25 Tips and Tricks for getting the most out of iOS 5

With the release of the iPhone 4S, iCloud, and iOS 5 came a whole new set of tricks for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Here are some of the most useful, interesting, and important to remember.

1 Don’t let Siri access your locked iPhone

When you hold down the Home button for a couple of seconds, Siri will be activated and wait for your request. However, this works even if the iPhone is locked, which means someone could potentially use your iPhone to make calls, send emails, or text. It’s not all bad, though. They will be limited to the people in your Contacts, and they won’t be able to open any apps (Siri doesn’t do that). However, if you would rather not give strangers the power of contacting people from your locked phone, simply go to Settings> General> Passcode Lock and slide the Siri setting to Off.

2 Use your headset as a remote shutter for the Camera

Among the cool improvements to the iPhone’s camera, it turns out that you can now use your Volume+ button on the Apple headset as a shutter. This creates some awesome possibilities for photographers who use a tripod to set up shots with the iPhone.

3 Split your keyboard

This one is only for the iPad. You can now hold down the keyboard with two thumbs, and drag it apart to “split” it into two sections easily reachable by your thumbs. Let the thumb typing races begin! 3 Download apps you purchased on other devices Part of iCloud is the ability to access all your apps, music, and other purchases you’ve made in other devices. However, at first it isn’t very obvious where to find the apps you’ve already downloaded. They’re all under a new category called “Purchased.” On your iPhone or iPod touch, you can access it by opening the App Store app and tapping on “Updates” on the bottom right. You will see an additional category named “Purchased.” On the iPad, “Purchased” has its own tab along the bottom menu in the App Store app. Tap on “Purchased,” and you’ll have the option to see “All” or “Not On This iPhone/iPod touch/iPad.” You can re-download any apps from there.

4 Manage the Notification Center

You can choose which apps show up in the new Notification Center, which you can access by swiping down from the top of your screen. Simply open Settings> Notifications and tap on the app you want to modify or remove. You can also set the alert style you would like to get from each app (choose from None, Banners, or Alerts). It is especially useful to remove certain apps to conserve battery life. I removed Zynga Poker, because I don’t need an instant reminder telling me I won additional fake money.

6 Swipe to get weekly weather forecast

The weather widget in the Notification Center doesn’t just show you the weather for today, it can also show you the weather for the next five days. Just swipe left or right for the full forecast.

7 Open Camera from the Lock Screen

When you need to capture that perfect moment, you don’t want to miss it because you’re fumbling with your iPhone trying to get the Camera app to open. Simply double click the home button, and a direct link to the Camera app will appear. Now say “Cheese.”

8 Send more than one photo at a time

This isn’t a new tip, but it’s one that is very useful to remember because it can save you a lot of time. It can be a pain to attach and send images one by one from your iPhone or iPad. To send several images at once through iMessage, SMS, or email, open up your photo albums, and tap on the action button on the top right (looks like a box with an arrow coming out). Tap on the images you want to send at one time, and when you’re ready, tap on Share. You’ll get the option to share via email, message, or print.

9 Activate the built-in Emoji keyboard

Did you know there’s a built-in Emoji keyboard on your device? Yes, it’s true. To activate it, open Settings> General> Keyboard. Scroll down and tap on International Keyboards, and then tap on Add New Keyboard…Select Emoji, and you’re good to go. The next time you need to type something, you’ll see a little globe icon on the keyboard, and tapping it will open up all sorts of different silly faces.

10 Access the new built-in dictionary

Don’t know the meaning of a certain word? Do not worry; iOS 5 comes with a built-in dictionary. To access it, just tap and hold any word within a browser, email, or note, and you’ll see an option to “Define” the word. Tap on “Define,” and the dictionary will slide up with the definition.

11 Take advantage of shortcuts phrases

Some words are hard to type over and over on the iPhone, especially if they are very long. In these instances, you may want to consider setting up shortcuts. For example, you can set a shortcut for your email address as simply “myemail.” This way, every time you type “myemail,” your iPhone will replace the shortcut with your full email address.

12 Drag email addresses within the Mail app

One neat and not very obvious feature in iOS 5 is the ability to rearrange email addresses from the “To” field to “Cc” and “Bcc” by simply tapping and dragging them. It’s a very small feature that can easily get annoying when it’s not there.

13 Send Tweets and update your Facebook status with SIRI

Siri can’t open apps, so sending Tweets and updating your Facebook status wasn’t possible with Siri. However, the genius people of the vast Internet world figured out a nifty workaround. Simply enable mobile access for both Twitter and Facebook. You will receive a telephone number for each service where you can either tweet by sending a text or update your status through a text message. Then, add those phone numbers to your Contacts, and give them nondescript names like Mr. Tweet and Mr. Facebook. Lastly, open Siri and ask her to send a message to Mr. Tweet or Mr. Facebook. The message will go through as a text, but you and I know that the text will actually land as a Tweet or Facebook update.

14 Manage your iCloud storage

Apple gives you 5GB of free iCloud storage, but this may not be enough for all your music, apps, and files. To keep an eye on your storage level, simply open Settings> iCloud> Storage & Backup. Here you’ll see your total storage across all your devices. If you want to see how much space your specific device is taking up, tap Settings> General> Usage. Scroll down and tap Manage Storage and then tap on the icon for your device. You’ll get a detailed breakdown for every app using up storage.

15 Tweet from Safari Twitter integration in iOS 5 is deep.

This means you’ll often have the option to send Tweets from within any app. To Tweet from Safari, simply tap on the action icon in the middle bottom of the page (looks like a box with an arrow coming out). Tap on Tweet, and you’ll be able to write your Tweet while a link to the page is automatically attached. You can also add your current location by tapping on “Add Location.”

16 Format emails with rich text

Prior to iOS 5, you were not be able to do anything fancy with the text in an email message sent from your iPhone or iPad. Now you can make your text bold, italic, or underlined. It’s not crazy, but it’s a start. Hold down and select the word or phrase you want to modify and let go. When the menu pops up above the word, tap on the arrow to see more options, and you’ll see a new option: “BIU.” When you tap on it, you’ll be able to make your text bold, italic, or underlined.

17 Set up a custom vibration pattern

This is one of my favorite new features. You can create new vibration patterns for different contacts! To activate it, open Setting> General> Accessibility, and swipe Custom Vibrations to ON. Next, open up the contact info for one of your contacts and tap on Edit. Tap on “vibration” and scroll down to Custom. The New Vibration recorder will open up, and you’ll be able to create your own cool pattern.

18 Let them know you’ve read their text

When you’re chatting or messaging with someone through iMessage, it’s obvious whether the text or message went through. However, if you want to let other people know you’ve opened their message, you can turn on “Send Read Receipts.” Here’s how: Open Settings> Messages and slide Send Read Receipts to the On position. Others will receive a notification when you’ve read their messages.

19 Set default times for reminders

When you set an alert for an all day event, you may wonder the time that the alert will actually go off. Will it go off at midnight, at this time that day, or at some other random time? Well wonder no more. You can actually set the Default time for all-day-event alerts. Open Settings> Mail, Contacts, Calendars, scroll down and tap on Default Alert Times. Now when you ask Siri to remind you of that important birthday, you’ll know exactly when the alert will take place.

20 Make your LED flash alert you about incoming calls

Sometimes a visual alert is more useful than vibration. If you would like your iPhone to flash its LED light when a call is coming in, then open Settings> General> Accessibility and slide LED Flash for Alerts to the On position.

21 Reset SIRI if you’re having connection issues

Siri is great, but it isn’t 100 percent dependable. If you’re having trouble with Siri, especially if it keeps saying that it’s having trouble connecting to the Internet, then resetting Siri is likely to make the problem go away. Here’s how you do it: Open Settings> General> Siri, and slide it to Off. Then go to Settings> Reset> Reset Network Settings. This will make your iPhone reboot. Wait a few seconds, then go back to Settings> General> Siri to turn it back on. Most of the time, this will fix Siri issues.

22 Automatically download music, apps, and books to all your devices

If you have several iOS devices, you’ll likely want them all to stay synced easily. That’s what the iCloud is for! To make sure all purchases of music, apps, and iBooks are downloaded automatically to each iOS device, simply open Settings> Store, and make sure that Music, Apps and Books under Automatic Downloads are all switched to On.

23 Create Photo Albums on the fly

You can now create albums on the fly with iOS 5. Open up your Camera Roll or Photo Stream, tap on the action button on the top right (looks like a box with an arrow coming out), tap on the photos you want on the album, and tap on Add To. Select Add to New Album, name it, and you’re done.

24 Show or hide the keyboard in the Messages app

When you’re in a conversation within the Messages app, you can show or hide the keyboard by swiping it up and down respectively.

25 Swipe for Camera Roll

Want to take a peek at that last photo you just took when you’re in the Camera app? Just swipe towards the right to jump straight into your Camera Roll. Want to get back to taking pictures? Simply swipe to the left past the last picture you just took.


iPhone Life February 2012

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