iPhone and iPad

Received A New iPhone or iPad? Here Are Some Tips For iOS Newbies

Bakari Chavanu 06-01-2014

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 15 Time Saving And Clutter Free Safari Features & Tips You Should Know About If browsing the web is one of the top three things you do on your computer everyday, you owe it to yourself to become familiar with as many time saving and clutter free features as... Read More . 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:

  1. Open the Safari app
  2. Find something interesting, then tap on the share button (a square and upward arrow)
  3. 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!


Bookmark articles

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).

Keyboard Shortcuts

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.

  1. Open the Settings app, which should be on the homepage of your device.
  2. Tap on General then Keyboard and finally Shortcuts.
  3. Tap the plus “+” button on the top-right.
  4. In the window that opens type your email address in the Phrase field
  5. 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.


IOS shortcuts

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 10 New iOS 6 Settings You Should Know About As with any operating system or software, you should eventually take some time to see what Preferences settings exist. The latest release of iOS 6 includes a number of settings that provide better control of... Read More , 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.

  1. Tap on the Contacts app and look for your own name
  2. If you find it, skip to step 3 otherwise create a new contact for yourself using the plus “+” button
  3. Add or correct contact information and save the contact
  4. Open Settings and tap on General then Siri
  5. Make sure Siri is enabled, then tap on My Info
  6. Select the contact you found (or made) earlier.

Siri my info

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 If You're Not Using Siri By Now, You Should Be Most of the commercials, jokes, and media hype about Apple's iOS voice assistant, Siri, have subsided, but I still run into iPhone users who don't take advantage of this powerful feature. Just the other day... Read More .

See our other articles about iOS 7 Siri commands Do More With Siri Using The New iOS 7 Siri Commands If you find yourself fumbling with your iPhone to make a simple phone call, launch an app, set a reminder or wake-up alarm then you're probably not using Siri enough. Read More  and other features you should know about If You're Not Using Siri By Now, You Should Be Most of the commercials, jokes, and media hype about Apple's iOS voice assistant, Siri, have subsided, but I still run into iPhone users who don't take advantage of this powerful feature. Just the other day... Read More .

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 Apple Changed The Camera App In iOS7: Here’s What You Need To Know Every element of the new iOS interface has been updated. In addition to the home screen and menus, this includes core apps like the Camera which form a large part of the iOS experience. Read More , and we also have beginner Beginners Guide To Using The iPhone Camera If you haven't used the iPhone Camera app much, or if you’re a new user of the device, you may not realize just how close the app is to literally being a point-and-shoot camera, and... Read More and advanced A Beginners Guide to Advanced iPhone Camera Features A few weeks ago, we published a Beginners Guide To Using the iPhone Camera, which explains how to use the default features of the camera app, including the how to frame, expose and focus a... Read More guides to getting more out of the iPhone camera.


IPhone camera 12

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 Pimp Your iPhone for Photography Zen The iPhone makes taking photos nearly effortless. It's a camera in your pocket and the massive number of apps and accessories make shooting photos with the device an art and culture of its own. Read More , has thousands of purpose-built camera apps New To iPhoneography? Here Are The Best Apps The App Store Has On Offer The iPhone's popularity for photos comes down to several different things - the convenience of having your 'camera' with you all the time and the sheer variety of shooting, editing and sharing apps. Read More  like filter-happy VSCO Beyond Filters: Unique & Interesting iPhone Camera Apps The App Store is packed with so many camera and video apps that it becomes difficult to filter out the noise. Today we're taking some of the guess work out of that equation. Read More  and Camera+ which gives you more control Camera+ for iPhone Adds Powerful Controls Without Over-Complicating Things Freshly updated for iOS 7, Camera+ features a range of powerful features that will please even seasoned photographers used to shooting with digital SLRs. Read More . You’ll also want to consider changing your approach to photography 5 Nuggets of Smartphone Photography Wisdom To Live By When it comes to smartphone photography, we try to cover a bit of everything here at MakeUseOf. Sometimes though, among the sea of apps and accessories, social networks and hashtags, the essence photography can get... Read More while shooting with a smartphone…

Send Photos

When you want to share photos, do the following.

  1. Open the Photos app
  2. Tap on Albums and then Camera Roll
  3. Find a photo you want to share, then tap the Share button (a box with an upward arrow)
  4. Choose any additional photos, then tap Message, Mail, iCloud, Twitter and so on to share via that protocol.

IOS sharing

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.

App store

Don’t forget our Best iPhone The Best New iOS Apps of 2015 (And Our Favorite Updates) We've sorted through the stream of new apps that arrived in 2015 and devised a list of our favourites just for you. Read More  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.

Find my phone

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.

Related topics: iPad mini, iPhoneography.

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  1. Carol
    January 23, 2014 at 5:32 am

    I wish it had arrow keys. I know we can touch where we want to be in the midst of our texting, but the touch isn't always accurate and may take a few times to get it right where you want to be...frustrating...

  2. Ben P.
    January 7, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Not quite sure how "Backspace" is counterintuitive, given that you are quite literally moving back a space. And WP8 lacks a backspace key, as do many Android keyboards, so I don't think it should be decried as much as it is.

  3. Manuth C
    January 7, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Siri is as stupid as ever, it can't even tell the weather in my town

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Manuth C, sorry to hear that. I use frequently use Siri, but I don't think I've ever used it for checking the weather. Thanks for letting us know.

  4. Bakari Chavanu
    January 7, 2014 at 1:04 am

    Hmmm, Rob, I never saw the Backspace key as inadequate as a "Delete" key. If I'm understanding you correctly, the Backspace/Delete key functions the same way on Mac keyboards. What device do you use that includes a dedicated "Delete" key? Maybe I can check it out for comparison. Thanks for your response.

    • Chinmay S
      January 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      On PC keyboards there are 2 keys - Backspace and Delete
      Example - Suppose i want to edit the word 'thanks'
      If my cursor is to the left of letter 't' and i press backspace nothing will happen but if i press delete key 't' will be removed. Similarly, if my cursor is to the right of letter 's' and if i press delete key nothing will happen but if i press backspace 's' will be removed.

  5. Rob
    January 6, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    You didn't tell everyone that iOS has no "Delete" key for removing text to the right of the cursor. Only a "Backspace" key. A major PIA and completely counter-intuitive.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 8, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      Thanks, Chinmay S, now I see. I haven't used a PC keyboard in a long time. I just the arrow keys on the Mac and finger move the cursor on an iOS device in order to backspace. It hasn't been a big issue for me, but I can see how it might be useful to have a dedicated backspace key.