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ios 5 tipsThanks to my wife and other inexperienced users of iOS devices, I’m always learning about which features many people are not aware of on their iPhone or iPad. I’ve met users who still don’t know for example how to put apps into folders on their device.

I gather most of my MUO readers know that, but below are a handful of other features and tips that you might not be familiar with if you’re still fairly new to iOS 5, or if you haven’t had the time to look for them.

Opening PDFs

Any iOS device should set you on the road to paperless reading. These days you can turn any webpage or text document into a PDF and send it to your  iOS device via email, Dropbox, iTunes or similar services.

ios 5 tips

When you open a PDF on your iOS device, in an email for example, you can tap on “Open in…” in the drop-down menu, and you are presented with iBooks Best Tips for Using the iBooks as a PDF Reader on Your iPad or iPhone Best Tips for Using the iBooks as a PDF Reader on Your iPad or iPhone Read More as an option to export and view your PDF document to. Any other PDF readers Adobe Reader Finally Comes To iOS Devices [News] Adobe Reader Finally Comes To iOS Devices [News] For a long time, Adobe Reader has been the universal cross-platform desktop application for opening and reading PDFs. This week it released the first version of Adobe Reader designed for the iPhone and iPad. Compared... Read More you add to your device will also show up there.

The iPad of course is especially useful for reading PDFs because of its size and form factor. So definitely save yourself ink and printing costs by reading documents on your device.



If you need to print a document from your iOS device, you might be able to use Apple’s AirPrint feature which allows you to print any document (e.g., email, photos, webpages, PDFs) wirelessly over your network.

ios 5 tips and tricks

However, you must have an AirPrint-compatible printer in order to use this feature. Apple lists AirPrint-enable printer models here. If your computer is not on the list, but you really want this type of setup, another option is an Mac application called Printopia 2 which cost $20.

Keyboard Clicks

I still run into iPhone users who don’t know they can turn off the clicking sound the built-in keyboard makes on an iOS device. I realize the clicking can help you type better, but in some cases you either should mute the sound on your device, or you can go into the Settings app and click on Sounds. Scroll down to Keyboard Clicks and turn it off.

ios 5 tips and tricks

Notice there are other settings for possible annoying sounds your iOS device makes.

Notes Font

If you use your Notes app a lot, you might not know that Apple gives you a whopping three font styles to choose from – the default Noteworthy, Helvetica, and Marker Felt.

ios 5 tips and tricks

This is not much (pardon the pun) to write home about, but a few different style options is better than none. Again, just go into Settings > Notes to make the font change.

Hide Caller ID

There are occasions when you might not want your phone number to show up on someone’s phone when you make a call. Open Settings > Phone > Show My Caller ID and turn it off.

tips for ios 5

Notice also there’s a feature for Call Forwarding in which you can set to have all your iPhone calls forwarded to another number.

Your Twitter Contacts

The iOS 5 update now includes Twitter integration which means you can for example send a tweet directly from the Safari app on your device.

tips for ios 5

But you may not know that if you have the official Twitter app installed on your device, you can go into the Settings app, select Twitter, and then tap Update Contacts.

tips for ios 5

The app will do a search of all the email addresses and phone numbers in your Address Book and then add Twitter usernames and photos to their respective contact cards. This means you can tweet contacts directly from your Contacts list.

Quit Background Apps

Sometimes if your device is running sluggish, or an app is not working properly, try completely quitting it. Here’s how – double-click on the Home button of your device, and then press and hold on the app that you’re having problems with. When the red dots appear, tap on the dot of that app to completely quit it.

ios 5 tips

Open the app again from where it is located on your device. If you have a lot of apps open in the background, you should occasionally swipe to the left and quit the ones you don’t use very often, because a high number of opened apps could possibly slow down your device or cause apps to crash.

That’s it for for this round of iOS 5 features and tips. If you’re interested in finding about more of them, check out these two previous MUO articles:

  1. Kavita
    October 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    got reminded from there a way to get iphones at low price...

  2. Steven Klein
    May 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Overall I liked this article, but I think the "Quit Background Apps" tip borders on being misleading. Just because apps are listed in your multitasking menu doesn't mean they are active and running.

    I strongly recommend Fraser Speirs' blog post entitled, "Misconceptions About iOS Multitasking." Here's a link:

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 22, 2012 at 2:05 am

      Thanks, Steven, for referencing that article. I will certainly check it out.

  3. Antriksh Yadav
    May 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Yes, those are quite less-known tricks. But I disagree with the last one. It's a common myth. All those apps in the multitasking tray are not actually running. I have 70+ running on my iPad as I type this and there is no difference in battery life or performance.

    iOS automatically manages memory. If iOS required you to close apps, they would mention that in the manuals. They don't. Only the last few apps are open. They are gradually closed based on how much memory the current app asks for. For example, if you switch to the Settings app (via the tray or multitasking gestures), it may take a second or so to open up properly and show all the options. But if it was running very recently, it will be there ready for you. If you run a heavy game right after leaving Settings, the latter will have closed anyway.

    tl;dr You don't need to close "background" apps to save memory or to prevent sluggishness.

    P.S. Because you guys switched from the awesome DISQUS, I will probably not get back to you if you post a reply because I won't be notified. Sorry.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      Antriksh, thanks for your feedback. Based on my experience, closing "background" apps has often solved a problem I was experiencing with either the app crashing or not working properly. Even some developers of apps make that suggestion. However, you may be correct about the background apps not using memory, but again, when I've closed many of them out, it has helped.

      On page 38 of the Apple iPhone manual, it says "If something isn't working right, try restarting iPhone, force quitting an app, or resetting iPhone."

  4. Dev
    May 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    What a waste of an article! Half of these features where there on IOS4. *YAWN*

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 20, 2012 at 12:45 am

      Dev, I try to mostly focus on tips that I know fairly new users may not know about. I meet iPhone users from time to time who seem to use less than half of the iPhone's features. I've even run into college students who don't know some of the features, mainly because it's not something they spend their time looking for. Feel free to add/share tips you would have put in the list if you wrote it.

  5. Scott N
    May 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    In US can't you just dial *67 before the number to block outgoing caller ID ?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 20, 2012 at 12:42 am

      Hmm, I do remember there being a special number to block caller ID, but I'm not sure if that's it.

      • Antriksh Yadav
        May 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

        Also, the caller ID blocking and (probably) call forwarding tips most likely depend on whether your carrier allows them.

        • Bakari Chavanu
          June 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

          Antriksh, you're probably right. Thanks.

  6. Mark O'Neill
    May 19, 2012 at 8:02 am

    The Twitter contacts one and the quit backgrounds app one were new to me. However the Twitter contacts one doesn't seem to work for me.

    I have the Twitter app installed but when I try to get it to put Twitter handles into my contact book, it says "0 contacts updated" (however I can see that I have numerous contacts on my iPhone with Twitter handles which have not been entered). It's really annoying because I don't know what I can do to get it to work. Any ideas?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 20, 2012 at 12:41 am

      Hmmm, I wonder if there has to be a special match between your contacts and your address book. I ran it on mine, and for the most part they showed up. I only have like 10 people in my contact list who have a Twitter account, that I know of anyway.

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