Skip to main content

iPhone Tips and Tricks

I’ve had my iPhone 3GS just over a year now and I’ve learned a few useful tricks for using it which I’ve been shown by friends or discovered on the internet or by just messing around with it.  Of course, I could have just read the manual – but where’s the fun in that?

While you might already know about them or know many more that I’ve missed (please, let me know…) but I wondered if some of you might be interested in hearing about them.

First, the following diagram introduces the names I (and Apple) use so there’s no confusion:


The picture highlights the On/Off, Sleep/Wake button on the top of the phone, the Volume buttons on the left side and the Home button near the bottom. It also shows the four Dock Icons at the bottom of the display which stay in place when the home pages are scrolled.

In the descriptions below I refer to the screen as active if it is not black (i.e. off or sleeping).

Take a Photo of the iPhone Screen

With the iPhone screen active, even if locked, press and hold the Home button and click the power button. The screen will flash and you will hear the unmistakable sound of an SLR camera taking a photo. Look in the Photos App and it is the last photo taken.

Very useful for writing articles just like this!  There are some examples below.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t capture everything – including the next item…

Control iPod When Screen Locked

Sometimes you just want to shut it up quickly. Or skip that awful (or embarrassing) track! But the screen is locked and you are fiddling about trying to key in the pin.  Well, I guessed the solution, tried it and it worked.

First, if the screen is off, click it once to make the screen active.  Then, double click the Home button and the iPod controls appear.

iPhone 3GS Showing iPod Controls with Locked Screen

You can pause or play, skip to next or previous track and change the volume.

An alternative is to use the shuffle option – you might need to enable this in the Setting App for iPod.  Then, you can randomly change the current track while playing by quickly shaking from side to side.

Move or Delete Applications

You can remove an application or re-arrange them on the iPhone home pages.

If you touch one of the applications on the iPhone screen for about 1-2 seconds all of the application icons start to shake – and some of them have a little cross at their top left corner. 

iPhone 3GS with Jiggling Apps

If you click the cross the application is deleted – immediately.  You can’t delete the built-in iPhone OS applications (Phone, Mail, etc.) and that’s why they have no crosses on them (see the Dock icons and the Clock App above).

You can also move the Icons around or even onto another page – just push it to the left or right edge of the current page and keep it there until you see the page nearest that edge slide in.  If you push it off the last page to the right a new one is created – up to the maximum of 11.

Press the Home button to stop it.

Create and Manage Application Folders

Using the above technique, you can also create application folders.

Simply touch one of the icons for a couple of seconds until they start to shake, as above.

Then, drag one of the App Icons on to another – you will see the target icon appears with a border around it and a dark background.  When you let go, the two applications appear as much smaller icons within the bordered black background. 

They are in a Folder – the folder name is defaulted to the category of the dragged app.  The folder is immediately opened.

iPhone 3GS showing a newly created folder

Pressing the Home button stops the shaking.  Pressing it again closes the folder.  Also, clicking on the background closes the folder.

Icons can be dragged out of the folder – and when none are left the folder is removed.  More icons can be dragged in while the folder is closed.

You can also rename the folder as shown below.

iPhone 3GS renaming a folder

View Recently Used Apps

A colleague showed me this – while the phone is unlocked and you are looking at any off the pages of Apps, double click the Home button and the whole screen slides up and fades to the background “revealing” the most recently used Apps at the bottom of the screen. 

iPhone 3GS showing recently used apps

You can remove them from the list in the same way as deleting applications above – touch one of the App icons in the recently used list for 1-2 seconds and they start to shake with little red circle with a white minus at the top left of them. Touch it to remove it from the list.

iPhone 3GS showing recently used apps - ready for removing

Press the home button to stop the shaking.

You can also scroll the list by dragging the icons to see more apps in the list.

Press the home button to close the recently used Apps view.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Mobile Phones

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *