Don’t settle for the default iPhone experience. Here’s 20 pro settings to change and improve your iPhone 13.
Many iPhone 13 features are very helpful, but particularly well hidden in the depths of system settings. Other features, on the other hand, are activated by default, but do not benefit you because you rarely use them, if at all. Save your battery and improve your phone performance by changing the following iPhone 13 settings.
If you just purchased a new iPhone 13, take a peek at its settings. So many categories, so many options within those categories. It’s enough to make your head swim.
And you might find yourself wondering, are Apple’s factory settings ideal? Right out of the box, is the iPhone 13 really configured for optimal performance, productivity and battery life?
Not so much. Here are the iPhone 13 settings you should consider changing right away.
Note: information in this article apply to iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
1. Keep scammers at bay with this iPhone setting
Scam calls and robocalls are seemingly impossible to get away from these days. So while it may be challenging to prevent these calls from coming in, there is something you can do to make them less of a nuisance. iOS thankfully has a setting where users can silence calls coming from unknown numbers. These callers can still leave voicemails, but the calls won’t actually cause your phone to start ringing. All in all, it’s a workable compromise to a frustrating problem.
To do this, simply go to Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers. Toggle the button into the on position and you’re good to go.
2. Turn on Dark Mode, if that’s your thing
Dark Mode was one of those iOS rumors that persisted for years before it finally became a reality. And having used Dark Mode now and again, I’m not sure what the hype was exactly. Sure, it’s nice at times, but it still doesn’t strike me as an incredible feature Apple should have rolled out sooner. That said, I realize that many people disagree with the above sentiment and absolutely love the aesthetic that Dark Mode brings to the table. If you find yourself in this group, you can turn on Dark Mode by going to Settings > Display & Brightness and selecting the “Dark Option.”
3. Move the Safari address bar back to its rightful location
Apple with iOS 15 made the controversial decision of moving the address bar to the bottom of the display. If you’re not one for change or simply find the design decision questionable, there is a solution. Apple thankfully listened to user feedback and added a way for users to move the address bar back to the top of the browser window.
To do this, go to Settings. Next, select Safari. From there, scroll down to the Tabs subheading. Next, simply select the Single Tab option as opposed to the default Tab Bar option.
4. Turn on Find my iPhone
Because phones today have all sorts of sensitive personal and financial information, a stolen or lost iPhone can be nothing short of a harrowing nightmare. Thankfully, Apple has some built-in tools designed to make retrieving a missing device much easier, with Find my iPhone being a prime example. With the Find my iPhone setting on, you can log into your Apple ID from another device and see where your iPhone is.
To turn on Find my iPhone, go to Settings and then tap your name at the top. Next, select Find My. From here, make sure that Find My iPhone is toggled on. You’ll also want to make sure that the Find My network is toggled on. This makes it possible to locate your iPhone even when it’s offline. And lastly, also make sure that Send Last Location is toggled on. This will automatically send the location of your iPhone when the battery is about to die. And lastly, to make sure all of these settings above are operational, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and make sure it’s also toggled on.
5. Change the default web browser to Chrome
If you’re not keen on using mobile Safari as your iPhone browser of choice, it’s no problem to download Chrome and make that the default browser. Once you’ve downloaded Chrome, go to Settings and scroll down until you see Chrome. Now, simply tap Default Browser app and then select Chrome.
6. Disable Background App Refresh for select apps
While it’s convenient to have some apps refresh in the background, you certainly don’t need that for every app. To adjust this on an app-by-app basis, go to Settings > General > Background app refresh. Once there, you’ll see a list of applications and you can select which ones you’d like to be able to refresh in the background.
7. Set up Focus
Focus is a brand new iOS 15 feature that we covered extensively after WWDC and in the weeks leading up to the iPhone 13 unveiling. As a quick refresher, Focus can help maximize productivity and, dare I say, help you focus on the task at hand. To this point, iOS 15 users can set up different Focus modes for specific types of use-case scenarios. For example, you can set up a work mode that automatically filters out notifications from ESPN, TikTok, and other non-work-related applications.
Additionally, you can set up a Focus Mode such that time-wasting apps like Facebook and Twitter don’t even appear on your phone for periods of time. All in all, it’s a nifty new iOS 15 feature that’s worth exploring, especially if you’re the type of person who’s liable to open up Instagram for a brief 5-minute break before finding yourself still scrolling after an hour.
To explore Focus Mode, simply go to Settings > Focus. From there you can set up a Personal or Work mode to suit your needs.
8. Disable auto brightness for longer battery life
Your iPhone’s screen brightness level can have a big impact on battery life. By default, iOS will automatically adjust the display’s brightness based on how much light the ambient sensor detects. But if you want to take complete control, you can disable auto-brightness, meaning whatever you set the brightness level at is where it will stay until you adjust it again.
Open Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size and at the bottom of the page, you’ll find a switch to turn off Auto-Brightness.
Now, whenever you want to adjust your screen, you can do so by opening Control Center with a swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen.
9. Add features for using when your iPhone is locked
There are times when you might need to have certain information handy even when your phone is locked. That’s why Apple allows you to enable some features without having to unlock your device. These include the notification center, Control Center, ability to reply to messages and the Wallet app, among others.
Customize the features you’d like to access on the lock screen by launching the Settings menu, tap Face ID & Passcode and enter your passcode when prompted. Scroll down until you see the Allow Access When Locked section, and toggle the sliders based on your preferences.
10. Turn off 5G coverage you don’t want or have
Apple touts a Smart Data feature that’s specific to its 5G phones (the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lines) that will automatically switch between 4G LTE and 5G networks — without you having to know or do a thing — based on how you’re using your device. The automatic switch is part of an effort to improve battery life. However, you may find that your iPhone’s battery drains faster than it did before. If you don’t want to sacrifice battery life for faster 5G speeds, shut it down. You can always turn 5G back on when you want it, or when service in your area improves.
To turn off 5G on your iPhone 13, forcing it to always use 4G LTE even if you have 5G coverage, open the Settings app then go to Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Voice & Data and tap LTE.
Alternatively, if you want your iPhone to exclusively use a 5G connection when available, you can select 5G On.
11. Disable keyboard suggestions
When you type a message in Whatsapp or write an email on your iPhone, you have probably already noticed the word suggestions that appear above the keyboard. While these can be helpful for slow typers, for nimble fingers the word suggestions usually come too late. If you don’t use this feature you can simply deactivate it, which means one less task for which the iPhone must provide computing capacity.
To do this, go to Settings and move the slider to the left under General > Keyboard and deselect Predictive.
12. Automatically close Safari tabs
On the iPhone a few dozen open tabs can quickly accumulate and paralyse Safari. And even if you do want to keep tabs open finding the one you want among a sea of open tabs can be tricky. If you are someone who rarely closes a tab after use you can have this done automatically in the settings.
Your iPhone can automatically close “tabs that have not been viewed recently” after a day, a week or a month.
In order for is to do this, go to Settings and select Safari > Close Tabs and then the interval you want.
13. Stop app review requests
Annoyed that you keep seeing notifications to review apps in the App Store? If you move the corresponding slider to the left in System Preferences, you can stop these requests for feedback.
To do this, go to Settings > App Store and deselect In-App Ratings & Reviews.
14. Disable automatic app downloads and updates
Apple offers automatic app downloads and updates. This is handy if you want the app that you download on your iPhone to automatically download you on your iPad. But the feature is not always practical, nor are the automatic app updates. Fortunately, you can deactivate both:
To do this, go to Settings > App Store and move the slider to the left for Apps and App Updates.
15. Stop keyboard clicks
For many users the sound that the iPhone makes when you type is quite an annoying feature. If the iPhone is muted, you won’t hear the sounds, but you don’t always want your iPhone on silent. So what can you do if you don’t want to annoy other people every time you type a message?
Fortunately, you can deactivate the touch tones in the system settings:
To do this, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics and deselect Keyboard Clicks. In the same place, you can also deactivate the lock sound.
16. Disable unnecessary system services
System services includes a list of system-based services on your iPhone that are using your location. Some of these services are necessary like Emergency Calls & SOS, Find My iPhone, and Share My Location. To view your list go to: Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services.
When you’re evaluating your list of system services, it’s also important to remember what the purple arrows mean: A hollow purple arrow indicates that an item may receive your location under certain conditions. This is typically referred to as geofencing and will check to see if you are entering or leaving an area. A solid purple arrow indicates that an item has recently used your location. A gray arrow indicates that an item used your location in the last 24 hours.
17. Disable “Analytics and Improvements”
Go to Settings > Privacy > Analytics and Improvements. Turn off the first option “Share iPhone Analytics” and it will disable other analytics reports happening in the background. This should immediately improve battery life.
18. Allowing apps to track you
iOS 15 gives you the ability to disable notifications from apps requesting to track you. When you turn this off, all app requests to track you will be automatically denied.
To disable: Go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking > and then toggle “Allow Apps to Request to Track.” You can also view the apps that currently or previously requested to track you.
19. Disable push email
Do you need your iPhone to monitor your email accounts every second of every day? That’s the basic definition of “push” email, which is widely regarded as a huge battery suck.
I’m not a big fan of “fetch,” either, which checks for new mail at designated intervals. My thought: When I want to check for new messages, I fire up the Mail app and check for new messages. Anything else is not only a battery drain, but also a distraction.
Try turning these settings off. To do so, tap Settings > Mail, Accounts, then tap Fetch New Data. Turn off Push, then scroll down to the Fetch section and choose Manually.
Remember: If someone needs to reach you in a hurry, they can still call or send a text message.
20. Turn off (or on) HDR video for sharing videos
The iPhone 13 lineup can record HDR — or high dynamic range — video with Dolby Vision. All that jargon means your videos will be brighter with more accurate colors and improved contrast. Sounds awesome, right? It is. But there’s a problem — not every app or service will work with HDR video.
Developers will need to update their app(s) in order to accept HDR video, but even then, the person viewing the video will need a capable device to see the HDR difference. For Apple devices, that includes the iPhone 8 or newer, the 2020 iPad Air, second-generation iPad Pro and some Macs.
So, what can you do? Well, you have a few options:
You can turn off HDR video by going to Settings > Camera > Record video and turn the switch next to HDR Video to the Off position. Going forward, all videos will be captured in standard dynamic range, and you won’t have any issues sharing or editing it.
Leave HDR Video turned on, but when you want to share the video with, say, Facebook, use the Photos app instead of going into the Facebook app and uploading it there. By using the Photos app, your iPhone will automatically convert the video to SDR and upload it. When you send the video to another iPhone user, Apple will detect if their iPhone, iPad or Mac is compatible with HDR Dolby Vision. If it’s not, Apple will convert the video automatically.
If you leave HDR Video on and need to edit your video, you can use Apple’s iMovie app or the Photos app that’s built into your iPhone. You can even use iMovie to export the video as SDR if needed.
If you just purchased a new iPhone 13, consider changing these settings to improve performance and battery life. If you’ve made any iPhone 13 settings changes you consider essential, hit the comments and name them!
See also: Best iOS 15 Tips & Tricks to Make you an iPhone Pro
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