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iPhone tips and tricks: How to use gestures and controls


When Apple did away with the Touch ID button on the front of the iPhone, it came up with a whole bunch of gestures to compensate for the missing button. Problem is, several years down the line, I’m still seeing people who struggle – or who are completely unaware of – many of these gestures and controls Apple has built into iOS 13.

If you want to master your iPhone, get the most out of your investment, and use it like a pro, here everything you need to know.

Must read: Coronavirus, flu and other nasties: What if your job involves handling other people’s dirty gadgets?

#1: What do the buttons do and what are they called?


Here's what the buttons are called and what they do

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Let’s first familiarize ourselves with the buttons. The good news is that there aren’t that many!

#2: Shutdown


Shutdown an iPhone

You don’t have to do this all that often, but it’s good to know how to do it.

Press and hold down the side button and the volume down button, then slide to power off.

#3: Take a screenshot


Take a screenshot on your iPhone

Press and hold down the side button and then tap the volume up button. Screenshots will be saved with your Photos, but if you want to edit or delete them on the spot, tap on them while they are shown in the bottom left of the display.

#4: Activate Siri


Activate Siri on your iPhone

There are lots of ways to activate Siri, and one way is to press and hold down the side button.

#5: Activate Apple Pay


Activate Apple Pay/Wallet on the iPhone

Bringing the iPhone to a card reader should activate Apple Pay, but if you want to do it manually, or bring up the Wallet app, double tap the side button.

#6: Bring up Emergency SOS and disable Face ID


Bring up Emergency SOS and disable Face ID on the iPhone

To bring up Emergency SOS and disable Face ID on the iPhone, press the side button five times in quick succession.

#7: Wake up the display


Wake up the display on the iPhone

To wake up the display on the iPhone — either because you want to be discreet or have Raise to Wake disabled – just tap anywhere on the screen. Alternatively, you can tap the side button.

#8: Show the notifications screen


Show the notifications screen on the iPhone

Do show the notifications screen on the iPhone, swipe down from the top left of the display.

#9: Open Control Center


Open Control Center on the iPhone

To open Open Control Center on the iPhone, swipe down from the top right of the display.

#10: To unlock the iPhone and use Face ID


To unlock the iPhone and use Face ID

Swipe up from the bottom when the iphone is locked while looking at the iPhone.

#11: Switching to another open app


Switching to another open app on the iPhone

To switch to another open app, swipe from the bottom about a quarter of the way up the screen to bring up the app switcher, then find the app you want to switch to and tap on it.

#12: How to close an app


How to close an app on the iPhone

To switch to another open app, swipe from the bottom about a quarter of the way up the screen to bring up the app switcher, then find the app you want to close then flick it upwards.

#13: How to get to the Home screen


How to get to the Home screen on the iPhone

When in an app, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

#14: How to quickly scroll between apps


How to quickly scroll between apps on the iPhone

To rapidly switch between open apps, swipe right-to-left or left-to-right on the bottom of the screen.

#15: Activate Reachability


Activate Reachability on the iPhone

To use Reachability — which brings the top of the screen within reach of your thumb — first make sure it is on by going Settings > General > Accessibility and making sure Reachability is on.  

To activate Reachability, swipe down the bottom part of the display.

#16: Bring up Accessibility shortcuts


Bring up Accessibility shortcuts on the iPhone

To bring up Accessibility shortcuts ap the side button three times.

#17: Force a reboot


Force a reboot on the iPhone

You don’t have to reboot a crashed iPhone that often, but when you do need to do it, here’s how.

Tap and release the volume up button, then tap and release the volume down button, and finally press and hold the side button until the IPhone reboots (the Apple logo appears).

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About admin

I'm a 50 year old PLC programmer from Burnley, UK. I severed my time as an electrician in the baking industry and soon got involved with the up and coming technology of PLC's. Initially this was all based in the Uk but as the years went by I have gradually worked my way around the globe. At first it was mainly Mitsubishi with a bit of Modicon thrown in but these days the industry leaders seem to be the Allen Bradley range of PLC and HMI’s.

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