Tag Archives: iphone hints and tips

Rediscover Your iPhone: Seriously Useful Built-in Features You Probably Aren’t Using – Part II

In December 2009, I posted an article named: Rediscover Your iPhone: 10 Seriously Useful Built-in Features You Probably Aren’t Using. As a follow-up to that post, I’ve taken a fresh look after a recent iOS 4.2 free upgrade and here’s another Top 10 list for your enjoyment.

Editor’s note: Based on iPhone’s software Ver 4.2.1 for iPhone 4. To see what version you’re running on your iPhone 3G, 3GS or 4, select the Settings app > General > About and look down the list for Version number. To update connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC and follow the onscreen instructions in iTunes.

1. View Meeting Invitations:

When you receive an email meeting invitation, you can now click on the .ics file attachment at the bottom of the email to view meeting invitation details.

iPhone Meeting Invitations

In addition to viewing the Event Details, you can add the event to your calendar by tapping the “Add To Calendar” button.

EMail Meeting Invitation

2. Stock Price Range View:

In the Stocks App, you can swipe the lower portion of the screen to access the chart view. By turning the iPhone sideways, the chart view expands to full screen. Using any two fingers, tap and hold both simultaneously at different points along the timeline. Now, swipe either or both fingers to calculate the return on investment within two dates.

iPhone Stock Price: Custom Date Range View

3. View Photos by Location:

When you take photographs (and videos) with your iPhone, a location based longitude/latitude coordinate is stored. When you launch the Photo App, the “Places” view option (in the bottom navigation) displays thumbtacks on the map. By tapping on a thumbnail, you’ll see how many photos are associated with each location. Be sure to zoom in on the map to your local neighborhood to explore the power of this feature. You can zoom in by touching the screen with two fingers, then spreading your fingers apart.

View Location of Photos

4. Assign Unique Text Tones to Individual Contacts:

Would you like to know who’s texting you without having to look at your screen? You can now assign custom tones for people in your contact list. To do so, launch the Contacts app, Edit an existing record and set the “Text Tone” option as shown below:

Assigning Custom Text Tones

Choose from over 20 unique sounds:

Text Tone Sounds

5. Multitasking:

Multitasking offers the ability to quickly switch between apps. When you click the front facing home button while using an app, apps with background support will continue to run in the background. Double click the front facing home button twice to view your most recently used apps in a tray along the bottom of the screen. Scroll to the right within the tray to reveal apps and tap to re-open. The re-opened app picks up where you left off the last time used.

Apps running in the background can handle audio playback, GPS tracking, movie downloads, draft of a text or email message and more. Note: Be sure to have the latest version of your favorite apps. For example, if you don’t have Pandora’s 3.1 version or later, it won’t run in the background. To get the latest version of your apps, click on the App Store app and select the “Updates” icon in the lower navigation. Then select Update All option in the upper right (preferably when you’re on a WiFi connection).

I recently found multitasking to be particularly beneficial when toggling between the Email app and the Settings app. My Email app contained an email with info from a colleague who sent me instructions on how to configure my corporate email within the Settings app. Each app retained my prior location and the multitasking tray provided quick access to each app. I used the copy and paste function for a few iterations between the apps.

If you want to shut down an app running in the background, activate the multitask panel by double clicking the front facing home button. Press and hold the app icon until a red badge appears in the upper left of each icon as shown below. Tap on the red badge to close the app.

Multitasking Tray View and Close Option

6. Easy-Access Music Controls:

When you run third-party music apps in the background (ex. Pandora Radio and ooTunes Radio), quick access to turn down the volume or advance the song is often not at hand. Note: Be sure to have the latest version of your favorite music app. For example, if you don’t have Pandora’s 3.1 version or later, it won’t run in the background. To get the latest version of your apps, click on the App Store app and select the “Updates” icon in the lower navigation. Then select Update All option in the upper right (preferably when you’re on a WiFi connection).

Double click the front facing home button twice. You’ll see your most recently used apps in a tray along the bottom of the screen. Now, swipe to the left to reveal audio controls including play, back and next.

Audio Controls in the Multitasking Tray

Another swipe to the left reveals a slider to control audio volume as per the screen shot below.

Volume Controls in the Multitasking Tray

7. Lock Portrait Orientation

Within some apps, the screen orientation is programmed to change to and from portrait and landscape mode when the phone detects rotation slightly past 90 degrees. In many cases, this creates the desired user experience, however, there are times when you’d prefer to lock in portrait orientation.

Double click the front facing home button twice. You’ll see your most recently used apps in a tray along the bottom of the screen. Now, swipe to the left to reveal the portrait orientation lock icon. Tapping the icon toggles between portrait lock and unlock states.

Option to Lock Portrait Mode

8. Add Birthdays to Calendar:

A well populated Contacts App, complete with family, friends, co-workers and business contacts makes the iPhone an even more productive tool. When you choose to Edit or Create a new contact record, the “add field” option appears at the bottom of the screen as shown below.

Adding Birthdays to Calendar

Your contact’s birthday can be entered as per the screen below.

Birthday Option

After you enter and save the birthdate, the Calendar App displays that information on the corresponding day of the year as per the example below.

Calendar and Birthdays Shown

9. iPhone Capacity:

When you sync your iPhone to iTunes you can clearly see how much space remains on your iPhone. If you’re like me, you can go 2 months without a sync up. To get a quick view of your iPhone capacity that remains, open the Settings app, select General then About. Scan the list for the rows named Capacity and Available.

iPhone Capacity and Available Space

10. HD Video:

The iPhone 4 can record video in high-definition (HD) at 1280×720 (720p) and uses an aspect ratio of 16:9 with up to 30 frames per second including audio.

After opening the iPhone’s Camera app, controls include start/stop, optional LED flash (which can be enabled/disabled at any time during a recording) and front facing (VGA) vs. rear facing camera activation (HD). You can tap the screen [a blinking square will appear] to focus and set exposure on your subject.

iPhone 4 HD Recording Controls


Tim CascioTim Cascio is the author of the Mobile Marketing, Monetization and Methods blog, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association and Sr. Digital Strategist at Bader Rutter & Associates, an award-winning integrated marketing services agency that specializes in advertising, public relations, brand asset management, relationship marketing and digital solutions. Tim is @timcascio on Twitter and can be reached in the United States at 262-938-5543.

Please reach out to me if there’s any way I can help you through my network or otherwise. Your comments below are welcome.

Rediscover Your iPhone: 10 Seriously Useful Built-in Features You Probably Aren’t Using

The goal behind technology is to simplify our lives, right? Well, sometimes the key is in knowing what’s possible with the technology we already have. Here’s a list of ten iPhone features that I find particularly useful.

Editor’s note: Based on iPhone’s software Ver 3.1.2

1. Global Time Zones:

I’m in contact with folks located throughout the world and it’s always been a chore to recall time differences, especially around daylight savings time…until now. To utilize this feature, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Clock icon
  2. Click on World Clock option in the bottom navigation bar
  3. Hit the plus (+) icon
  4. Type in the city or country and select from the available choices
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for places whose time you’d like to have reported.

2. Stock Market News:

Thanks to a recent iPhone software upgrade, news stories for stocks you’re tracking are easy to monitor. To access this feature, open the Stocks icon as usual. When the graph displays at the bottom of the screen for a particular stock, swipe your finger across the graph with a leftward motion. Now you can view headlines as well as scroll vertically for more stories. When you click on a headline, it launches you into Safari’s browser to read the story.

3. Screen Capture:

Have you ever wanted to capture a snapshot of what’s on your iPhone screen? Simply press the home button (located on the front face at the bottom) then simultaneously press the sleep/wake button (located on the top right edge). You should hear a shutter click and your screen will flash white. This is an indication that you’ve successfully captured the screen shot and can retrieve by selecting your Photos icon and then Camera Roll directory.

4. Quiet a Ringing iPhone and/or Send to Voicemail:

Ever have your iPhone ring out loud during an important meeting or while in church? Not good. You can quiet your iPhone midstream by simply pressing the sleep/wake button (located on the top right edge). You still have the option to take the call, even though you’ve silenced the ringer. I absolutely love this feature because I can activate this feature while the phone is in my belt holster. In other words, I do not need to unlock the phone or look at the front face. In addition, you can optionally send the call to voice mail with a second press of the same button. Keep in mind, there’s a handy ring/silent switch located on the upper left edge of the phone for times when you want to silence the ringer in advance. When you toggle the ring/silent switch to expose the orange dot, the phone’s ringer is set to silent.

5. Voice Dialing:

(requires 3GS model) Press and hold the Home button to activate Voice Control. With this feature you can say the name of the person or number to call. In addition, the iPhone accepts audible requests for the music you’d like to play.

6. Street View:

Perhaps you’d like to explore a “Street View” of your destination before you begin your trip. Try Bern, Switzerland, for example. Or, you’re looking to buy a new home and would like to get a feel for the neighborhood.  Street View gives you a 360-degree perspective and you can zoom, rotate and pan through street level photos within cities in more than 25 countries. To activate this feature, simply select the Map icon, enter and search for an address. If street level views are available, you’ll see the orange Pegman icon. Tap on the Pegman icon to activate Street View. If you want a street view of your current location, tap on the navigation icon in the lower left of the screen. The blue strobing sphere will appear.  Tap it to reveal your approximate address. If street level views are available, you’ll see the orange Pegman icon. Tap the Pegman icon to activate Street View. Arrows on the street are clickable and your view is updated as you travel virtually. You can even turn corners at intersections or rotate your view 180 degrees to turn around! Need to look up to see tall buildings, simply flick your finger accordingly.

7. Scroll to Top of Page:

When the contents within your view exceed the length of the page, you’ll scroll down to view what’s below. By tapping the current time at the very top of the screen you’ll return to the top of the page. This works for most common views, including Email, Notepad, Safari, Phone Directory, Text Messages, Photos and more.

8. Local Public Transportation Suggestions:

When traveling by bus and/or train in major cities, you’ll enjoy the local transit feature found in Maps. Find out what forms of public transportation are offered to and from your destination and customize your scheduled departure and arrival times. The routing is overlaid on a Google Map and bus/train numbers are indicated so that you know where and when the transfers occur. Arrival time is estimated, taking into account all forms of transportation. To activate this feature, tap on the Maps icon and then tap on the Directions button at the bottom of the screen. Enter your Start and End address information. If you want to start with your current location, tap on the navigation icon in the lower left of the screen. Select the Bus icon at the top of the screen for public transportation routing information. Selecting bus or train icons on the map reveals a blue arrow icon to access contact and website information for those public transportation services.

9. Send a Text Message to More Than One Recipient at a Time:

This is a common feature for many cell phones, but for iPhone users it’s a new addition in 2009. When creating a New Message, populate the To: section, however, if a “+” doesn’t appear to the right for adding more recipients, simply tap the To: section again and you’ll see the “+” sign appear. Tap to add more recipients and repeat as needed.

10. Edit Text Within a Word or Sentence:

You can edit text within an individual word by simply holding your finger down over the area where you’d like to edit. By doing so, a magnifying glass will appear and you can then move your finger in the direction of the text you’d like to edit.


Tim CascioTim Cascio is the author of the Mobile Marketing, Monetization and Methods blog, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Mobile Visionary Roundtable at the Illinois Technology Association and Sr. Digital Strategist at Bader Rutter & Associates, an award-winning integrated marketing services agency that specializes in advertising, public relations, brand asset management, relationship marketing and digital solutions. Tim is @timcascio on Twitter and can be reached in the United States at 262-938-5543.

Please reach out to me if there’s any way I can help you through my network or otherwise. Your comments below are welcome.