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50 iPhone 5 tips and tricks

Apps and Games

26. Download AppShopper for bargains
One of the best ways to track price drops and popular new apps is AppShopper. It’s an App Store tracker app that monitors activity and displays it in a much more dynamic way than the App Store itself. You can look for apps that have recently dropped in price, look at the brand-new apps that are attracting attention and setup a list of favourites, tracking when they go down in price.

25. Auto downloads
iOS 6 lets you leave it to automatically download apps you already own to a new phone. It’s handy if you upgrade your iPhone every year, you lucky thing. You’ll find this option in the iTunes & App Stores menu of Settings. Here you’ll see auto download sliders for apps, books and music.

24. How to delete apps
An easy essential, this one. To delete apps on your iPhone 5, simply hold a finger down on an app icon until it starts to jiggle. This will also make a little red icon appear at the corner of your apps. Tap the red icon to delete the app.

23. Essential apps
There are hundreds of thousands of iPhone apps available on the App Store, and if you’re an iPhone veteran you’ll already have a bunch of favourites that you rely on daily. Some of our top recommendations include note-taking app Evernote, pretty newsreader Flipboard, Facebook, Twitter, BBC iPlayer, eBay and YouTube. Let us know your favourites in the comments.

22. Best free games
There are thousands and thousands of free games on the App Store, and many of them are downright awful. Freebies worth checking out include Hill Climb Racing, Real Racing 3, the original Angry Birds, Tap Defense, JellyCar, Jetpack Joyride, TapTap Revenge Tour, Triple Town, Dropship and Drop7.


21. Private browsing
Like your desktop browser, the iPhone 5’s Safari browser can be set to Private Browsing mode, which won’t save any of the places you’ve visited for other people to check up on. You’ll find the Private Browsing switch in the Safari sub-menu within Settings.

20. Select Your Search Engine
From this Safari sub-menu you can also select the search engine the iPhone 5 will use for its Internet searches. Your choices are Google, Yahoo! and Bing. We honestly can’t think of a reason why anyone would pick anything but Google, though, short of an irrational hatred for the big G.

19. How to save web images to the gallery
Another neat half-hidden feature of the iPhone 5 Safari browser is that you can save images easily from within the browser. Just hold a finger down on an image until a menu pops-up. One of the options in the menu is “save image”, which will save the pic to your phone’s gallery.

18. Install a data monitor if you have a mobile data limit
Unlike the latest version of Android, iOS does not currently offer a particularly good way to track how much mobile data you have used. There’s just a global data counter within the Usage part of the iPhone 5’s Settings menu. There are apps that will do this for you, though, and let you know when you’re approaching your data limit. One to try is the freebie Data Monitor.

17. Saving pages for offline reading
If you want to save some of your data allowance, you can save pages for offline reading in the iPhone 5’s Reading List. To do this, just press down on a page until a menu pops-up. In this menu, one of the options will be “Add to Reading List”. You can access you Reading List by tapping the book icon in the Safari nav bar. Reading List will be the top option.

Battery Life

16. Turn off mobile data
The best way to conserve battery is to turn off mobile data. 3G is one of the most serious battery leeches in the mobile world. Of course, turning off data will also mean you can’t browse the web unless you’re in a Wi-Fi zone, so it has its disadvantages.

15. Turn off… Everything else
If your battery is low, turning of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will help eke out those extra few minutes before conking out. The other big contributor to battery life zapping is the screen’s backlight. You’ll find the wireless connectivity switched in the Settings menu, and the screen brightness slider in the Brightness & Wallpaper section within Settings.

Security and Money-saving

14. Increase security with a passcode
The most basic security measure to make with an iPhone 5 is to add a passcode to the lock screen, making any users input a four-number code once the phone has become locked. To setup a password, you need to go to the General section of the Settings menu and select the Passcode Lock menu item. Here you can choose your four-number code and select how often you want the passcode to be required – from every time the phone goes into standby to once every four hours.

13. Turn off Roaming
Although EU leglislation has limited how much carriers can charge for data while you’re abroad in Europe, you’ll still pay a pretty penny to check your emails. And don’t even think about trying to stream video. Head out of the EU and you’ll pay crazy rates to boot. You’re best off turning off roaming altogether, and relying on Wi-Fi while you’re abroad. You’ll find the Data Roaming switch down the bottom of the Settings > General > Mobile Data menu.

12. Find My iPhone
Apple’s ultimate weapon against iPhone theft is Find My Phone. This is something you’re asked if you want to enable when you first start-up your iPhone. Should your iPhone be stolen, it allows you to track the device on a web browser using the iPhone 5’s GPS transmitter. It’s dead clever. Unlike many iPhone core features, it has a separate Fine My iPhone app, available from the App Store. You’ll need a MobileMe account to get it working, though.

Video and Music

11. How to add files to apps
Many apps have their own stores of “associated” files. For example, a third-party video player might have a stash of videos, or an ebook reader a stash of ebooks. These are added to the apps as documents, sync’d over iTunes. You don’t add them to your iTunes library, though, but within the iTunes sync menu when your iPhone is plugged into your computer.

10. Third-party apps will stop you needing to transcode videos
Some of the most useful third-party apps that use these documents are video players. The iPhone 5 can’t play many different video formats off-the-bat, but with a media player solution, the phone can play all sorts including MKVs, without needing to convert them to an iPhone-friendly type.

9. How to transcode videos to iPhone format
If you want to watch downloaded videos using the native video player, you’ll most likely have to start transcoding files. Bits of software that can do this include Handbrake and Visual Hub. However, transcoding is a laborious process, so we recommend downloading a decent third-party video player if you have a big library of downloaded videos.


8. Location-based reminders
Siri is the iPhone 5’s voice assistant. She takes an audio file of what you say over to Apple’s servers, which then decipher it and do their best to help with whatever you’re after. You can ask Siri to make Location-based reminders, which will pipe up when the iPhone 5’s GPS tracker has calculated that you’re in a certain place. To turn on Siri, check out the Siri sub-menu in Settings > General. To access Siri once enabled, you just need to hold down on the Home button.

7. You can Tweet through Siri
As well as grabbing you information from the web, Siri can write tweets for you. However, we strongly recommend checking what she’s made of your words before posting, especially if you have an accent that she might stumble over.


6. There are accessories to expand your storage
iPhones do not let you plug in memory cards to increase the phone’s storage. It’s not something Apple has ever allowed. However, there are Wi-Fi-based solutions that can give you more room to play with fairly effectively. The last we looked at was the Kingston WiDrive. Devices like these are Wi-Fi transmitters that connect directly to the iPhone, through the medium of an app. They either have their own internal storage or offer a card slot. Files on these data drives can then be imported using the iPhone.

5. What is iCloud and how to use it
iCloud is Apple’s own cloud storage service. It doesn’t get all that much attention, but it’s a massively important part of the Apple infrastructure. By default, it’s used to back-up most of the data on your phone, including photos, contacts, emails and calendar entries. Apple gives you 5GB of storage for free, and should you need more you can pay a little extra for more. You’ll find iCloud info and storage options in Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.

4. iTunes Match
A more immediately exciting use of Apple’s cloud services is seen in iTunes Match. This is a service that you pay £21.99 a year for, and it lets you stream your entire music collection from the cloud to your phone, freeing-up any internal storage you might otherwise have had to expend on music. You have to “sync” your music library with iTunes Match, and can have up to 25,000 songs.

Camera and Photography

3. Turn on HDR
For casual photographers, there’s little reason not to use the HDR mode of the iPhone 5’s camera app. HDR stands for high dynamic range, and is a mode that melds two different exposures in a single photo to create the most detail-filled shot possible. The iPhone 5 automatically captures a non-HDR shot with each HDR one too. What’s the downside? HDR mode is significantly slower than standard shooting, to make time for the processing of the HDR shot.

2. Use the volume key as a shutter button
Apple lets you use the iPhone 5’s “volume up” button to take photos, as well as the touchscreen. This button is in a near-perfect position to take on the role as a shutter button. This even works when using a three-button remote control, including Bluetooth headsets. So you can effectively use a wireless headset as a remote shutter control. How cool is that?

1. Get a quick look at the photo you just took
For the first good old while using an iPhone 5, we always used to tap the Gallery shortcut at the bottom of the camera app’s screen to look at photos. However, it turns out this is completely unnecessary. Just swipe left-to-right from the camera preview screen and you’ll instantly be taken to the camera roll, which shows you your photos, starting with the most recently-taken one.

And a few extra for good luck….

Top camera tips
The key to getting good basic shots is about focus and composition. Try and line-up the horizon with the edges of the screen to avoid wonky photos, or alternatively switch on the grid in the camera Options menu if you find this all a bit tricky. Getting photos in-focus is all about staying still, funnily enough. The iPhone 5 has a pretty quick focusing system thanks in part to its decent F/2.4 lens, but try your best to keep your hands still until the exposure has definitely finished to get the best shots.

Best camera apps
If the iPhone 5’s own camera app is just a bit too minimalist for your liking, there are oodles of third-party apps to try. One of the most popular is Camera , which adds a barrel-load of modes and feature, and lets you pick separate focusing and exposure points. Pro Camera gives you the control options that the basic camera app lacks, including ISO, software anti-shake and oodles of filters.

Have your own favourite iPhone tricks? Let us know yours in the comments.

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