iOS 4 is easy to use, but it’s also packed with features. That means the Settings app gets pretty complex—so complex that you’re bound to miss out on some terrific options. That’s why we’re highlighting four of our favorites that tend to go undiscovered. For starters, triple-tapping the Home button (toggle the triple tap on and off in Settings > General > Accessibility) can invoke accessibility settings—including our favorite, White on Black, which reverses colors on your iPhone screen. Aside from freaking out your friends, it’s great for low-vision users or anyone squinting at an iPhone screen in bright sunlight.
Apple didn’t dominate the tech world until it’d been in operation for roughly 20 years. “Overnight sensations” like Facebook and Twitter actually needed a couple years to take off. Even Luke didn’t turn into a proper Jedi until the third movie. Yes, mastery doesn’t come easily—unless you read this guide. We’ll show you the power-user secrets you need to wring the coolest and most cutting-edge functionality from your iDevices.
Do you plug in your iPhone or iPad to sync with your Mac (or PC, you poor soul), then groan in dismay as the progress bar crawls toward the finish line? You don’t have to grin and bear it—with a few simple tweaks, you can reduce the time it takes to sync your iDevices with your computer. For starters, store as few photos as possible on the iPhone or iPad itself—in addition to freeing up valuable storage space, this speeds up syncing by trimming fat from the backup that iTunes makes before each sync.
Apple’s totally earned that whole “it just works” thing…except when it comes to getting photos on and off your iDevices. Quite frankly, it doesn’t work well at all unless you know your way around a less-than-obvious app or two. Fortunately, they’re super-easy to use, and once you get acquainted with them, you’ll wonder why you mucked around with anything else.
Your iDevice can do amazing things—until the battery runs out. But don’t let that stop you from using it to the fullest. With the right settings or gear, you can stay charged up without sacrificing your favorite features.
Apple likes to call its creations “magical,” and this is one of those rare times where you might agree. The iPad in particular (but also the iPhone) have unheralded powers for entertaining and occupying your little ones during long car trips. The most obvious solution is watching movies or TV shows, a task the iPad handles so effectively that there’s no need for a headrest-mounted DVD player—and no, you don’t have to risk subjecting your precious (meaning your iPad) to an unfortunate juice-box incident.
Ever been out, about, and away from your Mac’s music library when a song’s stuck in your head? If you want to stop being tempted to give iTunes another $1.29 to redownload it, the solution is an SFTP client on your iPad or iPhone that connects to your Mac back home to download the song to your iOS device. The best part of a setup like this is that you can keep using iTunes to manage your music without interrupting streaming to your Apple TV. You’ll also be able to stream any tunes that are DRM-free to your iOS devices over the internet with a 3G or EDGE connection, and you can access many other Mac-based files as well.
One of Apple’s bigger oversights with the design of iOS devices has to be the hassle we all undergo to get files from Mac to gadget and vice versa. To continue working on a Pages document on a different platform, you have to connect your device to iTunes and sync before the file will be transferred. This oversight leaves most of us spamming our own email accounts with files we need to quickly move around…until now. Enter DropCopy—the ultimate file-sharing tool for both Macs and iOS devices. Here’s how to use it to achieve file-sharing nirvana.
So you always wanted to be in a band, but you have no musical talent whatsoever? Well, there’s an app for even that. GarageBand ($4.99) is perfect for making simple music on the iPad, and everything from guitar strums to drum fills is preprogrammed. But to make real music, dust off that guitar and plug in the iRig ($40, ikmultimedia.com). This bad boy’ll let you play real guitar and bass directly into your GarageBand project or the included Amplitude app. Take that, Smart Guitars!
The Magic Trackpad is an amazing tool for bringing Multi-Touch controls to a desktop Mac, but if you have an iPad, you can get the same great effect for five bucks. All you need is an iOS app called TouchPad ($4.99) that gives you the ability to use your iPad just like a Magic Trackpad.