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If you’re the owner of a new iPhone or iPad, congratulations and welcome to the world of iOS 7. If you’ve never used one of these devices, there’s much to learn, but you don’t have to take classes or spend more money to find what you need to know.
Your new mobile device is essentially a computer, a communication tool, a compact camera, a virtual assistant, a notepad, and an entertainment center all rolled up into one. Our MakeUseOf Guide to iOS 7 explains the important features of the operating system in detail, but today we’ll only be looking at the basics.
There’s much to learn, so let’s get started.
Set Up An iCloud Account
You’ve probably already registered your device, which in the process walked you through the steps of creating an Apple ID account. Your Apple ID is what you will use to make all your Apple software purchases. You will also need your ID for whenever you update or change to a new iOS device, so plan to keep your ID for as long as you use Apple devices, including Macs.
Bookmarking Websites & Articles
This article includes lots of links to other articles that you might want to read later. If you’re reading this article on a Mac you probably already know how to save it to the Safari Reading List. The Reading List is a list of saved web pages, providing a quick way to mark something as interesting for later. You can do the same from an iOS device:
- Open the Safari app
- Find something interesting, then tap on the share button (a square and upward arrow)
- In the share sheet, tap on Bookmark to create a permanent shortcut or Add to Reading List to save the article for later.
Note: You can also tap and hold (long press) a link, and choose Add to Reading List from there. Try it!
You can access your Reading List and Bookmarks under Safari by tapping the Bookmarks icon at the bottom of the screen (it looks like an open book) then choosing the Reading List icon (which looks like a pair of spectacles).
Now let’s do something practical with your email address. Because your email is something you will likely be typing on a regular basis, a shortcut can be created to type it faster.
- Open the Settings app, which should be on the homepage of your device.
- Tap on General then Keyboard and finally Shortcuts.
- Tap the plus “+” button on the top-right.
- In the window that opens type your email address in the Phrase field
- Type a shortcut of two or more letters to represent your address, for example “myem”.
Now when you type “myem” it will automatically expand and replace it with the address you assigned it. You can create shortcuts for any words or phrases you type regularly, such as your address or difficult names.
Know Your Settings App
The Settings app is one area of iOS that new owners need to become most familiar with. Spend some time getting familiar with all of the options available to you. For example, Settings is where you go to change the wallpaper on your device, ringtones and other sounds as well as advanced features like factory reset. We’ve got a slightly older article about settings features in iOS 6, much of which rings true for iOS 7.
Setting Up Siri
Siri is a virtual assistant feature you should know about for issuing verbal commands on your device. The two links below explain in more detail how to get set up with Siri, but as a new iOS user you first need to make sure to let Siri know who you are.
- Tap on the Contacts app and look for your own name
- If you find it, skip to step 3 otherwise create a new contact for yourself using the plus “+” button
- Add or correct contact information and save the contact
- Open Settings and tap on General then Siri
- Make sure Siri is enabled, then tap on My Info
- Select the contact you found (or made) earlier.
Now you can issue a verbal commend to let Siri know who you are. Press and hold on the Home button until you hear a beep, and then say, “Call me [your name].” If Siri does not pronounce your name correctly, you will need to add a phonetic spelling of your name, using the Nickname field in your contacts info.
Point and Shoot Camera
Though the iPad’s camera is not as good as the iPhone, both devices can shoot great-looking images with ease. You should check out Matt’s article about Apple’s refreshed camera in iOS 7, and we also have beginner and advanced guides to getting more out of the iPhone camera.
Smartphone photography and iPhoneography in general has earned a large cult following on the web. The device in your pocket is compatible with hundreds of accessories, has thousands of purpose-built camera apps like filter-happy VSCO and Camera+ which gives you more control. You’ll also want to consider changing your approach to photography while shooting with a smartphone…
When you want to share photos, do the following.
- Open the Photos app
- Tap on Albums and then Camera Roll
- Find a photo you want to share, then tap the Share button (a box with an upward arrow)
- Choose any additional photos, then tap Message, Mail, iCloud, Twitter and so on to share via that protocol.
The MakeUseOf Guide to iOS 7 includes more information about sharing images and documents, similar to how I describe above.
Downloading From The App Store
You can choose from tons of free and inexpensive apps to add to your iOS device, and the App Store app is how. The various tabs outline Featured and top apps, and to download simply tap on an icon, tap the app’s price for paid apps or Free for free apps, then input your password.
The app will download and appear on your homescreen. You can find past purchases under Updates then Purchases on the iPhone, or just the Purchases tab on the iPad.
Don’t forget our Best iPhone and iPad apps pages introduce dozens of recommended apps, and you can also use the search bar above to find many other recommendations.
Find My Phone or iPad
Find my Phone is Apple’s location service for lost or stolen devices. You should ensure the setting is enabled in the Settings > iCloud > Find my Phone menu. Should your device be lost, you can head on over to iCloud.com and mark your device as stolen.
Much to Learn
While this article should get you acquainted with many useful iOS features, our free PDF guide explains a lot more. You can download our iOS 7 guide and more over on our MakeUseOf Guides page. You can also download the official Apple manual user guides for the iPhone and iPad.