Prior to about eight months ago, I’d been a long time BlackBerry user. And there was very little the BlackBerry could do that I didn’t know about. In short, I pwned that phone. Then I made the flip to iPhone. Over the last eight months, I’ve learned a lot of things about the iPhone – and they’re all things I wish I’d known the day I got the phone (yes, yes, RTFM – well, who ACTUALLY reads the manual?!).
Creating keyboard shortcuts
For a long while I’d noticed that when I typed “omw” into a text, it automatically lengthened to “On my way!” – yet I never once thought to find out why. Turns out you can create your own keyboard shortcuts that are extremely useful for texting and email. Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Add New Shortcut. I totally admit to using this feature for words the iPhone refuses to autocorrect if I make a typo as well, even though they’re actual words – now, I can shortcut my “French” rather than excuse it!
Typing in all caps
Laugh if you’d like, but if I ever typed in “THAT’S AWESOME!” in all caps, I used to do so by typing shift, T, shift H, shift, A – you get the picture. Who knew that if you tap the shift key twice quickly, it turns blue and let’s you type in all caps until you tap it again to shut the caps lock off? Probably people who read the manual, that’s who.
Creating new photo albums
I refuse to believe I was the only person with 859 pictures in the album entitled “Camera Roll”. Fun, fun when you wanted to show someone a picture and started scrolling through 859 pictures trying to locate a specific one. Luckily, you can easily create new albums by clicking the plus symbol to the top left of the Albums screen. Create a new album and then pick which pictures from the Camera Roll album you’d like to move there.
Move or share multiple pictures at once
So, you took nine awesome pictures of an event you want to share with a friend. So, you send them nine emails, or texts – each including one picture. Did you know you can actually share all nine at once? Go to the album your pictures are now neatly organized into and click the tiny arrow to the top right of the screen. By top right, I mean VERY top right, above the edit button – it doesn’t even look like it is part of the Photos app. Then just tap all the photos you want to batch send and click Share. You can also batch upload pictures to Facebook, but note that you can only enter one description that will be added to all photos that you upload as part of the batch.
Use the “Up Volume” button to take pictures
Over the years, I’d gotten stellar at taking pictures of myself with my BlackBerry facing backwards (which was the only option to take a self picture). The iPhone allows you to take a photo from either side of the phone. In theory, you can take a self picture while looking smack at your phone from the front. However, the photo quality when you do so is noticeably lower. Basically, it looks like pixelated crap. And taking a self picture with the phone facing backwards is nearly impossible with the touchscreen shutter. Imagine my giddy when I found out you could use the Up (or +) volume button as a camera shutter! Now I just need to once again perfect my judgment on where my face is vs. the camera lens positioning.
Native Photo Editing
You know that awesome picture you took and want to upload to Twitpic but realize you have the ghastly red eye? The iPhone has built in editing functions to fix that. There’s not a ton of options, but there are options to rotate a picture, auto-enhance a picture, remove red eye and crop a photo. It’s not Photoshop, but it will do for simple edits.
“Go to Top” in Safari
Ever read a really long article and then need to scroll back up to use the address bar or search box again? Just tap the clock icon at the top right of the screen (once again, it’s tiny and doesn’t even look like it’s part of the Safari app) and you’ll right back at the top instantaneously. (Still can’t find it? Look right to the left of your battery info on the top right…)
Taking a screenshot
Ever read Damn You Autocorrect for three hours and vaguely wonder how they took the screenshot of their texts? Simply go to whatever screen on your phone you want to take a screenshot of and press the Home and Lock button at the same time and boom – screenshot. You can then find the photo in your Camera Roll album.
Help preserve your battery life
My husband is a long time iPhone user. It drove me nuts that his phone never seemed to die as often as mine, even though he was on his more. One day I mentioned how unfair it was and he asked me “are you closing your apps when you’re not using them?”. Well DUH. Yes. I hit the home screen and they close. Turns out? No they don’t. They just minimize – which means if you’ve used your email, phone, YouTube, text, weather, photos, Twitter, Facebook, camera and Angry Birds app at some point today and just clicked the home button to close them – then they’re all still running in the background and sucking the life out of your battery. To see what apps you have open, just click the Home button twice quickly. Hold down one icon until they all do the “PLEASE DON’T HIT ME!” dance and close out any apps you’re not currently using. It amazes me how much doing this once a day has improved my battery life. Also useful when you’re low on power and can’t charge.
Update: Jesse Martinez tweeted me on Twitter and said that unlike Android, iPhone apps “suspend” when you minimize them.
“Other than the few apps like maps, music, etc. apps go into a suspended state when not used. Not like Android where they keep running. Having apps in the app tray wouldn’t affect the battery life unless you were streaming audio or navigating.”
So my last tip is partially right, partially wrong and completely doesn’t help fix the unfairness of my husband’s battery lasting longer than mine. Jessie has an Apple symbol after his name and I’m a self confessed N00b to iPhone, so we’ll go with him on this one. ;-)