iPhone 5 tips and tricks

User guides Marin Perez 13:04, Aug 01 2013

Best tips and tricks to get the most out of your iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 is just as intuitive as every iPhone that came before it, but we offer some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the device. Whether you're a first time iPhone user or a seasoned veteran, we've made sure to include a little something for everyone. By the end of this guide, you should be a little more savvy than all your other iPhone 5-toting friends!

But first, let's take a look at what the whole fuss about the iPhone 5 has been. It's the first iPhone with a screen that's larger than 3.5 inches and it's the first Apple smartphone with 4G LTE. It also comes with iOS 6 and a variety of boosted hardware improvements.

In our full iPhone 5 review, we said:

"The iPhone 5, for all that it can do in such a thin and lightweight package is truly a feat of engineering. I've heard my fair share of complaints about the device, but I feel like it's coming from a place of either unrealistic expectations or people’s inability to realize what they're holding in their hands. Does that sound harsh? Maybe. But is the iPhone 5 really that good? Definitely."

How to download and update apps on the iPhone 5

Open the App Store and feel free to poke around for apps you might like. Don't see what you're looking for? Try the search tab indicated by the magnifying glass. If you see a red badge on the update section or on the app icon from one of your home screens, it means an app needs your attention. You can update apps one at a time, or simply hit "Update All" and let your phone do the rest.

If you've hit the "Update All" button and want to manage which apps download first, simply tap the app you want to pause and the other apps will download first. To resume your download, tap that app again.

How to quickly silence your phone

This tip is kind of one of those "no duh" things but it can be a revelation if you didn't know it. To quickly silence and mute your phone, just slide the switch above the volume rocker to the point where you can see red. Once that's there, your phone will be on silent and this will even let you cancel the shutter sounds within the camera app.

How to launch Control Center with iOS 7

The iPhone 5 will soon be getting iOS 7 and one of the cool new features is called Control Center. This gives you quick access to things like your Wi-Fi, Airplane Mode and more. To launch Control Center with iOS 7, just swipe up from the bottom of the screen from any screen. This will work in any app or screen.

How to easily customize your home screen with apps

One of the minor annoyances on the iPhone is having to constantly move apps to get them on to your main home screen. With this little trick, I'll teach you to fastest way to do that. 

The normal process is to drop apps into the dock, swipe over to the home screen and then move the app from the dock to the home screen. Tedious, I know. But you can save a lot of time by creating a folder of the apps you want first, then putting that in the dock and then moving that folder to the home screen. 

You're welcome!

How to create app folders

It's great that the iPhone 5 has so many apps you can add to it but it can be a pain to organize once you've downloaded a ton. Luckily, the iPhone 5 makes it very simple to organize your apps into folders.

To create folders for your apps on the iPhone 5, simply long-press on an app and then drag it onto another app. You'll then dive into the folder and you can rename it by tapping where the letters are. You can add up to nine apps into a single folder and with iOS 7, you'll be able to add an unlimited number of apps.

How to create a new ringtone on the iPhone 5 using GarageBand on Mac

GarageBand 11 on Mac allows you to make new ringtones to install on your iPhone and share with friends. Whether you're superstar rocker or you just like to play around with sound, here's how to make a ringtone and use it on your iPhone 5.

Please note: You will need to be using a Mac to create a ringtone this way. You can download GarageBand from the App Store for

  1. From GarageBand, choose File, then new. Now select iPhone ringtone.
  2. Double click the iPhone rington template you wish to use and in the New Project From Template pop up, type a name for your soon-to-be masterpiece.
  3. You can set the tempo, key, and time signature for the project here if you like, otherwise you can do it later. Now, tap Create to open the workspace.
  4. You can add an audio file from your desktop, add an Apple Loop from the preinstalled collection or record your own music if you're an experienced GarageBand music maker.
  5. When you've made your ringtone and are happy with the sound, click the Cycle button in the control bar, drag the ends of the yellow bars to their correct position (ie., the part you want to use for the ringtone) and choose share > Send ringtone to iTunes and iTunes will open, allowing you to sync your iPhone 5 with the software to get it on your iPhone 5.
  6. You can produce a ringtone that lasts for up to 40 seconds.

How to get more out of Siri

The Siri voice assistant is one of the best things about the iPhone 5 but you can get a lot more out of it with a few simple tweaks. First off, when you launch Siri, just tap on that little "i" button to see the full scope of what Siri can do for you. 

Another way to maximize Siri is to tell it who your contacts are. Input your commonly contacted people as your "wife," "mom" or whatever else and Siri will be able to connect that with someone in your lists. 

If you set your location, this will allow Siri to include geo-fenced reminders. For example, if you tell Siri that you need to pick up eggs as you leave work, it will know the location of your job and it will let you know once you've left that area.

Opening and closing apps on the iPhone 5

It seems simple enough, but I'm baffled by how many people don't know how to close apps out of the system tray. You'll need to do this every now and then if an app is acting funny or crashing. To open an app, just tap on it. To close an app out of the tray, go to your home screen, double tap the home button and all of your most recently used apps will pop up. Press and hold any one of the apps until they start wiggling and you can hit the red badges on the apps you want to close.

How to activate Siri

This may seem like a no-brainer but it's not always clear how simple it is to launch the voice-dictated personal assistant called Siri. To launch Siri, simply hold down your Home button for about two seconds and then the icon should appear at the bottom. You can then speak into your phone to do things like set an alarm, check the weather and more. 

How to lock and unlock screen orientation on the iPhone 5

If you want the screen to stay in portrait mode while you're lying down in bed or on the grass at a picnic, simply double tap your home button to bring up the system tray. Swipe the tray to the left and you'll see the orientation lock at the far left. Simply tap it to turn it on or off!

If you need a little help from Apple's digital assistant, simply press and hold the home button for a few seconds and you'll see Siri's microphone pop up. Tell her to set a calendar event for you or to set an alarm. You can even have Siri reserve tables at restaurants or give you movie times and reviews. If you're unsure what you can ask Siri, simply press the little "i" when the microphone pops up.

How to view your notifications, current weather and more on the iPhone 5

See that black bar up at the top of your screen? You can touch and drag that down to view your notifications and all kinds of other goodies. If you're in an app or game where the bar isn't visible, simply swipe down from the very top of your screen and you'll see a tab slide out. Pull that tab down and the notification pane will slide down.

How to find apps, contacts, emails and more with ease on the iPhone 5

When you're on the very first page of your home screen, simply swipe to the left and the iPhone 5's universal search bar will appear. Start typing in what you're looking for and it should show up. The first few results will be apps or content that are on your phone and if there's nothing related on your device, it will do a Web search. 

How to shoot photos with your camera, then do a little more with it on the iPhone 5

Open up the camera app by tapping on the camera icon, then simply press the shutter button or the iPhone 5's volume up key to snap photos! Looking for a little more functionality? Press the Options button and you'll see toggle switches for Grid, HDR and a panorama button.

You can also turn flash on and off or set it to auto, or switch to the front-facing camera. The grid comes up to help you compost images and make sure your horizons are straight. HDR makes sure you get details in photos that have very bright and very dark areas in one scene.

The Panorama button will take you to a new feature in iOS 6 that allows you to take a sweeping photo of a very wide scene. Simply follow the instructions that pop up on the screen and you'll be able to capture larger photos. These can make for some great pictures that you print out.

How to set a passcode lock and protect your phone on the iPhone 5

Go into Settings, then click General and scroll down to Passcode Lock. Turn it on and select a code that's easy to remember.

It can be a pain to have to constantly enter a password on your phone, even if only takes a few seconds. Our phones tend to have social networks, email, photos and other sensitive items that we want to keep from prying eyes, so be sure to lock your device. 

If you don't want to have to pump in your password every time you unlock your phone, you can set the auto-lock time. Go into Generate, go to Auto-Lock and then set how long you want until your phone asks for a passcode. 

How to refresh your email with a simple gesture on the iPhone 5

Addicted to email? If you don't have push email set up, you can simply go into your email inbox or list of inboxes and swipe the whole screen downward. This will force your iPhone 5 to check for new messages.

How to take a screen shot on the iPhone 5

See something on your device that you want to share or keep as a photo? Take a screen shot! It's easy -- all you have to do is press the power button up top and your home button at the exact same time anywhere you are on the phone. Whether you're in an application, on the home screen, in a game or in the middle of a video, press those two buttons at the same time and a screen shot will be saved into your Photos app.

You can then go into your Gallery app to find your screen shot and you can share it via email, Twitter or Facebook.

How to dictate your messages and e-mails on the iPhone 5

Don't feel like typing? Let the iPhone 5 do the work. Whenever the keyboard pops up, tap the little microphone next to the space bar and start talking. Whenever you want to insert a period or question mark, simply say "period" or "question mark." You'll need a data connection for this to work, so if you're in a subway on a plane or in the middle of Antarctica, this may not work.

How to go full screen on the iPhone 5

To go into full screen mode in Safari, simply turn your phone to landscape mode (make sure screen orientation is unlocked) and you'll see the expansion arrows on the lower right-hand side. Tap the arrows and you're in full screen mode! To reverse it, tap the arrows again.

How to save a Web page to your home screen on the iPhone 5

When you're on the page you want to access quickly from your home screen, tap the arrow button on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen. A list of options will come up; select "Add to Home Screen." Now you'll have an icon on your home screen that will take you straight to that Web page. This is useful for Google Maps (simply go to maps.google.com in your browser) if you hate Apple Maps.

How to search for text within a Web page on the iPhone 5

Looking for a word or phrase in a Web page like Wikipedia or a news article? Simply type in the word or phrase you're looking for in the search bar on the upper right, and scroll down past the related search terms to see if the word or phrase appears on the page. It will also tell you how many times it appears on the page. Click on the word or phrase and it will shoot you to it on the Web page, highlighted in yellow. Click the forward or back arrows to cycle through the other sections of the Web page where the word or phrase appears.

How to save an article for offline reading, or read it as text only on the iPhone 5

See the URL bar on Safari? It's got that icon on it that says "Reader." Click that and you'll see a beautiful, text-only version of the article or page you're trying to read -- free of ads and photos.

Want to save that article for offline reading? Hit the arrow button at the bottom of the screen (in normal view) and you'll see a selection of options pop up. Click on "Add to Reading List" and now, when you click on your bookmarks icon, you'll find the article saved in the Reading List bar (the one with the eyeglasses icon).

How to save an image from the Web on the iPhone 5

Simply tap and hold on any image you see and tap "Save Image" when the option pops up. The image will be saved into your Photos app and you can view it in the Gallery.

How to search your inbox on the iPhone 5

Looking for a message? Once you get into your inbox of choice, simply pull down on the screen and a search bar will be unveiled. Can't find what you're looking for? You'll have the option of checking your email server if the iPhone 5 can't find it in its history.

How to batch edit/flag/delete messages on the iPhone 5

Click edit in your inbox and select messages you want to archive, delete or move to specific mail folders.

How set up VIP contacts on the iPhone 5

With iOS 6 on the iPhone 5, you can set up VIP contacts so that all your important messages are organized in one place. You can even set up notifications so that when your VIP contact messages you, you'll know right away that it's not just another junky email coming through. Click here and we'll show you how to set up VIP on your iPhone 5.

How to insert images into your email on the iPhone 5

You can either share directly from your Photos app, but what if you're composing an email and you decide you want to throw an image into the body? Simply go into your photos app, and in gallery view, click the edit button on the upper right. Select the image or images you want and click copy. Go back into your email, press and hold in the body where you want to insert the images, and select "paste."

How to quickly edit your drafts on the iPhone 5

If you press and hold the compose button in your mailbox, you'll be taken straight to your drafts where you can edit or send off messages that are ready to go.

Scrubbing music and video on the iPhone 5

Do you want to scrub through audio or video a little slower than the default mode? When you touch the progress bar on video or music to skip forward or back, press and hold the progress indicator and slide your finger downward and you'll have the option for half, quarter and fine scrub. This way you can move forward and back over just a few seconds instead of like 20 or 30 seconds at a time.

How to update your Twitter or Facebook status quickly on the iPhone 5

If you log into your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts in Settings (Go into Settings and scroll down for Twitter and Facebook), you can update your status from anywhere on the phone. Simply pull the notification center down by dragging the bar that shows you the time and your battery life, and you'll see two buttons for Twitter and Facebook. Simply tap either one and you're set!

How to add special characters in your messages and emails on the iPhone 5

Looking for a letter with an umlaut or something a little special? Simply press and hold a key on your keyboard and you'll see a bunch of special characters pop up. Slide your finger over to the one you want and you're done.

How to find your stolen iPhone 5

Install "Find my iPhone" from the App Store and make sure you're all set up on iCloud. A friend lost her iPhone at a party over the weekend and had "Find My iPhone" on her device, but wasn't set up over iCloud! You need both, folks, so head over to www.icloud.com and set up an account and do the same in your phone under Settings (in Mail, Calendars, Contacts).

How to set Do Not Disturb so that, well, you aren't disturbed on the iPhone 5

Go into your settings and turn on Do Not Disturb. You can set this feature to turn on and off at certain times of the day, and you can even let certain users get through to you while the feature is on. Or if someone calls you multiple times within a short time span, the call will get through as it's either an emergency or just a really drunk friend with a really great story to tell.

How to save battery life by managing Notifications on the iPhone 5

Go into your settings and you'll find Notifications just underneath Do Not Disturb. From there, you can manage the types of notifications you want to get from certain apps. Do you really need your screen to turn on and your device to notify you every time someone replies to a tweet on Twitter? Turn off the "View on lock screen" feature for apps that can wait. It'll save you a headache and battery life since your display won't be turning on every single time you get a notification from every app that supports push notifications.

How to tap to scroll to top on the iPhone 5

Ninety-nine percent of apps will let you get to the top of the screen right away simply by tapping the notification bar. That's right. Just tap the time or anywhere on that top bar and you'll scroll right up to the top. It's especially useful in apps like Safari, Twitter and Facebook where stuff is updated all the time, or there are menus and features at the top of a page. Mega handy.

How to share contacts and locations on the iPhone 5

Did you know that you can share addresses and contacts with your friends via Messages? Go into a contact or an address from Maps and look for the "Share Contact" or "Share Location" buttons. Tap the buttons and you'll get an option to share via Messages or through email.

Seems easy enough, but when I shared a contact this way with a friend who was pretty mobile savvy, he asked me if I was a wizard! The beauty is that if you're sharing with other iPhone users, they can quickly add the contact to their address book with the touch of a button. As our editor Marin Perez would say, "Neato burrito."

How to add emoticons or "Emoji" to your text on the iPhone 5

Typing in a colon and parentheses is a decent way of letting someone know you're smiling, or thinking of smiling, or that you aren't sending a nasty message. But you can take it to a whole new level by adding in a few pints of beer and an eerily smiling cat. Simply go into Settings>General>Keyboard>Keyboards>Add new keyboard>Emoji. When you go into Messages or anywhere else the keyboard pops up. Tap the little globe next to the space bar and you'll see all of these glorious icons you can send to other iOS users.

How to show battery life as a percentage on iPhone 5

To enable the iPhone 5's battery life percentage reading, follow the steps below. If you're like me, it will change the way you use your smartphone.

  1. Navigate to Settings
  2. Tap on General, then Usage
  3. Swipe down to the Battery Usage section and turn the Battery Percentage switch to "On."
  4. That's it! Battery life will now show as a percentage!

How to mute your iPhone 5

Beyond shutting down your phone completely, here are a few options for keeping your phone silenced. It could be the difference between being "that weirdo" and being a polite phone user out in public.

To mute or silence your iPhone 5, follow on below.

    1. From the home screen select Settings.
    2. After selecting it, tap General.
    3. Next, tap Sounds. This take you to a sound menu.
    4. Here you can completely shut off the ringer and notifications. You can also turn off vibrate.

To silence your iPhone 5 with an even easier method, follow our second small guide.

  1. Wake your iPhone 5.
  2. Flip the switch on the left.
  3. Your iPhone ringer will now be turned off.
  4. Depending on your setting, though, this method may switch your iPhone to vibrate only mode.

The third is the Do Not Disturb method. Here it is below.

  1. From the iPhone 5 home screen, select Settings.
  2. From the Settings screen, scroll down and turn on the "Do Not Disturb" switch. This will stop all notifications and calls until you flip the switch to off.
  3. To set a "Do Not Disturb" schedule, select Notifications inside the Settings screen.
  4. Here you can set specific "Do Not Disturb" times and even configure your iPhone 5 so it allows calls from certain people.
  5. That's it! It's that easy!

Anyway, if you want a smartphone, the iPhone 5 may be a good choice. It's easy to use and has lots of great features.

Sponsored Links