Obviously, everything I do on my iPhone is completely kosher and on the up-and-up. My iPhone 5 is all work, all the time, and nothing else: Work email, reading Business Insider, and checking Business Insider’s Facebook page are my top three iPhone activities, hand on my heart.
You, however, I cannot vouch for. I don’t know what sketchy things you’re doing on your phone. And you probably don’t want me to find out.
But, if I wanted to see what you’re actually using your iPhone for, there is a way. Of course, looking at someone else’s iPhone is a bit like reading someone else’s private diary. It’s morally and ethically wrong, and you’re guaranteed to see something you don’t like.
So try this at your peril.
Assume you have a friend or significant other, and you’re suspicious that they’re doing something on their iPhone that they want to keep a secret. Is this person using Snapchat, but not sending snaps to you, for instance? Here is what you do.
First, you actually have to persuade the person to hand over the phone while it’s unlocked. You can do this by lying to them (hey, teach my how to play Threes!) or by challenging them head-on (again, if you’re this paranoid already, you should probably admit the relationship is over anyway).
The other person may hand over their phone in the knowledge that the crucial stuff on it is password-protected. That’s not what you’re going to look at. Instead, if you hit the home button twice, it brings up a list of all the apps running in the background. Most people use this list to close the apps by swiping them upward. (Some people think that closing apps saves battery life.)
But most people don’t know that those apps appear in the order they were last used. So if your significant other swears they weren’t using Snapchat, but the Snapchat app is the first one to appear in the list — then you know they’re lying.
Here’s how my phone looked when I tried it while writing this article. I’m fairly sure my iPhone is being used as a work tool, right?
First, go to your home screen. Here is mine. As you can see, my home screen reflects what I think are my priorities — mostly work stuff and Candy Crush Saga:
After I hit the home button twice, my iPhone brings up a sideways-scrolling list of the last-used apps, in the order of most-recent first:
That’s odd. It would appear I’ve been playing “Threes” most recently, and not looking at Business Insider’s mobile app. Must be some glitch in iOS 7 (nervous laughter) …
Business Insider’s app was only my second-most recently used app. Photos was my third, and my work email came in fourth …
Not too embarrassing. But it’s certainly interesting that the priorities on my home screen are different from the way I actually use my phone, as ranked by my app shutdown list.
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