Apple touts iOS as the most advanced mobile operating system in the world. And there’s actually a lot of truth in that claim. Apple’s iOS is home to a multitude of impressive features and capabilities. In fact, a great many of these go beyond the requisite messaging, calling, browsing, picture-taking and social networking functions of iOS devices.
In this AppAdvice guide, we highlight five of our favorite “unsung” iOS features — so little known that you’ve probably never heard about them, let alone used them.
Apple's iOS is home to a multitude of impressive features and capabilities, many of which you've probably never heard about, let alone used
Be prepared for an amazing treat.
Let Siri read to you
Siri has a voice, you just have to make her use it
Siri, Apple’s digital voice assistant, can do a lot more than give you directions or the weather forecast. It can also read to you.
You just need to enable the Speech tool and its two main features, Speak Selection and Speak Screen, to take advantage of Siri’s text-to-speech capability.
When enabled, Speak Selection offers a Speak button in the contextual menu whenever text is selected, regardless of the app. After selecting Speak, Siri will read the selected text.
Speak Screen is even more impressive. When enabled, a swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen will have Siri read all of the text on the screen. A menu overlay will also be provided allowing you to change Siri’s speaking pace and move the reading of text forward or back.
These tools are specially designed for use by people who are visually impaired. But they can also prove beneficial to users who want to “read” during situations such as driving and commuting. With Speech, particularly its Speak Screen component, you can get through your bookmarked articles in Readability or the latest stories in NYT Now in no time just by listening to them.
The Reminders app is a nice tool for those of us who have a hard time remembering things. It’s even better when paired with the location-based properties of iOS.
Imagine this scenario: You need to be reminded to call your mother when you get home. Siri can do this. Simply tell Siri, “Remind me to call mom when I get home.” Then, the moment you arrive home, the Reminders app’s geofencing wizardry will kick in to alert you with a reminder to call your mother!
Your iPhone's vibrations don't have to be boring
Customize your device's vibrations
By default your iOS device uses two quick vibration pulses for a text message, a continuous steady pulse vibration for incoming calls, and a single vibration for Notification Center alerts.
If you want something out of the ordinary, consider adding a custom vibration. To do so, launch the Settings app and go to the Sounds section. From there, select the type of vibration you wish to create under the heading Sounds and Vibration Patterns.
For this example, we’ll create a custom vibration for Tweet.
By default, vibrations for tweets are turned off in iOS, although Apple does offer seven standard choices, including alert, heartbeat, and symphony.
Select Create New Vibration to generate your own variation. Tap to create a vibration pattern, which is playable and recordable. Once you’re satisfied with your creation, select Save, name it, and expect to feel its pulses thereafter.
Location, location, location
Oh, the places you've frequently been to
Overall, enabling location services on your iOS device can be a positive experience. After all, they help you find nearby coffee shops or theaters, or tell you how to get from one location to another. What you probably don’t know about location services is that it tracks the places you most frequent.
By default, tracking of frequent locations is turned on. If not, you can turn it on yourself by following these steps.
Your iPhone knows where you've frequently been, but only if you let it
In the Frequent Locations section (the same section where you can toggle the tool), over time you’ll see a listing of your most frequently visited locations by city and state. Drill further down and you’ll see these locations on a map. One final click will indicate the specific time you were at a location — and for how long.
How much storage am I using?
Don't let your iPhone be a storage hog
If you own an iPhone 6 with a measly 16GB of available data storage, this tool is for you.
Some apps use a lot of storage, especially those that include images and videos. To see the apps taking up the most storage on your device, and to delete unwanted apps hogging precious space, follow these steps.