iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iOS and iTunes Tips & Tricks | iLounge

Tips & Tricks

Downloading past iTunes purchases to your iOS device

As you might have heard, Apple has announced iTunes in the Cloud, allowing users to download past iTunes Store music and music video purchases directly to their iPhones, iPads, or iPod touches, free of charge. If your device is running iOS 4.3.3, simply open the iTunes Store app and look at the bottom row of tabs. You should see a new tab called Purchased, from which you can access and download all your past iTunes Store music purchases. You can look for specific songs by searching, browse past purchases via Recent Purchases or Not On This iPhone automatically-populated lists, or browse by artist. When you’ve found the song or album you were looking for, simply tap the cloud download button to the right of the listing. Just remember that if you’re on 3G, these downloads will count against your data limit, so try to stay away from grabbing up album after album until you’re back on Wi-Fi.

Grabbing screenshots on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Whether you’re a designer trying to get a mobile layout pixel-perfect, a frustrated customer needing to document some strange behavior for the folks at the Genius Bar, or a wordsmith wanting to memorialize your latest Words With Friends achievement, you’re going to need a screenshot. Luckily, every portable iOS device has a super-simple way to capture whatever’s happening on your screen. Simply push the sleep/wake and Home buttons simultaneously, and you should see the screen flash, accompanied by the familiar camera snap sound—provided your device has a built-in speaker. This trick works anywhere in the OS—including when an app is running—and you’ll find the resulting image in your Camera Roll, where you can access and share it just like any other photo you’ve snapped.

Getting the most out of iOS’ software keyboard

When Apple CEO Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPhone, he made a point to highlight the device’s software keyboard, which allowed it to adapt to different uses, unlike the hardware keyboards popular at the time. Well, this adaptability can also make typing on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad faster. When typing an uppercase letter, for instance, you can use a single “tap and slide” motion from the shift button to the letter you need; the same “tap and slide” maneuver can be used when typing a number or symbol. When you’re typing in a web address, tap and hold on the “.com” button to access other frequently used top-level domains such as .net, .edu, and .org, and if you’re typing on the iPad, you can swipe up on the exclamation point/comma or question mark/period button for quick access for an apostrophe or quotation mark, respectively. While they’re not exactly game-changers, these simple tips can save you a few extra taps—and with them, extra seconds—every single day.

Turning on Home Sharing for iPod, iPhone, and iPad

Apple’s cloud-based music service might be just around the corner, but in the meantime, you can have complete access to your iTunes library on any iOS 4.3 device via your home’s Wi-Fi network by setting up Home Sharing. In the iTunes Preferences window, make sure you have Sharing turned on, then go to the Advanced menu and turn on Home Sharing. Once that’s done, go to your iOS device’s Settings app, tap on iPod, and scroll down to the Home Sharing section, then enter the same Apple ID and password that you used to setup Home Sharing on iTunes. From then on, whenever you access the iPod app while connected to your home network, you’ll see an option for Shared under the More tab. Select your library, and you’ll have full access to every song, album, and playlist you’ve got, turning every iPod/iPhone/iPad speaker in the house into a mini music server. Note that if you have a second-generation Apple TV, you can likely skip the iTunes steps and go straight to your portable device.

Disabling Ping in iTunes


Apple’s social music network Ping hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since its debut last year, and while some users find it amusing and helpful, others see it as far more of a nuisance than it’s worth. Luckily for the latter crowd, there’s a super-easy way to disable it. Simply open the iTunes > Preferences menu—or hit command-comma—go to the Parental Controls tab, check the box next to Ping in the Disable area, and hit okay. This single manuever removes all references to Ping from iTunes, including the sidebar, track, and iTunes Store menu listings.

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor PowerSupportUSA.com for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

Bookmarks for iPhone, iPod touch + iPad

If you’re new to iOS—or just a casual user—you might not know that the Safari browser on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad has bookmarks just like the one on your PC or Mac. To access them, simply tap on the open book icon—located at the bottom of the screen on iPhone and iPod touch, and in the top bar on the iPad. A list of links and folders will appear, headlined by your browsing history. If you’ve chosen to sync your bookmarks through iTunes (handled in the Info tab for your device) or via MobileMe, all of the bookmarks from your Mac or PC should be there as well. To add a bookmark, simply tap the action icon and select Add Bookmark; this should sync back to your computer upon your next sync, or over the air if you’re a MobileMe subscriber.

Power (Column) Browsing on the iTunes Store


Depending on how long you’ve been an iTunes user, you may or may not know about the column browser view. But did you know it works in the iTunes Store as well? Simply open the store, then hit command+B—or select View > Column Browser > Show Column Browser. Once you’re in, you can browse everything in the store—including music, movies, TV shows, and apps—by genre or category, and sort the results in a variety of ways, including by name, artist, price, and release date, with the latter being super-handy for finding the latest and greatest stuff on the store.

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor PowerSupportUSA.com for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

Taking control of your iTunes Library with Smart Playlists


For those of us with larger music and video libraries, picking and choosing what media to put on our iPods, iPhones, and iPads can be a real chore. Luckily, iTunes has a built-in feature that can help you make customized playlists of just the stuff you want to hear and watch. Called Smart Playlists, these dynamic lists are created by setting different rules—say, only songs added in the last two years with a rating of four stars or higher—and using those to filter out the filler. With over forty different basic rules to choose from, you should have no problem creating new lists that work for you while maximizing the space on your favorite portable device. To get started, simply hold down the option button on your keyboard while rolling over the plus symbol in the bottom left corner of the main iTunes window, or go to the File menu and choose “New Smart Playlist…”

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor PowerSupportUSA.com for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

Using multiple iPods, iPhones, or iPads with iTunes

Just purchase your second Apple media device? Not to worry—iTunes can easily handle as many devices as your computer has ports, and then some. If you’ve got multiple iOS devices, just check “Set up as a new device” when you first connect to iTunes, and to help keep track of them, make sure you give each one a unique name. Once this is done, you’ll be able to pick and choose what music, videos, apps, and other media you want to put on each device individually, meaning each member of the family can have their own favorites on their iPods, iPhones, or iPads, with the added benefit of having separate backups for all your iOS devices.

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor PowerSupportUSA.com for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

Sharing a Contact in iOS

It’s inevitable: at some point when you’re out and about with a group of friends, someone will need an email address, phone number, or some other piece of information about someone else, and you’ll have it sitting right on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Luckily, there’s a simple and easy way to share this information, and it doesn’t involve a pen and a cocktail napkin. In either the Contacts or Phone applications, tap on the contact whose information you need to share, and scroll down to the bottom until you see the “Share Contact” button. On the iPhone, you’ll have your choice of sending the info via email or MMS—the latter super handy for sharing with friends that also have iPhones—while iPad and iPod touch users can ship the info out via email.

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor PowerSupportUSA.com for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

Adding a website to your iOS Home screen

Have a website or web app that you find yourself using a lot? Give it the same stature as your real, native apps by adding it to your Home screen. To do so, simply tap the action button—the box with the arrow pointing out of it—and tap the option to “Add to Home Screen.” This will bring you to a page where you can give your new direct link a personalized name, and then simply tap the “Add” button in the upper right hand corner to complete the process. Once a website has been added to your Home screen, you can move it around just like any other app—including putting it in a folder—and it can be removed from the Home screen using the same process you use to delete an app.

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor PowerSupportUSA.com for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

Multitasking on iPhone, iPod + iPad with iOS 4

New to iOS, or just a long-time user who’s set in your ways? Then you might not know that the latest version of iOS allows newer iPhones, iPod touches, and all iPads to skip directly from one app to the next without needing to hit your Home screen. Simply double-tap the Home button, and the screen will slide up to reveal a tray of recently opened apps, any of which you can tap on to go directly to that app. In addition, you can tap and hold on any app to bring up small red buttons in the icons’ corners, which let you quit any apps that have become unresponsive or you otherwise no longer need to have open.

Swipe all the way to the right with the tray pulled up, and you’ll also find a screen with music controls for either the iPod app or any eligible third-party audio app—including Pandora—and either a screen orientation lock toggle or a mute button. iPad users will also see screen brightness and volume controls, all of which combine to give you quite a bit of control over your device without needing to ever “leave” your currently-running app.

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor PowerSupportUSA.com for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

Sharing Multiple Photos on iOS

It’s super-simple to share a single photo from an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, but what about those times when you want to share a batch of photos all at once? In the Photos app’s Camera Roll or album view, simply tap the box with the arrow coming out of it—also known as the action button, or the “do something with this” box. Once it’s been tapped, you can select up to five photos to share via email or MMS (on the iPhone); if you want to share larger photos at full resolution, simply hit the copy button, and then paste them into a new email message—but note that it may take awhile to send out the message, so this option is for quality, not speed. Happy sharing!

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor PowerSupportUSA.com for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

Making a Conference Call on the iPhone

On a call on your iPhone and need to add someone to the conversation? Simply tap the “add call” button in the lower left-hand corner of the call box. A list of your contacts will pop up, letting you select another person to add to the mix, or, if you need to dial a number, the keypad tab at the bottom of the screen will let do so. This feature works for incoming calls, as well: just hit the “hold call and answer” button when a call comes in, and you’ll find that the “add call” button has been renamed “merge calls,” letting you bring both callers into the conversation.

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor PowerSupportUSA.com for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

Tap to Focus/Expose on iOS

If you’re new to the iPhone 3GS/4, iPad 2, or iPod touch 4G, you mightn’t know that Apple’s Camera application has a handy feature that lets you change the focus and/or exposure of an image. Taking advantage of this feature is deceptively simple: just tap on the area of the image you want to bring into sharp focus, and/or want to use for exposure purposes. You’ll see a blue box appear around the chosen area, giving you visible confirmation of your selection; the trick works for both video recording and traditional photography. Notably, only the rear cameras of the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 actually focus using this trick; all the rest—including the front-facing camera found in Apple’s most recent devices—will use your chosen spot to properly expose that area, instead of using the entire frame. Shifting the placement of the box can give dramatically different results, so feel free to tap multiple times until you get the look you want, and be sure to try the trick in your favorite third-party camera app, as many of those offer the feature, as well.

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor PowerSupportUSA.com for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

Voice Control for iPhone and iPod touch

New iPhone and iPod touch owners, did you know that holding down the Home button for three seconds at any time - including when the screen is off - activates your device’s Voice Control mode? Wait for the beep, then say “Play songs by The Beatles.” Your iPod or iPhone will recognize your voice and say, “Playing songs by The Beatles,” then start playback. This works on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch 3G (using microphone headset), and iPod touch 4G, and is extremely handy in a car.

Additionally, iPhone users can hold down the Home Button for three seconds, wait for the beep, and say “Call [Person’s Name] - Home” or “Call [Person’s Name] - Work.” The iPhone will automatically recognize your voice and the name, then call the person based on the type of phone number you specify. Voice Control lets you speak phone numbers, too: “Dial 716-123-4567.” It’s pretty accurate, so long as you remember to say the initial command. Other possible commands are shown on the screen while the iPhone or iPod analyzes your voice.

Please visit our Tip of the Day sponsor Power Support for more information on their iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and films.

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