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

Tips & Tricks

Opening links in new pages in Safari

If you’re anything like us, odds are you’re constantly using the “open in new tab” functionality of your desktop browser—but did you know you can do the same on your iOS device? In Safari, simply tap and hold on any link you’d like to open elsewhere, and tap the “Open in New Page” button on the slide-up that appears. Just be careful not to get too crazy, as you can only have so many open at once.

Pausing an iOS app download

iOS typically does a pretty good job of handling multiple app downloads—but did you know that you can help the process along by picking a choosing which apps to download first? Simply tap on any downloading app to switch its status from “Waiting” or “Loading” to “Paused.” When you’re ready for its download to start, simply tap it again to add it back to the download queue. Now you never have to let a 100MB+ game download get in the way of a simple Facebook update again.

Migrating between iOS devices

As our iOS devices become more and more powerful, they also end up holding more and more of our information — making it an even bigger pain to move from one to another. Thankfully, there’s a super simple way to make sure your newest device has all the info from your old one. As long as you’ve backed up prior your device to iTunes and your new device is running the same or later version of iOS, you simply plug in your new iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad into your main computer, select your prior device’s backup, and hit restore from backup—after it’s done syncing, you should have all the same preferences, settings, apps, and media as you had on your old device without needing to do a thing. For more information on migrating between iOS devices, see our August 26 Ask iLounge article.

Charging your iOS devices on a Mac or PC

While Apple’s pack-in chargers for the iPhone and iPad provide just the right amount of power for each device, charging iOS devices on desktops and laptops can be more of a crapshoot. Luckily, it’s not too hard to take control of the situation and ensure that your device is getting the juice it needs. If you’re having problems charging or upgrading your device on a PC, you’ll want to make sure it’s plugged in to a port on the machine—not a hub—and try to unplug any other unnecessary USB devices while you’re at it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, users of Apple’s Mac computers have things a little easier.

On Macs newer than 2007, all your USB ports should supply at least 1100 mA of charging power to any device—such as an iPhone or iPad—that needs it. The extra power is doled out on a first come, first served basis, so the first device you plug in is virtually guaranteed to receive the maximum amount of power, while later devices are less likely. If you have a Mac that was built this year, it might even support full 2.1 Amp fast charging of the iPad. Mac users also have a very simple way to check how much juice each device is receiving. Simply go the the Apple menu, select About This Mac, and hit the More Info… button, which launches System Profiler. From there you can select USB from the sidebar under Hardware, and select the device you want to check on. It’ll show you the Current Available, the Current Required, and the Extra Operating Current—by adding the Available and Extra Current together, you’ll get the current power output for that port. For more info, see this Apple Support document.

Adding PDFs directly to iBooks via Safari

When Apple added PDF support in iBooks, it was a huge boon to users who hadn’t yet sprung for a standalone, third-party reader. But did you know that you can add files directly to this PDF library from Safari on the iPad? Simply open a PDF in Safari and tap the page - at the top you’ll see a button to “Open in iBooks,” which will automatically add the document to your library. Starting in iOS 5, you’ll also be able to take advantage of this feature on your iPhone or iPod touch, making the process of adding a PDF to your iBooks library far more streamlined.

Scrolling inside boxes in Safari

If you’ve ever come across a box containing text, a map, or some other interactive element on a webpage in Safari on your iOS device, you may have noticed that when trying to scroll inside it with a single finger, you end up moving the entire page instead. As it turns out, Safari on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch does offer a way to do so: simply scroll inside the box as you’d normally do, but use two fingers instead one. Problem solved.

Enabling Find My iPhone in iOS

If you’ve had the need to use Find My iPhone to locate your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad even a single time, you know the outstanding utility of this feature. Once limited to paying MobileMe customers, it’s now free for all iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod touch, and iPad users, and will continue to be when Apple makes the transition over to iCloud. If you haven’t yet set it up on your device, here’s how to do so.

Open up the Settings app, then tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and tap Add Account. Choose MobileMe, then use your Apple ID—it can be the same one you use for the iTunes Store, or a separate ID, if you have one—to sign up. Don’t worry if you’re not a MobileMe subscriber—logging in with a non-MobileMe ID will still give you access to the following screen, on which you can toggle the feature on and off. Turn it on, and you’ll be able to login on the web or from another iOS device using the same login and track, lock, remotely wipe, or just display a message or play a sound on your device.

Setting up AutoFill in Safari on iOS

Over the years, Safari on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch has become more capable, incrementally gaining features from its desktop counterpart. One of those features—AutoFill—can come in extremely handy, but doesn’t necessarily get used a lot because it’s not turned on by default. To add this trick to your mobile web browsing arsenal, open the Settings app, tap on Safari, and then tap on AutoFill. On the screen that appears, you’ll need to turn Use Contact Info on, Names & Passwords on—if you want—and tap the My Info area to select your own entry from your list of contacts, letting Safari in on specifics like your address, phone number, and other details it can use to automatically populate forms, saving you time and frustration.

Tracking packages directly from Mail in iOS

If you’ve ordered something online, odds are you’ll get a shipment notification via email—and that means it’s likely to show up in Mail on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Luckily, Apple’s latest versions of iOS can automatically parse UPS and FedEx tracking numbers, giving you fast access to the whereabouts of your latest arrival. To take advantage of this feature, simply find the tracking number in the email, and tap and hold until an option to Track Shipment appears, and tap on that to be taken to the courier’s tracking page. It’s a lot easier for the anxious than trying to copy and paste the number every time. Trust us.

Erasing your iOS device without a computer

The ability to take your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad into an Apple Store for service is great—but handing over all of your personal info? Not so much. If you’re getting your iOS device replaced, selling it, or simply handing an older model over to a family member, you’ll want to get all your contacts, calendars, and other personal data off the device—and luckily, there’s an easy, built-in feature in iOS for doing exactly that. Open the Settings app, tap on General, and scroll to the bottom of the screen until you see the button for Reset. Tap on that, and then tap Erase All Content and Settings. The device will have you verify that this is what you want to do—you are erasing everything, after all—and will then do its thing, rebooting afterwards into the same state it was in when you first took it out of the box.

Putting an iOS device in DFU mode

Whether it’s an unresponsive device, an upgrade gone bad, or some other sort of software-based gremlin, sometimes you literally have to force iTunes to recognize and restore your iOS device. Short for Device Firmware Update, DFU mode is a last resort for bringing misbehaving units back to working order—and here’s how to trigger it.

To start, you need to have the device plugged into your computer via USB, and then turn it off. Once it’s completely powered down, press and hold both the sleep/wake and Home buttons for ten seconds. After ten seconds, release the sleep/wake button but continue to hold the Home button down until you see a pop-up alert from iTunes telling you that it has “detected an iPhone/iPad/iPod touch in recovery mode,” and that it needs to restore the device before it can be used. If your device starts up normally without seeing this pop-up, simply try the process again—sometimes it takes a couple tries. And if that doesn’t work, well, there’s always the Genius Bar!

Getting rid of Wi-Fi network pop-ups on iOS

Today’s tips is aimed at the urban dwellers. Do you frequently notice that your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad is asking you to join random, unknown networks while you’re walking, riding, or even just sitting at a nearby cafĂ©? Unless you like these interruptions, there’s an easy way to rid yourself of these annoying notifications. Simply open the Settings app, tap Wi-Fi, and set the “Ask to Join Networks” slider to off. Now your device will only connect to networks that it’s previously connected to—like the ones at your home and work—unless you open that same Wi-Fi menu and manually look for a new connection. It can be a little less handy, but it’s also a lot less aggravating.

Quickly add apps, content to iOS devices

More than likely you’re accustomed to using iTunes’ tabbed device management interface for handling what apps, music, videos, and other media you want on your devices. But did you know that you can add just a few items quickly and easily without ever having to change those settings? Simply drag-and-drop any app or content you want from your iTunes library to the iOS device’s listing in the sidebar. iTunes will automatically add it to the device—assuming there’s enough available space—even if you’ve got automatic syncing turned on.

Setting up Automatic Downloads in iOS and iTunes

Announced this week as part of Apple’s new iCloud service, you can now set your iOS devices and iTunes to automatically download new purchases made on other devices. On your iOS device running 4.3.3, go in to the Settings apps and tap on Store. Right at the top, you’ll see slider toggles for turning Automatic Downloads of Music, Apps, and Books on and off. In addition, there’s a separate option below that on 3G-enabled devices that lets you decide whether you’d like them to download purchases over the cellular network when you’re away from Wi-Fi.

In iTunes 10.3, the process is just as simple. Open the iTunes > Preferences… menu, click the Store tab, and then click the three check boxes for the Automatic Downloads of Music, Apps, and Books as you’d like. From now on, whenever you purchase a song, app, or book on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or home computer, you’ll find it waiting for you the next time you use one of your other devices.

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.

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.

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.

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