Tip 1: Download iOS 10.
Apple recently unveiled its new iPhone, and while it doesn’t really look much different from the previous model, there’s a lot happening inside.
And we’re not just talking about the piece of plastic that replaced the audio jack.
Hardware aside, iOS 10—which comes preloaded on all new iPhones and is available to download for models beginning with the iPhone 5—is bringing a slew of new updates, features, and fun tricks to the iPhone. With these 11 tips, you’ll be an iPhone pro in no time.
Get to your camera faster
All you have to do is swipe left on the lock screen to bring up your camera. You can still drag up to access the camera icon, but why use two steps when you can use just one?
Dim your flashlight
Having a light to find whatever you dropped between the airplane seats is helpful. But people will hate way less now that you can adjust the brightness of your flashlight.
From the Control Center, press and hold the flashlight icon. You can select low, medium, or bright light, depending on the situation.
Wake up your phone
You really don’t have to a press a thing anymore. With newer iPhone models starting with the 6s, simply pick up your cell to check notifications.
Personalize your widgets
Swiping right no longer unlocks your phone. Instead, it accesses the “Today” view.
Personalize what shows up here by scrolling all the way to the bottom (past the “up next” calendar brief, news, weather report, and more). Press edit to add or remove widgets, and rearrange their order.
Make messages more meaningful
Or just have way more fun texting friends and family. Bubble effects let you change the way messages appear on screen: Invisible ink keeps notes shrouded in mystery until tapped, and the slam effect ensures whoever is receiving your texts notices.
Full screen effects are also available. Send a "happy birthday" sentiment along with balloons floating across the screen. To access these effects, type your message and then hold down on the send button until the options appear.
Let friends know where you are
So-called "contextual predictions" allow Siri to make intelligent suggestions as you type, and it's more than just text prediction.
If your mother asks “Where are you?” there's a one-tap option to share your current location.The QuickType keyboard also makes it easier to share contact information. So if she asks, “What's so-and-so's number?” the phone number in question will automatically populate.
Send handwritten notes (or doodles of your cat)
Why send a beautiful, high-definition picture of your cat when you can send a hand-drawn doodle? By turning your phone sideways while typing a message, you can doodle freely. Or send a thoughtful, cursive note.
Make sense of your group conversations
Overwhelmed in group chats? The new iOS 10 Tapback options allow you to react to comments with hearts, dislikes, question marks, and laughing. This works in two-way conversations, too, but is most useful when there are multiple voices in the virtual room.
If you’re asking friends if you should meet for margaritas or martinis, it’s easy to take a simple vote. Members of the chat can simply “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” the text bubble while your phone keeps score.
Then again, if you just completely hate every group chat you’re involved in, you can leave the conversation or mute the hive.
Ask Siri to help you out
Third-party apps now have access to Siri. You can now ask her to book a restaurant reservation through OpenTable, hail a ride from Lyft, or pay your friend $14 for an overpriced margarita in Venmo.
Search for pictures
It's nothing short of annoying to scroll through thousands of photos, searching for shots from your trip to Hawaii three years ago. With iOS 10, the Photos App has an integrated search feature (which Google users may already be familiar with), allowing you to search for locations, specific people, and even generic terms like “cat” and “cake.”
Take better pictures
You can now add a filter to Live Photos. And while it's not new with iOS 10, many people don’t know it’s possible to adjust the exposure before snapping a shot.
If you’ve purchased the iPhone 7 Plus, a software update in October will allow you to create a shallow depth of field with the dual camera. It’s one of our favorite features.
Bonus tip: Don't drown your phone
Only the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are water resistant, but if your phone has been totally submerged, take precautions. Experts recommend tapping your iPhone, with the lightning connector facing down and—if you have a fan—letting cool air blow directly into the port.
Melanie Lieberman is the Associate Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.