Whether you’re a seasoned user or brand new to the iPhone world, chances are you’re probably not using your smartphone to its fullest.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone, as these pocket-sized computers boast many hundreds of features buried in the operating system.
And so here we share a number of our favorite iPhone tips and tricks, some of which you may know already. Hopefully, there’s a good number of ones you aren’t aware of yet. Most of these following 25 suggestions will work with all iPhone versions, but be sure to have the latest software installed (iOS 5.1).
OK, here we go:
Take a photo with your headphone cord: Now that you can use the volume up or down buttons to snap a photo, steady your hand while framing up the image and when you’re ready to take the picture, press the button on the cord so it won’t shake the iPhone. Voila!
Dry out a wet iPhone: You’re not the first one to drop an iPhone in a toilet or sink. If this happens, don’t turn it on, as you can damage the smartphone by short-circuiting it. Lightly towel dry the phone. Please don’t use a hairdryer on the phone, as it can further push moisture into areas that aren’t wet. Submerge the iPhone in a bowl or Ziploc bag of uncooked white rice and leave it overnight. If you have it, try using a desiccant packet you might find with a new pair of shoes or leather purse.
Dismiss suggested words: If you’re typing an email or note and the virtual Keyboard is telling the correct spelling of the word — and you don’t want to accept it — you don’t need to tap the tiny “X” at the end of the term in question. Tap anywhere on the screen to close the suggestion box.
Take photos faster: Even if your iPhone is locked, you can double-tap on the Home button, and you’ll see a camera icon you can tap to open the camera immediately. Now you can use the volume up button to snap the photo, too. You can also use the book up on the headphone cord to take a picture (if you want to) and pinch the screen to zoom instead of using the slider bar.
Use location-based reminders: You probably know can use siri to set a reminder, like saying, “Siri, remind me to call mom at 4 pm today.” But did you know you can set location-based reminders on your iPhone 4S? Say “Remind me to call mom when I leave here” or “Remind me to call mom when I get home,” and you’ll be notified accordingly.
Get word definitions: Apple has recently added a built-in dictionary, and you can access it in most apps that let you select a word. Simply press and hold on a comment — such as in an email, reminder, iBooks, and so on — and you’ll see a pop-up option for “Define.”
Revive a frozen iPhone: If your smartphone freezes on you and pressing the Sleep/Wake button on top of the device doesn’t do anything, don’t panic. Instead, press and hold the Home button and the Sleep/Wake button at the same time. You’ll be prompted to swipe the “Slide to Power Off” tab. This so-called “hard reset” resuscitates the frozen iPhone. You’ll first need to wait through a complete shutdown and restart.
Get more done in less time: You can create shortcuts to words and phrases you use a lot, such as Northern California Association for Employment in Education. In Settings, go to General, then Keyboard and select Add New Shortcut. Now you can add new words or phrases and assign shortcuts to them (such as “NCAEE,” in the above example, and it’ll type out the entire word each time.
See a 6-day weather forecast: If you’re one of the many weather junkies out there, you probably know you can swipe down the iOS device’s screen, and you’ll see the Notifications center. Weather will be at the top, but did you know you can swipe to the left or right, and you’ll toggle between current conditions and a 6-day forecast? Plus, jump to the Weather app by tapping anywhere on the weather bar inside the Notifications screen.
Select URL domains faster: When typing a website address in Safari, you don’t have to type the “.com.” For example, you can type “yahoo” in the URL box to get to yahoo.com. On a related note, you can press and hold down the .com button, and you’ll see a list of alternatives to choose from, such as .net, .org, and .edu.
Make your ringtone: Don’t settle with the ringtones provided by Apple, and you need not pay your carrier for more of them. As the name suggests, the free Ringtone Maker app lets you take a clip from your favorite songs and make ringtones out of them in seconds.
Feel and see when people call: Apple has added several accessibility features to iOS 5, specifically designed to assist those with hearing, vision, mobility, and other disabilities. For example, the hearing impaired might opt to have the LED flash when a call comes in. If you see impaired, you could set a unique vibration pattern for different people in your Contacts, so you know who’s calling.
Find your lost iPhone: As long as you sign up in advance, the free Find My iPhone app will help you locate your device on a map (on your computer or another iOS device). You can display a message or initiate a loud ring (if it’s under the cushions) or remotely lock or wipe its data.
Save photos in Safari: You’re surfing the web in Safari and stumble upon a photo you’d like to save. Press and hold on a picture when on a website, and you’ll be prompted with a menu asked if you’d like to “Save Image.” Once the photo is saved, you can view it offline, email it or set it as wallpaper.
Take an iPhone screen grab: On a related note, if you want to take a screenshot of a website or application, press down on the Home button and tap the Sleep button. You’ll hear the camera click, see a white flash, and the screenshot will be saved to your Camera Roll.
Get new sounds: It’s been a long time coming, but Apple has added the ability to select custom tones for incoming text messages, new emails, voicemails, tweets, calendar alerts, reminders, and more. You can choose something you like from within the Sounds menu. You’ll also notice you can scroll to the top of this list of sounds, and you’ll see a “Buy More Tones” option, which takes you to iTunes.
Zip to the top of the page: In Mail, Safari, Contacts, and other apps, tap the status bar at the top of the screen — the area that displays time, battery, and cell bars — to jump back to the top quickly.
Prolong your battery: Speaking of the storm, here’s how to squeeze more life out of your iPhone between charges. Turn down the brightness of your screen, turn off wireless radios you don’t use (such as GPS, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth), and reduce the number of apps with the info you have “pushed” to your phone. Also, make sure you lock it before putting it in your pocket, purse, or backpack, or else it could turn on and drain the battery.
Spread out the Keyboard for easier typing: Here’s a tip for iPad users: If you like typing while holding the tablet, rather than stretch your fingers or thumbs for those middle letters like G, H, Y, or B, you can drag the Keyboard to each side of the screen to separate it into two, allowing you to type while holding it quickly.
Learn some gestures: Close any app ridiculously fast by putting your four fingers and thumb stretched on the screen and pinched inwards. Sweet! You can also magnify what’s on your iPhone screen with a three-finger tap. You’ll first need to go to Settings, General, Accessibility, and select the various gestures options here.
Create an “app” out of a website you often visit: To add a website to your Home screen, visit the webpage in Safari, and at the top of the screen, tap the Go To icon and select “Add to Home Screen.”
Create a music playlist on the fly: You no longer need a computer to create a playlist. In the Music app, tap Playlists, select Add Playlist, and give it a name (“Marc’s Workout Mix”). Now, tap any song (or video) to add it to the playlist. You can add individual songs, entire albums, or all songs by a particular artist.
Don’t waste your day deleting messages individually: You can delete unwanted emails en masse rather than deleting them one at a time. In your Inbox, click the Edit button and check off the emails you want to delete with your finger and then choose Delete.
Keep track of your texting limits: If you don’t have the best texting plan and don’t want to pay to send more texts than you need unnecessarily, here’s a tip to turn on the character count in the Messages app. Enable this in the Settings>Message option to keep an eye on your word count. Usually, your one text becomes two after 160 characters.
Mirror your iPhone with your TV: If you own an Apple TV, you can instantly and wirelessly share exactly what’s on your iPhone 4S or second-and third-generation iPad with your HDTV, connected to an Apple TV — such as games, apps, or videos. Double-tap, the Home button, swipe to the right, and select AirPlay Mirroring.