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New iPhone tips and tricks that allow your phone to make life a little easier

Jennifer Jolly
Special to ӣƵ

I recently my found iPhone by saying, “Siri, where are you?” It’s a fast little trick to find my phone when I inevitably misplace it. “He” − I have me turned to n” because who doesn’t love an Outback accent? − responded, “I’m over here,” from between the couch cushions where it had spent the last night.

Like my real-life human husband, Siri doesn’t always “hear” me until I raise my voice and call out a handful of times. Sometimes, Siri’s voice assistant answers me from more than one Apple gadget at the same time.

It’s not perfect, but this one simple trick is quite the game-changing timesaver. (As long as you have device, it also works there!) It’s also just one of many smartphone superpowers most people have no idea exist.

Read on for several more!

Before diving in, make sure your iPhone is running or later. Even if you have “Automatic Updates” toggled on, you often have to double-check and tell it to update anyway. To do that, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Also? Many Androids have similar features, but you might need to download an additional app.

What is the augmented reality app to try on clothes?

Trying on clothes in cramped dressing rooms is so 2019. Virtual dressing rooms are just starting to take off. now lets you do it through its app, and has a version that shows how clothes from ​​H&M, Loft, Anthropologie, and a few others look on all different body sizes and skin tones.

But I use a free app called “” (a take on the Italian word “aiuto,” which means help or assistance, which makes total sense to anyone who’s had a real fashion emergency).

Download it from the or, let it connect to your photo album, or take a photo in real time, then choose from brands, trends, influencers, styles, and vibes.

Tap the look you want to try, wait up to a minute to let it work its magic − and wow − it really does look like you’re wearing that outfit.

How do you name pets in photos on iPhone?

I have 79,562 iPhone photos saved in the cloud. Often, I want to find a handful of specific photos to show someone. For example, I often do this with my “dog-ter,” Juni.

I used to type “dog” in the Search bar in the Photos app and then had to dig through some 2,958 random photos of dogs I’ve captured on my camera rather than going straight to Juni’s best shots. This is where Apple’s new feature comes in and makes organizing your massive stockpile of photos a whole lot easier.

Here’s how to do it:

Open a photo of the person or pet that you want to add > tap the Info button > tap the face of the person or pet with a question mark.

Tap Name This Person or Name This Pet > type their name or tap the name if it shows up > tap Next > Done.

Now, all 3,026 photos of Juni show up when I type her name. This feature only adds dogs and cats for the time being. It won’t add a fish, horse, bird, or armadillo. I tried.

You can also play around here to get rid of faces you don’t want to see so much (or at all) or add and name more than you do.

The process is similar in most Android phones, as long as you use.

On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app > sign in to your Google Account > tap Search at the bottom of your screen. You should see a row of faces > tap a particular face. This feature might not be available in your area if you don’t see a row of faces.

You can troubleshoot.

To apply a label to a group, i.e., name your dog, go to the top of the face group > tap Add a name > enter a name or nickname. Now, you can search with that label.

iOS 17 genius trick to wow your friends

This is one of my favorite new iOS 17 features. It’s part of Visual Look Up and lets you, well, look up laundry care and car engine symbols on your phone.

On iPhones, snap a photo of a laundry label > wait a few seconds, and tap the “i” symbol with the stars next to it at the bottom of your screen. It might also show up as a little washing machine icon. Either way, tap that > then tap Look Up Laundry Care > tap the symbol or symbols you want to learn more about, and it takes you to more information and care instructions on the internet.

There are a few ways to do this on your Android handset. You can open the > tap the shutter button > and it automatically searches the internet for results. I had to add “Laundry Labels” to get the needed info.

It was easiest for me to download the third-party from the Google Play store, though, which was similar to Laundry Care look-up on the iPhone.

Repeat the same steps above to decode dashboard auto symbols and warning lights too.

This smartphone feature allows you to decode dashboard auto symbols and warning lights, too.

How to use Check In: an easy way to let people know you made it home OK

How often has someone said, “Text me and let me know you’ve made it home okay,” then called frantically when you forget to check in? Now, there’s an easier way to go about it all.

Everyone should know about and use the new Check In feature for iPhones − especially with upcoming holiday travel.

The new Check In feature for iPhones offers an easy way to let friends and family know you're safe.

You initiate Check In; you can’t use it to spy on someone else. For instance, when I went to the airport earlier this week, I wanted to let my mom know I made it there safely.

Open the Messages app > tap the name of the person you want to watch over your progress. You can start a new thread and add the person – or open an existing conversation.

Tap the plus-icon > More > Check In > then tap Edit > and customize what you want to share and how.

Again, the idea here isn’t to track someone else. It’s to let someone else know where you are and how you’re progressing. Check In sends a notification to the chosen person if you stop in one place too long or don’t get where you’re expected.

You can choose either:

When I Arrive: Specify your destination, and how you’re traveling (driving, transit, or walking), and add extra time if you need to. When you arrive at your destination successfully, Check In automatically completes and notifies your friend that your iPhone has arrived.

◾ After a timer: Specify a period of time and if you don’t end the Check In before the time you set, the features alert your contact.

How about on my Android?

On many, you can let your emergency contacts find your location and receive updates about where you are from the Safety app > Emergency sharing > Select who you want to share your real-time location with. You can also add an optional message > tape Share. Tap the notification banner to view the details of your "Emergency sharing."

To Stop: Go to the top left of the Personal Safety app > tap Emergency sharing > Stop > Stop sharing. You can add a note to explain why you've ended the emergency share. Emergency sharing automatically ends after 24 hours.

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What are some other nifty tricks to do with your phone? What are some of your favorite secret smartphone − or any everyday gadget − superpowers? I would love to know about them and might feature your tip next! With a big shout-out to you, of course.

is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech columnist and on-air correspondent. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of ӣƵ.

Contact her at JJ@Techish.com.

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