iPhone: The Inspector Gadget of Phones

Published May 6, 2019

Sometimes I feel like my iPhone is a handheld “Inspector Gadget.” It has so many hidden features and does so many cool things—I wouldn’t be surprised if I had an option to make a propeller pop out of the top and carry my phone away, or an option to extend a folding metal arm with a boxing glove, just like in the cartoons.

Although the boxing glove and propeller ideas may be a little far-fetched, I recently learned of a few things that my iPhone really can do that I didn’t know about. Brandon Carte’s article, “35 Things You Never Knew Your iPhone Could Do” was recently shared on ETC’s Facebook page. It describes a lot of cool iPhone features that aren’t necessarily well known, a few of which are listed below:

Tape Measure—From what I can tell, the Measure App came with one of the more recent software updates, but I never noticed it until reading Mr. Carte’s article. Once I located the app, it was pretty easy to use and fairly accurate. Simply point your phone at an object you want to measure, then move the phone around a bit. A white circle with a dot in the middle will appear. Next, line the white dot up with the edge of the object being measured. Press the white button with the plus sign, then drag the phone along the length of the item being measured, and the dimensions will display.

Photo Effects—You can now add shapes, text and other graphics to photos you’re texting. Open the Messages (texting) App. Tap the Camera icon on the bottom left. When you take a photo, you can tap the Effects button (it looks a little like a snowflake on the bottom left corner). This will prompt buttons for Shapes, Text and Filters. Tapping these create options and objects that you can select, edit and/or drag onto your photo before sending.

Mute Text-Message Threads—Have you ever been a part of a group text—say a party invitation sent to you and 20 of your best friends? And each time someone within that group RSVPs to the party, you get notified? If you don’t want to be alerted to the incoming storm of RSVP replies, you can ‘hide alerts’ for that message. Simply swipe left on the respective text message and tap the “Hide Alerts” button.

Flash Alerts vs. Sound Alerts—I’ve seen my co-worker’s phone flash when he gets a text, as opposed to being notified via chime or other sound. If you would prefer that your phone do the same, go to Settings, then General. Under Accessibility, scroll down to LED Flash for Alerts and toggle to enable this option.

Photo Centering Assistance—I was recently looking through some old photos. I noticed that a lot of the pictures featured a disproportionate amount of background. There was an obvious challenge with centering the photo. To better center and frame your subject, use the grid feature available on your camera. Just go to Settings, then scroll down to Camera, and enable the Grid feature.

App Review Opt Out—If you tend to download a lot of apps, you may have seen surveys and popups asking for your feedback when you use the app. To stop receiving these popups and ratings requests, go to Settings, then tap iTunes & App Store, and simply toggle the In-App Ratings & Reviews to Off.

These tools are just an overview of some of the lesser-known iPhone traits featured in Mr. Carte’s article the “35 Things You Never Knew Your iPhone Could Do.” To read the article in its entirety, check out https://www.bestproducts.com/tech/apps/a1356/iphone-tips-tricks-features/.