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15 quick iPhone settings changes everyone should make right now

   March 13, 2021 1:41 AM
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by Jason Cipriani

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Technology Iphone
From Face ID working with a facial covering to Do Not Disturb and longer battery life, all are instantly achievable on your iPhone with some quick settings changes.

Apple's entire iPhone lineup is full of fantastic options. From the affordable iPhone SE to the very small iPhone 12 Mini that punches above its weight, to the best bang for your buck with the iPhone 11. Not to mention, iPhone 12 and 12 Pro offer few compromises, while the very big iPhone 12 Pro Max and its stellar camera and battery life, uses the go big or go home mentality.

All of the currently available iPhone models run on iOS 14, which brims with its own features (some of which are hidden). With iOS 14.5, currently in beta, you'll even gain the ability to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask. However, believe it or not, Apple's default settings aren't always the best to help you get the most out of your iPhone.

For example, Do Not Disturb is disabled right out of the box, which means your iPhone will continue to beep at you throughout the night, causing light sleepers to wake up. Who wants that? Instead, a dip into settings can automatically silence your phone all night long. While you're in settings, you can take advantage of dark mode to save battery life, and put Control Center to work for you -- instead of the other way around.

Below, we'll take you through a few steps that will make your iPhone even better. For instance, if you live somewhere with zero or spotty 5G coverage, there's no reason to keep 5G on.

1. Don't have or want 5G coverage? Turn it off Apple's four iPhone 12 models are the first from the company to ship with support for 5G, a mostly faster and more reliable cellular connection. As carriers continue to roll out their 5G networks, however, some iPhone 12 owners (including me) will have to wait for 5G access.

Apple touts a Smart Data feature that's specific to the iPhone 12 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 the iPhone 12. The automatic switch is part of an effort to improve battery life. However, you may find that your iPhone 12'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 12, 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 12 to exclusively use a 5G connection when available, you can select 5G On.

2. Fine-tune how much data is used on a 5G connection If you're happy with 5G performance, here's a network-related setting you should check out. Go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Data Mode where you'll find three different options: Allow more data on 5G, Standard and Low Data Mode.

Even though there are brief descriptions below the three different settings, they don't paint a complete picture for the first option. According to an Apple support document, allowing more data on 5G will give you high-quality video and FaceTime calls, and it also means that your phone can download software updates, stream high-definition Apple TV and Apple Music content, and allows third-party developers to also improve their respective apps.

The default setting on this page will depend on your carrier and your data plan, so it's a good idea to check your iPhone 12 and make sure it's set to your preference.

3. Unlock your phone while wearing a face mask One of the frustrating aspects of wearing a face-covering in public while using an iPhone that has Apple's Face ID tech built-in has been the inability to unlock the phone. Because half of your face is covered, Face ID just doesn't work. And entering your passcode to unlock your phone works, but it's not as convenient.

When Apple releases iOS 14.5, you'll have the option to turn on a new face unlock feature that makes it super easy to unlock your iPhone when you're face is covered -- as long as you own an Apple Watch.

If you don't want to wait for the update to be officially released, you can install the public beta on your iPhone and Apple Watch to get access to it right now.

Once both devices are updated, open the Settings app on your iPhone and then open the Face ID & Passcode option. Scroll down until you find the Unlock with Apple Watch section, where you can turn on the feature for any watches linked to your iPhone. It's pretty awesome.

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