You just purchased a shiny new iPhone, and may be wondering how to quickly get up and running with it. (I myself obtained the family’s first iPhone just a few months ago, an iPhone 4, as the 4S was a little too steep for my manager’s budget.)
And since it had been some 20 years since I last regularly used an Apple computer (the last one was during graduate school on a Mac SE/30 that I wrote my thesis on), and it took some time to figure out the new iOS. Here are some tips to help speed up that learning curve. I’m assuming you’ve been able to activate your phone and have learned how to install a few apps, as well as get around some of the basic functions. Read on to find seven tips to help you be more productive on your iOS device.
1. Review the ‘finger tips’ guide. It will help decipher some of the more puzzling things (like why your phone is set to silent when the volume button indicates the phone isn’t muted, but rather the ‘ring/silent’ switch is set to off).
2. Back up your apps. If you select your device from the ‘Devices’ list on the left, and then go to ‘Apps’ and then ‘Sync Apps’, that should back up the apps on your phone to your computer, right? No, this gives you the ‘Are you sure you want to sync apps? All existing apps and their data on the iPhone “xx” will be replaced with the apps from this iTunes library’, which is exactly NOT what you want when you’ve installed apps OTA (over the air). What you want to do is right-click on the device (left panel), and then select ‘Transfer Purchases’, which will transfer your apps (paid and free) to your desktop iTunes.
3. Select a different music library. You have your spouse’s / child’s iOS unit sync’d to your iTunes account from your own PC at home, and you want a separate iTunes library for yourself. Press the ‘shift’ key while double-clicking the iTunes icon, you can name a new ‘iTunes Libary.itl’ file under wherever your ‘My Music’ folder is (I have separate folders to help keep things clear; a default iTunes folder for me, an ‘iTunes – Kids Music Library’ folder for the kids etc.) This will keep your music collections tidy.
4. Access the ‘Task Manager’. To kill a misbehaving app, double-click the home button to bring up the lower row of apps that are running, and then press and hold any icon. You will see a red minus icon across all the icons, and then select the misbehaving app to stop it from running. This doesn’t delete the app, it simply stops it from any background processes that are affecting the iOS device’s functioning. (On that note, to delete an app you hold down any icon until you get the wiggly icons, and then hit the black ‘x’ icon to delete the app. You probably knew that already though.)
5. Access quickly the iTunes play controls. Double-click the home button from any app, and scroll to the far left – not only the play music controls but also a handy lock-screen button
6. Figure out the file system. Like iPhoto, the iOS and iTunes insists on handling all file functions. My advice for files is to install Dropbox, and install the program on your other computer(s). 2Gb of cloud storage that stays sync’d between devices / computers / phones, and works very well. (There are methods to get 4.5Gb of storage, but it does take some effort / work to get the free extra capacity; also there is a paid subsciption option to get lots of space if you like the service.)
7. Find handy free-of-charge apps. Dataman Free allows you to monitor your data usage (I have a 4Gb/month plan and there isn’t a way for me to quickly determine monthly usage except digging into Settings); Xerox Printback (print from an iOS device to your computer via an HP server program on your computer/printer setup); Flipboard (great news layout app); Read It Later Free (bookmark long reading webpages for reading on your computer or iPad later); RedLaser (scan any barcode or QR code while shopping to get either product info or link to a website). I think this last tip deserves its own post, as each app listed here deserves a bit more elaboration, but there you have it for now.
These things are not intuitive, as when the iOS products have changed over the years since the original iPhone came out (and now with iCloud and other changes). Having to go into iTunes to load up files on an app-specific basis is a bit messy, but the tips above at least can help. Feel free to chime in your own tips in the comments!