This is a compendium of tips on using the
Apple iPhone and iPad that I have
gleaned elsewhere or by personal experience. Remember, for tips that are
new to you, it is best if you TRY THEM as you read this to help you
learn/remember them. It is a work in progress, so
check back later for more! Last updated:
Press the Home button (the only button on the front of the
iPhone) when you are on the second, third, etc., page of application icons
and/or folders, and you will return to the first page. This is useful as
you begin to fill up screens with application icons.
If you swipe down from the top, you will see a
list of current and near future calendar events and other notices. Swipe
in the opposite direction to close.
If you swipe up from the bottom, you will open
the control center, from where you can can control numerous phone features,
including such things as flashlight mode.
Swipe in the opposite direction to close.
To enter Search mode, from where you can enter any term
to search everywhere on your iPhone, put your finger anywhere except the
very top of any application icon screen and swipe down. You can lookup
contacts and calendar entries this way, for example.
If you are running in iPod
mode (e.g., music playing) while the screen is locked, press the Home
button to see what's playing and access controls like Pause / Skip / Volume.
Outside of lock mode, double-clicking brings up the
task list, so you can switch applications. Just press the
application image or its icon to switch to it. Flipping the application
image upwards closes the application.
Tap the Status Bar (top of every page with the
clock). This will scroll you to the top of whatever is showing on the
page, especially helpful for long lists like Contacts or web pages.
Tap the space bar twice to insert a period followed by two spaces
while entering text.
Hold down the shift key while typing to
capitalize several letters in a row, like OK or IBM (or double-tap the shift
Hold down the .com key in Safari, and you will find options for
adding .net, .edu, and .org instead.
Hold down the period (.) key in Mail and you'll find the same
options for adding .com, .edu, etc.
Hold down any key to see what additional
options are available (like accented vowels). Certain consonants also
have options: C, L, N, S, and Z. On the punctuation keyboard, some
keys like period and hyphen also offer alternative characters. The $
offers alternative currencies.
Press the Sleep/Wake button (top of phone) or one of the volume
buttons (left side of phone) to immediately silence the ringer. Press
the Sleep/Wake button twice in succession to send a call to VoiceMail.
Sweep FOUR fingers upwards (on an iPad) to get
to the task switcher, or sweep them sideways to actually switch apps.
Squeeze FIVE fingers together (on an iPad) to
revert to the home screen.
Drag one or two more apps to the home screen dock
(on an iPad), and optionally drag those already there out and replace them
(both iPhone and iPad).
Create your own shortcuts: You can create
your own shortcuts for longer phrases. For example, if I type fbid, it
expands into my userid (fb being my initials and id self-explanatory...).
You do this via Settings / General / Keyboard / Shortcuts. Want to see
it in action? "omw" is precoded to expand to "On My Way!". When
you type a shortcut, the shortcut definition is suggested as the substitution
for the shortcut, so you have to enter a space or punctuation next to get it
to expand automatically. If your phone has turned on capitalization for
the next letter typed, then the first letter of the shortcut will be
Tricks and Tips
Save an image from a web page by holding your
finger on the image. After a few seconds, a dialog box comes up asking
you if you want to Save or Copy the image.
Take a screen shot (an image of the current iPhone screen) by
holding the Home button and briefly pressing the Sleep/Wake button.
The image will be recorded under Photos, Camera Roll, from where you can email
it or otherwise use it. (Example: the image to the right.)
Rearrange screen icons by pressing and holding one of them until
all of them jiggle. Then drag and drop icons wherever you want them.
Drag them off-screen to the right to get to additional pages. Press the Home key
when done to stop all that jiggling!
Organize your Apps by placing them in folders, as shown to the right.
This avoids having to scroll back and forth between screens, trying to find
your App. Start by holding your finger on one icon until all the icons
start jiggling; then drag one icon on top of another related icon
(such as two news Apps). A folder will be created with an appropriate
name (which you can change). Keep combining your Apps and drag the
folders around in an order you like (mine are alphabetical). Wondering
about the numbers in red? If an App in
a folder has new items pending,
that number is shown on the folder. For instance, the 6 on Entertainment
probably means I have 6 notifications pending from Facebook.
Save a webpage as an icon. Open a webpage in Safari, click the Share
button at the bottom of the screen (a box with an arrow out the top), scroll
right if necessary, select Add to Home Screen. An icon of the page will
be saved, and you can move it anywhere you want (like a WebPages folder?).
Siri is brilliant, but underused. For
instance, you can ask Siri to create a list, add items to it, then read it
back to you. Read
this article for fantastic tips.
Create a Mobile directory under Favorites to
store website addresses which offer data formatted to fit your iPhone screen.
Find free WIFI spots for your iPhone while traveling at
go there now from your iPhone Safari browser and save it as a Favorite under
Mobile.) There are also several apps in the iTunes store for this.
Zoom in on some text by holding your finger on it. This is
especially helpful if you want to place the cursor somewhere to delete or edit
it. After the zoom takes place and the text is enlarged in a small
circle, you may move the position of the cursor by dragging your finger left
or right. (See the image to the right for an example.)
Copy, Cut, and Paste: double-tap a word
and it gets selected and offers you the opportunity to Copy, Select All (the
whole area), or Define (dictionary).
By dragging the blue dots, you can expand or narrow the area to be processed
before tapping on which of the three options you wish to exercise. Tap
once elsewhere to make the options go away. In Safari, you can't
double-tap: just hold your finger in the general area you wish to
manipulate, and when you let go, the Copy and Define options will appear.
Sort your Phone Favorites list by tapping Favorites, then Edit,
then drag the triple-bar symbol to the right of each contact to a new place in
the list, then tap Done. This works in numerous applications.
If you want to change the order in which photos are
displayed, you'll need to create iDevice Photo Albums, which are actually
pointers to existing photos, but you can move the pointers around. The
albums look just like regular albums, but you control the order. Read my
iPhone Photo Album Tips to learn how.
Do you like emoticons?
J You can add them (in color) to your text
messages to other iPhone (only) users via the Emoji keyboard option. To
add this feature, go to Settings, General, Keyboard, Keyboards,
and select Add New Keyboard; then choose the Emoji keyboard. Now a
symbol of the world will appear in the bottom row whenever the keyboard pops
up. Press it and you will switch to the Emoji keyboard with dozens of
options for symbols. Press it again to return to your regular keyboard.
CAUTION: Only iPhone users will be able to see your Emoji symbols --
other users will get a blank. And in case you haven't figured it out by
now, this is how you would add keyboards for other languages you may know!
Take 15 minutes to explore ALL the options available in
One of the great things about the iPhone is the number of FREE applications
you can easily add to it. (There are also some fee applications to choose
from, but so many great ones are free.) To find applications to add, simply
tap the App Store icon. Here are my favorites:
DropBox: This is a must-have application
to allow you to share files between computers (e.g., your desktop and your iPhone, or home and work). Many other iPhone/iPad applications also
support DropBox internally.
Pandora: Wow, this is great! Enter
any artist or song you like, and Pandora will play it and similar music for
hours. Or enter a genre you like (such as Pop, Jazz, or New Age).
The selections are fantastic. With iOS7, Apple added its own version of
this: iTunes Radio.
Shazam: Listens to any music playing nearby and tells you the
name of the song and artist.
SoundHound: An alternative to Shazam that
is fast(er) and seems to give more information, but may limit the number of
times per day you can use it.
Red Laser: scans barcodes and tells you
what competitors charge for the same item; well worth the fee. Also
scans "tags" (like QR codes) and redirects you.
Wikipanion: If you know what Wikipedia is,
this is the iPhone interface. Tons of information and answers at your
Google Earth: It is absolutely amazing to
watch Google Earth zoom in on your location with satellite photos!
Ruler: only good for up to 3", but you never know when you'll
need to measure something while you're out! What the heck, it's free!
There is also a level tool (iHandy Level), although this feature is now
included (one might say buried) in the standard Compass app.
Yelp: Finds Restaurants, Bars, Coffee Shops, Banks, Gas
Stations, and Drugstores nearby to wherever you are. Even gives you
ratings, relative cost, and reviews, and lets you refine search
characteristics. UrbanSpoon is similar.
Translator: Translates words from one language to another.
There are several similar applications.
Unit: Converts one unit into another in many categories, like
Currency, Temperature, Length, Weight, etc. There are numerous similar
WootWatch: This may be your introduction
to Woot.com, where you'll find some amazing one-day bargains from their
sites. iYugster is a similar service.
There are many news applications. I like
Newsy, which offers both video and a transcript.
FlipBoard and Zite are also good.
Track the weather with TWC (The Weather Channel)
and My Radar.
ShopShop: This is a wonderful application
for keeping your shopping list with you at all times. And it can be
setup to sync automatically between multiple i-devices (e.g., iPhone and iPad).
And you can maintain multiple shopping lists (e.g., grocery store, hardware
CardStar: This app allows you to keep
track of all your shopper loyalty cards, insurance cards, etc.; and in many
cases, a merchant can scan the image on your phone.
If an app says HD in the name,
it supports the iPad, taking advantage
of the large screen size. HD is optional -- many apps support both
iPhone and iPad, but sometimes you have to download a separate version of each
app for each device.
If the App does not specifically support the iPad, you
can click the 2X button which will be displayed with the App to get it
to fill the screen better; however, it will not respond to rotation.
Most PCs don't have the power available in the USB port
to charge an iPad, so don't expect the unit to charge during or after
Sync; you'll need to use the separate AC power supply which comes with the
There are some terrific iPad apps which expand upon
their iPhone counterparts or surpass them. Look for the HD version of
The Weather Channel; Newsy; and Bloomberg for stocks.
There's even an HD Calculator with many more options.
Using the keyboard, sweeping your finger upwards
from the COMMA key inserts an APOSTROPHE; sweeping upwards from the PERIOD
inserts a DOUBLE-QUOTE.
The "dock" (the area at the bottom of the screen)
actually holds SIX apps, not just the four you find there initially.
Feel free to drag two more apps to the dock. (Press and hold the app
until it starts jiggling, then drag it.)
There are several methods for creating your own ringtones, so this is just
one of them (from a
CNET video, with detailed clarification by yours truly!). It seems
complicated, but I believe you will find the steps clearly documented.
(You can also find a detailed video on
Find an unprotected song you wish to excerpt for a ringtone.
In other words, it can't have DRM copyright protection, such as an old purchase
from iTunes. A track copied from a CD would be fine, and most recent
iTunes purchases should work.
Play the song in iTunes, watching the elapsed time indicator.
Note the exact start and end times for the segment you wish to extract.
For instance, you may like a musical riff which starts 21 seconds into the
song and ends 28 seconds in. (I think the maximum length you can use for
a ringtone is 30 seconds. Remember that whatever you specify will
Right-click the song title and choose Get Info from the menu.
Using the Options tab, enter the Start Time and Stop Time
you just determined in the previous step. Close the dialog box.
Play the song to make sure you have excerpted exactly what you want.
Go back and adjust the Start and Stop times as necessary until you
get the excerpt exactly right. You can specify fractions of a second in
the following manner: 0:13.4, for 13.4 seconds into the song. By
temporarily setting iTunes Control / Repeat option to One, you can hear how
the excerpt will sound on your iPhone as it loops. Play with those
tenths of a second to get the loop to start "on the beat"!
With the song still selected, click Advanced in the iTunes menu bar
and choose Create AAC Version (formerly Convert Selection to ACC). This will create a second,
excerpted version of the same song right after the first one. Note that
the shorter duration is reflected in the Time column.
Before you forget it, redo the Get Info step on the ORIGINAL
file to UNCHECK the Start and Stop times. Write them down first, if you
are afraid you might have to redo your creation.
Now take a moment to think how you want your new ringtone titled.
Making sure you have selected the shortened version of the song,
open Get Info again, select the Info tab, and change the Name of the
song, if you wish. Alternatively, you can do this later, after it
becomes a ringtone.
Resize the iTunes window, if necessary, to make is less than full
size. Minimize other applications such that at least a portion of the
desktop shows through.
Before we go any further, you need to decide where to store your ringtone(s). iTunes simply points to a location, so you need to save
your ringtones somewhere. The original CNET tip suggests using the
Desktop, but that is hardly a good location for file storage, so I suggest
creating (if it doesn't exist already) a Ringtones subdirectory in your Music
directory on your computer. The next step references whatever directory you
Open your Ringtones subdirectory.
Drag (with mouse button one held down) the newly created song
excerpt to this subdirectory.
Right-click the song in the directory and select Rename.
Change the file extension from m4a to m4r. (r =
Ringtone, get it?!) Do NOT change the rest of the filename, even though
it may appear different from what you see in iTunes.
Back in iTunes, delete the excerpted AAC (m4a) version, moving it
to the recycle bin. This is essential for the technique to work!
Do not leave it in the iTunes library.
Now, drag the newly renamed song (now a ringtone, based on the m4r
extension) from your Ringtones directory back to iTunes, dropping it in the
left column on the word LIBRARY. This will cause a Ringtones
category (now called Tones) to be created (if it doesn't exist already), and your new ringtone
will be there, ready to sync with your iPhone on the next connection, after
which it will appear in the iPhone Ringtones list. (You may be able to double-click the ringtone file in your folder and it will automatically
get placed in iTunes.)
SYNC your iPhone.
Whew, you're done! You should find your new ringtone available on
your iPhone for assignment as the default ringtone or to individual callers.
If you don't find it, look back a few steps here and reread the comment about
deleting the m4a file.