Getting to Know the iPod Touch Controls - dummies

Getting to Know the iPod Touch Controls

By Tony Bove

After you press the sleep/wake button, the first screen you see on an iPod touch before unlocking it includes the time and date at the top, a nice color pattern as a background, the Slide to Unlock slider at the bottom, and a camera icon to the right of the slider. To unlock your iPod touch, slide your finger across the Slide to Unlock slider. Once unlocked, your Home screen appears in all its glory.

iPod touch home screen
The iPod touch Home screen.

After awakening but before unlocking your iPod touch, you can quickly take a picture with the iPod touch camera by sliding the camera icon up to reveal the camera. You can also press the physical Home button twice quickly to display music controls. Slide the volume control to set the volume, and tap the play/pause, previous/rewind or next/fast-forward buttons to control playback.

Here are the touches and gestures you need to know to use an iPod touch:

  • Drag with your fingertip: Scroll up or down lists slowly.
  • Flick up or down: Swipe your fingertip quickly across the surface to scroll up or down lists rapidly.
  • Touch and hold: Touch and hold an object in order to drag it, or while scrolling, touch and hold to stop the moving list.
  • Flick from left to right or right to left: Quickly swipe your fingertip across the screen to change screens or application panes or to scroll a wide screen quickly.
  • Single tap: Select an item.
  • Double tap: Zoom in or out with Safari, Maps, and other applications.
  • Two-finger single tap: Zoom out in Maps.
  • Pinch: Zoom out.
  • Unpinch: Zoom in.

Need to practice your tapping? Try Tap Tap Revenge, a rhythm game that plays music while requiring you to tap each of the colored balls when they reach the line at the bottom of the screen. If you tap the ball on the beat, you gain points; if not, it counts as a miss. You can also activate a revenge mode to score more points by shaking the iPod touch after setting a winning streak of 50 beats.

Tapping the apps from Apple

The iPod touch Home screen offers the following apps supplied by Apple free:

  • FaceTime: Use Wi-Fi to make FaceTime video calls to other people who have FaceTime (currently fourth-generation iPod touch and iPhone 4 models, iPad 2 models, and users running Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion on their Macs).
  • Calendar: View your calendar.
  • Photos: Select photos by photo album or select individual photos on the iPod touch.
  • Camera: Snap a photo or shoot video using either the main back camera or front camera.
  • Videos: Play videos from your iTunes library.
  • Maps: View maps and get driving directions.
  • Weather: View the weather in multiple cities.
  • Passbook: Store all of your passes — boarding passes, tickets, store cards, and coupons.
  • Notes: Add text notes.
  • Reminders: Add reminder notes and to-do tasks to a calendar and a list.
  • Clock: View multiple clocks and use the alarm clock, timer, and stopwatch.
  • Stocks: Check the prices for financial stocks, bonds, and funds.
  • Newsstand: Read magazines and newspapers downloaded from the iTunes Store.
  • iTunes: Go to the iTunes online store to purchase content.
  • App Store: Go to Apple’s online App Store to download other Apple and third-party apps.
  • Game Center: Discover and play games online with your friends.
  • Settings: Adjust settings for Wi-Fi, sounds, brightness, Safari, and other apps, as well as other settings for the iPod touch itself.

The following icons appear on the dock at the bottom of every Home screen:

  • Messages: Send and receive text messages with other iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone users with the iMessage service.
  • Mail: Check and send e-mail.
  • Safari: Browse the web.
  • Music: Select music playlists, artists, songs, albums, and more (including podcasts, genres, composers, audio books, and compilations).

The Utilities icon also appears on the Home screen. This is a folder containing the following apps (if you restored from a backup, these apps may be loose on the Home screen rather than in Utilities):

  • Contacts: View your contacts.
  • Calculator: You can use your iPod touch as a regular calculator for adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and so on. Also, if you hold the iPod touch horizontally, it becomes a scientific calculator.
  • Voice Memos: Record your voice.

Additionally, you can download Apple’s free iBooks app to read electronic books (e-books) from Apple’s iBookstore and e-books from other vendors, as well as your own and downloaded PDF files.

Checking the status bar

The iPod touch shows its current state in the status bar at the top of the screen. The icons mean the following:

  • iPod: Just in case you forgot you had an iPod in your hands (very existential).
  • Wi-Fi: This icon says the iPod touch is connected to a Wi-Fi network. If the network offers Internet access (all commercial ones do), you’re on the Internet. The more bars you see in the icon, the stronger the connection to the network.
  • Airplane mode: This icon replaces the Wi-Fi icon if you turned on Airplane Mode on the Settings screen. When you turn Airplane Mode on, the iPod touch automatically turns off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Note that you can turn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth back on while in Airplane Mode, so that you can use the airline’s Wi-Fi (if offered).
  • Network activity: This icon twirls to show that data is traveling from the network to your iPod touch (or vice versa).
  • VPN: If you have special network settings that access a virtual private network (VPN), this icon shows up next to the Wi-Fi icon to tell you that you are connected to it. Often used for corporate networks, a VPN provides secure information transport by authenticating users and encrypting data.
  • Do not disturb: If you tell your iPod touch not to disturb you with notifications, this partial moon icon appears. You can set the Notification Center to “do not disturb” by choosing Settings→Notifications.
  • Play: This icon tells you that a song, audio book, or podcast is playing (in case you didn’t know — maybe you took your headphones off).
  • Orientation lock: This icon appears if you locked the iPod touch in portrait display orientation.
  • Alarm: This icon appears if you set an alarm.
  • Location Services: This icon appears to the left of the battery icon if an app is using Location Services to determine the location of the iPod touch.
  • Bluetooth: This icon appears to the left of the battery icon only if Bluetooth is turned on. If Bluetooth is on and a device, such as a headset or keyboard, is connected, the icon is white; if it is on but nothing is connected, it turns gray.
  • Battery: The battery icon shows the battery level or charging status. It’s completely filled in when the battery is fully charged, and it slowly empties out into just an outline when the battery is used up. A lightning bolt appears inside the icon when the device is recharging, and a plug appears inside it when the iPod touch is connected to power.