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iPhone tips and tricks: How to use gestures and controls

I'm amazed how many people still struggle with - or are simply unaware of - the gestures and controls that Apple has built into iOS 13 supposedly to make using the iPhone easier.
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Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributor on

When Apple did away with the Touch ID button on the front of the iPhone, it came up with a whole bunch of gestures to compensate for the missing button. Problem is, several years down the line, I'm still seeing people who struggle - or who are completely unaware of - many of these gestures and controls Apple has built into iOS 13.

If you want to master your iPhone, get the most out of your investment, and use it like a pro, here everything you need to know.

Must read: Coronavirus, flu and other nasties: What if your job involves handling other people's dirty gadgets?

#1: What do the buttons do and what are they called?

Here's what the buttons are called and what they do

Let's first familiarize ourselves with the buttons. The good news is that there aren't that many!

#2: Shutdown

Shutdown an iPhone

You don't have to do this all that often, but it's good to know how to do it.

Press and hold down the side button and the volume down button, then slide to power off.

#3: Take a screenshot

Take a screenshot on your iPhone

Press and hold down the side button and then tap the volume up button. Screenshots will be saved with your Photos, but if you want to edit or delete them on the spot, tap on them while they are shown in the bottom left of the display.

#4: Activate Siri

Activate Siri on your iPhone

There are lots of ways to activate Siri, and one way is to press and hold down the side button.

AirPods Pro and how they are tightly integrated into iOS

#5: Activate Apple Pay

Activate Apple Pay/Wallet on the iPhone

Bringing the iPhone to a card reader should activate Apple Pay, but if you want to do it manually, or bring up the Wallet app, double tap the side button.

#6: Bring up Emergency SOS and disable Face ID

Bring up Emergency SOS and disable Face ID on the iPhone

To bring up Emergency SOS and disable Face ID on the iPhone, press the side button five times in quick succession.

#7: Wake up the display

Wake up the display on the iPhone

To wake up the display on the iPhone -- either because you want to be discreet or have Raise to Wake disabled - just tap anywhere on the screen. Alternatively, you can tap the side button.

#8: Show the notifications screen

Show the notifications screen on the iPhone

Do show the notifications screen on the iPhone, swipe down from the top left of the display.

#9: Open Control Center

Open Control Center on the iPhone

To open Open Control Center on the iPhone, swipe down from the top right of the display.

#10: To unlock the iPhone and use Face ID

To unlock the iPhone and use Face ID

Swipe up from the bottom when the iphone is locked while looking at the iPhone.

AirPods Pro: Yeah, they are so good, but for all the wrong reasons (in pictures)

#11: Switching to another open app

Switching to another open app on the iPhone

To switch to another open app, swipe from the bottom about a quarter of the way up the screen to bring up the app switcher, then find the app you want to switch to and tap on it.

#12: How to close an app

How to close an app on the iPhone

To switch to another open app, swipe from the bottom about a quarter of the way up the screen to bring up the app switcher, then find the app you want to close then flick it upwards.

#13: How to get to the Home screen

How to get to the Home screen on the iPhone

When in an app, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

#14: How to quickly scroll between apps

How to quickly scroll between apps on the iPhone

To rapidly switch between open apps, swipe right-to-left or left-to-right on the bottom of the screen.

#15: Activate Reachability

Activate Reachability on the iPhone

To use Reachability -- which brings the top of the screen within reach of your thumb -- first make sure it is on by going Settings > General > Accessibility and making sure Reachability is on.  

To activate Reachability, swipe down the bottom part of the display.

#16: Bring up Accessibility shortcuts

Bring up Accessibility shortcuts on the iPhone

To bring up Accessibility shortcuts ap the side button three times.

#17: Force a reboot

Force a reboot on the iPhone

You don't have to reboot a crashed iPhone that often, but when you do need to do it, here's how.

Tap and release the volume up button, then tap and release the volume down button, and finally press and hold the side button until the IPhone reboots (the Apple logo appears).

See also:

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