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Tag: iPhone Tips

How to Add a Missing Person to a Group Text from your iPhone

Feeling left out because of that group text you weren’t on? Don’t worry. There’s an easy way to get you back into the chat. Here’s how.

Have you ever sent out a group text from your iPhone, only to realize moments later that you’ve forgotten somebody? Or how about receiving a group iMessage and noticing that a friend has been unintentionally left off. Is it possible to correct the error and add in the missing person to your ongoing chat?

It certainly is.

For those who may be rolling your eyes right now, please feel free to stretch your own boundaries and compose your next multi-dimensional group text to a parallel universe. However, if you tend to face more earthly-based technical conundrums, and you’re currently jostling your head to shake loose the answer just outside your consciousness, I certainly understand. (It’s how I spend a fair amount of time.)

So, I’ve got a refresher for you. At first glance, it may not seem that obvious, because the ‘Add Contact’ button is hidden.

Here’s how to uncover it:

It’s Buried in the Info Icon
In your iPhone’s Messages app, tap on the text that requires more people in your reply.

  • Then, tap on the face circles representing the existing group. Your action will open three more options to tap on: ‘audio,’ ‘FaceTime’ and ‘info.’
  • Tap ‘info’ on the top right.
  • You’ll then see the current list of people. On the bottom of the list, locate ‘+ Add Contact’ in an inviting blue color.
  • Tap ‘+Add Contact.’
  • Then, simply type the new name and tap ‘Done’ on the top right.

The Answer is Also in the Details
If you’re instead using the Messages app on a Mac computer to respond to a group text, it’s even easier to make the fix:

  • Select the message.
  • Click on the blue ‘Details’ on the top right.
  • Click on the blue ‘Add Member’ under the list of member names.
  • Then type in the new name to add into the chat.


Group chats have become such a common part of our texting and email experience. It’s certainly an effective communications tool as long as ‘replying to all’ continues to convey relevant information to all.

And of course, you’ve got to make sure that ‘All’ is actually a complete list of the intended recipients. Replying to ‘Almost All’ can tend to create future problems.

As texting is often done on the fly, it’s always a good idea to double check your list of names.

Then, all will thank you.

How to Take an iPhone Screenshot without Pressing the Side Buttons

If you’re wondering if there’s a workaround to this occasionally glitchy iPhone maneuver, you’re in luck. Here’s a trick that involves activating a useful little dot…

A friend asked me the other day if there was an alternate way to take a screenshot on her iPhone XS instead of having to press the volume and power side buttons simultaneously. She was having a bit of a challenge with the ‘simultaneous’ action part. Without a perfect squeeze, her iPhone was more likely to just turn its screen off.
(I’ve done that too.)

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a screenshot simply by tapping the screen?

Well, you can! You simply have to dig a little bit to activate the ‘AssistiveTouch’ menu…

How to Turn on the AssistiveTouch Menu

  • Tap ‘Settings’
  • Tap ‘General’
  • Tap ‘Accessibility’
  • Slide ‘AssistiveTouch’ to green

That activates a grayish dot in the bottom right corner. It now lives on every screen and tapping it gives you alternate access to a variety of functions on your iPhone.
(You can reposition the AssistiveTouch menu dot to any edge.)

You can now exit ‘Settings,’ and you’re ready to take screenshots via your screen…

How to Take the Screenshot

  • Tap your new friendly dot
  • Tap ‘Device’
  • Tap ‘More’
  • Tap ‘Screenshot’

That does the trick!

How to Get Rid of the Dot
Now, if you don’t like that gray dot staring at you all of the time, you can hide it and then activate it via ‘Accessibility Shortcut’ whenever you need it. You do that by squeezing the side button three times.
(Yes, you’re back to pressing buttons again, but this time it’s only on one side!)

Here’s how you add AssistiveTouch to Accessibility Shortcut…

  • Tap ‘Settings’
  • Tap ‘General’
  • Tap ‘Accessibility’
  • On the very bottom, tap ‘Accessibility Shortcut’
  • Select ‘AssistiveTouch’

Now, when you triple-click the side button, you can toggle the AssistiveTouch dot on and off.

How to Create a Shortcut Icon to Your Favorite Website
Now that you’re feeling good about MacGyvering your iPhone to do your bidding, here’s another iPhone trick to make your day…

If you visit a particular website frequently, you can create a shortcut icon that can live with all of the other apps on your iPhone or iPad. Here’s how…

When you’re viewing your webpage, look at the menu icons on the bottom of the screen….

  • Tap the square down on the bottom center with an arrow pointing straight up
  • Move through your choices on the bottom row of options until you see ‘Add to Home Screen’
  • Tap ‘Add to Home screen’
  • Then name it
  • Tap ‘Add’

You’ve created your own shortcut that looks like your own little app!

Human OS Update Not Yet Available
You’ve paid quite a lot for your iPhone. It should work hard to make your experience the best it can be. You just need to help it understand your glitchy human needs and mannerisms!

iPhone Fix: When Videos Won’t Rotate to Play in Landscape Mode

Can you identify every status icon in this image? If not, you may find yourself in trouble the next time you play a video on your iPhone…

How do you encourage videos on your iPhone to play horizontally? Well, that’s easy… you simply rotate your device on its side to cue the video to rotate and play full screen in landscape mode. Right?
(Barrett’s being a little silly.)

And to be clear, I’m not talking about vertical videos. I’m referring to horizontal videos that first pop up at a fraction of their size to fit in your vertically oriented iPhone as you typically palm it.

But what do you do when your gravity-driven iPhone reflex stops working, and your video remains locked in its portrait orientation after you’ve turned your phone?

Well, that’s exactly what happened to me!

The Icon Holds the Answer
So, I figured some setting had gone awry. It was just a matter of figuring out exactly which one it was…

The irony was my iPhone was trying to tell me the answer all along, but I didn’t recognize the hint…

In the status bar at the top of its screen, my iPhone had been displaying a little ‘lock icon’ with a curved arrow around it.


I had noticed the icon before. I just didn’t know what it meant!
(lazy Barrett)

Portrait Orientation Lock
After a little Googling, I discovered the answer. It means… ‘Portrait Orientation Lock.’ And when it’s on, that mode disables the phone’s ability to play videos horizontally.

So, here’s how you turn it off…

  • From your iPhone’s home screen, open the Control Center
  • Find the lock and arrow icon on the left side in the middle
  • Tap it to deselect it
  • Close the Control Center

It’s embarrassingly simple.

Cautionary Tale
There’s just one final unexplained piece to my original mystery… How did Portrait Orientation Lock get turned on in the first place?

Perhaps I accidentally tapped it when I was trying to use my iPhone as a flashlight. Beyond that, I’ll just chalk it up to a practical joke from the video gods.

The lesson, of course is to always pay attention to every new icon that mysteriously pops up on your smartphone. You can ignore it for a while. But eventually, its purpose will reveal itself, and not always in a positive way.

Mobile devices are constantly evolving. You’d better keep up or your digital life is going to get squeezed… just like a video that refuses to rotate properly on your smartphone.

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