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dave

Share your favorite iOS 5 tips and tricks for new users!

October 12th is almost here, and that means that iOS 5 will be arriving in users' hands sometime in the next 24 hours. Let's help them out by putting together the most comprehensive list of tips and tricks around.

Are you new to iOS 5? Check out what's new, below!

Quick Camera Access
Want to take a quick photo? Double tap the home button when your phone is locked and a camera button will appear next to the "Slide to Unlock" at the bottom of the screen. Clicking this immediately takes you into the camera app. Have a password? Fear not, you can still quickly access the camera. The camera app is sandboxed and won't have access to your previous photos and files!

Take a photo using the volume button!
Finally! We have a real shutter button. Turn your camera sideways and hit the "+" volume button to snap a photo.

Notifications Panel (or, "No more annoying popups!")
Finally! We iOS users get to have a taste of a proper and legitimate notifications panel. All alerts, popups, and push notifications get displayed and archived inside this panel. Access it by swiping you finger down from the top of the screen. Note: this only works if your phone is unlocked.

View notifications from your phones lock screen
Is your phone locked? Guess what? You can still recent alerts and notifications from various apps. Just hit the home button or power button as if you were turning on your phone to check the time. Boom! Want to act on a notification message and open up a specific app? Just slide to app icon to the right with your finger. It will directly open up the app (and in theory, take you to the specific message or alert).

iCloud -- Backup your contacts, calendars, reminders, and more!
Want to take advantage of iCloud for storing and syncing your data? Check out the options in Settings → iCloud.

Read articles, blog posts, and webpage content without all the cruft
Safari has a new feature called Reader (we've previously discussed it here: gdgt.com­/discuss­/safari­-reader­-one­-of­-my­-favorite­-...). Basically, it strips away any of the extraneous content on a webpage and displays only the important bits of the article or blog post in an easy to read -- almost ebook like -- format. All you need to do is navigate to any page and hit the "Reader" button in the URL bar.

What other tips are we missing? (I'll periodically update this post and give you credit.)

Let's help our fellow iOS 5 users out.

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55 replies
nickjsaunders

It's a bit of a deep dive and not of interest to most but under the Accessibility Settings you can turn on Custom Vibrations. Then under the Sounds menu you can select between five or six different vibration patterns or (!) record your own custom pattern by tapping it out.

Also, contacts can be assigned a different vibration pattern from the default.

16 like dislike
kstarbird

Discovered this yesterday while digging around. Brilliant! Somebody at Apple had fun designing that little vibration visualizer thingy...
1 like dislike
nickjsaunders

Yeah I spent about 15 minutes yesterday trying to recreate the Jaws music in vibrations. Got it pretty close.

I think it's amazing that features such as this are not only present on a mobile device but engineered so specifically for the platform.
0 like dislike
refractured

  • Can't believe no one mentioned yet-- WIFI sync! Finally cut the cord
  • OTA iOS updates!
  • You can now tap and hold on a word to use the dictionary nearly system wide.
  • Private Browsing option in Safari Settings
  • Arrange the order and limit for notifications, and which apps appear in notification center
9 like dislike
ropeburn

the weather app, the default location is your GPS location (nice for travelers)
you can tap the screen and it drills down to hour by hour forecast (the next 12 hours)

...and you can get a little weather report from the notification panel, and with a tap
you're in the weather app.
7 like dislike
shaggypaul

you can also swipe the weather widget for a week forecast.
3 like dislike
dmgallo

I wish they would bring the weather widget to the iPad. Not sure why they didn't put Weather or the Calculator on the iPad in the first place.
1 like dislike

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jcwacky

  • To quickly see the last photos you've taken while in the Camera app, just swipe to the right to go straight to the last photo in your camera roll. Keep swiping to view more, or swipe left to go back to the camera. Much easier and quicker than tapping the icons in the bottom left.
Note, when doing this after accessing the Camera from the lock screen of a passcode protected phone, you can only view the images you've just taken.
7 like dislike
sm007hie

WP7 does this and I loved it. Glad it made it over to iOS 5.
0 like dislike
lirand

I didn't see this one mentioned anywhere else:

You can now set automatic "birthday alarms" for every contact that has it's birthday info filled in.

Just go to Settings/Email, contacts, calendars.../Default Alarms/Birthdays

I will also add some more info regarding the improved email notifications there were mentioned here on the post, because I found about it today and I really like it:

You can now get an instant preview of every new email you receive. Go to settings/updates/Mail - and then choose "banners" (and make sure "notification center" is on.

Keep the tips coming :)
7 like dislike
akleit

Awesome! Was wondering how to do this:)
0 like dislike
CJW

Ooh, this is a good one! Thanks
0 like dislike
ropeburn

in the calendar app if you twist the phone to landscape it gives a nice 3 day view.
6 like dislike
picatoria

Yes! Finally! Thank you for posting this.
0 like dislike
kanglu

On the iPad, four finger gesture to bring up the bottom multitasking bar or swipe left and right to other running applications.
5 like dislike
pgdahl

Only on iPad 2. Does not work for 1G iPad.
0 like dislike
sm007hie

You can also use the 4-finger "close gesture" (a.k.a. The Grab) to get back to the home screen.
0 like dislike
sm007hie

iPhone geo-reminders! Create a new reminder on your iPhone and set it to go off based upon arriving or departing a physical location. E.G. Set a geo-reminder to tell you to pick up your prescription when you are near Walgreens, or a reminder for you to grab your wallet when leaving the house.
5 like dislike
rromero

so...how do i do this without making Walgreens a contact in my address book? when i pick a location it shows 2 addresses and when i choose "Choose Address" it opens up my contact list. shouldn't it ask me for an address instead of opening up Contacts?
1 like dislike
AdamWillis

i don't understand why they did it this way... I want reminders that tell me when I get to the store or near the post office.
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rromero

not only this. but i tried using it and it enables Location Services for the duration of the reminder. so if i tell it to remind me to do something when i get home from work, the GPS is enabled and draining battery for the entire time until i get home from work! i mean, i guess i can understand why they would have to do it this way, but is there really no other way for them to do it? when i use Find my iPhone or Find my Friends it doesn't use Location Services (at least it doesn't show that it does), couldn't they use the same method to track you without killing battery life?
1 like dislike
jcwacky

Just because the Location Services icon appears in the status bar, doesn't mean that the GPS it constantly on. It could mean that it just checks where you are at set intervals, or it can even just be keeping note when you change cell tower (it can do this without having to actually do anything extra) and then perhaps initiating the GPS. When using Find my iPhone or Find my Friends, the GPS only kicks in when a friend (or device owner) asks an app where that device is, this then causes the phone to get a GPS location and send to back. I've had a location reminder enabled for the past week, and I have not noticed any significant change in battery life.
0 like dislike
rromero

"When using Find my iPhone or Find my Friends, the GPS only kicks in when a friend (or device owner) asks an app where that device is, this then causes the phone to get a GPS location and send to back."

i'm sure this is what happens during Find My iPhone and Find my Friends but the location services icon doesn't show up at all when this is being done. also, why wouldn't the location services icon cycle on and off when it is pinging you (for the reminder) rather than stay on for the duration of the reminder? according to the legend at the bottom of the Location Services screen, the purple arrow means: that it is currently using your location. the icon is always purple for a geo-reminder.

not that i don't believe you, but i remain skeptical of the activity according to how they are portraying it.
0 like dislike
jcwacky

You'll have to ask Apple why they made the decision to display the icon in those ways. I think the difference between Find my IPhone/Friends and other apps, is that with the other apps it's the app that controls when to get your GPS location. Whereas with Find my iPhone/Friends, it's not the app that controls when to get your location, it's the external request for the phone to get it's location that triggers it.

When using the Google Latitude app with background updating, the locataion services icon is always on, but I know for a fact that it only ever requests a GPS fix when the phone informs it it has changed cell mast or similar. So the app is always monitoring your location, but that doesn't mean it's constantly using the GPS, only when it needs to.
0 like dislike
LinkTree

In iMessages
BLUE
send button -> the message will be iMessage
GREEN send nutton -> the message will be SMS
5 like dislike
thenewyu

  • In general settings>keyboard you can add emoji keyboard
  • you can create your own auto fill shortcuts. settings>general>keyboard>shortcuts
4 like dislike
akleit

And then there's iMessage. What's really nice about it (as opposed to some of the third party apps) is it works within SMS - no separate app (like BBM on Blackberries). If you SMS someone else on iOS5, it sends via iMessage. If it's an SMS from another device, it works just the same (without read/delivery receipts). From a long - time crackberry user, it's nice to have a unified message app. Saying goodbye to PINS makes this a much more seamless communications tool.
4 like dislike
kanglu

I wish iChat is integrated though.
3 like dislike
jamatfu

It isn't on by default, but you can turn lock screen notifications on for Mail, which I'm loving so far. Gone are the days when the distinct iPhone "new mail" ding would ring out, and everyone in the room with an iPhone would swipe, unlock, and go to Mail.app to see if it was them, and what it was. Custom notification sounds AND an easy glance at the lock screen to see the sender, subject, and a snippet of the message. Nice!
4 like dislike
dboeke

I guess you folks don't get 300 emails a day...
0 like dislike
jhearne86

  • Tabbed browsing in Safari for iPad / drag to re-order them
  • Reading List (Safari)
  • Reader view (Safari)
  • Custom text ringtones
The main post mentions reminders, but nothing detailed, like reminding you to do something when you arrive at/pass a location or leave somewhere.
3 like dislike
U235Power

When using the split keyboard on the iPad, you can "mistakenly" hit the gray area next to the y or b or h and it will automatically know you where trying to hit the t or v or g on the other side.

(Note, I'm posting this from my iPhone, so I might not have the exact right keys, but hopefully you get the general idea!)
3 like dislike
jhearne86

You can add email notifications to your list and remove stocks from the Notifications section in the settings.
2 like dislike
TheTodd

Add Pheonetic Last Names

For people in your contact list which Siri has problems with

Select them in Contacts / Edit / Add Field / Add Phoentic Last Name / Click on Microphone and speak their name as pronounced.

shawnblanc.net­/2011­/10­/phonetic­-name­-fields/
2 like dislike
Ty2Runr

I don't use the Camera that comes with iOS; I use Camera Plus Pro. Is there a way to replace the default Camera so I can use CP from the lock screen. I assume not.
1 like dislike
lirand

Another tip:

If (like me) you've already ran out of your iCloud storage allowance (or if you want to speed up your backups),
You can buy more storage of course,
but you can also manage your backups and choose what apps get backed up -
Just go to settings/iCloud/storage and backup/manage storage
Then choose your device, and from the list that shows up - you can de-select the apps you don't which to backup.

The list shows how much space is consumed by each app, and it should be useful to have a look in it even if you're not out of storage (to make your iCloud backups faster). I have found out this way that i had 3 apps that consumed 1GB of storage each!
1 like dislike
AdamWillis

if I deselect apps, will I be able to re-download them in the future if they get deleted? just curious because the "not installed on iphone" section of the app store has a cloud on the icons.
0 like dislike
lirand

Nope. The AppStore remembers the apps you've bought, no matter what.
That setting only affects whether these apps' data will be backed up to the cloud or not.
1 like dislike
lsbeller

Under the accessibility setting, you can record (set up) custom screen gestures and kick them off with one or two taps - great for one handed use. I set up one to go to the home screen, open Fandango, update my current location, then list all the closet theaters all with three taps! You can even control multi finger input (like pinch to zoom) with one finger (or thumb).

Steve
1 like dislike
cjtylr

Notifications also appear in the lock screen and you can swipe their respective icons to go straight to that application.

Newsstand aggregates all of your newspapers into one bookshelf application.

iMessage allows you to message other iOS 5 users from your iPad. Settings -> Messages to configure receiving addresses.

Twitter is now integrated throughout the OS. Go to Settings -> Twitter to input your information.
0 like dislike
sholden

One very disappointing thing about iOS 5 on my iPad 2 is the very poor support for podcast content. The "iPod" app was merged into the Music app. Podcasts are now listed on the More button. In previous versions you could get updates directly by going to the iTunes store but that appears gone.

When you play a podcast there is no visual indication that it has been played in the list.

And the other big thing if you have a bunch of podcasts to listen to from a single source (like KPBS news) the autoplay option has been taken away, and only one podcast will play at a time.
0 like dislike
luftegrofnetfo

You can put the Podcast icon into the bottom bar by touching "edit" and dragging the icon to the bottom bar. It works for both the store and the music app.

Also, the blue dot on the left is a visual indication of an unplayed podcast and a half dot represents a partially played podcast. No dot means you've listened to it.

You can still get updates via the iTunes store by touching "Get More Episodes...". It takes you to that podcast's page.
4 like dislike
sholden

Where is this "edit" feature you speak of. I'm in Music on iOS 5 and don't see it anywhere.

I do not see the blue dot in iOS 5... it was there in iOS 4.

The "Get More Episodes" link in Podcasts you were subscribed to was in iOS 4. I don't see it anymore in iOS 5.
0 like dislike
jcwacky

Music App -> More -> Edit
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shaggypaul

That's in the iPhone, but I don't think you can edit on the iPad. There is no edit button that I've found.
0 like dislike
jcwacky

Ah yes sorry. Nope no Edit on iPad, and no indication that a podcast has been played either. Seems like an over sight from Apple, wouldn't be surprised if they add a "new" indicator in an update.
0 like dislike
luftegrofnetfo

Sorry about that. I overlooked the iPad 2 part. Yes, the new music app on the iPad is pretty disappointing. I listen to my podcasts on my iPhone. However, on the iPad 2 the videos app is where I watch most of my podcasts and that one functions the same.
0 like dislike
akleit

Interesting - I kind of like the new setup on the iPhone - it seems less cluttered (though shuffle still sucks). I'm going to take a look at it on my wife's iPad tonight. I've been running iOS5 since the first beta release - I've found it a little easier to group Music, Videos, iTunes (and now Trailers) under one folder.
0 like dislike
spencerdav

I disagree. Although they could show the podcast a little more respect. I find the air sync to be the best thing ever for those of us who listen to podcast everyday. I do not have wait around the computer for the updates, it just does it now. Nice!!
0 like dislike
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