iPhone For Seniors For Dummies
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Your iPhone can be so much more than a communication tool to talk into. Aside from making calls and creating your contacts, you should make yourself familiar with the many options available on the iPhone touchscreen.

You'll also want to be able to handle troubleshooting when your Apple device acts strangely or stops working. When you need a bit of levity, check out our 10 ways to have fun with Siri.

And finally, if you have an iPhone with Face ID, you’ll discover Face ID–specific tips for creating animoji and putting your iPhone into recovery mode.

Mastering the multitouch screen

The Apple iPhone has no physical keyboard or keypad buttons, so you have to use a virtual version of buttons and controls that appear on-screen for the tasks at hand.

Following, is a brief summary of the “intuitive” (according to Apple) gestures of iPhones with Face ID, along with their old-school (Touch ID) equivalents:

  • Go Home: Swipe up from the bottom to return to the Home screen or to return to the first page of Home screens from other pages.
    • Old-school equivalent: Tap the Home button.
  • Switch apps: Swipe up and pause without lifting your finger to invoke the app switcher. Or swipe right along the bottom to switch to the last app you used.
    • Old-school equivalent: Double-press the Home button.

To close a running app, swipe it upward in App Switcher. Or use two fingers to close two running apps, or three fingers to close three running apps.

The following list tells you how to maneuver through the iPhone’s touchscreen icons, buttons, and connections on all current iPhone models:

  • Press the Home button or swipe up from the bottom to return to the first home screen at any time.
  • Flick a finger to scroll through music, pictures, emails, contacts, and more.
  • Tap against the screen to open applications, play songs, choose photos, and so on.
  • Pinch and unpinch to enlarge web pages and pictures or make them smaller. The actions involve placing your thumb and index finger against the screen. Then, keeping the thumb in place, drag your index finger to pinch or unpinch accordingly. You can move both your thumb and finger, if you prefer.
  • Swipe the screen from top to bottom on the left side to open Notification Center; swipe from bottom to top to close it.
  • Swipe the screen from top to bottom on the right side (Face ID) or from bottom to top (Touch ID) to open Control Center. Swipe in the opposite direction to close Control Center.
  • Correct errors by tapping, holding, and then sliding your finger on the screen to position the pointer in the precise spot you want to edit.
  • Undo the last thing you did (usually) by swiping left with three fingers. Or to redo something you undid, swipe right with three fingers.
  • Trust the virtual keyboard. The touchscreen provides visual suggestions and corrects mistakes on the fly.

Making a call on your iPhone

You have several options for making a phone call from your iPhone. First tap the Phone icon on the Home screen, and then tap on one of these icons:

  • Favorites: The iPhone equivalent of speed dialing; the list of people (and specific numbers) you call most often. Tap a favorite to call it.
    • To add a contact to your Favorites list, tap the person’s name in the Contacts list and then tap Add to Favorites.
  • Recents: Tapping the Recents icon displays the iPhone call log. Recents displays a list of all recent calls made or received, as well as calls you missed. Tap a name to call that person.
  • Contacts: Scroll through the list of contacts until you find the person you want to call. Tap the person’s name and then tap the appropriate phone number (such as home or mobile).
  • Keypad: Manually dial on a virtual touchtone keypa
  • Voicemail: Through visual voicemail, you can listen to voicemail messages in any order you want. To play back a voicemail, tap the name or number in question. Then tap the tiny play/pause icon that shows up to the left of the name or number. Returning a call is as simple as tapping the green Call Back button.

Here are two more ways to make calls:

  • Ask Siri. Press and hold down
    • The Home button on iPhones with Touch ID
    • The side button on iPhones with Face ID
    • The center button on most wired headsets
    • Say “call” or “dial” followed by either the name of someone in your contacts or a phone number. Or if you have Hey Siri enabled (Settings –> Siri & Search –> Listen for “Hey Siri”), you can skip pressing and holding and just say the magic words (which are, of course, “Hey Siri”).
  • Use FaceTime. To initiate a FaceTime video chat from the Phone app, tap a contact’s name and then tap the FaceTime button. If there’s no FaceTime button or it appears dimmed and can’t be selected, that contact isn’t set up for FaceTime video.

Note that in the Phone app, you can long-press a contact and choose a quick action, which may include Call, Message, FaceTime, and Mail, depending on the information you have for that contact.

Managing your iPhone contacts

You access your address book by tapping the Phone icon on the Home screen of your iPhone. Some of the things you can do with contacts in the Phone application include:

  • Create a new contact: Tap Contacts at the bottom of the screen, and then tap the + icon in the upper right.Or long-press the Contacts icon on the Home screen (not the one in the Phone app) and choose Create New Contact from the Quick Actions list that appears.Enter the contact information, and then tap Done.
  • See contact info from the Favorites, Recents, or Voicemail screen: Tap the little i-in-a-circle next to the message. The contact’s information appears. Tap the contact’s phone number or email address to contact the person by phone or email, respectively.
  • Add a caller to your contacts: Long-press a phone number or name in the Recents or Voicemail list and choose Add to Existing Contact or Create New Contact.
  • Add a contact after dialing a number with the keypad: Enter the number on the numeric keypad, and then tap Add Number, which appears below the numbers you just entered. Then either tap Create New Contact and enter the contact information or tap Add to Existing Contact and select a contact.When you’re finished, tap Done.
  • Don’t forget the extremely useful but semi-hidden Send Message, Share Contact, Add to Favorites, Add to Emergency Contacts, Share My Location, and Block this Caller buttons.This sextet of useful buttons appears on each contact’s Info screen at the very bottom; if you don’t see them, just scroll down a bit and you will.Note that the Block This Caller button appears only when you access the contact record from the Contacts tab in the Phone app; if you open the Contacts app and access the contact record from there, the Block This Caller button doesn’t appear.

Getting help when your iPhone acts up

Most of the time, your iPhone behaves itself. But every so often it might cause you a problem. Here’s a quick review of things you can try if your iPhone misbehaves.

Start with the first step — suggestions in later steps are more drastic.

  1. Restart your iPhone. For iPhones with Face ID, press the volume up button, press the volume down button, and then hold down the side button until the Apple logo appears. Then release the side button.For iPhones with Touch ID, press and hold down the top (or side) button and the Home button. When you see the Apple logo, release both buttons.
  2. Force any frozen applications to quit. Swipe the app upward from the app switcher.
  3. Reset the iPhone settings. Tap the Settings icon on your Home screen, and then tap General –> Transfer or Reset iPhone –> Reset –> Reset All Settings.Resetting iPhone settings won’t erase your data, but you’ll probably have to change some settings afterwards.
  4. Restore your iPhone. Connect your iPhone to your computer as though you were about to sync. Then select the iPhone in the iTunes source list (or Finder sidebar for macOS Catalina or later), and click the Restore button on the Summary tab.

The last suggestion erases all your data and media and resets all your settings.

Because your data and media (except photos you’ve taken as well as contacts, calendar events, and playlists you’ve created or modified since your last sync) still exist on your computer, you shouldn’t lose anything.

Your next sync will take longer, and you will have to reset any settings you’ve changed since you purchased your iPhone. But your media and data files shouldn’t be affected.

One last thing: If you’re using iCloud, photos you’ve taken and calendar events and new contacts you’ve added since your last sync should be in the cloud and should reappear after you restore.

The only items in danger, at least in theory, are playlists you’ve created on your iPhone since your last sync. However, it wouldn’t hurt to let Finder (or iTunes) back up the contents of your iPhone before you click the Restore button.

10 ways to have fun with Siri

Everyone loves Siri, the (usually) intelligent assistant inside our iPhones. Most of the time you spend with Siri involves getting an answer, but it can do more than answer questions.

Siri can also amuse and entertain you and your friends. So without further ado, here are ten ways you can have some fun with Siri (we’ll try to avoid spoilers):

  • Talk dirty to me.
  • What are you wearing?
  • What does “Siri” mean?
  • Is God real?
  • What is your best pickup line?
  • What is zero divided by zero?
  • When will the world end?
  • How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
  • Why are fire trucks red?
  • Will you marry me, Siri?
  • (Bonus) Tell me a joke.

Be sure to try each phrase more than once — Siri has more than one amusing response to most of them.

Finally, since you’ve been such a good reader, here’s a bonus. You can change Siri’s gender and accent anytime you like. Just tap Settings –> Siri –> Siri Voice and amaze your friends by turning your Siri into an American, Australian, British, Indian, Irish, or South African (or, at least the voice of one.)

Introducing Animoji

If your iPhone has Face ID, you get something special and not available on iPhones with Touch ID — animated emoji known as animoji.

These clever animated avatars let you record your voice and facial expressions onto animated characters and send them to your friends.

To create an animoji in the Messages app while having a conversation:

  1. Tap the animoji icon:
    iphone animoji icon
  2. Swipe the animoji icons on the left up or down to choose an animoji.
    The happy poo animoji is shown in the following figure.
  3. Tap the red record button and record your message (30 seconds or less).

After recording an animoji:

  • To see and hear your message, tap the circular arrow.
  • To send your message, tap the blue up arrow.
  • To delete your message without sending it, tap the x-in-a-circle.

Renewing your Face ID iPhone model with recovery mode

If you need to reset your Face ID iPhone, try the Face ID rendition of recovery mode:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer with the included Lightning-to-USB cable.
  2. (macOS Catalina or later users can skip this step.) Launch iTunes if it didn’t launch automatically when you connected your iPhone.
  3. Press and quickly release the volume up button, and then press and quickly release the volume down button.
  4. Press and hold down the side button until the Recovery screen appears.

    If you see a battery icon with a thin red band and an icon displaying a wall plug, an arrow, and a lightning bolt, you need to let your iPhone charge for at least 10 to 15 minutes. When the battery picture goes away or turns green instead of red, go back to Step 3 and try again.

  5. Choose to restore or update your iPhone:
    Restoring wipes out all existing data on your device and installs the latest iOS version.
    Updating upgrades the software to the latest version while preserving all the content and settings on your device.
  6. Use iTunes (or Finder if you’re using macOS Catalina or later) to restore the device from a backup.

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