iPhone Tips and Tricks (iPhone 3G, 4, 4S)

iPhone 4G
iPhone 4G | Source

The iPhone comes bundled with such a huge array of features that sometimes, we don't even know how to fully utilize them. I must admit that I was quite overwhelmed when I first got my iPhone. With the iPhone, I felt like I had the power of a computer in my hands. My previous phone (LG Xenon) only served me two purposes: making phone calls and sending text messages. Usage was quite limited I must admit, which is exactly why I was so excited by the features available to me on my iPhone 4.

Over the course of the 3 months that I've had my iPhone, I've been slowly but steadily learning more and more about the features and functionality offered by the iPhone. In this hub, I want to share some of the most useful things that I've learned.

Here's a Screenshot of the Weather app.
Here's a Screenshot of the Weather app.

Taking a Screenshot

This is actually a very useful feature, which I believe to be unknown to many people. Being able to take snapshots of your current screen can be very handy at times, for example, when you want to capture a particular webpage to show to friends later.

To take a snapshot, simply hold down the Lock Button (the small button on the top of your phone) and then press the Home button (the square button below the screen). You should then see your screen flash white for a second, almost like the flash of a camera, and voila, you can now access the picture in your photo gallery.

Note that turning off 3G won't necessarily turn off your internet completely.
Note that turning off 3G won't necessarily turn off your internet completely.

Turning off 3G

Most people fail to realize that their phone always has 3G turned on, which the iPhone leaves on by default to connect to the internet. However, leaving 3G on, can drain the battery of the phone faster (as noted by Apple, shown on the screenshot to the right). It is useful to at least be aware of how to turn off 3G, especially during times when your phone is running out of battery, and you wish to keep it alive for as long as possible.

To do this, simply go to your Settings -> General -> Network. You will then see the menu shown on the right. Note that turning off 3G will not turn off your internet completely. It will only switch off the 3G network. The iPhone can still access the internet using the old legacy Edge network, so as long as the Cellular Data option is on (at least for AT&T, I'm not familiar with other service providers). While turning off the 3G network already saves the battery tremendously, having the Cellular Data on will still drain some of your battery. If you wish to save your battery juice to the maximum, you may wish to turn off both options.

Lots of potentially useful statistics. If you scroll to the bottom (not shown) there is a Reset button.
Lots of potentially useful statistics. If you scroll to the bottom (not shown) there is a Reset button.

Check Your Usage Statistics

You can check some statistics for your phone, as shown in the snapshot to the right. Notice you can see the Time since last full charge, you may find useful to get some general statistics on the average battery life of your phone. You can also look at the total Call Time you've made since the last statistics reset. And you also have the ability look at your Cellular Network Data, which can be useful for keeping track of the amount of internet data you have Sent and Received since last reset. Notice that in this screen, you can also toggle your phone's Battery Percentage ON or OFF (although personally I'd prefer to keep it ON at all times).

Notice the new scrollbar that appears once I tap the screen. You can use this to adjust your zoom.
Notice the new scrollbar that appears once I tap the screen. You can use this to adjust your zoom.

Camera Zoom

It took me ages to figure this trick out. Often times, when I am taking a picture, I want to zoom in to get a closer view of the target, but I could not find the Zoom icon/button ANYWHERE on the camera interface. It turns out, that to zoom in Camera mode, you need to Tap the Screen to reveal the Zoom interface, and then Move the Slider to zoom. Personally, I don't quite agree with Apple's decision to make the Zoom feature such a difficult process for the user. I would much prefer to have an icon or button to click for bringing up Zoom.

The lock icon is on the bottom left of the screen.
The lock icon is on the bottom left of the screen.

Lock Screen Orientation

To lock your iPhone in Portrait orientation, you can simply Double-Tap the Home button (Square button below the screen) and then scroll the bottom bar to the left side. You will eventually come across the set of icons as shown in the screenshot. Then you want to click the Lock icon on the bottom-left corner. This will lock your phone on Portrait mode (unfortunately, I don't think it's possible to lock the phone on Landscape mode).

This feature is particularly useful when using your iPhone in bed. More often than not, I find that the screen rotation feature really messes me up when I am surfing the net with my iPhone before going to sleep, because when I lie down, the iPhone would think that it's in a horizontal position and thus keep rotating the screen (which gets very annoying).

That's All Folks!

I hope you found these features useful. Feel free to drop a comment to share your favorite feature from the list, or to let me know if I've missed something!

Edit: Visit my new hub iPhone Tips and Tricks (Part 2).

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Thoughts? Complaints? Post them here! 6 comments

Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul Edmondson 5 years ago from Burlingame, CA

Wow, I didn't know how to zoom with my Iphone. Thanks!


ezhang profile image

ezhang 5 years ago from Bay Area, CA Author

I'm glad you found this Hub useful Paul!


Paul Edmondson profile image

Paul Edmondson 5 years ago from Burlingame, CA

I was hub hopping and didn't know this was yours. Great hub.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

This is great. I knew about all of these except for the portrait lock, which is SUPER helpful! Awesome solution to the iPhoning in bed issue.


Matt Wells profile image

Matt Wells 5 years ago

I had no idea my iphone even had a zoom.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

iphone really has so many cool tricks. The only complaint I have is its size, it's not small enough to be slipped into my pocket.

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