Get Super-Quick Access to the iPhone’s Camera, Flashlight, Text Size, Magnifier, and More by Customizing the Control Center

The iPhone’s Control Center is handy right out of the box but you can make it SUPER-handy by customizing what it controls. It’s easy to do.

Week 2 of iOS Settings Month features this really useful tip about customizing the Control Center (the overlay that shows the flashlight, Do Not Disturb, and Rotation Lock). Add a few items to the Control Center and make it even handier!

The iPhone’s Control Center is really handy. It gives you controls for volume, brightness, networking, Do Not Disturb, and more, while also providing the fastest way to get to the Flashlight, the Calculator, the Timer, and the Camera. It turns out you can configure the Control Center to give access to other functions as well, and once you’ve done it, those functions are just a swipe away.

Let’s have a look at the default Control Center layout.

iPhone Control Center, with customizable area outlined in red
iPhone Control Center, with customizable area outlined in red

For those who need a refresher: on iPhones with a Home button, access the Control Center by swiping UP from the bottom (start your swipe below the screen, at either side of the Home button). On iPhones without a Home button, and on iPads, access the Control Center by pulling DOWN from the top right “ear” of the screen.

Apple gives you four buttons at the bottom of the screen (Flashlight, Timer, Calculator, and Camera. We can change the order of those buttons, replace some or all of those buttons, or even add another row (or more) so we have even more buttons. Here’s how I’ve modified my own iPhone:

iPhone Control Center, modified to show more items at the bottom
iPhone Control Center, modified to show more items at the bottom

My bottom row has Text Size (to make text bigger when I need it), a Magnifier (for making Real World things big enough to see), the Wallet app (for plane tickets and sporting events), and the Apple TV Remote app (which is way, WAY better than the physical remote that comes with an Apple TV). Let’s see how I did it.

How to Customize the iPhone’s Control Center

You’ll find the Control Center in Settings. Tap that, then tap Customize Controls.

Going to Settings to Customize Controls for the Control Center
Going to Settings to Customize Controls for the Control Center

Tip: the Control Center can be accessed in any app if you have “Access Within Apps” switched on. That’s the way I do it. Probably the right way for you too.

We’ll end up here, on the Customize Control Center screen.

Customizing the Control Center. Items in the "Include" section appear at the bottom of the Control Center.
Customizing the Control Center. Items in the “Include” section appear at the bottom of the Control Center.

The items in the “Include” section are the ones that appear in the Control Center. Any item in “More Controls” can be promoted to the “Include” section by tapping the green circle with the plus sign next to the item’s name. Items in the “Include” section can be rearranged by dragging the horizontal bars to the right of each item’s name, so you can make the Control Center look just the way you like it. Here’s what I did:

Customizing the Control Center  to include Text Size, Magnifier, Wallet, and Apple TV Remote apps
Customizing the Control Center to include Text Size, Magnifier, Wallet, and Apple TV Remote apps

There’s no “Save” button so just make your changes and then swipe (up on Home button iPhones, down from the right ear on non-Home button iPhones) to see the results of your work. Here’s how mine looks:

Control Center after customization. New items at the bottom.
Control Center after customization. New items at the bottom.

Of course, if you don’t like the way your Control Center looks, just go back to it and customize some more. You can tap the red circle with the minus sign to remove an item from the “Include” section and send it back down to “More Controls.” You’ll probably have to experiment a bit to see what some of those items do– just add them to your Control Center, then swipe to reveal the Control Center, and give those apps a tap.


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Author: Christian Boyce

Christian Boyce is a Mac and iPhone expert specializing in teaching people how to use Apple devices better, to get more done with them, and to have more fun doing it. He bought his first Mac (a Mac Plus) in 1986 and his first iPhone in 2007. He's written books and magazine articles, and given seminars at Macworld Expo, MacFair/LA, and the California Computer Expo. Over 30 years in the business.

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