iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro: Key settings you need to change

The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro bring substantial improvements to the cameras, making Apple’s latest comparable if not better than the best of the competition. But right out of the box there are some things you’ll want to change.

Whether it’s setting your new location privacy features or filtering out unknown calls and messages, these are the 11 key settings to change on your brand-new iPhone 11. Do note that a lot of these will apply to older iPhone models running iOS 13.

Flip on Dark mode!

With iOS 13 comes the long-awaited Dark mode to give our eyes and battery a break. Aesthetically, it’s a nice touch that makes the iPhone feel new and it might help battery life a bit too, specifically on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max as they have OLED panels.

It’s easy to enable and permeates through certain stock wallpapers and compatible third-party apps, like Twitter’s dark theme, as well. Just head to Settings > Display and Brightness and choose between Light or Dark. It’s the one instance where turning to the dark side doesn’t have problematic consequences.

Set your notification preferences

Whether you’re new to iPhone or smartphones in general, you’re going to want to take advantage of the different notification settings to manage and keep track of your alerts. On the iPhone you can choose how notifications pop up (if at all) per specific app, as well as how these per-app alerts are grouped.

You can also choose whether or not to show an app notification’s content on the lock screen or if you’d only like it shown when your face has been recognized. It’s a neat feature to customize how you interact with your phone and how it delivers information to you – arguably one of the most important aspects of a smartphone.

To customize this, head to Settings > Notifications > Show Previews to select how content is or isn’t shown on the lock screen, or head to Settings > Notifications to change lock screen appearance and more for individual apps.

Set messages to share your personalized contact info

New to iOS 13 is the option to create your own contact photo and name to be displayed on other people’s iPhones. You can choose whether this is enabled for just contacts or everyone, though they have the final say on whether they accept your preferred information.

This can be made independently of your Apple ID information. Tap into Settings > Messages > Share Name and Photo where you can configure these and who this automatically gets shared to.

Turn on Text, Call, and FaceTime forwarding

For those with other Apple devices, this is a must. Texting from your MacBook is so seamless and easy, and Apple Watch and iPad texting are just as useful. This won’t work with Apple TV,  as it’s not equipped for calls or messaging of any kind, but turn this on if you have other Apple products.

For calls, simply navigate to Settings > Phone > Calls on Other Devices, and toggle on the switch for the devices you’d like to receive calls on. It’s similar for messages and FaceTime, as well. Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding gets you to the same toggles for messaging, and Settings > FaceTime and make sure your phone number or the Apple ID you’re using on both devices is selected under “You Can Be Reached By FaceTime At.”

Filter unknown calls and messages

This is a great one for weeding out robocalls and spam texts. Whereas Google’s Call Screening feature, meant to achieve a similar function, will actually ring and let you choose to screen the call, the iPhone’s “Silence Unknown Callers” feature won’t ring at all if enabled. Essentially, any phone call from a number not in your contacts, recent outgoing calls, or Siri Suggestions, will be immediately sent to voicemail, where the caller can leave a voicemail. You’ll only receive a voicemail notification (if one is recorded) and the call will be displayed in your recents (and as a notification).

Similarly, you can have messages from unknown senders silenced and sorted into a separate list in your inbox for further review.

For phone calls, head to Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers and toggle the switch on to filter calls, or Settings > Messages > Filter Unknown Senders for message filtering.

Turn off the two-minute expiration time on audio messages

I’m not sure why Apple treats audio messages sent through iMessage as a sort of Snapchat-esque “listen once then it’s gone forever” message, but it does. The default setting is to have these messages expire after two minutes, and the only other option is never. If you’d like to choose the latter here’s how.

Settings > Messages > Audio Messages > Expire and select never.

Set location preferences to ask every time for certain apps

With iOS 13 comes new privacy features and this is one of my favorites. iOS has long allowed you to choose per app whether you’d like it to have access to your location only while you’re using it, always, or never, but this new option can have the phone ask you every time it’s requested. It’s a nice option to have to keep track of who’s keeping track of you.

To enable this, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services where you can set a general rule for all apps, or go into each app and select never, always, while using the app, or ask next time. That last option will prompt the phone to ask you each time an app requests your location data.

Set your preferred filming speed

The iPhone 11 series introduces the first 4K 60 frames per second option that doesn’t record exclusively in the high-efficiency format. This setting makes movies look ultra-smooth and the iPhone 11’s improved video stabilization makes it smoother. You can opt for 24 fps though if you want a more cinematic look.

To set this, head to Settings > Camera > Record Video and choose your preferred filming speed.

Set phone to erase after 10 bad attempts

At first thought, you may think this should be set by default, but considering errant button presses from either your butt or your kids, it’s probably best left off for some people. Erasing your entire phone is a pretty big deal, and for most people, 10 failed passcode attempts in a row is a lot to get to but be aware of the potential risks here.

Otherwise feel free to enable this by going to Settings > Face ID and Passcode and all the way at the bottom you can toggle on Erase Data.

Turn off required attention on Face ID

Required attention on Face ID is a default feature meant to afford slightly better security for unlocking your phone or otherwise providing face authentication when you actually mean to do so. This feature checks for eye contact when trying to verify your face for unlocking the phone or filling in login information.

However, turning this off can be a nice way to make unlocking your phone less of a focused effort. For instance, if you’re in a conversation face-to-face and need to unlock your phone but would like to still remain engaged while doing so. It also may help the iPhone authenticate just a bit quicker when raising the device up to your face to unlock.

To toggle this setting off open Settings > Face ID and Passcode > Require Attention for Face ID and switch the toggle off.

Choose what format to store pictures and videos

For a few generations now, iPhones have been set to save photos and videos in a high efficiency format to save space. The space gains are pretty significant, but you can sometimes run into compatibility issues when uploading a photo in this high efficiency format to different programs or platforms. If storage space is less of a concern for you than wide-ranging compatibility, then you may want to change this to save in the more universal JPEG file format.

Doing so is easy. Open Settings > Camera > Formats and choose Most Compatible rather than High Efficiency.