15+ Incredibly Useful iPhone Tips and Tricks

The fourth generation iPhone shattered records for opening day sales and continues to sell quite well despite antenna-gate. This means there are bound to be tons of brand new iPhone users out there who are still getting the hang of their new favorite toy.

We decided to give these users a hand by both drudging up some tips and tricks that have been around since the beginning as well as a few new hints that only work with iOS 4. Each tip below features a handy graphic to help you figure out the process.

Keep in mind that many of these will work on all iOS devices so try them out on your iPod Touch and iPad as well!

Quick Period

Obviously, you can access the period key under the punctuation section but it’s a lot faster to just double tap the space bar.

screenshot

Quick Period

Hidden Characters

Pressing and holding some of the keys on the keyboard will reveal hidden characters. There are quite a few of these if you know where to look. Here’s a list of all the keys that you can hold and expand:

  • Letters: E, Y, U, I, O, A, S, L, Z, C, N
  • Symbols: Dollar Sign, Dash, Ampersand, Quotes, Period, Question Mark, Exclamation Point, Apostrophe, and Percent
  • Safari “.com” button (brings up .net, .edu and .org)
screenshot

Hidden Characters

Caps Lock

After you enable Caps Lock in preferences, double tapping the shift key will cause it to glow blue, indicating that Caps Lock is on.

screenshot

Caps Lock

Quick Caps/Symbols

Obviously, you can tap the “.?123” to access the symbols keyboard and the shift key to quickly capitalize a letter, but did you know that you could speed up the process by holding your finger down on one of these keys and then dragging the the key that you want to type? For instance, to quickly type the number “2” from the main keyboard, hold the “.?123” key, slide up to the “2” and then release. You should be taken right back to the main QWERTY keyboard.

screenshot

Quick Caps/Symbols

Restart iPhone

As you know, to turn off your iPhone, simply hold the sleep button until the option pops up. However, if your phone is frozen, you’ll have to restart by holding the home and sleep buttons until it turns off.

screenshot

iPhone Restart

Screenshot

This is one we use every day here at AppStorm. To take a screenshot, hold down the home button, then hit the sleep button (you should see a flash). The image will then be saved into your photos and can be imported to your Mac through iPhoto.

screenshot

Screenshot

Inspect Link

If you see a link in Safari, hold your finger on it to see where it goes. You can also choose to copy it, open it in the current window or open it in a new window.

screenshot

Inspect Link

Save Image

Just as in the previous tip, hold your finger on an image to see more options including the ability to download.

screenshot

Save Image

Scrolling in a Frame

Have you ever tried to scroll in a window that’s inside another window in mobile Safari? It’s a bit tricky. Use two fingers to get the job done.

screenshot

Scrolling in a Frame

Tap Dots for Next Page

If for some crazy reason you loathe the swiping motion necessary to navigate the home screens, you can tap the area at the bottom instead. Tap to the right of center to go right and to the left of center to go left.

screenshot

Tap Dots for Next Page

Quickly Select Word or Paragraph

You probably know that to quickly select a word you double tap it, but did you know you can quickly select an entire paragraph with a quadruple tap?

Surely you didn’t know that one did you? Admit it, you’ve never tried quadruple tapping!

screenshot

Quickly Select Word or Paragraph

Scroll to Top

Everyone should already know this one but I thought I’d toss it in anyway. In Safari, tap the top bar to quickly scroll to the top of the page. Many applications have also built in this functionality so be sure to try it everywhere.

screenshot

Scroll to Top

Zoom In

Starting with the 3GS Apple added in many of the accessibility features that you find in OS X. Of these, the most handy is probably the ability to zoom in. After enabling it in Preferences under the Accessibility menu, double tap with three fingers to activate.

screenshot

Zoom In

New iOS 4 Tricks

Even if you stood in line all night for the very first iPhone and have owned every model since, there could be many new features that you don’t know about in the latest operating system. Check out these four things to try.

Spell Check

There is finally a spell check feature! Just tap and hold an underlined word, then tap the “Replace” button to see a spelling suggestion.

screenshot

Spell Check

Lock Screen Orientation

The iPhone automatically changes orientation when you rotate it, which can be annoying if that’s not what you want. Double tap the home button and then swipe to access the controls to the left. Here you can control the iPod functionality and/or lock the screen orientation.

screenshot

Lock Screen Orientation

Close Background Apps

Now that you can multi-task in iOS 4, it’s easy to leave open tons of applications. Follow the same double tap process as in the tip above but this time tap and hold an application icon and then tap the little minus buttons to close any unwanted applications.

screenshot

Close Background Apps

Search the Web and Wikipedia

Apple has improved the global search feature in iOS 4 by adding web and wikipedia search options. These are usually located at the bottom of the list of results.

screenshot

Search the Web and Wikipedia

Didn’t Learn Anything? Share Yours!

Whether you’re a new or seasoned iPhone user, we hoped you learned a trick or two. However, inevitably posts like this garner comments from readers who claim to know it all.

Well here’s your chance to shine. Leave a comment below with your own great iPhone tips and tricks to see if you can top our list!