5 Tips to Take Command of Your iPhone

Last month, Apple released an update to its iOS 14.5 operating system that gives users better control over their personal information. However, if you want more control over the iPhone itself, you have options too. Would you like to make your favorite apps easily accessible, tag friends in messages or set your preferred browser to open links? You can do all of that and more.

Here are some quick tips to improve the iPhone experience. Next week’s Tech Tip column rounds up some helpful tips for Android believers.

The Control Center – the handy control panel with frequently used settings that can be accessed with a swipe of a finger – first appeared in 2013 and became more useful when Apple began allowing users to add their favorite buttons a few years later. If you haven’t tinkered with your Control Center to add the features and functionality you use most, just open the Settings icon on the Home Screen, scroll down to the Control Center and tap on it.


From the list on the next screen, select the icons for the apps and settings that you want to use in your Control Center. While tools like the flashlight are usually there by default, you can remove the ones you never use and add icons for apps you want, such as: B. the magnifying glass, the QR code scanner or even the Shazam music recognition function. To change the order of the icons on the screen, drag them up and down the list before closing the Settings app.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had another way to interact with your device, along with screen swipes and voice commands? If you have at least one iPhone 8 with iOS 14 or later, you can use the Tap Back feature to have your iPhone take a specific action when you quickly tap the back.


To set it up, open Settings, select Accessibility, then Touch and scroll down to Back Tap. If you choose Back Tap, choose either Double Tap or Triple Tap, and then choose an action on the next screen, such as: For example, opening the Spotlight Search app or Control Center, or running a shortcut that you set up with the Apple Shortcuts app. You can assign the Double Tap and Triple Tap functions to two separate tasks – and Back Tap should work even if your iPhone is in a case.

Tired of the iPhone always opening the Safari browser instead of your favorite DuckDuckGo when you tap a link, or the Apple Mail program instead of the Gmail app when you open an email address from your Select contact list? If your iPhone is running iOS 14 or later, you can choose which apps you want as the default programs.


To do this, tell Siri to open Settings for Gmail or whatever app you actually want to use. You can also tap the Settings icon on the home screen, scroll to the name of the app, and select it to go to Settings. On the next screen, tap the Standard Browser App or Standard Mail App line and select your preferred program.

Do you want to reply to a specific post in a message chat or grab someone’s attention in a group conversation like you can on some social media platforms? You can do both.


To reply to a specific message in a one-on-one or group chat where everyone is using the Messages app, press your finger on that message until a menu appears. Select Reply, enter your reply and tap the blue send arrow. To tag someone in a conversation to receive a notification, put the @ symbol in front of their name, or just type in the name and select it when it appears on-screen in your Contacts.

Apple’s Siri voice assistant, which is celebrating a decade on the iPhone in October this year, has lost some of its knowledge and usefulness compared to Amazon Alexa and the Google assistant in recent years. To improve Siri’s capabilities, Apple added additional capabilities to iOS 14. With iOS 14.5, it now includes a wider range of voices.


To change how and when Siri sounds, open the Settings icon on the home screen, select Siri & Search, and make your selections. You can also see your conversations on the screen by tapping Siri Replies and checking Always Show Siri Subtitles and Always Show Language to make sure you see the last word.

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