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148 Things You Can (Should) Do With Your iDevice - Tools To Be A Pro

Posted by Chris Hall on January 4th, 2010

For the first 49 things to do, check out the rest of the article at: The Very Basics Pt. 1 (1-23), The Very Basics Pt. 2 (24-38), The Very Basics Pt. 3 (39-49).

It's important to me for you to be a pro iPhone user, not just another person with an iPhone. In order to do this, you need apps... lots of apps. You should also get some apps that aren't free. There's nothing worse than picking up someones iPhone and finding 50 lite versions of apps. Now before I just show you a bunch of apps to buy (which I definitely intend to do), I'd like to show you how to make rational decisions on your own. My needs are much different than yours, so this will make you much better in the long run.

50. Go To 148apps.com - Shameless plug? I think not. We have news and reviews about all the best apps, making us a perfect one stop shop for all your app needs.

51. Check Out Price Drops - On the site, in the top navigation bar there is a tab called 'Price Drops'. It is a compilation of every (I mean every) app that goes down in price. If you're looking for a good value, don't miss this page.

52. Go To bestappever.com - Shameless plug #2 or the best app award site on the planet? I'll go with door #2. We've already gone through a stringent nomination process with the help of some of the brightest app geeks in the web, and now we're onto the final votes. Head on over to the site and pick up any app nominated... they are all fantastic.

53. Play Some Lite Versions - I know I told you earlier not to just have lite versions, but it's quite alright to use them as demos... because that is what they are. Just please buy some whole apps. The whole experience is so much better once you actually have access to the app as it was intended.

54. Use iTunes as a Resource - Check out the App Store in iTunes. I know it seems like a ton of work to look on your computer, but some of the info on the page is invaluable. Be sure to take a close look at all the apps on the home page.

55. Scan The Charts - On the right side of the App Store there are three lists, one of the top paid apps, one of the top free apps, and one of the top grossing apps. Generally anything on these lists will be fairly decent (everyone has to want these apps for something right?).

56. Don't Be Fooled By Nudie Apps - All too often I see apps in the top 10 lists that have to do with naked, or semi-naked girls. While I don't download them myself, I do know that Apple doesn't allow nudity in the App Store. You're literally just buying pictures of girls in bikinis. Just know this.

57. Don't Get Suckered Into The Big App Ad - At the very top of the App Store, front and center, is a big scrolling app ad space. It'll show a bunch of apps and a few lists done by Apple. While I like the idea of this, I don't want you to get suckered into bad apps. I don't know how the apps are selected to be up there, but the second I saw a Britney Spears app up there I knew something was up. Be weary of this space.

58. iTunes Reviews - If you click on an app, there is an area that shows user app ratings. Don't be fooled by these rankings. If you see something with 20 reviews and an average of 5 stars, the app is going to be good. Same goes for a ton of 1 star reviews. Some apps though will have 50 five star reviews and 25 one star reviews. Much like anything else in life, people really only care about things if they love it or hate it, so take these rankings with a grain of salt. Sites like 148apps exists for this very reason.

59. Check Lists On Your iDevice - If you go into the App Store app, you can view the same top of the App Store Charts.

[caption id="attachment_24344" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Way too expensive at $9.99."]

[/caption]60. Prices Are Cheap... Don't Complain - Don't be one of those people who only buys 99 cent apps. I know that times are tough, but with the sheer amount of competition out there, it's tough for developers to make money without charging something like (gasp!) $2. Support the devs, the little App Store ecosystem depends on it.

61. Don't Always Assume That Expensive Is Good - I know I just told you to spend some money, but I'd rather you not do it in a wasteful manner. I hate to pick on a particular dev, mostly one that makes some fantastic apps, but some of the release prices for EA apps are ridiculous. NBA Live on the iPhone was never worth $9.99.

62. Change You Mindset About What Is Possible - Just about anything on your iDevice is possible, you just need the right app. If, and when, you absolutely can't do something after exhausting all of your options, just complain until an app comes out that does what you want.

63. Complain To The Right People - Once you are ready to start complaining, please don't complain to the poor Apple employees. None of them can make the app you want. Not even the Geniuses. My advice would be to complain to a close friend. Maybe they'll make the app you want.

64. Troubleshoot With The Source- If an app is broken, nobody can fix it but the developer. Not me, not a Genius at the Apple Store, and probably not your mom. Just send an e-mail to the developer. They'll get back to you if they really care about their product.

While we're on the troubleshooting topic, you should know what to do if (when) your iDevice breaks.

65. If It Just Stops Working Randomly - If you just wake up one morning and your iDevice just stops working, here's what you do. Hold the top button and the home button until everything resets. If that doesn't work, make a Genius Bar reservation.

[caption id="attachment_24346" align="alignright" width="300" caption="They aren\'t all this long."]

[/caption]66. Make A Genius Bar Reservation - If you have to make an appointment, just go to www.apple.com/retail. Don't be scared of the Geniuses... unless you've done something stupid.

67. You Broke Your Screen - Well now you've done it. Option 1 here would be to go to the Apple Store to get the screen replaced. Since you broke the screen, it is not covered by the warranty. It's an expensive part too, so be warned. You could also go to one of those cheap mall stores to get it fixed, but to have anyone but Apple do it permanently voids the iDevice warranty.

68. You Dropped It In Water - Just cry. No, just kidding... sort of. The best thing to do here is to put the iDevice directly into a bag of rice. Rice absorbs moisture faster than anything else I can think of, so you may have a chance. Whatever you do, don't try to turn the thing on for at least 12 hours. Shorting circuits is never fun. Just so you know, water damage isn't covered under the warranty either.

Next I'll talk about some of the apps that will make you seem like an instant app veteran. It'll be painless, I promise.

148 Things You Can (Should) Do With Your iDevice – The Very Basics Pt. 3

Posted by Chris Hall on December 31st, 2009

For the first 38 things to do, check out the rest of the article at: The Very Basics Pt. 1 (1-23), The Very Basics Pt. 2 (24-38)


Let's assume here that after you synced your data (#7) At this point you should already have music on the iDevice, but you just don't know where it is.

39. Play Your Music - Find the 'iPod' app on your iPhone or the 'Music' app on your iPod Touch. These apps are the key to your music listening happiness. Click on them and you will see all of your music just begging to be played.

40. Make An On-The-Go Playlist - You like what you have, you just don't want to hear it all at once. I get it... I do the same thing. To remedy this, do one of two things. First would be to click on the 'Playlists' tab in iTunes and click 'On-The-Go'. It's pretty self explanatory from there. The second way to make a playlist is too...

[caption id="attachment_24088" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="This is where genius playlists are born."]

[/caption]41. Make A Genius Playlist - In my opinion, the genius playlist is a best thing Apple has done for iTunes in years. What it does (in a nutshell) is takes an inventory of all of your music and tracks it against other users that also use the genius function. Then a bunch of tree gnomes in Imaginationland gather the data and ritually prepare it for your listening pleasure. On the computer, it takes awhile because the data has to pass from Imaginationland to your network, which wouldn't be possible without a Transmogrifier... while on your iDevice it's easy because the songs have already been transmogrified. So, to turn on genius, play any song you want, click on the album cover (or the glaring lack of an album cover), and click on the thing that closest resembles an atom. Enjoy!

42. Save The Genius List Or Change It - Inside the genius playlist (go to 'Playlists', then click on the 'Genius Playlist'), you can either save or refresh your playlist, depending on how you feel about it.

43. Listen To Your Podcasts, Audiobooks, and Various Other Boring Media - In the 'iPod' app, click 'More' at the bottom of the screen. All of that NPR that you have saved up for this day will be there... I promise.

44. Buy More Media - Find the 'iTunes' app and click on it. Here you can find all the music and videos that you've ever wanted (as long as it's not by the Beatles). Click around, it's pretty straightforward. One thing to note... most things cost money, but podcasts and iTunes U are free. Take advantage.

App Store (You Know You Want It)

45. Buy Apps - Whew, now we finally get to buy some apps. Click on the 'App Store' app on the home screen (or wherever you've moved it to). Inside of this is the wonderful world of the App Store, where you can buy any app you want at any time (provided that you are in a WiFi zone for apps over 10MB). Play around a bit in here... you'll love it.

46. Update Your Apps - In the 'App Store' app, just click on the 'Updates' tab and hit 'Update All'. Don't pick and choose updates... just do it all at once.

47. Use A Promo Code/Gift Card - Gift cards are self explanatory, but promo codes are a foreign concept to most. Every developer gets allotted promo codes to give away their app. They typically give the codes out to their family members, friends, or the press (us) to give them away for them. The most common way to find these giveaways are through Twitter, so I'd recommend following us( @148apps) and all of your favorite devs so you can win some someday. If you do get one, you can redeem it on your iDevice by clicking on the 'Featured' tab, click the 'New' tab at the top, and then scroll all the way down until you get to 'Redeem'.

48. Check Your Remaining Balance - If you want to see how much money you have left on that gift card you got for Christmas, just go to the bottom of any screen in the App Store.

49. Delete An App - To delete an app, just click and hold on the app like you want to move it around the home screen.

148 Things You Can (Should) Do With Your iDevice – The Very Basics Pt. 2

Posted by Chris Hall on December 30th, 2009

For the first 23 things to do, check out the rest of the article at: The Very Basics Pt. 1 (1-23)

Before we get to the settings menu, I forgot to mention one of the most important things that you will need to know for sure on your iDevice.

[caption id="attachment_24081" align="alignright" width="200" caption="This is an example of too much zoom. Wait... is that my car?"]

[/caption]24. Zooming In and Out - Occasionally, especially while using maps and the internet, you'll need to make things bigger. To do this, just use a pinching motion on the screen. Use slow movements here, as spastic finger swipes will just bring you a lot of stress. Ok, glad that's out of the way.

The Daunting Settings Menu

25. Use Your iPhone On A Plane - "*Ding* You can now turn on all electronic items." Everyone has heard this, but you now have a cell phone... and cell phones are absolutely a no-no on planes. Avoid this by going into the 'Settings' app and flicking the 'Airplane Mode' tab to 'ON'. Now you have the equivalent of an iPod Touch.

26. Turn On WiFi - This is absolutely critical if you want to download apps over 10MB or want to play online games at optimal speeds. Be sure to turn WiFi on, and then pick your network, or an unlocked network in your area. On the flip side, know that you can still use the internet when you're not in a WiFi zone. 3G really does work quite well, as long as you aren't in a big city.

27. Change Your Ringtone - I know you want to change that ringtone... that boring ringtone that comes with the phone just doesn't work for me. To change it, go to the 'Sounds' menu (all within 'Settings' of course), click on 'Ringtone', and then have at it. You can also change your text message ringtone under the 'New Text Message' menu.

28. Save Your Battery, Lower The Brightness - Under the brightness tab, you can lower your brightness (shocker). Lowering it down a bit can significantly raise your battery life.

[caption id="attachment_24082" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Internet tethering... where did that come from?"]

[/caption]29. Turn Off 3G - If you are in a city with crappy 3G coverage, or if you need a bit more juice out of that battery, you may want to shut off 3G all-together. To do this, go to the 'General' tab, then the 'Network' tab, then turn 'Enable 3G' to off. Now some people are into turning off all sorts of things to make the battery life better, but I didn't buy the thing to have no features. Live a little.

30. Quick Troubleshooting Tip - Let's say that your phone is dropping calls right and left, and now your last resort before insanity is to see the Genius Bar. You think that they are going to do some kind of voodoo, but all they do, at least at first, is reset the network settings. To do this yourself, go to the 'General' tab, scroll all the way down to the 'Reset' tab, and click 'Reset Network Settings'. If you really want to get crazy you can 'Reset All Settings', but it's usually more hassle then it's worth.

31. Change The Wallpaper - No, you cannot change the permanent black background, but you can change that Earth picture in the unlock screen. To do this, click on the 'Wallpaper' tab and then select away.

Whew, now we're done with the Settings menu. There's a bunch more, but I didn't want to get really nit picky, at least not yet... we're still going over the basics.

Included Apps

32. Move Apps Off the Main Screen - Ha, I hope you like what I did there. Most of the included apps are so straightforward that explaining them all would just be a waste of my time. More importantly, you should know how to move them off the main screen, because deleting them is forbidden by Apple. First, act like you are going to move the app around the page (see #8), but this time, drag it to the far side of the page until it moves into the next page.

33. Find Where You Are - Fine, I suppose that I do use the 'Maps' app quite a bit. Assuming you are using a newish iPhone, you have the ability to track yourself via GPS. To do this, go into the 'Maps' app and click on the target looking button in the bottom left. It'll take a second, but when it's done you will see exactly where you are on a map.

34. See a Satellite View - Want to see what the terrain looks like while you are getting directions? Click on the button on the bottom right within the "Maps" app and you'll get some options. Choose 'Satellite' if you want to, but I would recommend the 'Hybrid' mode for the ease of use.

35. Get Directions - To get directions, just hit the 'Directions' tab within maps. You can either type in two places here, or you can select 'Current Location' and then end somewhere else. When you are done, just hit 'Done'. If you change your mind as to where you want to go, click on the 'Edit' button on the top left. You can also see how long the trip will take via mass transit or by foot by clicking on the corresponding buttons at the top of the screen.

[caption id="attachment_24083" align="alignright" width="200" caption="I have 8 tabs open... don\'t be like me."]

[/caption]36. Go To A Website - I suppose that Safari is a fairly important included app too. It is your gateway to the internet, as it is on your computer. Having a PC is no excuse... you can still download Safari. To use Safari, click on the app, then in the top bar, type in a website. The bar on the top right is a Google search bar, so please don't go to Google.com every time you want to find something. You're just wasting your own time.

37. Add A Bookmark - Just like adding anything else, just look for the '+'.

38. Use Tabs - Tabs are a great way to go on different websites at the same time. To do this on your iDevice, just click on the button on the bottom right in the Safari app. It'll give you a slide-able menu to navigate, while also giving you a 'New Page' button to click on. Fair warning, you have 8 tabs total, and when they are open, your iDevice does take a performance hit. Don't have 9 open at all times. To get rid of one, just click on the 'x' on the top left of the website image.

148 Things You Can (Should) Do With Your iDevice - The Very Basics

Posted by Chris Hall on December 28th, 2009

Whether you know it or not, you have just entered a brave new world where your iDevice (this is especially true for iPhone owners) will become the single most important thing you carry on a day to day basis.[caption id="attachment_23867" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Steve Jobs thanks you for your purchase."]

[/caption] I would honestly feel more comfortable without my clothes than I do without my iPhone. Instead of having dreams about being in meetings with no clothes on, you’ll be panicking over where you left your iPhone. At least with no clothes you could still figure out where the meeting was, who it's with, and why you are going (yes, I am that dependent). Not only do you now hold the most incredible device of its type, but you will soon be one of those crazy iDevice people who, like me, run their lives in a piecemeal fashion through various apps and iPhone tricks (I’m fairly certain that this is a good thing).

In the next week, I, and the rest of the 148apps staff, plan on turning you into an iDevice junky, ready to sling iDevice knowledge with the best of them. But first, the basics.

1. The Buttons - First things first, we need to get the buttons down. I’m going to use the iPhone as the example here, just because I have one right in front of me. On the top right you have your sleep/wake button. Click on it to put your phone to sleep, or to wake it up. On the bottom of your screen you have your home button. Click on it and you’ll go from wherever you are on your iDevice back to the home screen. Ot the left side there is the volume buttons and a little toggle that turns on silent mode/vibrate. If you want to hear sound, make sure you don’t see a red dot in the toggle.

2. Get Past The Screen With The Earth - No, you do not have any kind of secret setting turned on, just click any button and slide your finger where it says “slide to unlock”.

3. Turn The Thing Off - Sleeping is really the only “turn off” method that is really necessary, but the guys at the Apple Store will tell you to turn off the phone a few times a week. To turn the thing all the way off, hold the button on the top right until you see an on-screen slider that says ‘slide to power off’.

4. Turn It Off The Angry Way - if the iDevice is frozen, don’t fret. Just hold the top right button and the home button until the device reboots and you see the Apple logo pop up. It’s really not good to do this too often, but it’s the only way to do a hard reset.

[caption id="attachment_23866" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="If you plug it in it shows a battery... mine is full! Don\'t expect to see this very often."]

[/caption]5. Plug It In - I’ve dealt with enough iDevice users in my time to know that the most important thing to do is to sync the device to your computer. Sure, you may not think that it’s important, but this is the only way to download updates, and it’s the best way to get pictures, apps, phone numbers, TV shows... you get the point. Just plug the thing in every once in a while. Extra bit of greatness.. plugging your iDevice in charges it too.

6. Update, update, update - I mentioned this in #1, but when the little box pops up asking you if you’d like to update the device, just do it. I still meet people occasionally that bought the original iPhones and haven’t updated yet. Poor saps always want to know how to use apps, and all they had to do was update.

7. Sync Your Stuff - See all those tabs up top in iTunes? The ones that say, Summary, Info, Applications, etc.? Click on them all and check off what you want to sync. Don’t over-think this.

8. Move Apps Around - Before we get into what the apps do, I want to tell you how to move the apps around on the screen. I’m telling you this now because it freaks people out. If you hold your finger on an app, all the apps on the screen will start wiggling (I know... scary!). Just drag any app you want into the desired location and it will snap into place. When you are done moving things around, just click the home button and everything will stop moving around.

9. Navigating Past The Home Screen - Eventually, you will have many pages of apps, and you'll need to know how to find things. Assuming that you are as unorganized as I am, you'll find the search feature absolutely priceless. To get to the search screen, just go to the home screen slide your thumb (or finger) to the right. You'll pop to a screen where you can search for absolutely anything on your iDevice, from the app you are trying to locate to a contact that you need real quick.

10. Phone Calls - Assuming the iDevice in your hand is an iPhone, the most important thing to get used to is the phone calling feature. Eventually you’ll start replacing talking to actual people with texting, and then eventually Tweeting, but traditional talking is a good way to start. Go ahead and click on the green ‘Phone’ button to get started. Inside this new menu, click on the ‘Keypad’ button in the bottom of the screen and dial away like you always would.

11. Contacts/Recents/Favorites - Click on the contacts screen now and you’ll see a blank list. It’s quite sad and lonely at first, but after you sync the iDevice with the computer, you’ll have a list filled with all of your closest friends (and a few of those people who mysteriously made it into the list). ‘Favorites’ is where you set up your favorites list (so you can weed out the goony mystery contacts), and ‘Recents’ is where you check your most recent incoming and outgoing calls. Warning: You can’t delete individual items in the ‘Recents’ page. Don’t want your significant other to know you’re calling someone? Don’t call them... or just clear the whole page, but that is awfully fishy.

12. Visual Voicemail - Quite possibly the greatest thing about the iPhone is the fact that you can pick and choose which message to listen to. Instead of digging through a bunch of crap to get to the message you want, all you have to do is click on an individual message and listen. It'll save you all sorts of time.

[caption id="attachment_23857" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Maybe I should call my dad back..."]

[/caption]13. Change Your Voicemail Message - In the voicemail menu, click on the 'Greeting' button in the top left. You could leave the voicemail as the Default one with the robotic women voice, or you can make your own by hitting custom. Please make your own, but don't make it too cutesy.

14. Adding and Changing Things - This is one of the most important beginner tips that I can impart on you. If you are in an app and see a “+”, click on it to add things. For example, the “+” in the favorites area lets you add favorites. Also look for an “i” within apps. The “i” is your key to modifying a slew of apps. Just look for the “i” and click on it.

15. Mail - Mail is fairly important to some, so you should learn how to do it right. One word of warning... if you use your cable providers e-mail service you should stop this very second and move to gmail. In fact, if you have anything that isn’t gmail, now is the time to make the switch... it’ll make your life so much simpler. When you first hit the mail icon, just click on gmail (assuming you took my brilliant advice) and fill in the necessary info. Wallah! You now have a functional mail account.

16. Add a Second Email Account (I know you have more than one)- Adding the second email account isn’t hard to do, you just have to know where to look. on the home screen, hit the ‘Settings’ button, then ‘Mail, Contacts, Calendars’, and then the ‘Add Account’ button. From there you just add your next gmail account (don’t fight it... just get a gmail account).

17. Texting - Now that you are past the whole phone calling thing, you can move onto texting... the true 21st century way to communicate. First, click on the ‘Messages’ app . You should see a blank screen, with maybe one message from your phone provider telling you how happy they are to be charging you astronomical prices for sending a tiny message. Click on the square button in the top right and you’ll be well on your way to texting like a pro.

18. Can’t Spell? Who Cares! - Predictive text on the iPhone is amazing... so amazing in fact that I’ve unlearned 25 years of spelling knowledge in the past 2 years. Just keep on typing and the iDevice will figure out what you actually meant to say.

19. Type Numbers and Symbols - Right off the bat, all you will see on the texting keyboard is letters, but if you click on the button that says “_123”, you’ll get all sorts of goodies.

20. Sending Picture Messages - The iPhone just recently joined the MMS (multimedia messaging service) party, so this comes with some excitement. Inside of the ‘Messages’ app, there is a little camera icon on the left side. From there you can either take a new photo or choose an existing photo... it’s up to you! Boy do I like options.

[caption id="attachment_23860" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Toe or thumb? You decide."]

[/caption]21. Take Pictures - Assuming that you have an iPhone, you have the ability to take pictures... and you don’t have to be sending a text to use it!. Go to the home screen (remember, click on the home button) and click on the ‘Camera’ app. Point and click goodness. If you want to see the pictures you’ve taken, click on the little square in the bottom left. Flick through the photos to by sliding your finger.

22. Crush The Pictures Like A Bug! - If you just hate the picture, don’t fret. All you have to do is tap on it and click on the thing that looks like a trash can.

23. Send The Pictures Away - On the bottom left of the picture screen, there is a little square with an arrow in it. Click on it and you’ll get a bunch of options... all of which have pretty obvious functions.

I’m certainly not done yet, but I’ll let you soak this info up before we go any further. Don’t get frustrated with the thing, it’ll all come to you with a bit of practice. One word of advice... when you are typing, be sure to tap lightly and pick your finger all the way off of the screen to get an accurate hit. Heavy fingers and lazy finger drags will only make things difficult.

Be sure to check back real soon for my next segment about the settings menu, included apps, the iPod function, and the App Store... it’ll blow your mind.