Often, iPhone tips and tricks are about going above and beyond to do something worthy of a double-take. Triple tapping the back of your iPhone to make it take a screenshot or mute the volume, for instance—that’s neat. Not everyone needs their phone to do that type of thing though. I’m more interested in making sure everyone knows about a few foundational features that have graduated and moved beyond being tricks.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of ways to make using an iPhone faster and more convenient. Not only will certain tasks like typing an email or home address be easier, but more mundane ones like clearing out old unwanted images from your photo library will be much faster too.

Scroll Up With One Tap

If you’re scrolling down a webpage and want to return to the top, tap the top center of your screen next to the front-facing camera. This tap will pull you back to the top. Not only can you do this on web pages, but this feature largely works everywhere on your phone—including apps and settings screens.

Instead of furiously flip-scrolling to get back to the top, you can simply touch the top of the screen. I use this with Instagram and my email app all the time to get back to the most recent items. Also, if you’ve ever been jolted to the top of a website without knowing why, this may answer that question.

Stop Typing Your Full Email Address

Before emoji were prevalent throughout the operating system and easy to get to, I had a text replacement that would automatically display the Vulcan salute emoji whenever I typed “llap” (short for “Live long and prosper”). The point here is that you can make any random characters transform into things you type all the time or things that are hard to remember. Head to Settings and tap on General. Tap on Keyboard, and then tap on Text Replacement to add whatever suits you. I might suggest:

  • Using “eml” to expand into your full email address
  • Having a text replacement for your home address if you need to type that out often
  • Putting non-secret codes or other infrequently used information in here to expand with a simple command

Keep in mind, however, you’ll need to use uncommon letters to trigger text replacements. If you use “email” for example, every time you type that word it will show your replacement, which could get annoying. As a bonus, these text replacements sync across iCloud, so if you use a Mac or iPad, these will be available there too.

Hide Photos From Snoopers

Within the Photos app you can hide pictures from appearing in your general photo library. This will keep sensitive images from being seen whenever you open that app. To hide a photo, tap on one (or select a few) and then tap the share icon—a box with an arrow pointing up. Scroll down until you see Hide and select that option.

You can find photos you’ve hidden by going to Albums and scrolling down until you see Hidden. If you don’t want that Hidden folder to appear at all, you can also hide it by going to Settings and turning it off within the Photos section.

Starting in iOS 16, when it’s released later in 2022, the Hidden and Recently Deleted photo albums will prompt for your passcode to view the contents.

Delete Old Screenshots

While tapping on the Albums section in the Photos app and scrolling down to get to Hidden, you may have noticed other types of media that the app automatically separates out for you. Cleaning out old screenshots or screen recordings by tapping on those sections may be a simple way to free up some more storage. It’s also a quick way to remove random junk from cluttering up a library of memories.

Remove Apps From the Home Screen (Without Deleting Them)

I’m a minimalist with an app problem. I love trying new apps, especially writing and to-do ones, but I quickly find myself with dozens of home screens or needing to manage dozens of folders full of apps. Instead, I’ve taken to deleting them from sight.

If you long-press on an app and then select Remove App, a dialog box will give you the option to Delete App or Remove From Home Screen. If you remove the icon from your home screen it will still appear in the App Library (swipe left until you reach your App Library). You can always add it back to a home screen later by doing the reverse. Find the app in the App Library, press and hold on it, and then select Add to Home Screen.

Rearrange the Home Screen in Seconds, not Hours

Similarly, if you want to organize your home screen layouts, you can move whole screens of apps without moving individual icons. On the Home Screen, tap and hold the dots along the bottom that represent the number of screens you have. The icons will jiggle for a moment and then you will see all your home screens. You can uncheck ones you no longer want to see or you can move each rectangle around to reorder them.

Pin Messages From Friends So They Don’t Get Lost

Within Messages, if you tap and hold on a group or individual message a few choices will pop up, including Pin. Select that and that message thread will get stuck on the top, above all the other messages, including new, incoming ones. You can do this with several people or groups, and it makes it much easier to find the people you talk to the most.

Quickly Lock Your Phone for More Security

If you’re worried about being compelled by authorities to unlock your phone with biometrics, there is a way to disable Face ID and Touch ID quickly. For iPhone 8 and later, press and hold the button on the right and either of the volume buttons at the same time for about two seconds.

Doing this will bring up a screen to power off the phone, see Medical ID or get to Emergency SOS. Bringing up this screen will also disable biometrics so that your passcode needs to be reentered to get into the phone.