How To: Your iPhone Has a Secret Button That Can Run Hundreds, Even Thousands of Actions — But You Have to Unlock It First
An invaluable button on your iPhone can do hundreds, even thousands of amazing things, but most iPhone users don't even know it exists. You can't push it. You can't click it. You can't press it. But it's the largest button on your iPhone, more powerful than the versatile Side button, and it's hiding in plain sight.
Compared to Apple's iOS, the Android operating system has earned a reputation for giving smartphone users more customization options up front — but there are even more Android features to customize hidden from plain view behind secret menus like the developer options. Despite its name, Android's developer options can benefit everyone, but you have to unlock them first.
Your iPhone has hidden apps that work behind the scenes to filter SMS messages, trust computers, deal with payments, test ads, and perform other actions. You won't find any of them in your App Library, but there are tricks you can employ to unlock and use some of these secret apps.
One of the new wallpaper options on iOS 16 lets you create emoji backgrounds for your Home Screen or Lock Screen. However, Apple didn't include support for Memoji wallpapers — but that doesn't mean you can't have them.
You see the status bar nearly everywhere on your iPhone, and it almost always looks the same. But you can use a few tricks to spice things up a bit — without jailbreaking your iPhone.
Widgets can display essential information from an app right on your iPhone's Lock Screen, but there's an even bigger reason you should be using them: fast access to your most-used apps.
Android 12L and Android 13 have a taskbar just for tablets that lets you quickly open recent, suggested, or pinned apps and drag and drop apps into split-screen mode. While the taskbar is meant just for tablets and foldable devices, you can unlock this new feature for your Android smartphone with a bit of tinkering.
An iPad can serve as a second screen for a Mac via Sidecar, available since iPadOS 13, but Apple isn't the only manufacturer to support such a feature. Samsung has had a similar tool since One UI 3.1 that lets you turn certain Samsung Galaxy tablets into second displays for your PC — and there's a hidden feature that expands it to more tablets and even Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
Wireless emergency alerts help warn mobile phone users of imminent threats to life or property, such as extreme weather and natural disasters. These alerts target affected geographic areas and come with a loud sound scary enough to make you want to turn off emergency alerts altogether on your iPhone, but there's a way to keep emergency alerts without the ear-splitting, intrusive sound.
Emoji have taken over the world, so there's a good chance you regularly use (or overuse) emoji on your iPhone's keyboard just like everyone else. But before emoji were popular, there were emoticons, short for "emotion icons" — and iOS has a secret emoticon keyboard just waiting for you to unlock.
There are many ways to customize your iPhone's Home Screen on iOS 16, but some of the more interesting ones are the options Apple won't tell you about or hasn't even thought of.
Gaming just got easier, thanks to Apple. A secret feature on your iPhone or iPad makes it so much easier to beat that level or opponent you can't seem to defeat, and it can even help you learn to play a new game faster.
How To: Force Apps to Use Android's Transparent System Navigation Bar if They Don't Already Support It
One aspect of Android's interface that remains clunky is its gesture- or button-based navigation bar, mainly because app developers aren't fully utilizing the tools available to them. But a new feature Google is working on may finally make your nav bar more uniform across your apps.
It's not an easy task when it comes to customizing apps on your iPhone. Sure, you can build automations in Shortcuts to add color-related filters, enable Live Captions, or play a background sound specific to each app, but it can be too much work. If you don't mind that, go ahead, but there are also some easier per-app settings hiding on your iPhone that are much easier to assign.
Android's back gesture, formerly the back button, has long been a blessing and a curse. While it gives us system-wide backward navigation, the action can sometimes be unpredictable. But Google may have a solution with its new predictive back gesture, which gives you an animated peek at where you're about to go next to help you decide on continuing or staying with the current view.
There are many things Apple doesn't tell you about its products, and that's definitely the case when it comes to its Messages app. Hidden features lurk in your SMS and iMessage conversations just waiting to be found, and we've unearthed some of the most secret ones.
The Calculator app is probably one of Apple's most-used iPhone apps, yet I always meet people who don't know all the little tricks there are to using it more efficiently. You may know most of them, but there's a chance you don't or at least forget about some of them.
Night Shift, Dark Mode, Reduce White Point, and Zoom's Low Light Filter all help reduce the harmful effects on your body's clock that bright iPhone and iPad screens have at night. But there's another option on iOS and iPadOS that turns your entire display red, and it's useful for so much more than just late-night browsing in bed.
How To: Customize Colors for All the Apps on Your iPhone to Match How You Use Them Most (Or Just for Fun)
There aren't many iPhone apps that let you change their color theme beyond light and dark appearances. They really don't need to either because iOS has a few hidden tricks up its sleeves to help you customize any app's colors either during a specific session or every time you use the app.
How To: This Hidden Trick Lets You Bold Text in Your iPhone's Status Bar for a Heavier Look System-Wide
There's not much you can customize on your iPhone's status bar beyond showing or hiding the battery percentage icon. You can't choose different icons or pick a vibrant color, but there's a secret trick that lets you bold all the text.