10 incredibly useful tricks for iPhone and Android that make your life easier

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Remember when we used phones only for calls? Today, ours smartphone guard our entire digital life.

This, of course, includes your precious photos and videos. Tap or click for nine photos that you should always have on handlike your medical and dental insurance cards.

Speaking of photos, how many times do you spend too much time looking for your photo know is it hidden somewhere in your gallery? Stop scrolling and use this clever trick to quickly find a photo.


Your iPhone or Android has a lot of hidden goodies. Here are 10 tricks you will come back to over and over again.

1. Start using the touch back

Instead of fumbling through the pages of app, you can immediately perform a specific task with your phone. I take a lot of screenshots with my phone and do this by double tapping the back of my phone. Three taps and my driveway entrance gate opens. A friend of mine turns on the back patio lights the same way.

In this photo illustration we see an Android logo displayed on a smartphone.

In this photo illustration we see an Android logo displayed on a smartphone.
(Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

Up up i phone 8 or later, you can use your finger to tap the back of the phone two or three times to trigger a custom action. go to Settings > accessibility > touch > tap back To select Double tap or Triple tap.

From there, choose a specific action. While this is useful, I warn you that you may accidentally trigger an action from time to time.

More Apple intelligence: 10 iPhone tricks that I use every day and you want too

2. Configure shortcuts for your most used apps

Want to add a link to a specific app on your home screen? Not all apps have shortcuts, but you can find out by pressing and holding the app.

Here’s how to do it on Android:

  • Press down on an app, then lift your finger. If the app has shortcuts, they will show up.
  • Touch and hold the shortcut.
  • Move the shortcut where you want and lift your finger.

On your iPhone, this is a super handy shortcut. Hit the Messages app icon and you’ll see some of your conversations. Select and hold one of your contacts with multiple messages. Drag it to your home screen. Now tap that button to chat.

Makeup in a makeup: When you are looking for an app on your phone, you stop going from page to page. On your iPhone, swipe right until a search bar appears at the top. Then, type in the name of the app you want to use. On Android, swipe up from the center of the screen. In the app drawer, tap Search.

3. Stop missing out on big action shots

If you’ve ever tried to get a good picture of your kids playing, you know how difficult it is to capture movement. Burst mode allows the camera to take photos faster than humanly possible. You get multiple photos for every second, then you can select your favorites to keep.

Tap and hold the shutter button if you have an iPhone X or earlier. Swipe the shutter button left if you have an iPhone Xs or later.

Either way, lift your finger to stop burst mode. Then select the images you want to keep by tapping burst > To select > done.

Woman using smartphone on a wooden desk.

On Android phones, press and hold the camera shutter button to enable burst mode.

Tired of taking bad pictures? Take better photos with these ingenious tips.

4. Get rid of the clutter

When was the last time you closed all browser tabs on your phone? Don’t waste time going through them one by one. On Android, open Chrome. Tap the number next to the URL bar to see a grid of all your cards. Click the three-point menuthen select Close all tabs.

On an iPhone, you can do the same in Safari. Tap the icon with two overlapping boxes in the lower right corner. A menu will appear. You choose Close all tabs.

Speaking of your browser, it’s worth deleting cookies. Tap or click here for steps to do it on your favorite mobile browser.

5. Use your iPhone as a magnifying glass

The last time I had to read a tiny serial number, I remembered how useful it is to use the magnifying glass built into the iPhone. No more squinting or running for your readers.

go to Settings > accessibility > magnifying glasses and turn it on. Now your magnifying glass is a shortcut to accessibility. It also works on iPad.

To quickly access it when you need it, add it to your Control Center. go to Settings > control center > Customize the controls. Click the + button next to Magnifying glass. You’ll see the magnifying glass icon in your Control Center when you swipe down from the top of the screen.

A customer tries an iPhone.

A customer tries an iPhone.

6. Correct the Google Assistant

Is your smart assistant always getting the names wrong? It may seem silly to teach the phone to say a name. Make a change so Google understands you the first time you call someone in the future.

  • Say “Ok Google, open assistant settings”.
  • Choose You, then tap Your people > Add person.
  • Select a Contact.
  • Under “Pronunciation of name”, choose Register your > record.
  • Choose To play to hear it, then tap Save finally.

You can do the same with Siri on an iPhone. Tap or click here and scroll to number 7 for steps.

Get more from your Android: 5 hidden Google Assistant tricks you should try now.

7. Sign documents quickly

When someone emails you a document that you need to sign, you don’t have to print, sign, and scan it. Use your iPhone. First, download the PDF, click pen icon top right e sign with your touch screen. Click done at the top left of the screen.

You can reply to the email with the newly signed attachment.

If you use AirDrop, you can share the documents you sign with other Apple devices. Tap or click here to see why AirDrop is a useful iPhone feature you should start using.

8. Tell him to forget it

Both Siri and Google Assistant make distinct noises, so you know when you’ve accidentally activated them. To stop the Google Assistant from recording the rest of the conversation, say “It wasn’t for you.” This erases everything that has just started recording.

You can say the same to Siri, but be aware that Apple hasn’t officially said if this sentence erases your previous recording from its memory. Tap or click here to prevent all of your smart devices from hearing you and recording what you say.

9. Measure or level anything

Do you want to see if something is level? Take out your iPhone and open the Measure app. This useful app uses augmented reality to turn your device into a fantastic measurement tool.

It is simple to use. Suppose you want to measure a frame. Open the app, then tap the screen on one side of the frame. Scan your phone through the bezel and tap the opposite end. The measurement will appear on the screen.

You may need to move the device so that the camera can capture the size of an object. Save your measurement by tapping copy, which adds the numbers to the clipboard.

10. Get captions when video or audio plays

If you have trouble understanding something or are in a noisy place, try Android’s real-time subtitles. Use them for podcasts, YouTube videos, or even phone calls. This feature is available on Pixel 2 and later and some other select Android phones.

  • press the volume button.
  • Under the volume controls, tap live caption icon.
  • Live subtitles are now active for all media on your device.
  • To turn off live subtitles, press the volume button and tap live caption new icon.

bonus tip: Wi-Fi on the moon, Russian cyberattacks and a Google tip to save gas


Did you know Wi-Fi is coming to the moon? Yes, really. In this episode of Kim Komando Explains, I will teach you how to find a seat on the plane with more legroom, save money on gasoline, and some other technical tips that you will use over and over again. I also have an action plan that you can use to protect yourself from Russian cyber attacks.

Check out my “Kim Komando Explains” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you find your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Command”.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show e tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch The Kim Commando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2022, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. By clicking on the shopping links, you are supporting my research. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I believe in.


Check out all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim answers calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters, and more, visit his website at Komando.com.

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