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 how to put your iPhone into recovery mode.
Mastering the multitouch screen
The Apple iPhone has no physical keyboard or keypad buttons, so you use virtual buttons and controls that appear on-screen to perform actions.
Here are the gestures you need to know for Face ID iPhone models, 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 Home screen page from other Home screen pages.
- Old-school equivalent: Press the Home button.
- Switch apps: Swipe up and pause without lifting your finger to invoke the app switcher. Or swipe right along the bottom of the screen 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 the App Switcher. Or use two fingers — place one finger on each app’s preview, and then swipe upward — to close two running apps, or three fingers to close three running apps.
Here is how to maneuver through the iPhone’s touchscreen icons, buttons, and connections on all current iPhone models:
- Swipe up from the bottom of the screen (Face ID models) or press the Home button (Touch ID models) to return to the first Home screen page at any time.
- Flick a finger to scroll through music, pictures, emails, contacts, and more.
- Tap the screen to open apps, 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. 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. Alternatively, simply tap above or below Control Center.
- Correct errors by long-pressing to display an insertion point and a magnification loupe, and then sliding your finger on the screen to place the insertion point exactly where you want to edit. Alternatively, long-press the spacebar until the keys go blank, and then use the keyboard area like a touchpad.
- 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 Predictive feature suggests word completions, while the Auto-Correction feature corrects many 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 one of these tabs:
- 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. In the Add to Favorites pop-up panel, tap the type of favorite — Message, Call, Video, or Mail — and then tap the phone number or email address to use.
- 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 the Home number or the Mobile number).
- Keypad: Manually dial on a virtual touchtone keypad.
- 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 play/pause icon that shows up to the left of the name or number. Returning a call is as simple as tapping the Call Back button.
Here are two more ways to make calls:
- Ask Siri. Press and hold down
- The side button on iPhones with Face ID
- The Home button on iPhones with Touch 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, and then tap either the “Siri” or “Hey Siri” button or the “Hey Siri” button), you can skip pressing and holding and just say the magic words.
- Use FaceTime. To start 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 if it appears dimmed and can’t be selected, that contact isn’t set up for FaceTime video.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Force any frozen applications to quit. Swipe the app upward from the app switcher.
- 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.
- 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 or the General tab (Finder).
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 Siri can do more than answer questions. Siri can also amuse and entertain you and your friends. Try these 10 prompts on Siri:
- 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.
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 & Search → 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.)
And here’s one more bonus: Siri will gladly call you whatever you like. So, ask Siri to “call me Ishmael,” or “call me Your Majesty,” and impress your friends with your new nickname by asking Siri “who am I?”
Renewing your Face ID iPhone model with recovery mode
If your Face ID–equipped iPhone is really messed up, try the Face ID rendition of recovery mode:
- Connect your iPhone to your computer with the included USB-C Charge Cable (USB-port iPhones) or Lightning-to-USB cable (Lightning-port iPhones).
- (macOS Catalina or later users can skip this step.) Launch iTunes if it didn’t launch automatically when you connected your iPhone.
- Press and quickly release the volume up button, and then press and quickly release the volume down button.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use iTunes (or Finder if you’re using macOS Catalina or later) to restore the device from a backup, as described in the book iPhone For Dummies.