You'll wish you'd made this simple iPhone tweak years ago

Apple has done a good job of making the iOS interface easy to use. But there's one hidden feature that take usability to the next level.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

It's weird how Apple sometimes hides away some of iOS's best features.

Apple has made the iPhone about as easy to use as possible. The gestures are all quite intuitive and straightforward. But there's a hidden feature built into iOS that makes the iPhone so much easier to use, especially if you use your iPhone a lot when in a hurry, on the move, or need regular access to advanced features.

The feature I'm talking about is called AssistiveTouch.

AssistiveTouch is an accessibility feature and what it does is it floats a small menu on your display (which you can move around on the screen with a finger) that allows you to carry out gestures such as pinching or multi-finger swipes with a single finger and offers quick access to a variety of functions.

The AssistiveTouch button

The AssistiveTouch button

The AssistiveTouch menu

The AssistiveTouch menu

It's very useful, and I have it activated and use it all the time, especially for taking screenshots.

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There are three ways to activate AssistiveTouch:

  • Tap SettingsAccessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch, then switch on AssistiveTouch
  • Tap SettingsAccessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and then click AssistiveTouch
  • Ask Siri: "Turn on AssistiveTouch"

You can customize AssistiveTouch by going SettingsAccessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch, then click on Customize Top Level Menu. You can have as many as eight icons showing (or as few as one) so it's incredibly versatile.

Here's my default loadout, which might give you some inspiration.

My AssistiveTouch loadout

My AssistiveTouch loadout

This is such a powerful feature, and once you start using it I'm sure that you'll find more and more uses for it.

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