Updated April 14th, 2020.
So, Santa Claus brought you an iPhone! Great news. I hope it’s an iPhone 4S, with Siri. Here are ten tips that will help you take advantage of the iPhone 4S’s amazing capabilities.
- Make your address book as complete as possible. Don’t stop with names and phone numbers– fill that thing up with email addresses, home and work addresses, and birthdays. You’ll thank me later. Note that you can get to the Address Book from the Phone app so if you’re already using the Phone app just tap the button that says “Contacts” at the bottom of the screen.
- Sync your address book and calendar between your iPhone and computer using either MobileMe, iCloud, or directly using a USB cable. This lets you do most or all of the work on your computer, where it is probably easier to do. It also means you’ll have a backup of those important items.
- Learn about Siri, and dictation. I have a few articles for you here, and here. Look for a microphone to the left of the space bar when you are typing– when you see that, touch it, and start talking. Say the punctuation out loud; that is, if you want a comma, say so. Like this: “I like brisket comma sausage comma and pork ribs period”. Be sure Siri knows who you are (Settings/General/Siri/My Info).
- Learn about the Maps app. For starters, that little arrowhead at bottom left will show you where you are if you tap it. (If you’re asked about using your current location, say yes.) Once Maps knows where you are, use the Search mode (at bottom) to search for something or someone– coffee, ATM, your friend Joe. Or, use the Directions mode (at bottom) to see how to get from Place A to Place B. I have more about the Maps app for you here.
- Dim your screen and turn off Push emails. That’s Settings/Brightness, and Settings/Mail, Contacts, Calendars/Fetch New Data. This will save you hours of battery life.
- Get to know the Camera. Get to the Camera app quickly (double-tap the Home button when the iPhone is asleep/locked, and look for a little camera icon at bottom right). Turn the iPhone sideways, holding it like a “real” digital camera, and taking a picture by pressing the Volume + button. Before you take the picture, tap on the part of the picture that you want in focus. That will also be the part of the picture that controls the exposure. After you take the picture, tap the square at bottom left to see the images you’ve taken. Tap an image to see controls for editing (at the top right) and for sending via Email and Twitter (bottom, second icon from left).
- Turn the iPhone sideways. Sometimes (not always) you’ll get a different version of the app you’re using. This works with the Calculator, the Calendar, Mail, Safari, and many others.
- Explore the App Store. You have an icon for the App Store on your iPhone already. Tap it and see if you can find an app that interests you. There are hundreds of thousands of them, many free, so there’s probably one there for you.
- Set up FaceTime. (Settings/FaceTime.) This will let you video-chat with people using the iPhone 4 or 4S, the iPad 2, or a Macintosh with OS X 10.6 or higher. Super-fun. When you’re doing a FaceTime chat there’s an icon on the screen that lets you switch to the other camera (the one you use when you take pictures). That lets you show things to the other person, such as what you’re looking at now.
- Learn a few shortcuts. Double-tap the Home button to see all of the active apps, and swipe left or right to see others. Tap the one you want to jump to. Hold the Home button down until you hear a double-beep to activate Siri. When on any of the Home screens, press the Home button again to jump to the first Home screen. If you are already on the first Home screen it will take you to a Search screen, where you can search for anything on the iPhone.