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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to make your iPhone 12 Pro Max feel less bulky when using it with one hand «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

How to make your iPhone 12 Pro Max feel less bulky when using it with one hand «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks



Despite all its many advantages – from the best iPhone camera system you can buy to arguably the best smartphone screen on the market – the iPhone 12 Pro Max is undeniable huge. It has the largest iPhone screen to date, despite being 0.46 cubic inches smaller than the iPhone 11 Pro Max in overall size. If you find it a little too much to handle with one hand, there are ways to make it much easier to use.

To raise expectations, there will be no tip on how to physically shrink your 12 Pro Max in this article. Although the technology exists, Apple will no doubt never use it this decade, and your iPhone will remain a brick-sized smartphone for as long as you own it. And it doesn̵

7;t cover obvious solutions like buying shirts, jeans and jackets with bigger pockets.

Do you feel a buyer’s remorse? You can always consider the smaller iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro, or even the small iPhone 12 mini, if you still adhere to your store’s return policy.

Tip 1: Use accessibility

Meet your new best friend: accessibility. It’s a feature that slides your screen down, temporarily putting items at the top of the screen within easy reach for use with one hand. It’s a must for anyone with an iPhone 12 Pro Max, because there’s really no other way to open notifications when they’re unlocked, the Control Center, or anything in the top third or quarter of the screen for the average sized hand.

If the feature sounds familiar, it’s because it’s not an original 12 Pro Max. Apple first added Reachability a long time ago with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the first “big” iPhones. Before those products, Apple literally advertised the iPhone as a one-handed device. Go figure.

Reachability may be enabled by default on your iPhone 12 Pro Max. All you need to do to activate it is to swipe down on the bottom of the screen. To return to full screen mode, swipe the bezel up again to return, tap the chevron at the top, or wait for it to return after a few seconds. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you never want to go back.

Tip 2: Use the one-handed keyboard

Meet your other new best friend: one-handed keyboard mode. The feature in Apple’s standard keyboard makes the keyboard about the same size, if not smaller, as those famous one-handed iPhones of the past. Like reachability, one-handed mode is available on all iPhones, not just the 12 Pro Max, but you’ll likely agree that Apple’s 6.7-inch model needs this feature the most.

To activate one-handed mode on your 12 Pro Max, open the keyboard and long press the globe, emoji or ABC button. The globe is displayed when you use multiple keyboards, such as third-party keyboards or different languages. The emoji button is displayed if you are only using one of Apple’s keyboards plus the Emoji keyboard. The ABC button is displayed when using the Emoji keyboard. If you only have one keyboard, without emoji, you cannot enable one-handed mode.

A pop-up menu with three keyboard icons will appear at the bottom of the screen. Tapping the left-most icon will shift the keyboard to the left for left-handed use. Likewise, the rightmost icon shifts the keyboard to the right side of the screen. The middle icon will restore the keyboard to normal, and you can also use the arrow that appears to the right or left of the empty keyboard space.

Note that some third-party keyboards also have one-handed mode, such as Google’s Gboard app, but enabling this varies from keyboard to keyboard.

Tip 3: put your most used apps at your fingertips

This tip is a favorite among Android users, believe it or not. Android folks have smartphones with bigger and bigger screens that are longer than iOS users, and they can place app icons wherever they want. It is therefore only normal to have favorite apps on it bottom of the screen, where things are easier to get to, versus the top of the screen, where iOS starts placing apps by default.

While there are tricks for placing app icons wherever you want on your iPhone’s home screen, you don’t have to bother either, as long as you don’t mind a full page of apps and widgets.

Instead of putting your most used apps like Messages, Photos, Phone, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. at the top of the screen, put them in the dock. Then put the rest of the apps you want easier to access, in the bottom row or in two rows. If you want to avoid 20 apps, folders, bookmarks, and shortcuts on one page, consider filling some of that space with widgets.

Tip 4: Place your most used controls at the bottom

Likewise, you should place your most used Control Center tiles at the bottom of the list for easier access.

There is nothing you can do about the standard controls, such as the Connections window, Now Playing window, and brightness and volume sliders, as these options are all static. However, you can at least put useful tiles like Flashlight, Calculator, Camera, Screen Recording, Dark Mode and Shazam at your fingertips.

We recommend that you fill in your Control Center to at least 16 tiles – that will fill the entire bottom portion of the screen, leaving the tiles you add at the bottom resting in the same space as the bottom apps on your home screen. Feel free to add more just know the app will be placed below the bottom row forcing you to scroll to see them. Scrolling is simple enough, but you still need to open the Control Center from the top right corner of the screen. However, using the above reachability makes it less stretchy.

Tip 5: use AssistiveTouch

Remember just a second ago I said you should “still open Control Center at the top right of the screen”? That is not entirely true. There is an accessibility feature called AssistiveTouch that allows you to place a button anywhere on the screen, and that button can do many things.

First, enable AssistiveTouch in Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch -> AssistiveTouch. Then set custom actions below the toggle for when you tap, double-tap, or long press the AssistiveTouch button. Those shortcuts could be for hard-to-reach things like Control Center and Notification Center, and can even help with hardware buttons. For example, you can set a shortcut to turn the volume up or down, restart your iPhone, or take a screenshot.

You can even click “Customize Main Menu” to add important actions to the menu that appears when you tap the AssistiveTouch button once. If you don’t like clicking the side button, you can set AssistiveTouch to do all that double-clicking for you with the “Confirm with AssistiveTouch” option.

Back in the “Accessibility” menu, you can go to “Accessibility Shortcut” and make sure that “AssistiveTouch” is checked. That way you can triple-click the side button to open or hide the overlay button. But if you don’t like clicking that side button, you can always ask Siri to turn AsssistiveTouch on or off.

Tip 6: Use the zoomed-in view for everything larger

Another trick is to use the “Zoom View” feature for iOS. Zoomed View, as the name implies, “zooms” all elements in iOS. Apps, icons, text, buttons – everything is bigger. And because everything is larger, it means it can be easier to tap certain buttons with one hand that might not have been reachable in the standard view.

You will find that this feature helps the most in apps. Apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Messages eventually push their elements to the bottom of the screen, making it easier to reach certain content than in the standard view.

However, it doesn’t work for all situations. For example, app icons on the home screen stay in the same position even though they are slightly larger. Worse, the larger keyboard in zoom view affects one-handed mode.

Tip 7: Buy a PopSocket

You may need some help that a simple iOS fix cannot provide. If you don’t mind that your iPhone 12 Pro Max has an attachment on the back, you can consider a PopSocket. The problem with accessibility doesn’t change, but in combination with the tips in this list, a PopSocket can make using your iPhone 12 Pro Max just that little bit safer.

PopSockets are designed for the big iPhone problem. They stick to the back of your iPhone and act as a grip – two fingers can be wrapped around the PopSocket to secure your iPhone with one hand while your thumb does the rest. They even come in an endless array of colors and styles to match whatever look you’re looking for with your 12 Pro Max.

While you can get a PopSocket now, keep in mind that it uses glue for the base attachment. That means you cover the MagSafe array, whether that’s directly on the iPhone or a MagSafe compatible case. The glue is easy enough to remove, but PopSockets works on MagSafe-compatible PopSockets that attach with magnets instead of glue. There’s no word yet when they will be released, but if you don’t plan on using MagSafe or wireless chargers, the adhesive chargers will still work great for you.

Image by PopSockets / Amazon

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Cover image, screenshots and GIFs by Jake Peterson / Gadget Hacks (unless stated otherwise)




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