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ios tips and tricksIf your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is your daily resource for getting things done, you will want to take advantage of every feature the operating system has to offer – from hidden keyboards, system-wide font size settings, to speech-to-text dictation.

The following is another 10 iOS 5 Tips For iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch Users 10 iOS 5 Tips For iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch Users So many new features get added to iOS updates that we often don't take advantage of them all. The most recent iOS 5.0 and 5.1 updates for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch users make the... Read More potpourri of iOS tips you may have overlooked.  However some of these tips will only work in the iPhone 4S and/or the 3rd generation iPad.

Emoji Keyboard

When I joined the video sharing site, Socialcam, I noticed many comments incorporating those cute little emojicon characters. One user told me where I could find them on the iPhone.

Open the Settings app, and tap on General >Keyboard >International Keyboards. Next, tap on Add New Keyboard, then scroll down and select “Emoji.”

ios tips and tricks

You can access the Emoji keyboard by tapping the globe key near the Space bar. Tap it again to return to the regular keyboard.


Mark E-Mails

One of the best iOS 5 upgrades to the Mail program is the ability to flag or mark e-mails as unread. Just tap the “Mark” button in the email.

ios tips

App Settings

Just like desktop applications, iOS apps typically feature their own Preferences settings. Sometimes they’re located in the app itself, or in the Settings app of your device. For example, when you tap on the Instagram app in Settings, you can select to have it save the original photo that you apply filters to inside the app. So check your favorite apps to see what additional changes it offers.

ios tips

Font Size Changes

If you have poor eyesight like I do, you can change the font size for default iOS apps like the Notebook, Messages, and Contacts.

Tap on Settings > Accessibility > Large Text, and choose a larger size.

ios tips

Turn Off Location Services

While you’re still in Settings, you might want to check Location Services and disable apps you’re not using that could contribute to the drain on your device’s battery.

ios help

If later you launch an app and it needs location services to do its thing, it will tell you to enable it.

Dictation Commands

If you’re using iPhone 4S or 3rd generation iPad, you definitely want to take advantage of the built-in speech dictation feature. It works similar to the Dragon dictate apps Stop Typing: Better Learn To Dictate Text with Dragon Dictate for Mobile Devices [iOS] Stop Typing: Better Learn To Dictate Text with Dragon Dictate for Mobile Devices [iOS] Nuance's iPhone apps, Dragon and Dragon Search have been available for free download for over a year now. Since then, the company has added a few other similar voice to text apps to its line... Read More , but within these devices you can dictate text in any application that calls up the software keyboard.

Instead of typing on the small keyboard, you can speak what you want to say and it will type the text for you. Your words will only be typed after you complete your sentence(s) and tap the Done button.

For example, in the Notes or Mail app, you can speak a grocery list. After you speak the first item on the list, say “New Line” and then dictate the next item, and so forth.

ios help

This dictation feature is not built to effectively compose long intricate letters, but it’s a huge time saver for text messages, Twitter and Facebook comments, short emails, and notes. I’m looking forward to this feature coming to the next version of OS X.

Twitter Address

As part of the iOS 5 Twitter integration, you can now add the Twitter address of your contacts. Launch your Contacts list, select Edit, and scroll to “add field” at the bottom.

ios help

Enter the address. When you tap on that contact’s Twitter address, you can send a tweet to that contact or view his or her list of tweets.

Phonetic Spelling

Siri on the iPhone 4S might not be much fun if it can’t pronounce your name correctly. So here’s a way to help it out.

Open your Address Book and select your name (the one Siri uses to pronounce your name). Tap the Edit button, and select “add field.” Select “Phonetic First Name,” and “Phonetic Last Name” if you want.

When you select text field for the Phonetic First Name, type the phonetic spelling of your name, or a way that Siri might better understand how to pronounce it. After about three tries, I got it to work with the above spelling of my name, and now it sounds so much better.

By the way, you can create a whole new identity for yourself and have Siri identify you as “Master Jedi” or some other more appropriate identification. You can either use the phonetic spelling field to tell it the name to call you, or you can just tell Siri to call you by a certain name, and it will assign that name as your nickname in the personal information of your contact list.

Establish Relationships

Another name-related tip for Siri is to have it establish relationships. In other words, you can tell Siri who your wife, son, mother, etc, is. For example, tell it, “[Your mother’s name] is my mother” and it will assign that relationship. You can even tell it to identify your dentist, your favorite barbers shop, or auto shop.


This is not a iOS feature, but if you want a way to open a photo or any kind of image without making two or three taps to get at it in your Photos library, you should download the free ad-supported app, Peekit.

ios tips and tricks

I use this app to quickly display a picture of my driver’s license on my iPhone. The app launches faster than the Photos app, and you can buy the ad-free version for 99 cents.

For other iOS tips, check out these articles:

That’s it for this round of tips. If you have others, please share them in the comments below.

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  1. Steve Howell
    September 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    How do I get to dictate messages and lists into my iPhone 4s it does not seem to have a microphone icon,

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Steve, open a text app like Notes, and then tap the Mic icon on the pop-up keyboard. Dictate your sentence or list, and then tap Done.

  2. Friend
    April 15, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    The Mark button does not appear in any emails in my Mail app under iOS 5.1. Any thoughts about why not?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      April 17, 2012 at 5:02 am

      Hmm, which version of the iPhone are using? It may not work on the 3GS, but does on the 4 and 4S. Please let me know.

      • sabgigo
        July 11, 2012 at 12:50 am

        Just tap the "Edit" button (upper right corner) first, then select an email message. You will see the button in the lower right corner.

  3. Ellen Smyth
    April 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you! I went immediately to find the larger font size. I am getting older and refuse to wear glasses. FYI: Above, it says fonts can be changed under Settings > Accessibility > Large Text, but I had to navigate through one more layer: Settings > *General*> Accessibility > Large Text.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      April 17, 2012 at 5:07 am

      Ellen, I so agree with you. With the larger font I no longer have to squint to read text messages. And thanks for pointing out the "General" in the navigation path. I'll see if I can get my editor to correct it. I left it out just see if anyone was actually reading the article. …Naw..just kidding. Thanks.