If you have an iPhone, then chances are you use it for more than just the Phone application. In fact, the iPhone is capable of so much that we as individuals don't even know about every single feature it can do. In this piece, we hope to help spread the word about some not-so-obvious features of iOS and the iPhone. So read on!
1. SMS Character Count
Length of text messages doesnít matter to everyone, but to some, keeping messages just the right length is important. iOS includes a feature for showing you how many characters are in your text message Ė each message will hold 160 characters before it is split into multiple messages. Itís not enabled by default and you have to do some scavenging through Settings to find it. You will find it in the Messages preferences pane at the bottom of the list and enabling the switch will enable the feature in the Messages application, but not in third party text messaging platforms.
2. Swipe Left On Banners to Dismiss Them
Although the main point of iOS 5ís banner notification system was to keep you from being disturbed by alerts that would pause your video game or get in the way of finishing your text message, the banners can still cause problems when youíre in the middle of something as they sit there for a good three seconds. In a racing game, a lot can be accomplished in three seconds. If you want to get the banner out of your face while you are busy, you can manually dismiss it by swiping left on the banner when it appears. A nice dismissing animation will appear as the banner goes away.
3. Show Hourly Weather Forecasts
Seeing weather predictions by the day isnít very accurate. If it says itís going to rain, you might not even see the showers until far after 10:00 P.M., which means youíre in question of the weather all day long. Introduced in iOS 5, you can pull down on the current day from the Weather application and see an hourly forecast of the weather for the day. With this feature, you will know when the best time to go boating, fishing, or surfing will be. As a bonus, it even shows you the rain chances.
4. Enable the Famous Emoji Keyboard
If you were about to purchase that Emoji application from the App Store, donít! You can enable the Emoji keyboard right from your keyboard settings in iOS 5. You will find it mixed in with all of the rest of the foreign keyboards. Itís odd that Apple doesnít enable this keyboard by default, but a lot of App developers seem to take advantage of this in the App Store. To enable the Emoji keyboard, open the Settings application and navigate to General>Keyboard>International Keyboards>Add New Keyboard>Emoji. Now when you open the keyboard, you will find all your Emojis under the international key.
5. Make the Siri Voice Speak A Text Selection
The voice that powers Siri, better known as the Samantha voice, can be used to speak any text that is shown on your display. If you are hard at seeing, or if you just want to lay your iPhone on a table around a ton of people and have the iPhone speak a bunch of hilarious text, then you can use iOSí built in speak selected text feature. To use it, you have to highlight any text on your screen, and then tap the Speak button that pops up. It can be text that you typed in Notes, or it can be text from the Internet Ė any text that isnít an image. You can enable this feature from the Settings application by navigating to General>Accessibility>Speak Selection and turning the feature on with the switch.
6. Force Quit Any Application
Sometimes applications donít cooperate well. If you need to close one but the device ends up frozen because of it, iOS has a built in force-quit feature similar to that of Mac OS X that will run a command and close the application. To run the force quit feature while in a troublesome application, hold down the power button until the Ďslide to power offí slider appears Ė once you do this, you can hold the home button down and the application will close. Now you can either try re-running the application or deleting it!
7. Correct A Siri Query
If you have a Siri enabled iOS device and Siri doesnít always hear you correctly, there is no reason to repeat yourself. You can simply tap on any query that you make and a cursor and keyboard will appear allowing you to edit the query the way you meant it to be understood by that wonderful assistant. This feature is wonderfully helpful when you are in a location where you have to be quiet and repeating yourself probably isnít a good idea. Siri will then process your edited query.
8. Stop All Music When the Timer Stops
iOS comes with a feature that allows you to stop all music when the timer is up instead of playing an alert. This is particularly helpful for parties or when you are dozing off to music. You can set the timer for 30 minutes or so when you are about to fall asleep and then you can fall asleep with the peace of mind that you wonít have a dead battery by the time you wake up. As far as parties go, you can have timed music for specific events. You will find this feature hidden all the way at the bottom of the timer section in the Clock application.
9. Scroll to Top
Some people have probably figured this feature out by now, but it isnít too obvious. If you are looking through scrollable content, such as that of a long Web site, you can tap on the status bar to return to the top of the page. This is a particularly handy feature because it can be tiring to fling your finger upwards to get that inertial speed necessary to get to the top of a really long page quickly. This feature doesn't work in applications without scrollable content. It works in third party applications like Facebook too, so if you get too far down into the new Timeline feature, you can easily find your way up.
10. Swipe to Camera Roll
Introduced in iOS 5, you can swipe your finger to the right in the Camera application to display your Camera Roll. The Camera roll will literally swipe right into place and there will be a button that can take you right back to the camera again. This is great for being able to quickly view a photograph that you just took so you can make sure it looks the way you want it to. If it doesnít you can quickly return to the camera and try again.
If you knew of some of these features, youíre well informed. If you knew about all of them, then youíre an iGenius. Hopefully, if you didnít know about many of these features, then you will be using them from now on! Enjoy all of the little features of iOS that help make the iPhone great.