iPhone Hacks, Tweaks and Tips

The iPhone is an exceptionally easy bit of kit to learn, and I'm sure that the designers spent a great deal of time getting the learning curve as shallow as possible. You can do all sorts of operations without much thought required, but there is also some useful functionality that you won't know about unless you 'know' about it already.

Here are some bits I've found so far:

  • Pages and pages Look out for little white and grey dots near the bottom of the screen. These indicate pagination, accessible by swiping left or right.
  • iPhone search From the main screen, notice that there's a magnifying glass symbol (looks like a grey dot) to the left of the white dot. Swipe right and you find yourself on the search page. You can locate anything on your iPhone (contacts, apps, etc) from here. Also accessible by clicking on the 'home' button (the round, real one at the bottom of the iphone) when you're already home.
  • Copy and paste! When on a page of text (eg, in Safari), hold down your finger on a word you want to copy. A magnifying glass view appears after a second; release your finger and a 'Copy' option appears. Drag the blue dots around to modify the range of selected text if you wish, then touch 'Copy'. When you want to paste the text (elsewhere, into an email maybe), get yourself into the correct text entry box, hold down a finger for a second until the magnifying view appears, release your finger and select 'Paste'.
  • Undo! This one had me stumped for ages - how do you undo some text you've just typed or deleted? Simple: shake the phone from side to side. When you do this the dialog appears "Undo Typing / Cancel". If you select 'Undo Typing', your last text change is undone. If you shake the phone again, a different dialog appears: "Redo Typing / Cancel", so you can recover your typing if you need.
  • Easy iPod access! Double-click on the 'home' button. Swipe right across the buttons at the bottom of the screen, and a mini iPod menu appears. Neat eh!
  • Even easier iPod access! When your phone's in a locked state, single click the 'home' button so that the 'unlock' screen appears. Then double-click the 'home' button, and a mini iPod player appears at the top of the screen.
  • Icon shuffle Move your app icons around by holding down on one of them until it starts jiggling (seriously!). You can then drag it (or anything else that's jiggling) someplace else. You can even drag it to a new page - just drag it to the edge, wait a tiny bit, and hey presto! You're on another page. See the little crosses on the corner of your installed apps? Click on that to remove it. You're also prompted for confirmation. You can also create folders by dragging one icon on top of another; a new page appears, showing your two icons together. Give this new folder a name. To remove an icon from a folder, just drag it out! When you're done with all of your changes, click the 'home' button.
  • Speak to me... Hold down the 'home' button for a few seconds. A 'Voice Control' app starts up, and it will do what you tell it. Be careful though - it can be optimistic with its interpretation, and even the tapping sound from a nearby laptop keyboard can be enough for it to suddenly start up a voice call!
  • Want to type lots of uppercase? Double-tap on the 'shift' button on a text-input keyboard, and the button turns blue. This means that it will hold in uppercase until to tap it again.
  • Photo album wipe-out! Do you have too many photos and videos on your phone? You can delete them individually when viewing each one full-screen (using the trashcan icon), but that's pretty tedious. Go to the album view, where you see lots of photo thumbnails on screen at once, then tap the right-arrow symbol at the top right of the screen. Then tap the photos you want to remove, tap the 'Delete' button at the bottom, confirm it and you're done! You can also share, copy and print your photos from here.


by Evilpole on 04 January 2011
You could also add screen photo taking function by pressing the home button and screen lock button together. It will automaticaly save the screen shot to the photo library. Enjoy!
by John Swindells on 04 January 2011
Wow, great tip! It gets a bit confusing when you come across the screenshot in your camera roll though :)
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