I was sitting with some friends the other day, comparing smartphones (you know the "My Android is OPEN" vs. "my iPhone LOOKS BETTER" kind of pointless discussions), when it occurred to me that most of the iPhone owners were not aware of some cool hidden tricks that were recently added.
I decided to summarize some of the things I know of, I'm sure there are more, but hey, we need to start with something, right?
So here are 10 useful iPhone tips & tricks you may of may not know about:
Do more with your iPhone Calendar:
Tip #1: Switch to landscape mode and get a weekly calendar view
Yep, I bet you didn't know about this one; Open your calendar, rotate your phone to landscape mode, and you will be able to view 3-4 days in one snapshot. Oh, and BTW, you can also use finger gestures to navigate between days in case you haven't found this one yet.
Tip #2: Create new calendar events quickly using a long finger touch
I always hated the way iPhone's calendar lets you add new meetings: you need to click on the plus button, then select the date, time, details, it's painful.
Recently I discovered (and maybe it was there all along) that if I touch a certain time slot for more than 2 seconds – it creates an event on the fly. You can even drag & drop it all over your calendar, resize, change day. This is the fastest way to create new meetings, events, or reminders using the calendar. Great stuff isn't it?
Few cool tricks to do more with your camera and pictures
Tip 3#: Open your camera without unlocking your iPhone
Yep, that's now doable with iOS5: just double click your home button and you will see a small camera button. Click it, and you will get into the camera. This one is a basic one I'm sure most of you are already familiar with.
Tip #4: Use the 'Volume Up' button to take a picture
Clicking the camera's virtual shutter button in the middle of the screen is hard, especially when you are trying to focus on the moment you are trying to document without moving… I always hated the fact there is no real physical button for the iPhone camera.
Well, now there is; the Volume Up button acts as the camera shutter. It makes the entire experience of taking pictures with your iPhone feel much more… well… normal (as it should have been 3 years ago to be honest).
Tip #5: Slide right to switch from camera to pictures
When using the camera, you can now easily slide your finger to the right in order to skip directly to your pictures folders.
Tip #6: Do more with your pictures
The default pictures app was kind of basic in the past. This is why there are so many pictures apps in the AppStore. In iOS 5, there's a collection of nice improvements added to the pictures app: you can now create folders on the fly, directly from your iPhone, and multiple copy images from one folder to another.
More importantly; you can modify existing pictures (rotate them, cancel red-eyes, crop your pictures, etc.) without having to download 3rd party apps for that.
Other tricks worth mentioning
Tip #7: Modify the phone volume directly from the lock-screen
iOS 5 added some new capabilities to the iPhone lock-screen: notifications, quick access to the camera, and one additional thing not many people are aware of:
When you double click your home button – it shows the lock screen with two additional elements: camera button (opens the camera directly, without unlocking the phone), and volume bar. The volume bar is there in order to allow easy, accessible way to change the volume without unlocking the phone. You can use either the volume buttons on the left side or slide your finger in the slider. Either ways it means you do not need to unlock your iPhone to tune the volume.
Tip #8: Place a folder with your favorite apps in the iPhone's dock
Folders are great, but what most people need is a way to have more apps accessible from everywhere (meaning: from the dock panel in the bottom of each page). If you try to drag one app onto another app located in the bottom dock area (where those fixed shortcuts are located) you will notice you can't create a folder over there in the same manner you can create them in other places.
It's as if Apple blocked the way to place folders in the dock area. The good thing is that there's a workaround for this limitation: you can create your folder somewhere else and then drag the entire folder to the dock area. The end result is that you can create folders and place them in the dock area, where they will be accessible all the time and from any page.
Is that cool, sexy, shocking, eye-opening, all at the same time or what?
Tip #9: Deleting a single SMS message without deleting the entire thread
Let's say your wife or girlfriend sends you messages with some dirty stuff (never had it). And let's say your phone is used for work, ending up reaching the wrong hands at the wrong time (say, even your boss. Not that I ever experienced this situation). You want to delete some messages, but you don't want to remove the entire thread (it's nice to have it in your recent threads as a shortcut). With iOS 5 you can now click the 'Edit' button (when inside the thread) and select the messages you wish to delete.
No no, don't thank me… this is what I'm here for. If I won't do it – who will?
Oh, you insist? in that case – go up, retweet this article and show us some love!
Tip #10: Type faster using your own shortcuts
Typing email addresses (when you register or log-in to apps or sites) is a pain. With iOS new custom shortcuts you can now make this process much more simple using your own shortcuts.
Suffer from a long email address like I do (try 'Gil.Bouhnick'… it's long!)? Now you can create a shortcut so that typing 'gil.b' will auto-complete the entire email address.
Of course you can use shortcuts for other phrases as well and not just emails and url's, which makes this feature great for faster typing from your phone.
That's it for this one. If you have any additional tip you believe most people haven't discovered yet – please share it with the rest of us. More tips coming soon.