iPhone and iPad

Solve 5+ Annoying iPhone Problems With These Apps & Tips [iOS]

Bakari Chavanu 09-07-2012

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 Jailbreaking & iOS: The Pros and Cons of Voiding Your Warranty Have you been feeling the need to jailbreak recently? With the latest tools, freeing your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad (not iPad 2) is as easy and accessible as it’s likely to get. There are... Read More the iPhone and installing Cydia Should You Still Jailbreak Your iPhone? It used to be that if you wanted advanced functionality on your iPhone, you'd jailbreak it. But is it really worth it at this stage in the game? Read More 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.

iphone problems

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.


problems with iphone

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.


problems with iphone

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.

problems with iphone


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.

iphone problems

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.

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  1. Sridharan Doraivelu
    November 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Mark as read is a very useful tip. Thanks

  2. Sridharan Doraivelu
    November 26, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Very useful apps and informative reviews.

  3. Dr. Hisham
    October 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I had an Iphone 4S 16 G and the problem is that the my SIM card is not working and every time I put my SIM card the carrier is keep seraching without indentification of the carrier, however the Iphone is working as an internet and WI FI

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 20, 2012 at 3:20 am

      Hmmm, Dr. Hisham, have you talked to your carrier about the issue?

  4. kam
    August 1, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Why dont we just let it be and work our fingers more to avoid any serious joint issues much later in life! It is such an irony afterall...

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 20, 2012 at 3:19 am

      Kam, I'm not sure what you're saying?

  5. Johnny Smith
    July 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Please come up with one to Delete All Emails from main email screen.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Totally agree, Johnny. Hope someone at Apple is reading comments like yours.

  6. Lauren Ledbetter
    July 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    thanks for the tips!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Lauren, thanks for the feedback.

  7. Henk
    July 16, 2012 at 8:52 am

    How simple is the marking all emails tip! Makes live a lot easier, though! Thanks.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      Totally agree, Henk. I'm still confused about why Apple hasn't added that feature yet.

  8. Ujiro
    July 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I love this writeup. The problems written on this article are not only Iphone's probem blackberry have same problem too especially the problem of marking emails as unread. I wanna know if these problem solving apps are available for BB. I also heard about the Iphone 5 rumours that's going to be released this year october. How true is that?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 15, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks for your feedback, Ujiro. Sorry, I don't know much about BB. My wife had a hold one, but I gave her my iPhone 4, so she no longer uses it. I wouldn't doubt that iPhone 5 will be released by October, if not sooner.

  9. Tiziano Gregory Perugini
    July 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Nice tips as always.
    I'm a new IOS user: is there a way to visualize all the unread mail first on IOS mail?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 13, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Tiziano. The only other way to preview your mail is using the Notifications feature in iOS. On screen you can drag your index finger down from near the top of the phone and it will reveal a list of your emails and other notifications. You can control what notifications appear by going to Settings>Notifications. Hope that helps.

  10. Fred Heinemann
    July 11, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Launch Center Pro - Between 10:00 AM today and now it went up to $2.99.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 12, 2012 at 4:49 am

      Thanks Fred, for letting us know this. Seems like they are putting the app on and off sale quite frequently.

  11. Jim
    July 10, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Does Captio include a landscape keyboard orientation, like Note 2 Self does?

    An app I find equally useful is Say It & Mail It, which lets you record and mail an audio note to yourself with just two taps. Obviously not meant for use while on a phone call, it's indispensable in situations where you need to make a note but your hands aren't free (or shouldn't be, such as when you might be tempted to type while driving).

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 12, 2012 at 4:48 am

      Jim, I just checked the Captio app and it does allow for landscape mode; of course you need to unlock the orientation. Say It & Mail sounds interesting. I wonder could record someone through the speaker of the iPhone?

  12. Charles H. Green
    July 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Great ideas, guys, thanks so much,
    Much of this is useful to me; I actually found the Notes thing tedious for the reasons you mention, even though yes you can do it, and I live and die by syncing. Call me juvenile, but I like the app.
    And way cool to mark-as-read, thanks!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 12, 2012 at 4:45 am

      Thanks Charles, appreciate the feedback. There seems to be some disagreement about the Notes app. For some reason I've never been a big fan of it, though I have lots of pages in it. Captio just seems so cool and slick to me.

  13. Bob Pfeiffer
    July 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks for the "Mark All Emails as Read" trick. I had never seen that one before and I love it!!! Every time I update my POP3 email where all the emails I have already read on another device, I end up having to click on 50 emails to mark them all as read. Now I can do it in a couple of clicks. Fantastic. Let's hope that "feature" doesn't disappear with the upgrade to 6.0. :)

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 12, 2012 at 4:43 am

      Thanks Bob for your feedback.

  14. Jacqueline
    July 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Wow thanks for adding the lifehacker video. The unread emails was driving me nuts. I know you can just go to apple mail, select all and mark as read, but I'm not always at my Mac. Thank you

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 12, 2012 at 4:42 am

      Yeah, that trick made me smile when I first started using it. It was such a pain to select emails individually. Not sure why Apple hasn't included a Delete All feature by now. Thanks for your feedback.

  15. Edward Polack
    July 9, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    In regards to the Captio app, there is really no need for this app if you have an iPhone and a Mac running Lion with mail.app. You can annotate a number using the notes.app on your iphone and when you save it, it automatically shows up in mail.app on your Mac computer. You don't even have to send it or anything. Way easier than downloading an extra app you don't need.

    Just my two cents.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 10, 2012 at 2:51 am

      Hey Edward, I hear what you're saying. That's why I did point out that the Notebook app could also be used. But for me, the notebook is like 2 taps too many. With Captio, it's one single tap. Done. I know it's not a big deal, but I do a lot of clicking and tapping everyday, so one or two less taps is pretty cool for me. Plus, I'm adding like one line notes in Captio that I typically review within a week. Those notes end up in a mailbox in Mail where I can quickly mass delete them. After a month, they disappear from the Captio archive. I use my iPhone Notebook for longer notes. But thanks for sharing, for the notebook is indeed another good option.

      • James Bruce
        July 10, 2012 at 7:51 am

        How is it more taps to use Notes? You open it, type in your thing. That's it. It automatically syncs with Mail - you don't need to save or send it. As far as I can tell, thats LESS taps than having to click SEND in the Captio app.

        • Bakari Chavanu
          July 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm

          Because you have to tap + to add each new note. If I kept all these type of notes on a single note page, that it probably wouldn't be an issue. But then that note page would have to remain near the top of the list for quick access (and one less tap.) But I guess it depends on what works for you. I gave Notes a try for this process, and for now I still prefer Captio.

  16. Jason C
    July 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I wish the iPhone had a "close all apps" option in the running apps tray. This exists for jailbroken iphones but I don't want to jailbreak just for that. Tapping 20+ close buttons if you want to shut everything down is tedious.

    • Sandy R
      July 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      I agree with Jason C. It's a pain to have to click on each one individually.

      • Bakari Chavanu
        July 9, 2012 at 10:34 pm

        I agree, there are just some things I can't understand why Apple hasn't added by now. Compared to all the other more advanced features, closing all apps seems like an easy one to include. Thanks, Jason and Sandy, for sharing.

      • James Bruce
        July 10, 2012 at 7:51 am

        When it gets to that point, restarting seems like a better choice.

        • Joses Lemmuela
          July 12, 2012 at 3:59 am

          Restarting doesn't seem to do that, though.

    • Jerry
      August 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      Apple are advising that there's no need to quit apps via the running apps tray because iOS5.0+ manages memory & shuts down apps on 1st on, 1st off basis, if required. Number running is limited as well. I've seen comparisons done with only one app running Vs many & with iPhone 4S, there was no difference.

      • Jason C
        August 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm

        Actually, I have had a few different reasons why I wanted to close app(s). 1. The app was using location services and/or continues to give turn-by-turn directions when I've arrived somewhere and I don't want to spend the time mucking with the app to stop that activity. 2. I want to wipe the running apps tray clean so only a few are running and I don't have 3 dozen to look through. 3. I want to be sure to eliminate any potential battery draining apps running in the background. 4. It's my choice and I want to wipe the slate clean immediately and quickly without any hassle.

        Apple engineers may feel very confident about their thinking, but sometimes the customer wants to feel they have a certain amount of control without inconvenience. This is one of those cases.

  17. Jonathan
    July 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    You can't snooze a calendar reminder!!! Basic stuff, BlackBerry can do it, Palm could do it!! ARGH!!!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      Good point, Jonathan. Thanks for sharing.

    • James Bruce
      July 10, 2012 at 7:49 am

      You can with Due: //www.makeuseof.com/tag/due-the-reminder-timer-app-youve-always-wanted-osx-ios/ - far superior to the built in calendar.

      • Jonathan
        July 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

        Thanks, but is this just another reminder app, or does it interface with existing reminders? I use Google Calendar, and need a way to snooze those reminders.

        • James Bruce
          July 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm

          Ahh, no. It does sync with it's own desktop app though.

        • Jonathan
          July 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

          Darn. Oh, well, thanks anyway!

  18. John
    July 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    What David Said!

  19. David
    July 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Launch Center Pro shows to be $2.99, not $0.99.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      David, it was probably one of the price drop sales when I first purchased the app. At the time I didn't notice that it was on sale. Thanks for the update.

      • Achraf Almouloudi
        July 12, 2012 at 4:26 am

        Better update the post as it confuse everyone .