About a year ago my parents purchased their first smartphones. I love my parents dearly, but they are not what you would call “technology-literate”. We decided they needed the smartphone with the least “stuff” to worry about. Without a doubt, that is Apple’s insanely successful iPhone.
At the very core of Apple Inc. is an unyielding goal to make products “just work”. Apple utilizes a closed device/ecosystem strategy intended to make the device work smoothly with little need for the user to manage technical details. For those who like to tinker, customize, or root a device, this is infuriating. The other 99% of consumers want their device to “just work”. For that reason (and to the chagrin of the technorati) millions have flocked to the iPhone.
Now there are literally hundreds of millions of iOS devices in use around the world. And judging by the most recent customer satisfaction surveys, iPhone/iPad/iPod owners are the most satisfied with their device and its performance. But occasionally iDevice owners find themselves with a device that isn’t working properly. In addition, there are several ways to make your device work even better! I’ve compiled a list of the tips and tricks that seem to come up most frequently with my iDevice-owning friends and family.
- Hard Boot
- Closing Apps
- Wifi Sync
- iCloud Purchasing
- Lock Screen Camera
- Multitasking Gestures (iPad)
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS DAMN THING?!
Well maybe not in those exact words (most of the time worse), but I hear something to this effect most often. There are any number of reasons for your device to behave poorly. I don’t pretend to know why these things happen or the technicalities behind why these tips work. Just consider me the messenger.
Over the years I’ve experienced all sorts of abnormalities with my iOS devices: GPS stops working, can’t find a network, wifi won’t connect, can’t hear audio, videos won’t load, so forth and so on. If this happens to you, don’t freak out and call Apple.
A whole myriad of issues can be solved with the Hard Boot. This is essentially a reboot of your device but functions slightly different than just powering off the device and turning it back on.
Press and hold down the Home Button and Sleep/Wake Button simultaneously. DO NOT RELEASE EITHER BUTTON UNTIL:
You see this screen. As soon as the Apple Logo appears, release both buttons.
That’s it. You’ve done a Hard Boot of your phone. All your apps, music, etc are preserved and your phone should be running better. If the same issue persists you should contact Apple.
WHY IS FACEBOOK FROZEN?!?!
Sometimes an app will freeze. It happens frequently while loading large apps or those that pull a lot of information from the internet. If an app isn’t behaving the way you think it should, you can just quit the app and relaunch it.
From the Home screen, double press the Home button to pull up the Multitasking Tray. Normally this is how you navigate from app to app. In this instance just hold your finger on the app in the tray that is frozen or not functioning. When the icons begin to jiggle, simply tap the delete symbol at the top left of the icon. This will completely close the app. At this point go back to the app where it is located in your home screens and relaunch it.
Many issues that arise on the iPhone can be resolved with one of the above methods. If problems continue, consult the nearest Apple Store.
CUTTING THE CORD
With the release of iOS 5 last Fall, Apple has made it possible to completely cut the cord from your iDevice to your computer. With a few easy tweaks, you’ll be well on your way to never manually syncing your device again.
First, make sure you are running iOS 5 and that your copy of iTunes is updated. To do this you WILL need to plug your device into your computer. Once you’ve installed iOS 5 on your device, you will be prompted to create an iCloud account. Use any email you wish. Though, I prefer to use my AppleID. Be sure to select the option to back your phone up to iCloud. It is a free service and will come in handy (as you will see if you keep reading).
In the past your device was only backed up when you synced with iTunes via a USB cable. This can be disastrous if you are someone who rarely backs up your device. Lose your phone and you may lose valuable information that hasn’t been backed up. With iCloud backup, your device will save a backup every time you plug in your phone. A life saver, trust me. iCloud backups also allow you to sign in on a brand new device, and within a few minutes you have all your contacts, text messages, purchased music, etc. without syncing the device to your computer.
Once you have iOS 5 up and running, plug your device into your computer for the last time. Select the icon for that specific device from the side bar and then select “sync this device over wifi”. Once selected, simply unplug your phone. From this point on, as long as your computer and your device are on the same wifi network and iTunes is running on your computer, your device will sync movies, apps, books, music, photos, etc. via wifi, automatically. Typically this happens when you plug your device in to charge. You can also do it manually by selecting the Settings app on the device and navigating to General>iTunesWi-Fi Sync. With that, you are now cable free. Rarely will you have to plug your phone into iTunes with a cable.
That’s right! Not even when a new version of iOS comes out. A notification badge will appear on your Settings app icon when a new version comes out. Viewing the notification will take you to the update section of Settings, allowing you to update your device over the air as long as you’re connected to wi-fi.
BONUS CORD CUTTING!
With the new iTunes in the Cloud service, Apple has made it so any time you download a song, app, movie, or book it is automatically downloaded to any other device registered to that AppleID. Buy a song on your iPhone? It can automatically download to all your other devices.
To enable this, go to the Settings app on your iDevice, scroll down to Store, and enable automatic downloads with the toggles provided. Once you’ve done that on all your iDevices, don’t forget to add it to iTunes on your computer as well. Just click on iTunes in the menu bar while the program is running. Click Preferences then Store. It’s pretty self explanatory after that.
WHERE IS MY FAVORITE FART APP???
Please realize I’ve had iDevices since the iPhone was released and, as such, have many MANY apps. 368 to be precise. Don’t judge me. Now they’re not all loaded to my phone but there are plenty. If you like your apps organized like I do, group them into Folders.
On your device simply hold your finger on any app till they all start jiggling. You now have full control of where all your apps appear on the home screens of your device. Drag any app on top of another and a new folder will appear. Folders can hold up to 12 apps on an iPhone and 20 on the iPad.
THE BEST CAMERA IS THE ONE YOU HAVE WITH YOU…AND CAN OPERATE…QUICKLY.
Yes, the best camera is the one that is there with you to capture an iconic moment or baby’s first step. But time waits for no man and you must get your camera ready and into position quickly.
Seeing as the iPhone is now the number one camera for uploads on flickr, it’s apparent lots of people are using it. To pull your Camera app up quickly and capture the moment when it happens when your phone is locked, double click the Home button to bring up a new camera icon. This icon will take you straight into the camera app and you’ll be snapping pictures in a matter of seconds.
HE’S A REGULAR DAVID BLAINE WITH THAT IPAD!
I’m not advocating taking your iPad to a party just to impress people. Nor am I suggesting you throw your iPad against a window a la David Blaine style hoping it sticks to the other side. You can, however, navigate through your iPad with three simple gestures that look downright magical.
- A four finger pinch inward will close out of the app you are in and take you directly to the last Home Screen you viewed.
- Swiping with four fingers upward in any app or home screen will bring up the Multitasking Tray
- While in an app, you can also use a four finger swipe left or right to quickly switch to the next open app.
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