16 tips to take your iphone to the next level

The iPhone has been around for nearly four years. And in that time, millions of people have bought and used iPhones, swiping and tapping their way through life. Most of those people believe they know how the iPhone works.

But dig a little deeper into the iPhone’s latest operating system, iOS 4.3 – available for the iPhone 3GS and the AT & T iPhone 4 – and there’s another layer to master. (Sorry, Android users, but that OS has so many versions and skins that a quick guide would be neither very quick nor much of a guide.) Beyond the realm of those basic iPhone controls is an advanced level of shortcuts and tweaks, some of which even hard-core users may not know exist.

DOUBLE-TAP Even while your iPhone is locked, you can access the audio controls by double-tapping on the home button when the lock screen appears. This saves you the time it takes to unlock your phone, open a music-playing app like iPod and get to the volume and track controls. This feature is not limited to Apple’s iPod app. If you are using Pandora, for example, the same technique will bring up its controls.

VOICE ACCESS If you press and hold the home button while the phone is locked, you can still access Voice Control to place a phone call (or FaceTime call) or get to any of the iPhone’s other voice commands.

TELL TIME Voice control can dial phone numbers (“dial 212-555-1212”) or people (“Dial Mom, mobile”), and it can control music (“Play music,” “Play artist Earth, Wind & Fire,” Play album “That’s the Way of the World,” “Play more songs like this,” “Shuffle,” etc).

But did you know that it can also tell you what time it is? Say “What time is it?” and your phone will say the time back to you. It may sound silly, but it comes in handy if you are rushing and do not have the time or inclination to pull out your phone. (And

who wears watches anymore?)

SHORTCUT TO SEARCH Swiping to the right from your first home screen pulls up the search window, where you can pull up any contacts, apps, e-mails, calendar appointments and media that have the word you are seeking.

But the search screen is also a shortcut to Google and Wikipedia. The last two search results for any entry are always “Search the Web” and “Search Wikipedia,” saving you the time it takes to open browsers or apps.

FORCE-QUIT APPS Double-tapping the home button while your phone is unlocked reveals a panel of most recently used apps. Swiping to the left moves through the apps in reverse chronological order to aid in quick app switching. This is advanced-beginner stuff.

But serious iPhone ninjas know that pressing and holding an app icon in this panel will cause minus signs to appear beside each app. Touching an app in this state forces it to shut down, a useful move if you have an app that is running in the background and causing trouble.

MUSIC SHORTCUTS Swipe that same previously used app screen to the right and you get another shortcut to music-playing controls. If you have the latest operating system, iOS 4.3, you will also see a button that will call up controls for AirPlay, Apple’s wireless audio feature.

It is here that you also gain access to the screen rotation lock button, so you can turn on or off the iPhone’s ability to switch from portrait to landscape mode. Swipe once more to the right from this screen and the iPhone’s volume control appears.

VOLUME LOCK If you want to limit the iPhone’s volume (because it is being used by your children, for example), you can go into Settings, then iPod.

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16 tips to take your iphone to the next level