If you’re like us, you never leave home without 1. your keys, and 2. your iPhone. Well you’re in good company: There are an estimated 90 million iPhone users in the US. And we’re guessing your phone is even more of a lifeline now that baby is here. You use your phone to snap photos (lots and lots of photos); text with your partner, family or friends; order baby supplies; Google endless symptoms; and access helpful apps like The Bump! So you’re a pro—but when it comes to your iPhone’s built-in features, there are a bunch of hidden capabilities you probably never knew existed.
From texting shortcuts to taking foolproof photos, these iPhone tricks can be a game changer for anyone, especially busy, multitasking parents. And these hacks work on all iOS versions of the iPhone, so keep scrolling to learn about these cool features.
Go Into Dark Mode
It’s 9 p.m. and you’re still awake, but not your roommate, who’s sleeping soundly in the crib nearby. Fear of waking baby even keeps you from checking your phone—who can relate? If the glare of your screen is keeping you from nighttime browsing, go to Settings>General>Accessibility>Display Accommodations>Invert Colors, which will turn your phone background to black while you text and surf the internet. Keep in mind, this move inverts all the colors on your phone, so make sure to change your wallpaper to a dark background if you want to avoid all brightness. Now surf away.
You’re hanging out with baby at the cutest coffee shop when you realize your phone’s down to 20 percent battery life. Groan. Good thing you can recharge it at an outlet nearby. Here’s how to make it charge that much faster: Turn your phone to airplane mode. While you’re at it, swipe up and lower the screen brightness by half and you’ll add two additional hours of battery life to your phone.
Use the Volume Button to Snap Photos Faster
Baby’s adorable and all but her timing could use some work. Right when you’re about to take the most Instagram-worthy photo, she looks away from the camera or sneezes (which is still pretty adorable). That’s where this hack comes in: Hold down the volume button on your iPhone to take a series of photos in three seconds flat, rather than fumbling to tap the touchscreen. Note: If you’re using headphones, this move also works on the +/- volume buttons.
Lock In Your Camera’s Focus
You snap the perfect photo of baby taking her first steps, only to find it’s blurry. Your iPhone’s ability to selectively focus is great for posed photos, but can be frustrating when you’re trying to capture all of baby’s cutest milestones, which can happen at a moment’s notice. Not to worry—simply press your phone screen for two seconds until you see “AF/AE Lock” to lock the camera’s setting. You’ll take photos quickly and clearly.
Text Reply to Missed Calls
You’re in the middle of changing a diaper when you get an incoming call. We’re guessing you don’t have a third hand. Thankfully, you can use your iPhone’s preset text responses for missed calls, which already include basics like, “Can I call you later?” and “Sorry, I can’t talk right now.” You can even make your own by going to Settings>Phone>Respond with Text. So yes, your automatic response could actually read, “👶 💩, can’t talk right now.”
Find a Strong Signal
You need to get in touch with your babysitter ASAP, but there’s no service. Luckily, there’s a simpler way to find a signal than walking around aimlessly or holding up your iPhone like you’re taking a selfie. If you type 3001#12345# and hit call, you’ll come across a Field mode tool. If you look to the upper left hand corner of your phone, you’ll see a negative sign, followed by your signal. The numerals indicate how good your signal is—the lower the number, the better the signal.
Turn Your Old iPhone Into a Baby Monitor
If you’re like the rest of us, you probably have an old iPhone lying around. You can recycle it—or how about turn it into a baby monitor? (Genius!) Apps like the Baby Monitor 3G and the Cloud Baby Monitor allow you to use an old phone to double as a baby monitor. Concerned about safety? Make sure you use a secure Wi-Fi network. Now you have a baby monitor without spending upward of $100.