No doubt you already love your iPhone and everything about it, but you can take just a few short minutes to improve it – yes, it can get better. Whether you’ve picked up the new iPhone SE or are using an old, hand-me-down iPhone XR, by fiddling about with the defaults set by Apple you can really overhaul your whole experience.

The first thing that springs to mind is the Do Not Disturb function, which isn’t enabled out of the box. Without it, your phone will go off during the night, and no one wants that, notes Jason Cipriani in his article for cnet. You can auto-silence your phone overnight, set up dark modes to preserve your precious battery life, and make Control Center do its job and change your phone’s settings.  

In a few short minutes, you can fix up these eight settings that will improve your iPhone experience, giving you years of joyous use.

Guaranteed a better night’s sleep.  Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

1. Sleep better

If you’ve already turned on Do Not Disturb, you’re unlikely to ever want to go back to times before Apple added it to iOS. When you activate Do Not Disturb, all the alerts on your iPhone are silenced, and you control it by setting a schedule or on demand. The notifications that come through will still be there to peruse when you get up, but when you’ve got DND on, you won’t get a beep, ping, or buzz from Facebook, WhatsApp, Insta, or anything else. 

If you’re worried about missing important or urgent news, there’s an option to have DND allow someone repeatedly calling you from the same number to make a noise. There’s also an option to still allow calls from contacts that are on your favorites section in your Phone app. 

2. Read better

Do just a few simple taps on your iPhone and you’re able to change the font size of the text so you can read it easier. Just go into Settings, then find Display & Brightness > Text Size, and slide through the options until you get to a font size that works for you.  

For even more punch from your text, there’s a Bold Text option you can switch on, you’ll find it just underneath the button for Text Size.  

3. Better security

Apple’s latest addition to its suite of phones is the iPhone SE, and one of the notable features is the return of the home button that comes with Apple’s Touch ID sensor for fingerprints. When you’re going through the initial setup you get walked through adding your fingerprint to your new phone, but that’s it – just one fingerprint. It’s easy enough to add more fingerprints when you’ve got your phone all set up though. 

To get more fingerprints set up, open up the Settings app, go to Touch ID & Passcode, enter the PIN you’ve registered, then select to Add a fingerprint and go through the onscreen process. It means you’re never going to have to contemplate which finger you need to unlock your screen or confirm your purchase, and having only fingerprint registered is a bit of a pain if that one finger is carrying shopping, but it’ll no longer be an issue. 

4. Better appearance

There’s a constant pattern of learning going on every time you unlock your iPhone with Face ID, the facial recognition security system from Apple. If you still have issues getting your phone to recognize you each time, you have the option to use the alternate appearance feature.The process is to head to Settings, go into the Face ID & Passcode menu option, tap in your pin code, then select to Set Up An Alternate Appearance. There’s then a little process to go through which will enrol your face into the system again.

Dark screens save power. Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

5. Better battery

A bright screen on your iPhone, or indeed any phone, is a drain on your all-important battery life. The default setting is to have iOS make automatic adjustments to the brightness of your display depending on the light that’s detected by sensors in the handset. You can wrest back control from Apple on this score and disable the feature to auto-change brightness. It means  that once you’ve set your brightness level, that’s how it’ll stay until you go back in and change it again.

To do this, go into Settings, then Accessibility, followed by Display & Text Size. In this menu you need to scroll to the bottom of the page to find the option to turn off Auto-Brightness. 

Once you’ve commandeered control of your screen brightness, the next time you want to change it manually you just open the Control Center by swiping upwards from the bottom of your device if it’s got a home button, or by swiping down from the to-right hand corner if you’ve not got a home button.  

6. Better darkness

If resetting your screen brightness seems like a little too much hassle to do regularly, you can change your phone over to dark mode that comes with iOS 13. It’s a proven tool to save your battery life by making everything that has a white background, which is most stuff, have a black background instead. Because the colors on the display are darker, it’s using less energy to create them and your battery will last longer as a result. 

The method’s pretty simple, just head into the Settings app and go to Display & Brightness. At the top of the screen you’ll have a Dark option to select, and you’re done.  

Making the change here will carry it over into all of Apple’s own apps on your phone, and will adapt most third-party apps too, as long as they’ve added the setting to their app.

7. Better privacy

When you get a new phone and start to set it all up with your favorite apps, you get hit with all kinds of prompts for permissions. You’re asked to allow access to your personal information like your location and details from Apple Health, even information stored on your camera roll. 

It’s easy to slip into the habit of just saying yes to everything that pops up so you can get on with using the app, but it’s definitely worth taking a little time to go through all your privacy settings for your apps and customize the information each app can get. 

8. Better access

For changing your tunes, flicking into airplane mode, connecting to WiFi, or setting a quick timer, Control Center is where it’s at. There’s loads more that you can do in Control Center too, like turn on the flashlight, record your screen, or check up on a timer you’ve set. It’s all accessible on a simple tap or swipe.

You’re in control of what you see in terms of apps and features in your Control Center. Head to your Settings app and go into Control Center, and then Customize Controls. To take away an option just tap on the minus button in red and tap the green addition button to put anything you want in there. You can drag the different options to reorder them too. 

To get into the Control Center, you have different shortcuts depending on the set up of your phone. If you’ve just bought a new iPhone SE, or have a handset with a home button, you need to swipe up from the bottom to get into the Control Center. Newer iPhones with Face ID rather than a home button, like the iPhone XR, XS, or 11, need you to swipe down from the battery icon and across to the opposite corner to get into Control Center.  

Settings tweaked and twiddled with, your iPhone should be running better than ever, with optimized battery and easier access to the things you want. Taking control of the little things should keep you safer and happier.