10 mistakes everyone makes with iPhones

By Dave Johnson - Senior Staff Writer
6 Min Read

If you own an iPhone, there’s a good chance you’re making some of these common mistakes.

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are shown in midnight.  

Because we’re only human, sometimes we do things we know we shouldn’t, or we don’t do things we know we should. Well, here are ten common mistakes (almost) iPhone user is likely to make. And we know because we’ve made them ourselves!

10 iPhone mistakes you should stop making right now

1. LETTING TOO MANY APPS RUN IN THE BACKGROUND

Apps run in the background – that is, when you’re not actively using them – for all kinds of reasons. Your navigation app might need to know where you are so it can give you direction when you’re heading home. Your social media apps might need to see if you have new notifications. And that’s great, but the more apps that are doing it, the more energy you’re using and the less battery life you’re going to get. If you often install apps but don’t clear them out so often, you might have things going on that you didn’t even know you still had on your iPhone.

To see what’s running in the background, go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. For energy usage, go to Settings > Battery. Scroll down to a section labeled Battery Usage By App.

2. . Not Using the Ring/Silent Switch

One of the most useful hardware features on the iPhone is the Ring/Silent switch. It’s located on the left side of the device, just above the volume buttons.

Considering that Apple typically favors a minimalistic approach, as seen with the removal of the home button and headphone jack, you might find it surprising that they have kept a dedicated hardware switch for such a simple task, more so if you made the switch from Android.

On your previous Android phone, you had to use the software button or volume rocker on the side to put the phone into silent mode. However, this poses two main problems:

You might not always want to wake your display to put your phone in silent mode. For example, it can be rude to do so in a meeting or might affect your sleep when you are in bed at night.
If you are watching a video or listening to music, using the volume rocker can unintentionally lower or raise the volume of your media.
This is where the iPhone’s hardware switch comes in handy, as you can quickly and easily silence your device without interacting with the display or affecting the volume of your media. In addition, you can just glance at the switch to see whether your device is in silent mode, since you will see the orange line when in this mode.

3. . Using Unlicensed Accessories

Official Apple accessories are often very expensive, and now that iPhones don’t come with all accessories – for environmental reasons, but also because it’s cheaper for Apple – it’s tempting to go online and buy the cheapest possible version from a brand you’ve never heard of instead of going for the official charger or one from a reputable accessory brand. But that can be a false economy, especially with the faster, more powerful chargers that today’s iPhones use: if a charger hasn’t gone through the same certification and safety hoops as the official ones, it could be a fire hazard. I stopped buying cheap charging cables after one got so hot it burnt my hand.

To ensure that you are using a safe and compatible third-party charger, make sure it has the MFi (Made for iPhone) logo, which lets you know that Apple has approved it.

Other accessories aren’t so frightening, but that doesn’t mean they’re great either. Be particularly careful if you see some of the best wireless earbuds going cheap: fakes are a huge problem in the electronics industry and some of them are very convincing indeed. I had to send back a pair of airpods not so long ago that were so convincing it was only when I actually tried pairing them to my iPhone that I realised I’d been had.

4. . Jailbreaking Your iPhone to Install Unsanctioned Apps

If you have switched to iPhone from Android, you might be missing all the customization options and the ability to sideload apps.

You have also likely heard about jailbreaking an iOS device to enjoy these benefits. If not, jailbreaking your iPhone means removing the restrictions imposed by Apple, allowing you to install unsanctioned apps from third-party sources.

However, you should know that jailbreaking your iPhone can void its warranty and might make it more vulnerable to malware and other security threats. Jailbreaking your device also makes it more challenging to install future software updates, exposing you to new security vulnerabilities.

Therefore, unless you know exactly what you are doing, we recommend that you avoid jailbreaking your iPhone.

5. Not Using the Optimized Battery Charging Feature

Lithium-ion batteries, which we use in most modern devices, including the iPhone, degrade over time. This means that your battery will not be able to hold a charge as long as it did when it was new. Although this aging process is inevitable, some factors contribute to faster battery degradation, including extreme temperatures (both high and low) and charging for extended periods.

One way to maintain your iPhone’s battery health is to use the Optimized Battery Charging feature. This feature uses machine learning to track when you usually connect your phone for extended periods and when you use your device. It then uses this information to delay the final stages of charging until you actually need to use your device, which helps to reduce battery aging.

To enable Optimized Battery Charging on your iPhone, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health, and toggle it on.

6. Not Paying Attention to App Permissions

Each time you install an app on your iPhone, it will ask for permission to access certain features of your device, such as the camera, microphone, or your location. In the same way that you probably don’t read terms and conditions or user manuals, you might simply tap Allow without a second thought.

However, you should know that granting an app access to sensitive data such as your location or microphone can pose a privacy and security risk. Besides, paying attention to this only takes a few seconds, unlike reading those long and boring terms and conditions.

That said, if you want to review the app permissions you have granted, go to Settings > Privacy, and select the relevant category.

7. Not Configuring the Find My Feature

This is one feature you hope you will never have to use, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. The Find My feature allows you to locate your device if lost or stolen.

To set up Fine My, go to Settings, tap [Your Name] at the top of the screen, and select iCloud. Then, scroll down and turn on the Find My iPhone feature. You can also enable the Send Last Location feature to send your device’s location to Apple when the battery is low.

8. Not Backing Up Your Device Regularly

As your go-to companion, your iPhone contains important data, such as your contacts, photos, and messages. Losing this information can be devastating, especially if you don’t have a recent backup. If you use the iCloud Backup feature, your data will be backed up automatically as long as your smartphone is connected to Wi-Fi and a power source.

You can do this by going to Settings, tapping your Name at the top of the screen, and selecting iCloud. Then, scroll down and turn on the iCloud Backup feature.

Hands up if you just let your data go to iCloud and don’t also back them up elsewhere. That’s not ideal: if for whatever reason you lose access to your iCloud Account or your account details get compromised, you could lose precious memories. I use iCloud storage but I also have duplicates on my computer, and those duplicates are then backed up to an external drive. It might sound like overkill but think about what you could lose in the event of disaster.

9. NOT READING THE PERMISSIONS

iPhone’s app permissions are there to show you exactly what an app might be doing, and you can use that information to ensure your privacy is protected. That’s the theory, at least. But mostly app permissions are a thing you swipe or tap past while going “yeah yeah yeah” because life is short and you have things to do. But far too many apps ask for far too much permission, often for features such as accessing the mic or the camera when they have absolutely no need to do so.

The risk here isn’t so much that the app developers might go wild and start spying on you for no good reason. It’s that if the app is compromised, you’ve given somebody unknown the keys to your iPhone.

10. BEING LAZY ABOUT PASSWORDS

I know, I know. Coming up with unique, complex passwords is a pain, and it’s tempting to go for the easy option just now because you’re in a hurry and you’ll absolutely, positively, definitely come back and swap it for something much more complex later. But you won’t, and that means you’ve got an easily hackable (and often, easily guessable) entry into that app or service. And if you’ve reused the same password across multiple sites, that’s massively increasing the damage a data leak can do.

Avoid These Mistakes to Make the Most Out of Your iPhone

As a first-time iPhone user, you might be making some mistakes that can reduce your device’s life span or simply fail to leverage some of its key features. These tips provide you with a good starting point to get the most out of your iPhone and enjoy using it for many years to come.

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By Dave Johnson Senior Staff Writer
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Dave Johnson is a staff writer for GeeksChalk based in New Jersey. He covers news, how-tos, and user guides for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
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