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50 iPhone 5 tips and tricks


The iPhone 5 is one of the big daddies of the smartphone market. And part of the reason it’s so popular is that it is so easy to use. However, there are more features than most people know of tucked away in its little aluminium body. We’ve scraped away at the iPhone’s surface to find the top tricks and tips for this top phone.

iPhone 5 Tips and Tricks Video

Don’t fancy trawling through text? We’ve made a quick video that details a handful of the most important iPhone 5 tips.


50. A case is a good idea this time around
Apple completely changed the hardware design of the iPhone series with the iPhone 5. Where previous generations were made of glass and steel, most of the iPhone 5 is aluminium.

The positive effect of this is that the phone is very light and less prone to smashing. However, it is also much less scratch-resistant. Aluminium is a much less hard metal than steel, so the iPhone 5 will take much more of a beating in a pocket full of change than an iPhone 4S. Therefore, using some form of case is a very good idea.

49. The black/slate edition shows off damage more
The iPhone 5 comes in two shades, a white/silver one and the black/slate one. Although it looks nifty when in pristine condition, the slate rear of the black edition is particularly prone to damage. It’s not that it’s any weaker, but scratches on the stained metal rear expose the shiny aluminium underneath. You have to be doubly careful with a black edition.


48. You can tweet a photo directly from the camera roll
In the last few updates to the iOS system, Apple has upped social networking integration. You can now send a photo directly to Facebook or Twitter from the camera app’s gallery. Simply press the arrow button when viewing a photo and the Share menu will pop up, which includes Facebook and Twitter shortcuts. You’ll naturally need to have those accounts linked to your phone, though, by installing the respective social client apps.

47. Social apps can expand your address book

The Facebook and Twitter iPhone apps can be used to add information to your iPhone 5’s contacts book. They’ll add new contacts, use photos from people’s profiles and add extra information you may have missed if you added them manually. To allow the phone to do this, you’ll have to enable the feature from within the iPhone’s Settings menu, rather than the apps themselves.

Both Facebook and Twitter have entries a way down the Settings menu. Facebook has a pair of flick-switches that let it send info to your Calendar and Contacts book, and Twitter has an Update contacts button.

46. Post a Tweet or status update from the Notification bar
Twitter and Facebook are pretty deeply integrated into the iPhone 5’s interface. There’s a tweet box in the drop-down notifications bar, accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen, alongside a “Tap to Post” Facebook bar. These are probably the quickest ways to post on your social networks while out and about. 

45. Best social clients

Most people use the standard, official Facebook and Twitter clients, but there are plenty of third-party apps – for Twitter in particular. Favourites include HootSuite, Tweetbot, Twitbird and Twitterific. Some are free, but many come with a small charge of a couple of quid.

Emails, SMS and calls

44. How to add an email attachment
A basic feature that isn’t made nearly clear enough by iOS is how to add attachments to emails in the stock email app. To do so, hold a finger down on the body of the email for a second, let go and a menu will pop up. Scroll right in this “select/paste” menu and you’ll be given the option to add a photo or video to your email. It’s not quite as flexible as the attachments you can add on a proper computer, but it’s something.

43. How to add a new email account

One thing that has foxed many a new iPhone owner is how to add a second email account – because you don’t do so from within the email app itself. Instead, you have to head to the iPhone 5’s main Settings menu. Flick down to the Mail, Contacts, Calendars entry, within which you’ll find an “Add Account” button. It offers easy connections for popular email providers like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail, among others.

42. You can set custom vibrate alerts
If you want to be able to differentiate between the different types of iPhone notification without using noisy ringtones, you can do so with custom vibrate alerts. There are seven preset vibration alerts in total, from the simple “Alert” to the more musical “Symphony”. Alternatively, you can program your own by tapping a Morse code-like pattern using the touchscreen.

You’ll find these options within the Sounds menu in Settings. Each type of alert can have a vibration and sound attached to it. You’ll find the vibration option at the top of each alert type’s submenu. This is a cool feature that hardly anyone seems to use.


41. Quick top-of-page gesture
Often, you’ll need to get to the top of a page quickly. For example, to call someone from within the SMS app or to get to the address bar in the browser. To fire straight to the top in either part of iOS, just tap right up at the top of the screen, by the clock. This is a real time-saver.

40. Multitasking
Here’s one most of you probably know about already. Double-tap the Home button to bring up the multi-tasking drawer. This houses all your recently-used apps and is the quickest way to switch between apps or games. It’s also the best way to close down apps that are mis-behaving. Exit the app, call up the multitasking menu then hold a finger down on that app’s entry until a red icon appears in its corner. Tap the red icon to close the app down.

39. Do Not Disturb mode
A godsend to those who feel their smartphone is starting to take over their life, Do Not Disturb mode is there to give you some blessed peace. It stops notifications from getting through at certain times of the day, which is especially useful if you like the odd afternoon nap. You can set Do Not Disturb to let certain contacts through at all times, though. You’ll find the mode in the main Settings menu – tap on the Notifications entry below the Do Not Disturb switch to set the parameters of the mode.

38. Taking a screenshot
Simple but brilliant, you can take a snap of what’s on your iPhone 5’s screen at any time. Just press the power button up top and the Home button at the same time. The image will then be saved to the phone’s camera gallery.

37. You don’t need to sync to update anymore
With iOS 6, Apple removed the need to hook up to a computer to download software updated. You can now do it directly from the phone. To do so, go to the General sub-menu within Settings. Here you’ll find the Software update button, which will tell you whether there’s an update ready to download.

36. How to hard reset your iPhone
Contrary to what some people say, iPhone 5s do crash from time to time. And sometimes they crash hard. The easiest fix for a frozen phone is a hard reset, which forces the whole system to start afresh. To do this, press down the top power button and Home button at the same time for several seconds. You will see the screen go black, then the Apple logo should appear showing that the system is starting up again.

35. How to factory reset your iPhone
The other kind of reset is much more dangerous. A factory reset erases all your apps, removes any accounts linked to the phone, making it more-or-less as it was fresh out of the box. This is the reset to do if you choose to sell your iPhone 5, or if it keeps on playing up and other solutions do nothing to help. To perform a factory reset, go to the General sub-menu in Settings and scroll all the way down to the Reset option. Within this menu you’ll find several types of reset. The factory one is “Erase All Content and Settings.”

34. Changing your background and lock screen image
One of the few ways to stamp your personality onto your iPhone 5 is to change the background and lock screen image. You can change these within Brightness & Wallpaper within Settings. Alternatively, select the image you want from within the Photo app, hit the arrow Share button and select Use as Wallpaper. You’re then given the option to use as either lock or home background, or both.

Maps and Navigation

33. Don’t use Apple Maps, use Google Maps
Apple Maps is not good. Apple ditched Google Maps as its mapping partner with the introduction of iOS 6 in September 2012, and it is seen as one of Apple’s biggest blunders in years. Full of hokey and out-of-date information, it’s much worse than the Google Maps solution it replaced. It’s so bad that Apple CEO Tim Cook made a public apology for the software. However, now you can download an app version of Google Maps, which is much, much better. So use that.

32.  If you’re going abroad, download an offline map before you leave home
GPS is free to use abroad, but the data you’ll need to download mapping information while you’re out and about generally is not. To avoid having to pay extortionate roaming charges, download an offline map app of the city you’re heading to. You’ll find such apps for just about any major European city on the App Store. They won’t be as good as Google Maps, but will do the job.

31. How to enter Street View in the Google Maps app
The Google Maps app makes is surprisingly tricky to use the Street View function, which gives you a first-person view of what a place looks like. To use it, search for a location within Google Maps or hold a finger down on a road to bring up its address. This will make a pop-up location menu appear at the bottom of the screen. Drag this up to see more information about the location. If there’s Street View info for the location, there’ll also be a Street View button here.


30. Entering Engineering mode
The iPhone 5 massages its signal bar, to make its reception look better than it really is. Want to know what your reception actually is? You need to use the Engineering mode.  Type *3001#12345#* into the dialler and hit the call button and you’ll enter Field Test mode. This changes the bar-based signal indicator to a “proper” numerical figure. There are also menus to tell you all sorts of other signal information, but most – including us – will be hopelessly lost here.

29. How to Jailbreak your iPhone
In early February 2013, a comprehensive jailbreak for iPhones was released. It’s a program that’ll hack virtually any iOS device running iOS version 6.0-6.1.2. We’ve not tried it yet, but we’re informed it’s dead easy to do and relatively issue-free. To download the jailbreak, check out the evasi0n website. Evasi0n is the team of hackers that made the software.  

28. Best Jailbreaking applications
One of the main reasons to jailbreak your phone is to install the Cydia app store, which gives you access to loads of apps that would never make it onto the App Store proper. These include apps that can make big changes to the way your phone works – the jailbreak gives apps much greater access to the iOS system’s roots. You’re given much greater control over how your phone looks and feels, and can install things like game emulators – which wouldn’t be allowed (in their pure form) on the App Store.

27. How to fix the “sticky Home button” problem
One of the most common problems with ageing iPhones is that their Home buttons start to play up. It’s unlikely that many iPhone 5s have started to suffer from this issue, but give it time and the Home button arthritis will probably kick in. If youe Home button starts becoming unresponsive, there are a few solutions. The most drastic is surgery. You can buy iPhone Home button replacement kits online (iPhone 5 ones don’t seem to be available yet), or you can try the software fix.

Start up any pre-installed app (as in an app that’s there fresh out of the box). Then press the power button until the power-off prompt appears. Next, press and hold the Home button to leave the app. This will recalibrate the Home button. Of course, it’ll only solve the issue if it’s a problem of software rather than hardware.  

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