Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ten iPhone shortcuts you never knew existed

Ten iPhone shortcuts you never knew existed

Jan 01, 2010
The Straits Times

SLEEK and beautiful, the iPhone is so different from the other smartphones.

You succumbed and bought one. How not to with all the goodies like attractive trade-ins and loads of mobile data bundled with the price plans?

Competition among the three telcos is getting keener in the iPhone market now that StarHub and M1 have broken SingTel's exclusive iPhone tie-up.

Now that this sexy device is in your hand, what can you do with it?

To get you up to speed, Digital Life's three-part iPhone Central series gives insider tricks on how to get the most out of your phone.

This instalment reveals 10 hidden shortcuts that even seasoned iPhone users may not know about.

They are some of the obscure shortcuts that are not stated in the manual. In geek-speak, they are called Easter eggs.

Break your iPhone Easter egg and shock veteran iPhone users with your expertise.

Tip #1 - Screenshots

Yes, you can do screen captures of whatever is on the screen. Press and hold the Sleep button while tapping the Home button. The picture will be added to your camera roll.

I use it to capture the end-of-match table on Eliminate Pro (an iPhone FPS game) when I managed to out-frag high-ranking opponents.

Tip #2 - iPod wake-up magic

Turn on your music the instant you wake the screen.

Press the Home button to wake the screen. Then double-click the Home button to bring up a set of mini-iPod controls.

What music you were last listening to comes up. Click on play to continue with the music.

This shortcut works even if you have already configured the Home button double-click to do something else.

Tip #3 - No video, please

The same iPod trick can be used to listen to just the audio track of a selected video.

I normally use it for video podcasts like Rocketboom. Start by playing the video, then pressing the Home button.

This will turn off the screen and the video. Now press the Home button once, followed by a Home button double-click.

Tip #4 - Ssssshhh

If your iPhone rings at the wrong moment, mute it quickly by either pressing the Home or Volume button.

Tip #5 Precision zooming

I love pinching and unpinching to zoom in and out of pictures. If you just cannot get your thumb and index finger to work together, try holding down your thumb on the screen while swiping your index finger back and forth.

Tip #6 - Steady on there

One thing I hate about the iPhone is the camera and how difficult it is to keep the phone stable while tapping on the shutter button to take a picture. Remedy your shaky trigger finger by pressing and holding down the shutter button before framing the shot. When you are good and ready, let go of the button to shoot.

Tip #7 - Educating the dictionary

To add a new word, just type it when you compose a message and it will be saved.

Tip #8 - Speedy scrolling

Skip the hassle of swiping your way to the top of an application. Some apps like Safari, Messages and Contacts return you to the top of the page when the time display is pressed.

Tip #9 - Hold it there

Surprises are aplenty on the iPhone's keyboard. Press and hold down the '.com' button and you will see options like '.org', '.edu' and even '.co.uk' (I have a complaint for Apple: there is no .sg in the list). This also works on individual letters like 'A' which will display accent options (á, â, ã, å, æ, ä).

Tip #10 - Punctuate faster

The old-fashioned three-step way to punctuate is to press the '@123' key, select a punctuation symbol and press the 'ABC' button to return to the Qwerty keyboard.

Speed it up by holding down the '@123' button and sliding your finger to the required symbol, then releasing it. The Qwerty keyboard will now reappear. That is just a one button press.

By Edvarcl Heng, an iPhone addict who writes to support his ravenous iTunes app store account

This story was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life.

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