by Anthony 

August 22, 2022

It always surprises me when I’m using my iPhone and friends or work colleagues say, ‘Hey I didn’t know you could do that!’ Like when replying to a message from the lock screen by long pressing on it, or my favourite, which is double tapping the back of the phone to mute it and double tapping again to unmute it. 

Long pressing on a SMS notification to reply

I’ll show you the double tap trick a little bit later in the article but I'll start by showing you a few of the other quick action shortcuts you can use on iPhone by long pressing on certain apps. 

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These menus are called Quick Actions and they’ve been around since iOS13, but for some reason most people don’t seem to be aware they exist or maybe just forget to use them. 

For example did you know you can quickly take a selfie by long pressing on the camera app and choosing selfie. There's also a shortcut to record a video or take a portrait selfie that’ll blur the background. 

Camera app quick actions on iPhone

Another of my favourites is long pressing on Safari to quickly open a new Private tab, or you can quickly access your bookmarks or reading list. You’ll find most of the Apple apps and many 3rd party apps have these quick action menus. 

Settings is another app that offers quite a few options. Here you can access all your different wireless connections but I tend to use it most for accessing the battery and turning on low power mode. 

Settings app quick actions on iPhone

Another apple app that has excellent shortcut options is Notes. Here you can quickly scan a document, add a photo to a note, or my favourite - quickly create a checklist. 

notes app quick actions on iPhone

If you use your phone as an alarm clock, then long press on the clock app to create a new alarm. Something I do just before heading to bed.

Clock app quick actions on iPhone

Another thing I try to do before going to sleep, if I remember, is update my apps. Long pressing on the App Store icon will take you directly there.

App Store app quick actions on iPhone

As i said quick actions are also available in third party apps, for example, if you’re a spotify user then you can quickly access your recently played songs, playlists or search. WhatsApp users also have a variety of Quick Action options. I particularly like the ability to quickly share my WhatsApp QR code with friends rather than messing around sending them a link or searching for their contact details.

WhatsApp Quick Actions on iPhone

These long press options aren’t only limited to opening apps, I already explained how you can long press on notifications on the lock screen, to do things like replying to a message, but you can also long press when inside apps, such as on emails where you get a whole heap of options and also get to quickly preview the contents.

Quick Actions on an email on iPhone

This also works in the photos app where you can long press on individual photos as a way of quickly sharing them with friends.

Quick Actions on Photos on iPhone

If you’ve navigated through multiple menus, long pressing on the back button will give the option to step back through each individual menu or skip all of them to go straight back to the start. This is particularly useful in Settings.

Long pressing on a Menu in iPhone Settings

Long pressing on most of the icons in the control panel will also give you additional features. For example, you can set different timers, enable different focus modes, or set different levels of brightness for the torch.

Quick Actions in the Control Panel on iPhone

Finally, if you remember the back tap trick I mentioned, well you can find that option in Settings. Click on accessibility, choose touch, and scroll all the way down to backtap. Here you can set actions for double and triple tapping. So for double tapping I like to mute the phone but you can see you have an array of alternatives including activating the camera or accessing the control centre. So having set your preferred option, if we go back to the home screen, double tap once to enable the option and again to turn it off. 

The Back Tap menu in Settings on iPhone

So that is how to Quick Actions on iPhone. If you found this post useful, you might also be interested in reading my favourite free Word Games and don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for lots of tips and tricks on all your favourite apps.

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