With each iOS update comes a wave of exciting new hidden features, as well as the opportunity to find out about previous features you might not have discovered yet. We’ve rounded up our 2021 list of 5 things you didn’t know you could do on your iPhone, to help you get the very best from your handset.

Level a surface

iOS 12 and later

We’ve all worked ourselves up to finally tackle that DIY project, only to find we’re missing a crucial element – a spirit level. But even if you can’t find a one in your toolbox, you might have just the thing in your pocket.

To level a surface, simply load up your iOS Measure app, and hit the Level tab. Your iPhone will then utilise its own inbuilt compass and sensors to measure the degree of any surface. The app works whether you lay your phone down flat on the surface, or upright on its side – making it easy to measure everything from photo frames to shelves.

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The handy feature will display the degree to which your surface is skewed, and which way it’s leaning. With some readjusting, you should get a green screen and a measurement of 0 degrees to indicate a straight alignment.

Turn the back of your phone into buttons

iOS 11 and later

Did you know you can add two additional buttons to your phone? Using Apple’s handy Back Tap feature, you can assign new functions to trigger when you double, or triple tap the back on your phone with your finger:

1. Go to your iPhone’s settings
2. Tap Accessibility
3. Press Touch
4. Scroll to the bottom of this menu, and select Back Tap

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From here, you’ll be able to choose the actions that launch when you tap on the back of your phone two or three times. A great feature if you’re a lover of time-saving shortcuts.

Maintain eye contact on FaceTime

iOS 14 and later

This feature was introduced in the iOS 14 update, and automatically alters your image during FaceTime calls. If you have an iPhone XS or a later model, you might have already noticed a new “Eye Contact” switch during FaceTime calls.

If you toggle the feature on, it’ll adjust your image, making it appear as if you’re looking directly at the camera – even when you’re looking at the screen. If you’re someone who often gets distracted by your own image during a video call, or you simply want a more realistic experience, this impressive AI feature could be the solution.

Jump backwards in-app

iOS 14 and later

Apple fans have long been niggled by the process of repeatedly tapping backwards through all of the pages you’ve been browsing. Each time you open a new page in an app, it’s another tap backwards to return to what you were previously viewing. It’s clunky and can take up a lot of time, especially if you’ve fallen down a settings exploration hole.

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Now, Apple have added this nifty new app navigation feature – but it’s pretty well hidden. While you can still tap backwards through pages as usual, if you hold the back button, a pop-up list of your previously viewed pages will appear. Here, you can jump back in time – simply tap the app destination you’d like to go back to, and your iPhone will take you straight there.

Make your own icons

iOS 14 and later

Are you a big fan of customisation? iOS 14 introduced a new way to make your mark on your iPhone. Now you can create your own icons, thanks to a new feature hidden away in the inbuilt Shortcuts app:

1. Open the Shortcuts app
2. Tap the + icon in the top right corner
3. Select “Add Action”
4. Press the “Scripting” icon
5. Find the app you’d like to customise, and hit “Open App”
6. Press the three dots
7. Tap “Choose Photo”
8. Upload the photo you’d like to use for your new icon
9. Name and save the shortcut

Whether you’re looking to create a cohesive style or adding a little more fun to your home screen, this Shortcuts feature gives you even more freedom over your iPhone’s theme. You can use any photo you have saved to your device – so why not download some readymade icons online, or have a go at designing your own?

To stay up to date with the latest iPhone and mobile news, don’t forget to take a look at the e2save blog. If it’s time to upgrade to a newer model, make sure to browse the fantastic deals and handsets available at our shop.