minute increments instead of five. Boom shakalaka!

Tip #6: iPhone home screen made easy

Are you all about that home screen organization? Well, here’s a faster way to do it. You already know that you can tap and hold and drag an icon to the edge of the screen to move it.

However, you can also just tap and hold, then use your other hand to swipe between screens, to place the app icon anywhere you want. Want to move multiple apps at one time? You can do that as well. Just tap them to the one you’re already holding down with your other hand, then move them all at once. Easy!

Tip #7: Tame your iPhone browser tabs

At any given time, I can have about 80 open browser tabs on my iPhone. That isn’t helping things run as fast as they can, and one way to manage that if you’re someone who keeps scores of random tabs open, is to jump into the Settings app, scroll down and tap Safari, then Close Tabs.

In this setting area, you have the option to close your tabs after one day, week, month, or leave it on manual mode. By setting up a schedule, you can be assured you never have to go through the tedious task of manually closing them.

Tip #8: iPhone scanning: On the fly

Need a fast, easy solution to scan a document? If so, you can do this by using the document scanner feature in the iPhone Notes app.

  1. Launch the Notes app
  2. Start a new note or open an existing one
  3. Select the camera icon, which is located above your iPhone’s keyboard in the center.
  4. Tap “Scan Document”. Use the shutter button or one of your iPhone’s volume buttons to take a picture of your document. If you need to, you can adjust the corners of the document by tapping and dragging them.
  5. Tap “Save” and you’re done.

Bonus tip: Custom keyboard shortcuts

One of the keyboard shortcut features I depend on most being a content creator and reviewer of doodads and whatchamacallits is called text replacement. Quite often when I’m working with various companies, I’ll be asked for my shipping address. Instead of typing that manually each and every time, I’ve set up a few different custom keyboard shortcuts.

One shortcut populates with my home address, and one with my work address. This feature saves me quite a bit of time. I also have one for my contact information. If this sounds useful to you, you can

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on “General”, then select “Keyboard”.
  3. Next, select “Text Replacement”, tap the plus in the top right corner and then touch in the phrase field.
  4. Enter the word or phrase you want to create a shortcut for. This will be the trigger for the shortcut.
  5. Then, in the shortcut field enter the text you want to be replaced by that phrase.
  6. Tap “Save”.

This works in action by typing the shortcut (trigger) first then hitting the spacebar. Once you hit that space bar, your replacement text will appear.