iPhone 12 gestures and hidden menus

iPhone 12 gestures and hidden menus

Apple adds more functions to the iPhone every year. However, the more it can do, the more complicated it becomes.

If you’ve recently got a new iPhone after generations – or just haven’t messed around with your phone a lot – you may be missing out on some simple ways to get more done, faster. The iPhone has a number of “hidden” menus with which you can, for example, browse apps, return to the previous screen, find widgets that show snapshots of certain information, or quickly turn your WLAN on and off.

They’re hidden because you have to perform certain gestures that are not necessarily easy to guess. But once you know where they are, they are very useful.

Here’s a quick rundown to get you up and running.

Here’s how to reach the top of your iPhone screen without dropping your phone

The accessibility shifts the upper edge of the screen downwards.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Maybe you have a big iPhone. Or maybe you have small hands. Either way, the Reachability option allows you to quickly access the icons at the top of the phone without stretching your fingers. This will lower the screen so you don’t have to fumble with two hands. The availability is deactivated by default. So here’s how to enable it:

  • Open settings.
  • Tap Accessibility.
  • Choose Touch.
  • Activate the availability option.

Now that it’s on, use it by quickly swiping down at the bottom of the screen.

How to use the Control Center

Control Center on iPhone

Todd Haselton | CNBC

You probably already know how to swipe up from the top center of your home screen. This will show your most recent notifications.

However, if you’ve come from an iPhone with a home button, you might not know that you can swipe down from the top right corner of your screen as well. This will open the Control Center, which gives you quick access to general functions. You can use it to turn on your flashlight, recognize a track with Spotify, control your smart lights, turn Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on and off, start the calculator and much more. But you need to set it up so that it has the right elements in it.

To manage what appears in the Control Center, do the following:

  • Open settings.
  • Tap on Control Center.
  • Scroll down and tap the green button next to the options you want to see when you swipe from the top right of the screen.

How to use iPhone widgets

Widgets on the iPhone

Todd Haselton | CNBC

You can place small mini-apps called widgets on your home screen. But there is also a hidden area dedicated to widgets.

This is to the left of your home screen, so you can access it by swiping right on your screen. You can customize it with any app that has widgets. I have a photo gallery in mine and an icon that shows the battery life on my iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch. I also use it for a quick look at my Apple Fitness Rings, CNBC Trending News, and more.

There are two ways to get widgets on this screen. For Apple’s built-in widgets and a handful of others that are specially designed, do the following:

  • Swipe right across your home screen until you see the widget panel with a search bar at the top.
  • Scroll down and tap the oval edit button at the bottom.
  • Press the + button in the top left.
  • Select the widget that you want to add.
  • Tap Add Widget.

If you don’t see the widget you want to add, you may need to take an additional step. In this case:

  • After clicking “Edit”, scroll down to the bottom of the screen again and select “Customize”.
  • There you will see widgets for other apps that you have installed on your iPhone. Press the green + button to add it.

Here’s how to find everything on your iPhone at once

Universal search on the iPhone

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The iPhone’s universal search menu lets you search apps, the web, maps, dictionaries, files, and more.

You can access this by swiping down from the center of your home screen. You’ll also see Siri suggestions for your most common actions.

(Reminder: swiping up from the top will shut down notifications, and swiping up from the top right will shut down Control Center.)

How to quickly switch between apps

Switch apps on your iPhone

Todd Haselton | CNBC

You can quickly change or close apps by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, then pressing and holding until you feel a slight vibration. Swipe right to navigate apps. Tap an app to switch to it or swipe up to close it.

Here’s a little bonus trick: Did you know that you can switch between apps by simply swiping right or left across the bottom of the screen? Try it! Open an app, then swipe all the way down. It goes to the last app you opened. Swipe left to go back, or keep swiping right to switch apps

Here’s a second bonus: like on the previous webpage, you can go back to the last screen of an app by swiping right from the edge of the screen. The best way to try this is to open a website, switch to another website, and then swipe right on the screen. You are back where you started. If you swipe left from the right side of your phone, you’ll move forward again.

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