Friday, December 19, 2008

10 useful iPhone tips & tricks

I’m sure that many iPhone owners are “power users” and probably know most of the following tips. But more casual iPhone users will find this excellent list, taken from tap tap tap, incredibly useful. I know I did!

1. Scroll to top
Tapping the status bar (the bar at the top with the clock) will make scrollable content scroll to the top. It comes in handy in situations like when you’ve scrolled down a long web page or mail message and you quickly need to get back to the top.

2. Screenshots
Simultaneously press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons to take a screenshot of your current screen. You’ll hear a camera shutter sound, your screen will flash white, then the screenshot will appear in the “Saved Photos” library of the Photos app.

3. Saving images in Safari and Mail
Touching an image in Safari or Mail for a couple of seconds will present you with an action sheet which will enable you to save the image. As with taking screenshots, the image will get stored in the “Saved Photos” library of the Photos app.

4. Caps lock
Double-tap the Shift key to lock it to write in caps. For this to work, you need to make sure 'Enable Caps Lock' is turned on in the Keyboard section of General settings.

5. Extra keys
Do you need to type an umlauted-u (ü) but you’re not using the German keyboard? Touch and hold the U key and you get a set of additional keys to choose from.

This works for several of the alphabetic keys, enabling you access to letters such as éîçåß, etc.

In addition, there are several punctuation keys that behave similarly, so that you can type curly-quotes, etc. if you keep your finger on the inverted commas key

And furthermore, when the keyboard is in “URL-mode”, where the “.com” key is available, touching and holding it pops-up additional options for quickly entering .net, .edu, and .org domains.

6. Lock / shut down / force quit / reset
Many people are under the false impression that locking the phone is equivalent to putting your Mac to sleep. But when your phone is locked, the screen turns off but the app that’s running at the time continues to run. For instance a relaxation app is able to continue playing sound but save battery power with the screen off. So, locking your phone is actually more like “display sleep” on your Mac.

So to ensure that your phone is using as little battery as possible, you’re best off always pressing the Home button before locking so that no app remains running.

To turn your phone completely off, press the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds then drag the red slider that appears.

Additionally if you have ever been using an app and it’s become very unresponsive or completely frozen, you can force quit it by pressing the Home button for at least six seconds.

And finally, if your phone seems to be completely frozen where attempting to turn it off or force quit the current app does nothing, you can force a reset of your phone by pressing both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons for at least ten seconds. Note that while Apple technically calls this a “reset”, it’s actually more like a “reboot” and none of your settings will be changed.

7. Home button options
A very underused, yet convenient feature is that you’re able to set the function for double-clicking the Home button. By default, this just brings you to the Home screen, meaning no different function than clicking the Home button once.

But if you go to the Settings app then navigate to General then Home Button, you’ll find a few handy options. I have mine set to go to my Phone Favorites but you can also set it to open the iPod app, or just show the iPod controls when music is playing.

Also with the newest iPhone OS when you now click the Home button while already on the Home screen, it’ll quickly take you to the first page of apps. This is a great feature if you have your phone filled with apps… and who doesn’t these days?

8. Swipe to delete
In the Mail app and many others that use lists of items, you’re able to quickly delete an item by swiping your finger across the item… sort of emulating crossing something off a list. Doing so exposes a Delete button so that you’re able to confirm your action.

9. The mic on the earbuds is also a button
Squeeze once to answer a call, and again to hang up. If there is no call, squeeze once to start music and again to pause. A double squeeze will advance to the next track.

10. More Shortcuts
- You can double tap space to get period + space.
- To silence a call, press the Sleep/Wake or either volume button. You can still answer the call after silencing it, until it goes to voicemail.
- For a quick "Go To Date” in Calendar, press either of the arrows on the top bar that shows the date.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but ten of the most useful. To find out every single tip going, check out Apple's iPhone Tips page.

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