The iPhone is an awesome device, but for every nagging problem we might face with it, there’s bound to be a solution. Lots of problems are solved by jailbreaking the iPhone and installing Cydia apps. But for those of us who don’t feel like taking that plunge, there are still some great solutions for those all-time annoying iPhone problems.
The following are a handful of solutions I’ve found in the last several months – a few that require installing low cost apps, and others are found in the device itself. Most of these tips and apps require iOS 5.0 or above.
Recording a Phone Number While Talking
The more I use my Mac and iOS, the less I have a need to use traditional pen and paper, but it used to be awkward typing on my phone while talking to someone on the other end. Recently however I solved this problem with a simple straight app, called Captio ($1.99).
To use it while talking to someone on the phone, I simply tap the Speaker button in the Phone app, and then push the Home button, which takes me out of the Phone app. I then open Captio, and when the person dictates a phone number or other information, I type it in the text box of Captio. Nagging problem solved. No more need to find slips of paper to write on.
I use Captio instead of the default Notebook on the iPhone because when you tap the send button in Captio, it sends the content of your message immediately to your designated email box. I don’t have to type out my email address or even write a subject line. Capito sends the message and even archives it for a month inside the app.
When I later want to dial the number I typed, I open the Captio email and tap the number which is already linked and ready for calling with a simple tap.
You can of course use the Notebooks app or any other text app for the same purpose.
Launch Center Pro
Launch Center Pro ($0.99 for a limited time) solves several little annoying problems for the iPhone. It’s to me one less tap time-saver. Put Launch Center on your Home page of your iPhone, and when you need, for example, a flash light, it’s a single tap away. When you want to instantly fire up your Instagram camera, Launch Pro saves you two taps.
With Launch Center Pro, you can tap one time to call or start an instant message to a designated person, or tap to download designated websites. Do you want to dim the light coming from your iPhone? It can be done in a single tap in Launch. Depending on how you use it, Launch Pro can be a solution for several nagging iPhone problems.
Single Tap Timer
How many times have you needed to set a timer on an iPhone, for say a parking meter, agenda items in a meeting, or boiling eggs on the stove? With the default Clock app on the iPhone, it can take three taps, plus some scrolling to set the time.
But with Timer ($0.99), (also by the developers of Launch Center) you can tap one of 12 preset alarms, and you’re good to go. Timer works in the background and sends you a gentle alarm when the time is up. You can of course use Siri on the iPhone 4S to set a timer, but I find this app is sometimes faster, especially when I’m using it in a meeting.
Typing Your Email Address
Okay this solution should be familiar to experienced iPhone users, but if you’re still manually typing your email address, your name, or any other word and phrase you use on a regular basis, you must not know about the text expander feature in the iPhone and other iOS 5.0+ devices. If you don’t know about this feature, don’t feel alone. I meet users all the time who don’t know it exists.
If you simply launch the Settings app, and then tap on General > Keyboard > Shortcuts, you can add a shortcuts for any word or phrase you want. For example, I type “bk” for Bakari or “ty” for Thank you. You can add as many expansions as you like, and really save time and frustration.
Mark All Emails as Read
This last tip comes from our friends over at Lifehacker. One of the most annoying iPhone problems about marking emails as read on your iPhone or other iOS device is that you must first tap Edit, then tap on each unread email, and finally tap Mark, followed by the Mark as Read button. What a pain. But watch the video below to save yourself all this trouble. I guarantee you, you’ll smile the first few times you use this trick.
Let us know what you think of these tips and apps. For other related iPhone and iOS articles, check out our directory here.