7 things you didn't know your new iPhone could do

If you’re lucky enough to be unwrapping a new iPhone over Christmas, then there are a few extra features you’re going to want to know about.

We assume you know it can make calls and take pictures as well as install some of those great apps everyone is always talking about.

But despite iPhones having been around for nigh-on 14 years now, there are still some things not everyone knows.

Here are seven useful features that we found after digging around in the gadget’s Accessibility settings.

Background Sounds

You can use a setting called Background Sounds to turn your iPhone into a white noise machine. Which can be handy over Christmas.

To enable it, go to the Accessibility menu, select Audio/Visual and then Background Sounds and toggle on the feature.

Choose which sound you want and the iPhone will download the required audio file and start playing. You can place a shortcut to it on the pull-down Control Centre for easy access when you want to focus.

Back Tap

Back Tap allows users to add a shortcut to their accessibility features. This way, instead of finding a feature in a menu, you can invoke them by double-tapping the back of their iPhone.

It’s like adding a whole extra button to your iPhone that you can map to a specific action.

Guided Access

Guided Access helps you stay focused on the task (or app) at hand.

It allows you to limit a device to stay in one app at a time by disabling the Home button.

This feature can be useful for parents who might want to keep their children focused on one app at a given time.

Live Listen

Live Listen allows users to focus on a conversation in a noisy environment or hear from across the room.

The caveat is you’ll need a pair of Apple’s AirPods or certain Beats headphones to do it.

Once the headphones are paired, you can pull down the Control Centre and tap the Hearing button (the one that looks like an ear) and select Live Listen.

Put your iPhone in front of the person you want to hear and you can continue the conversation through your AirPods even when you’re not with them.

Sound Recognition

Sound Recognition allows your iPhone to listen out for certain sounds, such as a crying baby, fire alarm, door bell or running water.

The gadget will use on-device intelligence to notify you when certain sounds are detected. Naturally, Apple says you shouldn’t rely on it in circumstances where ‘you may be harmed or injured, in high-risk or emergency situations, or for navigation.’

But it does mean you can set your iPhone to listen out for the cat’s meow when it’s time for dinner.

Dark Mode

Dark Mode makes everything easier on your eyes, transforming every element on your screen into a dark colour scheme, making reading easier.

This feature can be especially noticeable in winter with the shorter daylight hours and more darkness, meaning your eyes do not have to adjust to a bright screen.

You can set your iPhone to automatically turn out Dark Mode when the sun sets by tapping on the Display and Brightness option in the Settings menu. Beneath the light and dark options is a toggle switch labelled ‘Automatic’.

Sensory Alerts

Sensory Alerts allows you to choose how you want to be notified for incoming calls, new texts, emails and other events through audio alerts, vibrations or a quick LED Flash.

Nobody wants their ringtone blasting out at the wrong moment, so you can opt for a more subtle approach.

Again, you’ll find it in the Audio/Visual submenu under Accessibility in your iPhone’s Settings app.

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