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How to Use and Customize the Control Center on Your iPhone or iPad

It can be hard to find every setting on your iPhone or iPad (and even Mac). That’s why Control Center exists to offer quick access to a number of features that may be otherwise buried in the device’s settings.

From this floating array of buttons, you can change Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, brightness, volume, and screen orientation settings. You can also easily access music controls, dark mode, and screen mirroring options. Other features can be added or removed as needed. Here’s how to use and customize the Control Center so that it works for you.

How to Open Control Center

(Credit: Apple)

How you open the Control Center depends on the age of your device. If you have an iPad or an iPhone X and later, you can swipe down from the upper-right corner of the screen. For an iPhone SE or iPhone 8 and earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

The Control Center will show a collection of icons that each control a specific setting on the device. You will have access to Airplane Mode, AirDrop, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Music, Orientation Lock, Do Not Disturb, Screen Mirroring, Brightness, and Volume. These controls are built into the Control Center and can’t be removed.

Certain controls are available only on specific devices. For instance, the Personal Hotspot and Cellular Data controls are available only on iPhones and Wi-Fi + Cellular iPads. There are also a variety of optional controls you can add or remove at any time.

How to Use Control Center

(Credit: Apple)

Each icon in your Control Center works like any other app on your device: Tap it to turn the function on, tap it again to turn that function off. Press down on a control, and it either expands or presents an option menu.

If you hold down on Airplane Mode, AirDrop, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Cellular, or Personal Hotspot, the entire section grows larger so you can more easily see and control any of its options.

(Credit: Apple)

Press down on the AirDrop icon to turn off the ability to receive content, allow content from contacts only, or allow content from everyone. Long-press the Wi-Fi icon to choose from a list of nearby wireless networks. Press down on the Bluetooth icon to connect a Bluetooth device.

Control Volume and Brightness

(Credit: Apple)

ou can use the Brightness slider to lighten or darken the screen. Hold down on the bar to gain options for Dark Mode, Night Shift mode, and True Tone (if available). You can also use the Volume slider to raise or lower the sound.

Control Music

(Credit: Apple)

Hold down the Music icon, and a window pops up with options to play, pause, move ahead, move back, adjust the volume, and even access iTunes or your last music-streaming app. If you have an Apple TV, you can also pipe the music to the TV.

Control Focus Mode

(Credit: Apple)

Hold down the Focus icon, and you can access any of the different modes, such as Do Not Disturb, Work, Sleep, Eating, and Driving. Tap a specific mode to turn it on. Tap the ellipsis icon for any mode and you can then decide whether to turn it on for an hour, until this evening, or until you leave your current location.

Tap Settings for a particular mode to go to its settings screen, where you can choose to receive notifications from specific people or apps while the mode is in effect, customize your screen for that mode, and set up a specific schedule for the mode.

Control Screen Mirroring and Rotation Lock

(Credit: Apple)

Hold down the Screen Mirroring icon to display your device’s screen on a nearby Apple TV. Tap the Rotation Lock icon to determine whether or not you want your screen orientation to change.

Customize Control Center

(Credit: Apple)

The Control Center can be customized under Settings > Control Center. If you want to be able to use Control Center while in an app, make sure Access Within App is enabled.

You can now decide which control you want to be available from the Control Center. Existing controls appear in the Included Controls section, while available controls appear in the More Controls Section.

(Credit: Apple)

Optional controls that you can add include: Accessibility Shortcuts, Alarm, Apple TV Remote, Calculator, Camera, Dark Mode, Flashlight, Guided Access, Hearing, Keyboard Brightness, Low Power Mode, Magnifier, Music Recognition, Notes, Quick Note, QR Code Reader, Screen Recording, Silent Mode, Sound Recognition, Stopwatch, Text Size, Timer, Voice Memos, and Wallet. (Note that some of these options are only available for iPhone users and will not show up if you’re on an iPad.)

(Credit: Apple)

You can add a setting to Control Center by tapping the plus (+) icon next to it in the list. That control then moves to the Included Controls section. Some controls you might find useful to add include Alarm, Flashlight, Camera, Dark Mode, Timer, Voice Memos, and Wallet.

(Credit: Apple)

If you decide to remove any items from Control Center, just look for it in the Included Controls section. Tap the minus () icon, then tap Remove. That control then moves back to the More Controls section.

(Credit: Apple)

You can also change the order in which the controls appear in the Control Center. Just drag a control by its hamburger icon and move it up or down in the list.

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