Category: iPhone Tips

Basics: How to Activate Caps Lock on the iPhone and iPad

The iPhone’s keyboard has a Caps Lock feature, but you may have to first activate it in the iPhone’s Settings to use it. To test if Caps Lock activated, first try double tapping the shift key (the key with the up arrow, see image above) on the touchscreen keyboard—the key will turn blue to tell you Caps Lock is activated. If it doesn’t turn blue, you’ll need to go into the iPhone’s Settings to enable it. Just follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Video Instructions:


1. Open Settings:

2. Tap General:

General in iPhone Settings

3. Scroll down and tap Keyboard:

4. Slide the tab for Enable Caps Lock to On:

Now, when you double tap the shift key on the iPhone/iPad’s keyboard (the key with the up arrow), Caps Lock will be activated. To turn off Caps Lock, tap the key again.

Here’s a Simple Trick to Make the iPhone/iPad’s Reader Button More Useful

Reader is one of my favorite and most-used features introduced in iOS 5. If you’re not familiar, Reader is a feature of the iPhone/iPad’s browser that strips aways ads from a web page, enlarges the text, and fills the entire screen with the article to make it easier to read on the iPhone/iPad. You activate it by tapping a button that appears in the browser’s address bar:

But there is one huge annoyance with Reader: the button doesn’t appear until after a web page stops loading. This means, if you’re waiting for an entire web page to load, you can often wait up to several minutes for the reader button to show up, even though you can see the text of the article has loaded. The solution is simple:

When you see the article’s text and images have loaded, simply tap the X in Safari’s address bar to stop the rest of the web page from loading. The Reader button will then appear:

It seems like an obvious solution, but I admit, it took me a while to figure it out.

So why, oh why, do web pages seem to keep loading and loading sometimes? It often has nothing to do with the website you are visiting, but rather third-party advertisements that are attempting to contact other Internet services to pull in data. The good news is that websites are usually designed to load their own content first, and that’s why this tip works.

25 Useful iPhone Tips

1. How to Make the iPhone’s LED Light Blink When You Receive a Call, Text Message, or Notification

The iPhone’s LED light can be more than just a flashlight or a flash for photos. It can blink when you receive text messages or other notifications. This is similar to the Blackberry’s popular red blinking light (but not quite as good because it’s on the iPhone’s back). Here are step-by-step instructions on setting it up.

2. Video Tip: A Better Way to Organize Lots of Apps at a Time

Do you cringe at the thought of organizing all of the apps on your iPhone into folders? Here’s a method that can make it a little easier:

3. How to Make an iPhone Ringtone From Your Own Music Using iTunes

Want to make your own ringtones from your own music and put it on the iPhone? We’ll walk you through it. Click here for our detailed step-by-step instructions. All it requires is iTunes! One of our most popular posts (it’s easier than it looks).

4. Quickly Add All Holidays to the iPhone’s Calendar

There’s no need to painstakingly add holidays into the iPhone’s Calendar one by one. Add them all at once! You can do it via the Subscribe feature in the iPhone’s Calendar app. Click here for step-by-instructions (you can also use this tip to pull down calendars for other events, foreign holidays, and even schedules of your favorite sports teams).

5. How to Sort Photos Into Albums on the iPhone

Do the photos on your iPhone need organizing? The built-in Photos app now lets you create albums. You can also do cool things with the albums like play them as an instant slide show and add music from your iPhone’s music library. Click here for the full tip.

6. How to Childproof Your iPhone

Childprooding iPad with Binder Clip

Image via Make.

What’s the simplest, cheapest way to childproof your iPhone? Launch an app, then put a binder clip over the home button. This will keep kids from quitting out of apps. There are also many accessories and even Settings on the iPhone to help childproof your iPhone. Check out the full tip here.

7. How to Quickly Share All of a Contact’s Details Using the iPhone’s Built-in vCard Feature

Sometimes you want to share more than a contact’s phone number. With the iPhone’s built-in vCard feature, you can share an entire iPhone contact’s details like email, postal address, etc, at the same time. The feature is built into the iPhone’s Contacts app, and the vCard can be sent via email or text message. All the recipient has to do is tap on the vCard and then add the contact. Easy! Here’s the fully illustrated details and instructions.

8. How to Quickly Launch Your Favorite Website Using the iPhone’s Spotlight Search

Is there a website that you go to several times a day? You can add it to your home screen via a web clip, then search for and launch it just like an app using the iPhone’s Spotlight Search. Check out our instructions.

9. How to Activate Emoji on the iPhone

You know about emoji, right? Whaat?! You need to activate them right now. They are cute little graphics you can send in text messages and emails. Everyone loves emoji. And they’re now easier than ever to activate. Here’s how to activate emoji.

10. Use Text Shortcuts to Quickly Insert Your Favorite Emoji

Now that you’ve activated your emoji, you may notice it’s no small chore to insert them into text. Well, here’s a sweet little tip, just use one of the iPhone’s powerful Text Shortcuts to quickly insert your favorite emoji. For example, you could assign the heart emoji to the letters “hrt”. When you type those three letters, they will instantly be replaced by the heart emoji. Here’s the full tip.

11. Label Your Folders With Emoji

Why reserve those cute little emoji for only SMS or email. Use them to label folders as well.

12. How to Add Words to the iPhone’s Dictionary (To Prevent Autocorrect From Annoying You!)

Auto-correction spells out a word

We all have words we use on a daily basis that aren’t found in any English dictionary. And it can be really annoying when the iPhone’s Autocorrect feature “fixes” them. To prevent this, simply add the word to the iPhone’s “dictionary” (ok, not really the dictionary, but it works just the same). Check out the full tip for more info.

13. How to Add a Pause to Telephone Numbers

It’s annoying having to maneuver your way through an automated telephone system. “For customer service, press 1 now.” Hate it. The iPhone can help you out by allowing you to add pauses in between numbers. This makes it possible to automatically type in pin codes after you dial the main number. To add a pause, simply hold your finger on the asterisk key, and it will place a comma into the number.

14. Tips for Combatting Text Message Spam

The amount of text message spam sent every day seems to be growing. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely stop it short of turning off text messages all together. But there is a way where you don’t have to pay for each spam message and at the same time report spammers to the carriers. Click here for step-by-step instructions and full article.

15. How to Make the iPhone Beep More Than Once, Every Two Minutes, for Text Messages, In Case You Missed the First One

Have you ever missed an important text message because the iPhone was out of hearing? Well, the iPhone can repeat that text-message alert every two minutes up to ten times! Check out our step-by-step instructions for setting it up.

16. Turn on the iPhone’s Private Browsing Mode to Cover Your Tracks

We all visit websites that we don’t want other people to know we’ve visited, from medical sites to more, er, salacious content. The iPhone’s Private Browsing Mode leaves no trace on your iPhone of your web browsing activities. So go ahead, spend an hour looking at Anne Hathaway photos. Here’s how to turn on Private Browsing mode.

17. Clean Up the iPhone’s Spotlight Search So It Shows Only Apps (or Contacts, Songs, Etc)

Spotlight Search iPhone

Spotlight Search is one the iPhone’s most useful features. It can help sort through everything on your iPhone to help you quickly launch apps (or make a call, find an email, etc). But you may notice that, by default, Spotlight Search is cluttered with stuff you may not be searching for. You can tweak Spotlight Search to show whatever type of content you want, like just apps. Here’s how.

18. How to Turn Off the Unread Badge on the iPhone’s Mail App

If you’re like me, you probably have lots of unread email, mostly because it’s spam (or ham, as some people call the type of spam we voluntarily sign up for). And a red badge on the iPhone’s Mail app serves as an annoying constant reminder of all that unread email. Is it really useful to tell me 200+ unread messages are waiting? Here are instructions on how to turn it off.

19. How to Show Battery Percentage on the iPhone

It’s tough to tell how much of the iPhone’s battery is left using only the little green battery icon in the upper righthand corner, especially when the battery starts to get low. Having a number is way more accurate and useful. Click here for instructions on how to turn on the percentage battery indicator.

20. Need a Louder Ringtone? Try This One.

iPhone ringtone icon

Is your iPhone ringtone not loud enough? Well, try this one. It sounds like a normal ringing cell phone, but trust me, once on the iPhone, it will be louder than your other ringtones:

Right click to save then drag it into Ringtones in the left sidebar of iTunes:

Loud iPhone Ringtone

21. How to Remove the “Sent From My iPhone” Email Signature

The “Sent From My iPhone” signature that, by default, appears at the end of iPhone emails annoys many people. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to get rid of. Personally, I don’t mind it, as I think it gives email context, like saying, I sent this email while on the go so that’s why it’s short and to the point. But if you want to remove it, click here for step-by-step instructions for getting rid of that annoying signature.

22. Tip: What Does the iPhone’s Ringer Switch Mute and Not Mute? An Explanation

Did you know that if the iPhone’s ringer/mute switch is set to off, the iPhone will still make noise for certain functions? Save yourself some embarrassment and check out this tip.

23. How to Quickly Save Photos From the Web on the iPhone

If you see a picture on the web you’d like to save on your iPhone, maybe as a wallpaper or for something else, you can quickly and easily save it to your iPhone’s Photo Roll. Simply hold your finger on it until a pop-up menu appears, and tap Save Image. It’s that easy. Click here for the full explanation.

24. Get a Full Song Title By Holding Your Finger On It

Do you hate it when a long song title is truncated because of the iPhone’s small screen? Simply hold your finger on it and it will show the entire title.

25. How to Control the Volume for Ringtones and the iPhone’s General Audio Separately

The iPhone’s separate volume levels for ringtones and general audio is a little confusing. Basically, the iPhone’s volume buttons can change both the iPhone’s ringtone volume (for calls, text messages, etc) and general audio (music, video, etc) at different times. What? Exactly. Click here for an explanation of the whole confusing mess.

Tip: How to Add Your Favorite Major League Baseball Team’s Schedule to Your iPhone’s Calendar

It’s that time of year again, the crack of the bat, the smell of freshly cut grass, the steroid-powered home runs. Yes, it’s baseball season again. If you’d like to add your favorite team’s schedule to your iPhone’s calendar, the following are instructions on how to do so. (Also check out my article on how to quickly add Holidays as well).

How to Add a MLB Team’s Schedule to Your Calendar:

1. Open your iPhone’s browser and go to

2. Important, Read Carefully: Find your favorite team’s iCal icon and hold your finger on it until a pop-up menu appears, DO NOT tap the icon (adding the schedule that way is quicker but has repercussions. See Notes below).

3. Tap Copy (this will copy the team calendar’s link):

4. Press the home button and open Settings:

5. Scroll down and tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars:

6. Tap Add Account:

7. Scroll down and tap Other:

8. Tap Add Subscribed Calendar:

9. In the field next to Server, paste in your iCal link (to paste, hold your finger down in the field until a pop-up box appears with the paste option):

10. Tap Next:

11. Tap Save:

And that’s it, you’ve added your team’s schedule to Calendar. Tap a game and check it out. It shows the game’s start time, probable pitchers, and even a link to the game on You also may note that your calendar is all clogged up with baseball games. Read on for how to quickly hide all those games (and bring them back).

How to Hide the Games

You may quickly notice that all those games clutter up your calendar. You can quickly hide/show the games with the method below:

1. In the Calendar app, tap Calendars:

2. Scroll down and uncheck the subscribed team’s calendar by tapping it:

Bam, all the games are now gone from Calendar. Repeat the process to bring them back. You can also completely delete the calendar by going to Settings–>Mail, Contacts, Calendar–>Subscribed Calendars–>Tap the calendar–>Tap Delete Account.


  • As noted in Step 2, I advise against simply tapping on the iCal link at and quickly adding the schedule that way. Using that method, you’ll have to delete the games one-by-one if they annoy you. My instructions above allow you to remove all the games at once by either deselecting the subscribed calendar or deleting the subscribed calendar all together.

Basics: How to Save Pictures From the Web on the iPhone (and iPad)

If you see a picture you like while browsing the Internet on your iPhone, you can easily save those photos to your iPhone’s Camera Roll. Here’s how.

While using the iPhone’s web browser, you can save a photo simply by holding your finger on the photo for a few seconds. A pop-up box will appear with a few options, one of which will read Save Image, as seen below:

To save the photo, tap Save Image. It will be saved to the iPhone’s Camera Roll alongside your other photos.


  • Note that you can also tap Copy. You can then paste the photo into any app that will allow you to insert photos, like in an email (in the Mail app) or in Pages (Apple’s word processor). To paste, simply hold your finger down on the insertion point, then from the pop-up menu that appears, tap Paste.
  • If a website prevents you from saving the photo, just take a screenshot instead by pressing the sleep and home buttons at the same time.

iPhone Tip: How to Remove the “Sent From My iPhone” Email Signature

If you’ve ever received an email from someone with an iPhone, you may have seen it. Sent from my iPhone, it reads. Some find it annoying, like the person is bragging about their fancy smancy iPhone. Others, like me, think it gives the email context, as in: I sent this while on the go so please excuse the short response and my touchscreen-keyboard spelling errors. In any case, you can either delete or change that message to read however you like. Here’s how.

Step-by-step instructions:

1. Open Settings:

2. Scroll down and tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars:

3. Scroll down and tap Signature:

4. Tap Clear, or change the text to whatever you want:

5. When finished, simply press the iPhone’s home button.

iPhone Tip: Find My iPhone Will Make Sound Even If Ringer Switch Is On Mute

Have you ever “lost” your iPhone in between the couch cushions or in the tangle of sheets on your bed? Then you should know that Find My iPhone can help you find it by forcing your iPhone to emit a beeping sound, allowing you to track down your iPhone in your home.

But what if you’re like me and keep the iPhone’s ringer switch on mute most of the time? No worries, Find My iPhone will still force your iPhone to make a beeping noise, even with the ringer switch on mute.

Want to know what other sounds the ringer switch doesn’t mute. Check out my article titled What Does the iPhone Ringer Switch Mute (And Not Mute)?

iPhone Tips: How to Block SMS Text Message Spam

Text-message spam is not only annoying, it can hurt you in the wallet when each message costs you money. With the help of wireless carriers though, there are a few ways for iPhone users to combat SMS text-message spam.

Text Message Spam Comes Mostly From…Email?!

A little-known fact is that every cell-phone number is also an email address (example, And most, but not all, text-message spam comes from email spammers simply guessing your cell phone’s email address and sending email spam (which shows up as a text message). So how do you prevent that from happening? Most major carriers let you block text messages sent from an email address (see the next section).

Harder to block is spam sent from another telephone number. You can combat spam from telephone numbers by forwarding the spam to the carrier (see the How to Stop Spam Sent From Telephone Numbers section below).

How to Turn Off Text-Message Spam From Email Addresses

AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint all let customers turn off text-messages sent from email addresses. Below are instructions, in a nut shell, for each.

AT&T Wireless:

1. Go to
2. Register your cell phone.
3. Choose Blocking Options.
4. Select Block all text messages sent to you as email.
5. Save your options.

You can also choose to block all messages sent to your email address, period. Simply choose Block from the drop-down menu.

Official SMS text-message spam instructions for AT&T Wireless can be found here.

Verizon Wireless:

1. Log in (or register) at
2. Under Plan, select Block Calls & Messages.
3. Click on the Internet Spam Blocking tab.
4. Choose Block All Text Messages from Email and Block All Text Messages from the Internet.


1. Create a text message.
2. Type in: block email.
3. Send it to short code 9999.

Official instructions for Sprint can be found here.

How to Stop Spam Sent From Telephone Numbers

More tricky to stop is spam sent from other telephone numbers. All the major carriers in the US (AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint) let you forward the spam to 7726 (short code for SPAM on your phone’s keyboard). By doing this, you won’t have to pay for the spam text message. It also helps carriers block spam coming from those numbers. After you forward the spam, the carrier will text you again asking for the phone number it came from. To find that number on your iPhone, simply tap on the blue and white circle on the right side of the spam text message to view the number it came from.

To forward a text message on the iPhone, tap Edit in the top right corner, select the message by tapping the circle on the lefthand side, then tap Forward. If the spam came from a telephone number, they will ask you to reply with that number (at no cost to you).

Tip: To make it easier to forward spam, create a contact on the iPhone, give it the phone number 7726, and name it Spam. Next time you want to forward spam to your carrier, you won’t have to remember the number, just SPAM!


  • Not all text messages sent via email are bad or spam. For example, Google Maps lets you send a URL link to a set of directions via text message. If you block all text messages from email, you also won’t receive these messages either.
  • Both AT&T and Verizon let you create new “alias” email addresses for your cell phone to help fool spammers. For example, you can create a new email address, like, and have text messages sent to that instead.
  • Text message spam cost consumers over $300 million in fees a year, according to some studies.

Is AppleCare+ for the iPhone Worth It? (It Covers Accidental Damage)

A lot of people are interested in insuring their iPhone for accidental damage. Until last year, only third-party companies offered insurance for the iPhone. But in 2011, Apple stepped up to the plate and now offers AppleCare+ for iPhone. In a nutshell, AppleCare+ for iPhone costs $99 for a two-year extended warranty that covers accidental damage like broken screens and water damage. The kicker is that is has a $49 additional fee for each time you need your iPhone fixed (for up to two times).

So, is it worth paying $99 up front for a chance to pay $49 to get your iPhone fixed or replaced in the future? What are the costs to get your iPhone fixed if you don’t have insurance? Read on.

What It Costs to Fix Your iPhone Without Insurance

Most major damage to your iPhone, like cracked front screens and water damage, will cost you $200 to get it “fixed” by Apple, with fixed really meaning you’ll likely get a whole new iPhone. The $200 uninsured repair cost is only $50 more than the $150 AppleCare+ cost (the $99 up-front price plus the $49 repair fee). Sure, you are saving $50 with AppleCare+, but then again, you may end up paying $99 for AppleCare+ and never have a need for it.

Where AppleCare+ starts to pay off is if you break your iPhone again. Without insurance, it’s $400 to “fix” your iPhone twice, compared to AppleCare+’s $200 total fee for two repairs.

Oh, and if you’re uninsured and only break the iPhone’s rear glass screen, count yourself lucky. Apple only charges $29 to replace it.

Should You Buy AppleCare+ for iPhone?

For most people, AppleCare+ for iPhone is likely not worth it, but some people in unique situations might find it useful. For example, do you have a history of breaking iPhones multiple times or are in a situation where that could happen (kids like to throw things or work in a hazardous environment)? Then AppleCare+ might be totally worth it. Are you completely new to the iPhone and want phone tech support at home for how to work the darned thing? AppleCare+ might be worth it.

I don’t purchase AppleCare+ for iPhone for a few reasons. First, I’ve kept my previous generation iPhones as backups in case the new one breaks. Even then, I would likely pay the $200 for a new one—that is, if it wasn’t rumored a new iPhone was just a few months away. I also don’t need the phone tech support (there’s the Internet and a few Apple Stores in my city as well).

Overall, AppleCare+ for iPhone is a tough sell, and if you can afford the expensive monthly phone carrier fees, you can likely afford to go without it. Then again, if you are abusive to your iPhone, it may be worth it in the end.


  • AppleCare+ for iPhone does not cover losing your iPhone or having it stolen.
  • If you don’t live near an Apple Store, you can send in your iPhone via mail to get it fixed. They’ll even send you a loaner iPhone while you wait. You just need to supply a credit number for authorization as security for the retail price of the replacement iPhone or any shipping costs.
  • If you want to know all the ins-and-outs of AppleCare+ for iPhone, you can find Apple’s legal documents in PDF form here.
  • Apple introduced AppleCare+ for the iPad ($99) in March 2012, and unlike the iPhone version, it may actually be worth buying.
  • Best Buy’s insurance for the iPhone costs $15 a month. That’s $360 total over a course of two years.

Basics: The iPhone’s Screen Brightness Settings, Explained

The iPhone has a feature called Auto-Brightness that is turned on by default and will automatically control the brightness of your iPhone’s screen. Auto-Brightness will dim or brighten the screen depending on ambient light levels. It uses a sensor behind the iPhone’s screen to measure light levels and dim the screen in dark surroundings and brighten in bright surroundings. By lowering screen brightness when it’s not needed, Auto-Brightness also works to conserve battery life. However, you can manually set the brightness of the iPhone’s screen. Here’s how.

How to Change the iPhone’s Screen Brightness

If you go into the iPhone’s Settings–>Brightness, you’ll see the following:

The Brightness Slider lets you manually set the screen’s brightness. If you’d like the screen to always stay at a specific brightness level, you should turn Auto-Brightness off.

However, if you have Auto-Brightness turned on and manually adjust the screen’s brightness, Auto-Brightness will use your brightness setting as a baseline and dim/brighten the screen based around that. For example, if you manually increase brightness by 25%, then Auto-Brightness will continue to dim/brighten, only 25% brighter.


  • The brighter the screen, the shorter the iPhone’s battery life. Keep this in mind when manually adjusting brightness levels.
  • While the iPhone’ screen is often used as a makeshift flashlight, the iPhone 4 and newer models have a much brighter light in the form of the camera flash, located on the iPhone’s back. There are many great free apps, like Flashlight by Rik, that let you use the flash as a flashlight or strobe light.