7 Great iPhone Tricks

iPhone 5I’m a fan. I love my iPhone. I text, check email, take pictures, edit movies, use it to MapQuest from point A to point B, and, oh yeah, I make calls on it too.  Here are my favorite tricks:

1. Flashing Light

You probably know how to assign ringtones and get your phone to vibrate, but did you know you can make it flash a bright light with every incoming call too?  Go to Settings –> General –>  Accessibility,  and then scroll down to HEARING. Turn on LED Flash for Alerts.

In the video below you’ll hear my phone barking (that’s my “normal” ringtone) and you’ll see it flashing too. Fun, huh?

As far as I can tell it only flashes for incoming calls and alarms I set through the Clock feature. (That flash is pretty bright in a dark room. That’ll get you up in the morning!)

2.  Silence Telemarketers

Free Ringtone RecorderYes, by all means call the “Do Not Call Registry” from your cell phone (888-382-1222). For those calls that get through, however, I created a contact called Dirty Filthy Telemarketers. Next, I created a SILENT ringtone using and a Ringtone Recorder.  I put the volume all the way down and let it record NOTHING for 30 seconds. Then, following the prompts from the app, I downloaded the ringtone and emailed it to myself. On my desktop computer I opened the email and downloaded the attachment. To apply the ringtone I had to drag it into iTunes (I’d rather rip a 3 foot seam), click the Ringtones Tab, select “Sync ringtones,” and then click “Synch/Apply.”

Then, all I had to do was edit the Dirty Filthy Telemarketer contact on my iPhone and select my silent ringer under Ringtone. Whenever a telemarketer gets through, I add their phone number to the Dirty Filthy Telemarketer contact. When they call again (and they will) I hear total silence. My light might go off, and my phone might vibrate, but I know a silent ringer and the words Dirty Filthy Telemarketer on my welcome screen means it’s someone I don’t want to talk to. At last count I have 60 numbers under that contact.

3. Auto-text (Keyboard Shortcuts)

ShortcutsAt any one time there can be four volunteers working on the AAQI website. Before anyone publishes the site we have to ask everyone else if it’s OK to publish. It’s no fun getting dumped off the page (and losing your work) during a page publish. So we text. It gets pretty annoying to type, “OK to publish now?” to three people several times a day. I did discover Group Texting. (Start with New Message and hit the + sign for all the people you want to receive the text.) “Auto-text” is even more fun! Yup, you can set up keyboard shortcuts. Now when I type PTP, my iPhone offers, “OK to publish now?” If I want to indeed type that, I hit the space bar and there it is. Poof! Send. Done.

To set up all your favorite phrases like “Are you bringing home dinner tonight?” go to Settings –> Keyboard and click Shortcuts. Then click the + sign in the upper right corner and type in the phrase you want a shortcut for. Hint: You should pick a Shortcut (a name for the phrase). It’s marked as optional. Pick a sequence of letters you don’t ordinarily type, otherwise you’ll get that particular phrase a bit more often than you might want.

Try this:  Set up a few auto-text  phrases on someone else’s phone. Every time Steve types “Ami,” the phone completes the phrase with “the woman I love and adore.” I wonder how that happened…

4. Take Charge of UFO’s

There’s an app for that! Seriously, you can spin the wheel to decide which UFO (Un-Finished Object)  you should sew. The app is called Decide Now! and the paid version lets you input the names of all your unfinished quilts. Or a good number of them at least. I didn’t put in too many for fear of overloading my iPhone’s memory.

Spin 1Spin 2

5. Other Uses for Earbuds

Earbud shutter releaseEver want to take a picture of your hand doing something? It’s pretty hard. Sure you can hold the iPhone and press the up or down volume button to take the picture with your left thumb, but here’s another way.

Plug in your earbuds and hold the volume up/down bar between your lips. When you’re ready to snap the shutter press either end with your lips. Click! (Try not to drool.)

If all your pictures are blurry because tapping the screen to take the picture makes it move, you could also just use your free hand to push the volume up/down on the earbuds. It also works to turn video on and off.

6. Screen Shots

Wonder how I took the pictures in tip #2, #3, and #4? The pictures show exactly what was on my iPhone screen. Simple. I took a screen shot by holding down the Home Button at the bottom of the phone and clicking the on/off button on top of the phone. Click! What you see is what you get.

7. Decorate Your iPhone

Picture PhoneMy iPhone is wearing a “skin.” It’s a plastic stick-on image I created by uploading one of my pictures. There are also stock photos available, but wouldn’t your phone, tablet, laptop look terrific wearing a quilt?  Check out Skinit.com or Schtickers.com for all sorts of fun.

Aren’t These Cute?!

Keep Your Cords Sew Organized! You can buy them online.

Spooled (tm)Spooled 2


Ami Simms

3 thoughts on “7 Great iPhone Tricks

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