Photo: stockfour/Shutterstock

22 IPhone Tricks for Travelers You Won’t Believe You Didn’t Know About

Technology + Gear
by Joe Batruny Oct 2, 2014
1. Use “burst mode” to capture every moment.

On the road, you only have one chance to capture a genuine moment — and you don’t want to blow it. Enter burst mode. While using the camera, simply hold down the shutter button (as opposed to tapping it once). A counter will come up, showing you how many photos you’ve taken. And you can take hundreds, considering the iPhone’s sensor and image signal processor allow it to take 10 photos per second. Beats trying to get an elephant to do the same pose again so you can get the shot.

2. Format text for those on-the-go business emails.

If you’re frequently on the run and operate a business of any sort, you may need to send out an email or two. And we often need to say something with emphasis. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to italicize and bold email text. In the body of your email, “select” the particular word or phrase you’d like to format, and click the small arrow when the popup dialog comes up. Press the “BIU” button and choose whether you’d like to bold, italicize, or underline your selection. Done.

3. Get the right picture by switching the direction of your panoramic photo.

While using the iPhone camera’s “Pano” function, you typically have to move your camera from left to right as you take your panoramic photo. But this doesn’t always make for the best-framed photos, as you might not get the exact shot you desired due to the “start” and “end” points. But that’s an easy fix. Click the large arrow, allowing you to take a photo starting from the right instead. Now you won’t end up cutting out the most important part of your picture by accident.

4. Save battery life.

When your battery’s low and you’re in an unfamiliar location, you may want a little bit of juice in reserve in the event you need your phone for an emergency. There’s a laundry list of ways to do so:

  • Turn LTE off.
  • Turn Bluetooth off.
  • Choose a background that’s not “dynamic.”
  • Turn wifi off.
  • Disable “Background App Refresh.”
  • Dim your screen brightness.
  • Turn off “Location Services.”

And there are many more. Or you can just turn your phone off for a bit. Yeah, do that.

5. Recharge your battery faster using airplane mode.

When you’re in a rush and low on battery, set your phone to airplane mode before allowing it to charge. This turns off all wifi and cellular signals, preventing it from sucking up unnecessary power while it charges. Oh, and make sure you use a wall charger. It’s much faster than your PC’s USB port. Lastly, try not to play Candy Crush while charging your phone. It doesn’t help.

6. Get a detailed calendar so you know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it.

This one’s quick and simple. When viewing your calendar in its typical form, you need to click a particular date to see the hour-by-hour itinerary. But if you turn your phone to landscape, you’ll get the hourly play-by-play for each day without having to click a single button, allowing you to view and edit your travel schedule with ease.

7. Lock focus and exposure during photos for the right light.

You’ve likely activated this camera function by accident before, and weren’t really sure exactly how you did it (or what it does). In order to lock the focus and exposure of a particular shot, simply hold your finger down on your desired on-screen focal point. A yellow “AE/AF Lock” banner will pop up on-screen, signaling that you’ve locked the auto-exposure and auto-focus. This will remain until you’ve taken your photo (or you can click the screen again to remove it).

8. Use the “Near Me” feature in the App Store for a local’s point of view.

Another easy one. Simply open the App Store and click the button that says “Near Me” in order to see the apps that are popular in your current location. This might lead you, for example, to the app Muni Watch when you’re in San Francisco (which allows users to track city buses in real time). It’s worth a look wherever you go — you never know what you’ll find.

9. Turn off parallax if you get motion sickness.

For those who experience motion sickness, there’s an option that allows you to turn off some of the phone’s functions that may cause it (namely, the parallax effect, which makes the icons on the home screen appear to float as your phone moves). In your “Settings,” visit “General->Accessibility” and scroll down to “Reduce Motion.” Turn the function on to disable the effects. Now you don’t need to blame your phone for having to carry Dramamine everywhere you go.

10. Save your map for offline use when you’re overseas.

If you’re overseas, it’s unlikely you’ll be using cellular data frequently, but you’ll probably need to access your maps. The solution? Save them for offline use. While using Google Maps, locate your target area. Now, type “ok maps” in the search bar. You’ll be prompted to save the map for offline use. To access it in the future, simply click the person icon next to the bar. The rest is self-explanatory. Just remember — try this one while you do have Internet access. Oh, and the map will only be saved for 30 days before you have to create it again.

11. Shake to undo while writing an email or text.

If you’re typing out an email or text message and make a spelling error, your typical response is likely to click on the screen or go back and delete it — but why bother? Shake your phone to prompt you to “undo” the last action. And if you’d rather not undo, shake it again to “redo.” Not a huge time-saver, but it’s convenient. Besides, shaking things is fun.

12. Use the volume buttons to snap photos and prevent blur.

Taking a photo by clicking on the phone’s screen often causes camera shake and blurry photos. After all, you’re tapping your finger on something you’re trying to keep balanced. But there’s a solution, and it’s one of the more widely known iPhone tricks. You can simply use either the up or down volume button to take the photo (helping you keep the phone stable). And if you want to use burst mode, you can. Just hold the button down.

13. Restrict cellular data access to save your phone bill.

If you leave your cellular data on while traveling, you can save your phone bill (to an extent) but restricting specific apps to wifi only. Just open “Settings,” tap “Cellular,” and scroll down. You’ll see a list of apps under “Use Cellular Data For.” All that’s left to do is uncheck the ones you’d rather only use on wifi (hopefully most of them). If you’d rather make sure your phone bill doesn’t fluctuate at all, just leave your phone on airplane mode.

14. Invert colors for those overnight trips.

This one’s helpful for those South American / Southeast Asian sleeper buses. Head to “General->Accessibility” via “Settings” and you’ll see the “Invert Colors” function. While at first it just seems to make everything look funky, it’s helpful for low-light scenarios. The white text and dark backgrounds reduce glare and brightness (ideal for those times when your eyes are sensitive to a lot of light). You’ve probably picked your iPhone up in the middle of the night, only to be nearly blinded by the display. This helps.

15. Save a credit card for on-the-go purchases.

One of iOS7’s features is the ability to save a credit card for future use while using Safari, making it easy to buy bus tickets (and anything else you may need) without having to whip your credit card out in public. Open “Settings,” tap “Safari,” tap “Passwords & Autofill,” and turn on “Credit Cards.” Set up your passcode lock, and add a credit card.

16. Check your “frequent locations” to find that awesome bar again.

Remember that controversy about the iPhone tracking everywhere you go? Turns out that feature can be useful sometimes. In the event you’re visiting somewhere that you’re still able to use cellular data, you’re in luck. Follow the path of “Settings->Privacy->Location Services->System Services->Frequent Locations.” It’ll show you the locations you’ve visited recently and/or frequently on a map, allowing you to figure out exactly where that awesome dinner spot you came across the other night actually is.

17. Make Touch ID more effective for a quick log-in.

Have you found your phone’s Touch ID function often not recognizing your fingerprint? If seeing “Try again” makes you want to throw your phone at the wall, take a deep breath. Head to “Touch ID & Passcode” in “Settings.” You’ll notice there are actually four slots available for fingerprints. For the first, use your dominant hand’s thumb pad. For the second, use the tip of your dominant hand’s thumb pad. This accounts for most ways you’ll place your hand on the sensor. For the final two slots, repeat with your other thumb. Now it’s unlikely you’ll need to use the passcode to log-in anymore. With either hand.

18. Keep the compass on track so you don’t get lost.

Hopefully you’ll never need to use your iPhone compass — but in the event you do, the phone has a simple feature that helps you stay on track. Once you’re headed in the right direction, simply tap on the compass. By doing so, it “locks” a direction — if you deviate from said direction, a red bar will fill up around the compass, showing you how far you’ve moved away from your original path. Do the right thing. Stay on course and say no to red bars.

19. Turn off “noise cancellation.” Or turn it back on. Your pick.

Unknown to many people, the iPhone utilizes a noise cancellation feature while you’re on the phone. It works by “listening” to ambient noises and creating another “audio track” that cancels out said noises. This effect often creates an uncomfortable in-ear sensation for a lot of people. If you find yourself not feeling well when using the phone on occasion, give this a shot. Tap “Accessibility” via “Settings->General” and swipe “Phone Noise Cancelation” off. If it doesn’t help, just swipe it back on.

20. Use the “hidden” accent marks to help you spell foreign words.

If you need to spell foreign words, which are often covered in accent marks (Vietnamese, anyone?), this tip’s for you. While typing using the iPhone’s keyboard, just hold a particular letter down in order to see the related accent mark options. It’s quick, easy, and definitely beats omitting an accent mark and accidentally saying the wrong word in the process.

21. Keep your data almost “too safe” while you’re on the move.

While you may hope to never lose your phone, these things happen. In the event it does, it’s important that you have everything secured. This can be done in a series of steps. First, switch to an alphanumeric passcode (Settings->General->Touch ID & Passcode->Turn off Simple Passcode). Next, turn off access to the Control Center and Siri via the Lock Screen (Settings->Control Center->Turn off Access on Lock Screen), (General->Touch ID & Passcode->Turn off Siri). Now go ahead and activate Find My iPhone, and you’ll be good to go in the event you need to remotely wipe your phone if you lose it.

22. Search for terms on a webpage if you need information quickly.

Say you’re in a rush looking for a foreign phrase on a webpage of encyclopedic length. Scrolling through a thousand words in a different language isn’t exactly your best option. Many people have probably come across the solution but overlooked it. Just search for the term instead. While visiting the webpage you’d like to search via Safari, simply click on the address bar above once again. Type the particular term you want to find. Beneath “Google Search” and “Bookmarks and History,” you’ll see “On This Page (N matches).” You’re there — click “Find (term)” to highlight all instances of the term you’re looking for. Simple.

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.