Three hidden features of your iPhone
With every latest software or hardware update, our iPhones become more intelligent and bring more cutting-edge technology into our daily lives. Even so, most of us rarely bother to trawl through the details of every upgrade and, subsequently, we’re often unaware of just how clever our iPhone is and what it can do. Here are some of the lesser-known – and surprisingly high-tech – hidden features of your iPhone.
Live Listen for AirPods
You’d be excused for thinking the new Live Listen feature for Apple’s latest iteration of AirPods is more James Bond than Average Joe, but if you have the iOS 12 or later, you qualify. The Live Listen feature turns your device into a microphone, sending amplified sounds to your AirPods. This enables consumers to listen to specific conversations in a noisy room or even hear people clearly from an unnatural distance. Initially, the Live Listen feature was created to pair with MFi-compatible hearing aids to help those who had hearing difficulties, but its inclusion in iOS 12 and above means it can now be used by the general public. It does raise certain ethical questions, as consumers can essentially spy on private conversations without consent. Nevertheless, the feature has a multitude of uses outside of just eavesdropping on your colleagues. It will allow hearing-impaired users to converse with ease and could make communicating at large-scale events much easier. But maybe keep an eye out for a strategically placed iPhone next time you’re about to dish the dirt…
If you have an iPhone XS, XS Max or XR you may be surprised to find out that your device supports eSIM. The latest development in SIM technology, eSIM means your phone works either without, or alongside, the standard plastic SIM card—and with it comes a whole host of benefits. This Dual SIM functionality allows you to switch between providers at the touch of a button. This means you’re not tied into one contract in the way you are with a standard SIM—you can shop around and switch things up depending on cost, service and general preference. This also works on a global scale, so you can choose a local provider when travelling abroad and avoid the massive roaming fees that hit us the moment we step off the plane. For those out there that have two devices for work and personal use, Dual SIM allows you to host two numbers on one device, letting you keep your work and personal data separate without having to manage two different handsets. eSIM also allows you to connect all your devices under one plan. That means your iPhone, iPad and smartwatch can all be synced and managed from one central point. That’s a lot of power in one little chip.
Most of us could benefit from taking a little more time off from our screens. Well, a new update in iOS 12 is helping you do just that. Apple’s new Screen Time feature raises awareness of just how much time you’re spending on your smartphone, and where that time is being spent. A report is fed back to the user at the end of every week detailing which apps you or your children have been active on, and exactly how long for—social media addicts, prepare yourselves. Screen Time then allows you to set limits on certain apps at certain times of the day. Four features: ‘Downtime’, ‘App Limits’, ‘Always Allowed’ and ‘Content and Privacy Restrictions’ enable users to tailor app availability. For instance, if you can’t stop scrolling through Instagram while in the office, you can block the app during work hours. Or, if you feel your child spends too much time on a gaming app you can set a daily time limit for them to adhere to. You can also leave certain apps available at all times, like Maps or Messages, in case you suddenly need to access them—although it’s worth noting that any restrictions can be changed at any time in settings. To date, this is the most in-depth feature by Apple into monitoring and restricting our screen time.