This fall I’m teaching a course on “Getting the Most Out of Your iPhone/iPad” to Boomers and Seniors.

Here are 10 of the most compelling issues and questions we dealt with this week. Some small, others more significant. All worthwhile to know!

Compare to see how your questions match up and be sure to check out the links to solve some of these vexing questions.

1. Apple ID and Password. Your Apple ID and password are critical to know and remember. Any time you set up a new device or make a purchase through the APP store, iTunes, or iCloud you will be asked to sign in with your Apple ID and password. Here is the information you need to set up an Apple ID with explanation on all the ins and outs. Always know what these two pieces of information are!

2. Passcode and Touch ID. Be safe by setting a six-digit passcode or a touch ID so that if you lose or misplace your phone no one can gain access. If you skipped that part when you were setting up your iPhone, no problem. You can still do it (or change it) by going to SETTINGS > Touch ID & Passcode and set up both. While I like being able to unlock my iPhone by simply using a fingerprint touch, it doesn’t always work, so I revert to the passcode. I know that some people think that using a passcode is annoying and slows them down, but I would be VERY unhappy if someone were able to access my phone if they found it. Note that you can also set the time for re-entering your passcode from immediately to 15 minutes to several hours.

3. SEARCH may be your best friend on your iPhone (and not Siri!). I use the SEARCH function repeatedly to find APPS on my phone, ask for directions, resolve issues about performing a function on my phone that I can’t remember (“how to I share photos with someone else?”), or to search the web. Quite simply, SEARCH, also knows as Spotlight Search for the small  helps me find anything I need. Swipe right from your primary home screen until you come to the Search screen with the Spotlight Search icon. You can also touch somewhere in the grid of apps on any home screen and swipe your finger downwards. If you scroll to the bottom of this screen, you’ll find an opportunity to Search the WEB, APP STORE, and MAPS.

4. Use VOICE in place of text. Of course, you have Siri to answer questions and locate resources for you on your device or on the Web. And using a voice command starts by setting up your “Hey, Siri” command under SETTINGS > Siri & Search > Listen for “Hey Siri”. You can also PRESS HOME for Siri, set the type and style of the Siri Voice and much more. The important thing is that the more you use Siri, the more Siri gets to know you, your language style, and requests. Siri can make suggestions in apps, or when you use Search. Give it a try to see how Siri can help you.

5. Brightness and volume control in the new Control Center.  I really like these two additions to the Control Center (CC). Handy to have in one place and easily controlled by sliding with your finger. To access the CC swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal a number of functions and controls to a flashlight, calculator, lock orientation, and the brightness and volume control sliders mentioned in this tip. And more! And in iOS 11 you can customize the CC by adding even more controls. Go to SETTINGS >Control Center> Customize Controls to add and organize additional controls.

6. Use YouTube to learn visually! Don’t forget to use YouTube as a source of information when you want to learn something. Especially useful when a video can demonstrate and actually show you what you want to learn. Want to learn how to repair your refrigerator or dishwasher? Watch a YouTube video. Want to see how to build a storage shed? Watch a YouTube video. Use the Search bar in YouTube to ask a question or indicate the topic you want to learn about. Of course, once YouTube gives you a response, the real fun starts when you have to choose the video that could be most helpful to you. Check out the date, length of the video, qualifications of the video-maker, reviews from others, and more as criteria for making your decision.

 7. Organize your Apps. Some people organize their apps by color with columns or rows of green, red, blue apps. Others sort alphabetically. Still others have themed rows with Maps and travel related apps in one row; social media apps in another (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others). Using folders to hold like-minded Apps makes a lot of sense. I have some folders titled NEWS, TRAVEL, MUSIC, and HEALTH. To start a folder simply drag one app on top of another and that creates a folder with a suggested name. You can change the name of the folder to one of your liking. But don’t overcrowd folders so it is difficult to see what they hold.

8. Navigating on your device. Learning to use your iPhone (or iPad) is about learning the symbols, icons, and directions for moving from app to app or using the various icons within the camera or while texting or using Facetime. Knowing how to begin writing a text or email (the compose icon); knowing how to “back out” of one screen to return to a previous screen, or; knowing how to add, delete, share, attach, and much more are critical. Here is a great set of icons to get you started.

  9. Text size, a small thing that can make a big difference. I noticed this week that several students had enlarged the text size on their iPhones to such an extent that text was distorted within apps. The large text size on the iPhone made it difficult to read easily because it looked like this. You can change text size in SETTINGS > Display & Brightness > Text Size. Or, add the Text Size box to your Control Center as explained in #5 above and add the Text Size slider to your CC as shown to the left. In either case, use the slider to set the text size you want.

10. One more thing! How many Apps do you need/want/use? I read an article not too long ago where the author suggested that any more than three screens of apps might be too many. That’s about what I have plus, of course, a number of folders. Every month or so I’ll take a look at my apps and if I haven’t used an app in two or three months, I’ll delete it. You can always add it back later. But, I don’t like to have lots of clutter on my phone making it difficult to see and use! I currently have 102 apps on my iPhone. Too few…or too many? Here is a reasonable discussion about this issue.

Ok, that’s what a bunch of iPhone (and iPad) users were concerned about this week!

Let us know your questions about your iPhone or iPad.

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If this information is helpful to you, you will like our other iPhone and iPad resources.

CLICK HERE to get three terrific FREE videos on using your iPhone—5 benefits; passcode and passwords, and; personalizing your iPhone. Great tips!