30 iPhone and iPad tips and tricks to make you faster and more efficient

30 iPhone and iPad tips and tricks to make you faster and more efficient

Summary: Here are a list of tip and tricks that will help you be more productive when using your iPad and iPhone, whether you use it for work or play.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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There's little doubt that the king and queen of the post-PC era are the iPad and the iPhone, and while these devices both started out life as content consumption devices, they've grown over several hardware and software iterations into formidable content creation devices.

But as with any device, there are tips and tricks and shortcuts that can help you get more from your iDevice investment. Here, in no particular order, I'm going to rattle through a list of tip and tricks that will help you be more productive when using your iPad and iPhone, whether you use it for work or play.

  1. When ending a sentence, instead of typing a period and then a space, just tap the space bar twice, which does the same thing and is faster.

  2. Find yourself typing a lot of text and numbers? Do you find switching back and forth to the numeric keypad time consuming? Press and hold the "123" button and slide up to the character you want to input then, when you let go, the standard keyboard will return.

  3. Want to TYPE WITH CAPS LOCK ON? Just double-tap the on-screen shift key. Tap again to return to lower-case.

  4. In Safari (and Chrome), press and hold down the period key to bring up a listing of top-level domains such as .com, .net and so on (what you get is region specific so will vary).

  5. Spend a lot of time looking at your iOS device in low-light? Invert the screen colors for more comfortable viewing. To do this click Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on Invert Colors.

  6. There are a whole bunch of things you can do if you have earphones that have the remote control, from controlling the camera to rejecting calls.

  7. iPad only: You can add as many as six icons to the bottom dock (the default is four) and you can also add folders. Just press and hold any icon until they jiggle and start rearranging. Press the Home button when you are done.

  8. Don't want to be hassled by calls or notifications? Click Settings >Do Not Disturb and turn on Manual.

  9. Make text larger (in supported apps) by tapping on Settings > General > Text Size and adjusting it using the slider.

  10. Want to still be able to receive some calls while in Do Not Disturb mode? Use the Allow Calls From setting to control which of your contacts can get in touch.

  11. What about those urgent calls from people not in your contacts? You can use the Repeated Call feature to allow a call through if it is the second one made within three minutes.

  12. You can quickly get to the Camera app from the lock screen by swiping up the camera icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

  13. You can quickly scroll to the top in most apps by tapping the status bar at the top of the screen.

  14. Spotlight search has been revamped. Instead of swiping to the left in iOS6 and earlier, you now swipe down from any home screen for quick access.

  15. You can now block a caller. To block someone, go to Contacts then select a contact and hit Block this Caller. Users on the blocked list will not be able to call, text or FaceTime you.

  16. Got a lot of typing to do? Pair any Bluetooth keyboard to your iPhone or iPad to make the job faster.

  17. iPad only: Put the keyboard into 'thumb mode" by pressing and holding the press the "dock and merge" button in the bottom right-hand corner and dragging up. Drag down to return the keyboard to its normal state.

  18. Want to fast-charge a device? Pop it into Airplane Mode (tap Settings turn on Airplane Mode). It will charge much faster.

  19. Want to cache maps for offline use in the Google Maps app? Zoom in to the area you want and type OK maps into the search bar and hit Search and the map tile will be saved.

  20. Did you accidentally archive an email? Shake your phone to bring up the Undo Archive dialogue.

  21. Remove digits you've typed into the Calc app by swiping left to right across the digits to remove them one by one.

  22. Starting with iOS 7 there's no longer a limit on the number of apps you can put into a folder, so there's no more need for duplicate folders.

  23. Swamped by emails? If you tap Edit when in the Mail app you can select from a range of filters including VIP, Flagged, Unread, and so on.

  24. Worried about young ones racking up huge in-app purchase bills? Tap Settings > General > Restrictions and scroll down to disable In-App Purchases.

  25. AirDrop is a great way to share files with other iPhone and iPad (not all devices are compatible) users using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (both need to be enabled for it to work). Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center and tap on AirDrop. Here you can choose to make your device discoverable for Contacts Only or Everyone or turn it off completely in here. When you choose someone to share with, or they choose you, there’s a notification giving you a preview of the file and the option to deny or accept the transfer.

  26. You can make audio-only FaceTime calls by tapping the phone icon instead of the video icon in the FaceTime app. If you're paying for wi-fi or cellular by the megabyte, this will save you money.

  27. You can use Siri to do all sorts of things, from switching on wi-fi to taking a photo. Tap on the tap the '?' symbol in the bottom left of the Siri screen.

  28. Instead of tapping on back buttons, you can now use a gesture to return to a previous view by swiping right from the left edge of the screen.

  29. In iOS 7, you can view the sent/received times for each message (text and iMessage) by swiping left from anywhere within the chat history.

  30. Siri can read out your email for you. Hold down on the Home key then say "Read my emails" to get the name of the sender, time and date sent, and subject of the email. Follow-up by saying "Yes" when asked if you want the text read out to you.

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Topic: Mobility

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22 comments
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  • Some nice tips, thanks!

    I'm sure you'll get comments about how some of the tips are obvious, but there are some nice gems too.
    rfoto
  • Question

    How do we make iOS 7 less buggy?

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/ios-7-problems
    Sean Foley
    • Good question

      E.g. Safari crashes a lot on iPad Air running iOS 7. I suspect it has something to do with the 64 bit version of iOS 7 (memory issues?). Apple should REALLY fix this.
      Smalahove
  • I think that can be argued.

    "and while these devices both started out life as content consumption devices, they've grown over several hardware and software iterations into formidable content creation devices."

    I think that can be argued. There's a difference between "it's possible to do it" and "it's a good way of doing it."
    CobraA1
    • Desk sitters

      I think we need to rid ourselves of the idea that one needs a keyboard to create content.
      rfoto
      • I agree

        You'll never write a blog with one. But you might photoblog or video blog... or make videos, or music, or....
        Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • It's the mouse as well.

        -I've got a nice ergonomic (split) keyboard - not too many of them are available as something that can connect to an iOS device.

        -The mouse is much more precise than a finger (especially my gaming mouse ;) ). iOS doesn't support a mouse, last I checked.

        -To be honest, none of the products I've tried have even a fraction of the features their desktop equivalents have. At worst, they're a joke. At best, they expect you to draft stuff on them and do the more complex final detail stuff when you get back to your PC.

        -Again, I'm not saying it's impossible to create content on these devices - I'm saying it's far from ideal. Which is true.

        There's nothing really to "rid ourselves of." Those are just the facts.
        CobraA1
        • You find what you want to find

          "I've got a nice ergonomic (split) keyboard - not too many of them are available as something that can connect to an iOS device."

          Personally I hate split keyboards, but all the ones that are bluetooth will work with iOS devices

          "The mouse is much more precise than a finger (especially my gaming mouse ;) )"

          True, but on the other hand the whole interface of iOS is designed to not required the mouse's level of precision. The touch screen, especially with multitouch, gives a far more expressive interface. Which is why I use a multitouch mouse on my desktop.

          "To be honest, none of the products I've tried have even a fraction of the features their desktop equivalents have."

          To be honest few of the desktop products that I've tried would be usable at all on a screen the size of a phone. And a phone with a 24 inch screen would be stupid.

          "At worst, they're a joke."

          Many desktop applications are a joke too.

          "At best, they expect you to draft stuff on them and do the more complex final detail stuff when you get back to your PC."

          If that's the best you've found, then you're not looking very hard.

          I not prefer editing video on an iPhone or iPad to on a desktop. The new devices are plenty fast enough and the ergonomics of the touch interface makes the whole thing quicker. And no, I don't need to go back to a desktop to finish the job.

          "-Again, I'm not saying it's impossible to create content on these devices - I'm saying it's far from ideal. Which is true."

          Your truth.

          An iPhone makes a far more ideal camera than a dell workstation. Try using a Dell workstation to shoot a video while riding on horseback.

          I use the phone to measure up and model buildings simply by holding the device against each wall in turn.

          I use the iPad to take notes and access documents when on the road.

          These things are content creation. You might manage them with a notebook. A desktop would be absurd.

          The truth is that desktops are better for some things and hand held devices are better for others, and they can both be used for content consumption and content creation.
          Henry 3 Dogg
          • seriously ...

            the best tip would be to give the ipad to the kids and buy something capable of pain free content creation.
            Pastabake
          • Well, that did nothing to disprove my point.

            "Personally I hate split keyboards, but all the ones that are bluetooth will work with iOS devices"

            The very, very few that exist, maybe. Usually by Microsoft, so how the keys map to iOS may not be ideal.

            "If that's the best you've found, then you're not looking very hard."

            I've yet to find a word processor with all of the features of OpenOffice or Word. And yeah, I've tried things like Documents To Go and Microsoft's own Office Mobile. Also, software development tools don't really have much that's purely on iOS, certainly not anything for my particular projects.

            You would have served yourself better by providing counter-examples.

            Meh, this is my final post on this article, but feel free to have examples ready in the future if you wish to make that claim again another time.

            "To be honest few of the desktop products that I've tried would be usable at all on a screen the size of a phone. And a phone with a 24 inch screen would be stupid."

            I think we're done with this conversation, as my point has absolutely been proven by this sentence. This article is likely off the first page anyways, so I'm closing this browser window after this.

            "Your truth."

            LOL, the whole self contradictary "truth is relative" bullcrap. One of the biggest lies spread by people who don't study logic.

            Your needs may be different, but there's no such thing as "your truth." Truth is universal; it is your needs that are different, and mistaking your needs for the needs of other people is the big blunder you are making right now.
            CobraA1
      • Gimmee a break...

        I hate it when people try to shoehorn a task into a tool that is simply inadequate for the purpose.

        A 4" touch screen is fine for making calls, reading emails or playing angry birds, but please stop trying to act like you can do any real work with it.. and stop asking people to define "real work"... because those of us who do it know what it means.

        I simply do not understand this aversion to a nice, big, high-res screen and luxuriously big keyboard with a quality mouse, or a decent laptop. I mean, did someone with a big screen scare you as a child?

        These "do everything on your phone" idiots are the same people who have been incorrectly predicting the demise of the PC for the last decade.

        So, if you want to pretend like updating a website or retouching photos on a screen that's only slightly bigger than a credit-card is a workable solution, knock yourself out.. just stop trying to convince the rest of us.
        ribzilla
  • Thank you,

    for not putting those 30 tips in a slideshow.
    YaBaby
  • Email Pain In The Neck

    I think I'd give up every one of those handy tips if someone would find a way to select and delete all POP account emails from my iPhone at once. After a few days of checking emails on my desktop and iPad (and not doing so on the phone) I spend the next 20 minutes deleting several hundred emails. Tap, tap, tap, scroll, tap, tap, tap, scroll, tap, tap, tap, scroll - delete. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, scroll, delete. Very tedious and annoying. Why not give us a "select all" and "delete" function? It would be so simple.
    Robt.
  • Typing numbers

    I'd like to know if there's a way to stop the keyboard from switching back from the number pad after hitting the spacebar. SO frustrating.

    I can't be the only person who texts series of numbers like "10172 2130 16" on a regular basis (I'd estimate I do this ten to twenty times a day, every day, thanks bustxt) and who is fed up with having to hit the "123" button over and over and over and over and over again.
    Blurgle
  • Re: typing numbers

    Any iOS compatible keyboard will solve this problem for you.
    dachba
  • formidable content creation devices - not

    "Formidable content creations devices?" Cannot believe it! Absolutely ludicrous! For Twitter maybe!
    higgsbosun1
    • Exactly...

      Sure, if you're a college kid who downloads notes or spend 90% of your time on Facebook.. it IS a formidable tool; however, if you're an adult in the business world and you do more than read email and take calls, its a teeny, tiny screen of little value.

      Could you write a novel with it? Sure.. but it wouldn't be a pleasant experience.
      Can you update web content with a credit-card sized screen? Possibly... but why would you?

      The people who advocate using their iPhone for everything have a skater-dude mentality of rebellion. They do it because it can be done; not because it's smart.
      ribzilla
  • Just works

    It just works, but here are 30 things to actually make it work...better.
    Cain69
  • Voice only Face Time.

    Voice only Face Time? Isn't that a regular phone call?
    boomer99
  • Are these tips only for iOs 7 ??

    Are these tips only for iOs 7? My wife still has 6.
    glnz