21 handy iOS 5 tips and tricks
After much fanfare, iOS 5 has finally landed.
But as is so often the case with Apple, someone forgot to write the manual. Worry not. We’ve rifled through 200-plus improvements and come up with 21 iOS 5 tips to make your life easier.
If you haven’t upgraded already, hook up your Apple device to your computer and launch iTunes now. Click on your device in the sidebar, and under Version you’ll see a button called Check for Update: click it. Follow the onscreen instructions and we’ll meet you back here once your device has rebooted to show you what’s what.
And then you’re ready to use our iOS 5 tips…
1. iOS 5 upgrade error 3200
Hit by the ’3200 error’ caused by the influx of traffic hitting Apple’s servers? Time for a DIY iOS installation. Download the file that applies to your device using one of the links below. Then hold Option (Shift for Windows users) and click the Update button in iTunes. In the navigation window, select the file you downloaded and the update should begin.
iPhone 4 GSM
iPhone 4 CDMA
iPad 2 WiFi
iPad 2,2 – GSM
iPad 2,3 – CDMA
iPod touch 3G
iPod touch 4G
2. Private Browsing
Private Browsing. We all know what it’s for… shopping for presents, right? Handily, Apple has finally seen fit to include the feature in iOS. Simply head to Settings > Safari and swipe on Private Browsing. There, your secret’s safe with us.
3. Keyboard shortcuts
Find yourself tapping out the same phrases every day in mails and texts? That’s valuable Facebook time you’re wasting. Fortunately, Keyboard shortcuts are here to help. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts to define shortcuts that will magically transform into the phrase you specify. The death of textspeak? We doubt it.
4. Weather reports
Apple’s built-in Weather app has seen a much-needed update in iOS 5. Swipe down on a forecast for an hourly breakdown of the day. With Location Services turned on in Settings, you can get local weather reports too – just tap the app’s ‘i’ button. And check out its strip in the new Notification Center, where a sideways swipe gives you a seven-day forecast.
5. Location-based reminders
Let’s say you want to be reminded to call your better half the moment you leave work. Open the new Reminders app and tap the plus button to create a new reminder, then hit return. Now tap the reminder, followed by the Remind Me button, and turn on the At a Location option. Choose your Current Location and, finally, tick ‘When I Leave’ on the last screen and click done.
6. Safari Reading List
Found a web article you want to read later? Simply tap Safari’s action button (the rectangle with an arrow inside), then tap Add to Reading List. To read a saved story, just tap the Bookmarks button and hit Reading List – all of your stored links appear. What’s more, if you’re using iCloud, they’re synced to all your devices.
7. Safari Reader
This one’s a desktop feature that actually feels as if it was made for iOS. A Reader button appears in Safari’s address bar whenever you’re browsing a web article. Tap it and the page fluff is stripped away, leaving the main text against a clean screen, along with font sizing and share options. Trust us, your eyes will love this one.
8. Flag emails
Want a message in your inbox to stand out, highlighting its importance? That’s right – iOS 5 now lets you flag emails. When viewing an email, you’ll notice the word Mark in the subject line. Tap it for the Flag option (alongside Mark as Unread). Select this and your message will be graced with a fruity orange flag.
9. Email formatting
Give your emails a touch of style with the new text formatting options. Simply double-tap a word or paragraph in the body of your message and select the arrow rightmost of the floating menu. Finally, tap the leftmost option that appears and select from Bold, Italics and Underline.
10. Twitter integration
Twitter is baked right into iOS 5, and it’s awesome. Head to Settings > Twitter and fill in the username and password entries. Now whenever you snap a photo, record a vid, mark a map location or find an interesting web page or YouTube clip, you can tweet it directly via the action button. It’s gonna get busy…
11. Good vibrations
Want to know who messages or calls you simply from the vibration your phone makes? Go to Settings > General and in the Accessibility screen turn on Custom Vibrations. Now back in Settings, go to Sounds and tap Vibration > Create New Vibration. Go ahead: tap out a vibration; when you’re done, hit Save. Now you can assign it to a contact from within the Phone app.
10 more handy iOS 5 tips and tricks
12. Alternate Map routes
Now when you look for directions in the Maps app, you’re presented with alternate routes. Simply tap a route to view its path, or tap the ‘overleaf’ button bottom-right to view the route as a list of directions. And if you select ‘Show Traffic’ from the latter menu, routes are colour-coded based on congestion, green being the least busy.
13. Default email address
Sick of having to select your most-used email account when sending messages? iOS 5 lets you select a default account, with system-wide effect. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and scroll down to Default Account. Nix the problem with a tick.
14. Camera Roll
The Camera Roll is cool, but it doesn’t half get crowded quick. Solve the issue by creating folders for your snaps. Launch the Photos app and tap into the Camera Roll. Now hit the top-right action button and start tapping on the photos you want to include. When done, tap ‘Add To’ then ‘Create a New Album’ buttons, and enter a name. Voila – your album is created.
15. Camera grid and auto focus
Line up your photos more accurately with the Camera app’s new Grid overlay – tap the Options button to turn the Grid on. You can now also tap in on one spot to set the focus, as well as tap-and-hold to lock exposure for your shot. Poor Camera+, eh?
16. Photo Enhancements
Apple has brought over its desktop iPhoto tools to the iOS Camera interface. Tap the Edit button when viewing a photo and note the strip of options that appear along the bottom of your shot. From left to right they are: Rotate, Auto-Enhance, Remove Red-Eye, and Crop.
17. iPad gestures
iOS 5 brings system-wide gestures to the iPad. Switch between apps with a four-finger swipe from side to side; a five-finger pinch takes you to the Home screen. Finally, flick up with four fingers to bring up the Multitasking Bar.
18. Photos and Places
You no longer need a computer to see your snaps on a map. Take advantage of geotags straight away by opening the Photos app and tapping Places. Your snaps are grouped by location, represented by pins on the map; zoom in to split the locations into individual shots. It’s that simple.
19. Send a voice memo
iMessage is Apple’s new instant messaging service allowing iOS users to communicate freely using texts, photos, videos and so on. Mix things up and surprise a friend by sending a voice memo instead: launch the Voice Memos app and record your memo in the usual way. Now tap the triple-lined button, select Share > Message and finally, choose your recipient.
20. Lock screen camera
Remember how annoying it was having to unlock your iPhone before you could take a photo? By the time you got round to it, nine times out of ten the moment was long lost. But no more. When in the lock screen, double-click the Home button and a Camera button appears; tap it. Hey, you’re in the Camera app! Don’t fret – the rest of your phone’s contents is still locked down.
21. Alert Style
The welcome arrival of Notification Center brings new options to the way alerts behave. Go to Settings > Notifications and click on an app to switch its alert style among None, transitory Banners (along the top of the screen) and classic centre-of-screen Alerts. Make sure to check Notification Center periodically for Banner alerts you might have missed.