6 Best iPhone Tips

iphone.jpgYes, the iPod Touch is very easy to use right out of the box. But I’ve been frustrated, both by the on-screen keyboard and by using it as an mp3 player while I was walking. And I thought – it’s supposed to be easy to use; I must be missing something. So I poked around, and found some slightly hidden features that really helped.

I figured everyone else knew these already, so wasn’t going to publish them, but it turned out that wasn’t true, at least around here. So in case anyone else might benefit from them, here are the 6 most useful things I’ve learned about using an iPhone or iPod Touch. In the tradition of top 10 lists everywhere, they’re in reverse order, so you might want to read bottom-up if you’re impatient.

Update: the 2.0 version of the iPhone and iPod Touch software changed some of these. I’ve made a few changes, below. And I’ve put all the tips here, as well, which I may be a little better about maintaining.

6 – Hold and double-tap gestures are recognized and useful in several places. I won’t list them here, but try holding your finger, or double-tapping, on a screen where you want more options. For example, holding the N on the keyboard gives you Ń and Ñ as well as N. On iPhone and iPod Touch 2.0, holding the .COM key gives you .NET and .ORG options, though not on the earlier OS. It’s probably worth upgrading just for that. And I believe that holding down the period key when entering an email address also gives you those options, but I can’t verify that until my iPod Touch comes back.

5 – Tapping space twice in a row on the main keyboard will put “. ” (that is, period space) into your input.

4 – If you’re frustrated because your VOIP voice messages show up as .WAV files in your email, and your iPod touch can’t play them, you can send them through iphoneconvert, and you’ll be able to hear them right on your iPod touch. OR get the iPhone 2.0 software upgrade, and they’ll play automatically.

3 – To quickly add a punctuation or number key without changing keyboards, tapping the key, and changing back, you can instead drag your finger from the .?123 key to the key you want. This will insert that character, and change the keyboard right back to the alpha keyboard. Also, tapping the space key after most characters on the punctuation/number keyboard will send you directly back to the alpha keyboard as well.

2 – If you’ve having trouble getting the screen to change orientation, be sure you’re holding your iPhone perpendicular to the ground, rather than flat. That one’s saving me 3 or 4 swear words a day. Thanks, Marc.

1 – Double-clicking the Home button on an iPod Touch brings up a music controller, with volume, play/pause, next and previous buttons, that you can use without unlocking the device. This is extremely useful – it means I don’t have to turn it on, unlock it, and wiggle it until the screen is vertical just to change the volume or skip a song. I realize it’s less useful on the iPhones (it does work on the iPhone too, but only when you’re playing music; otherwise it brings up Contacts), that have hardware controls for music, but for me, it fixes what had been my biggest frustration about using the iPod Touch for mp3s.

Except for the one about how to hold the Touch to get the screen to change, these were all published on the internet, so many thanks to everyone who put them up originally.

Were these helpful? Got any others?

2 thoughts on “6 Best iPhone Tips

  1. Brandon Steili

    Actually the double-click is just as useful on the iPhone too. Not because it opens contacts, but because you can get it to open the phone favorites or the iPod software. I use my iPhone a lot for music at work – so the ability to set the home button to that is great.

    My personal favorite tip – forget where I saw it – but when you are down near the bottom of a long page in safari, if you tap the status bar (clock area) it will automagically move you back to the top of the page.

  2. Rodney

    Thanks for the tips. I feel as if I have iPhone fever. Ever since the announcement of the new Iphone firmware with support for 3rd party apps, I’ve been trying to eat, sleep, and drink all I can about the iphone. I change my mind frequently, but the more I read the more I think I’m going to leave WinMo and VZW in June and head on over to Mac/iphone & AT&T.

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