iPhones are rarely put in the same sentence with poweruser options for the simple reason that iOS is a closed operating system. Powerusers are usually the tinkerers and the experimenters – people who would feel much more at home on Android, with its open file system, customizable interface, 3rd party launchers, unlocked bootloaders, custom ROMs, et cetera.
Still, that doesn't mean that iOS doesn't have its fair share of heavy users – people that spend a lot of time on the device, communicating with friends and business associates, shopping online, taking notes and getting organized through their phone. The iPhone has its fair share of hidden features, which the average smartphone holder could care less about, but will be used by the heavy user often. Said features are either out of the way, require some inventive thinking, or are the product of a 3rd party app from the App Store. Check out our six not-so-obvious iOS 9 tips below!
iOS 9: six tips and hidden tricks for powerusers
iOS 9: six tips and hidden tricks for powerusers
1. Clean up your iPhone's RAM
The iPhones still lack a “close all” button in their Recent Apps menu, but that doesn't mean that you can't actually purge a phone's memory from all active processes. If you wish to do this, hold the power button, as if you are going to turn off your iDevice. Once the Slide to power off screen appears, let go of the power button and hold down the home button. Continue holding until you see the device return to the home screen. You've just cleaned up your RAM and background processes!
2. Clear App Store cache
Sometimes the App Store likes acting out. Be it app installation troubles or the menus on the screen going funky. At these moments, you may want to clear up the app's cache, before proceeding with force closes, device restarts, et cetera.
What's that? You can clear the App Store's cache? Yes, you can – if you quickly tap on the navigation bar that's on the bottom of the app (the bar that houses Featured, Top Charts, Explore, Search, Updates) a total of ten times, you will see it go white and re-load all of its assets anew.
3. Get rid of the Facebook app
Most smartphone users have a love/hate relationship with their Facebook app. We all know it's a memory hog, we all know it loves to cache more files than it should and take up between 600 MB and 1 GB on your smartphone. Android users have the official Facebook Lite alternative, which is arguably a bit better, but what about iOS users?
Well, consider removing the Facebook app altogether, and replacing it with a web shortcut on your home screen. Open facebook.com in Safari and log in. See how the mobile version of the website looks a lot like the app? It's pretty functional by itself, too. Now open the Safari sharing options and choose “Add to Home Screen”. You will get a Facebook icon on your home screen, which, when tapped, will open facebook.com. Sure, you will not get new notifications and app badges, but it's a small price to pay for those that are fed up with dealing with the app's random memory hogging. You can still keep the Messenger app around, as it's much less of a rogue. And you can still quick-use the "log in with Facebook" option in other apps – just place your credentials in the iPhone's settings (Settings -> Facebook).
4. Keyboard symbol shortcuts
The iOS keyboard looks kind of skimmed-down when compared to some of the 3rd party offerings, with their swipe typing, number rows, shortcuts and whatnot. However, the iPhone does have a few shortcuts in its stock keyboard, despite the fact that they are not marked in any way. They can be accessed when one holds down a specific key. For example, when entering a web address, hold down on “.” and you will get quick access to the most popular web extensions – .com, .org, .edu, .net... Holding it down when you are entering text, you get access to an ellipsis. A lot of the other symbol keys will give you quick access to characters, such as different currency symbols, upside-down question and exclamation marks, bulletpoints, and other characters you probably didn't know exist on your iPhone's keyboard.
5. Reduce the minimum brightness even more
Blue Light Reduction is coming with iOS 9.3. In case you missed the news – it's a mode for nighttime readers, which removes some blues from the screen, making it easier on the eye for bedtime reading. The iPhone's minimum brightness goes down to around 5 nits — certainly not terrible, but can still be annoying in a pitch-black room. Well, there's a way for you to lower the display brightness beyond the minimum of that the slider allows. It's a bit of an iPhone lifehack and takes more steps than can be listed in a single slide here, so go ahead and read our full guide on how to do it here
6. Expand usability with 3rd party widgets
When Apple chose to finally allow for widgets to be made for iOS, it still only let them exist in the notifications drop-down, instead of the home screen. Users often forget about them and there isn't much focus placed on them, we feel. But there are a few pretty cool widgets, which will make your life easier if you spend a lot of time on your iPhone. We've got three here for your consideration – a calculator widget, so you don't have to switch between apps when you need to do some math; a currency converter widget, for those of you that do a lot of online shopping from their iDevice; a calendar app, which actually shows you a full calendar in the Widgets view, instead of the iOS-default agenda; and a comprehensive favorite contacts widget, which should be useful for every iPhone user out there. Alternatively, you can try the free app Wdgts, which contains a lot of different widgets, but it being a jack of all trades is kind of limited in terms of deep functions.Contacts
PadFantastical 2 (Calendar)Clear CurrencyWdgts