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Take Control of Your iPhone Apps
Nov 10, 2009

Take Control of Your iPhone Apps (Original iPhone)

Real-world help with using the core apps on the original iPhone and 1st-generation iPod touch!

Learn app basics and get numerous clever tips based on author Jeff Carlson’s real-world experiences with using the iPhone for work, photography, and fun. You’ll learn how to comfortably and effectively use the important core apps—Calendar, Camera, Compass, Contacts, iPod, Mail, Maps, Messages, Phone, Photos, Remote, and Safari (and for iPod touch owners, the Music and Video apps, too). If you’ve had the nagging feeling that you’re not getting as much from your iPhone or iPod touch as you could, this ebook is for you!

Original iPhone? ist-generation iPod touch? If you have either of these classic Apple devices, this ebook is for you!

More Info

You’ll find plenty of concise, clear explanations, plus pointers to a few important independent apps that add to the features offered in Apple’s.

Jeff shows you how to use the iPhone apps for real-life tasks, including how to:

  • Update your calendar on the bus, and view the changes on your office Mac.
  • Sync the sometimes elusive Birthdays calendar to your iPhone.
  • Explain to friends how your iPhone knows where it is.
  • Set an alarm that you’ll hear, even if the volume is turned down.
  • Set up a conference call with three of your friends.
  • Skip ahead in a long voicemail message.
  • Get around on the Web without squinting more than necessary.
  • Read and reply to email.
  • Send text messages or quickly place a call to someone you’re texting with.
  • Take quality photos with the iPhone 3GS.
  • Upload photos from your iPhone to your computer.
  • Trim the video you just took at a party and share it online right away.
  • Get directions from your doctor’s office to the drugstore.
  • Settle arguments about which way north is.
  • Find a song quickly so you can play it for a friend.
  • Use Jeff’s favorite free app, Remote, to run iTunes on a Mac or an Apple TV.

Is this book updated for the iPhone 3GS or the iPhone 3 operating system?

Yes! The ebook covers all the iPhones (and iPod touches), but it does have some special content about features offered only by the iPhone 3GS. It assumes that you are using iPhone OS 3, though since it focusses tightly on apps, it doesn’t say much specifically about OS-related topics.

Does the book cover using an iPhone with both the Mac and Windows?

A few topics in the ebook refer to relations between an iPhone and a desktop computer, and in those cases, the ebook assumes that the computer is a Mac, so if you are not using a Mac, your screen might look a little different than a screenshot or a few small bits of text might not quite apply to your situation. However, most of the content is about the iPhone and thus should work well regardless of any desktop computers that you may have around..

How useful is this ebook for people who live outside of the United States?

Although most of the information in the ebook applies to everyone, no matter where they are or bought the iPhone, the ebook does assume that you bought in the iPhone in the United States and are in the United States.

Does this ebook cover the iPod touch?

Yes—although the text of the book refers generally to the iPhone, it is meant to include the iPod touch. We even had someone who uses an iPod touch take a special tech edit pass through the entire manuscript.

Update Plans

July 2010 – The author, Jeff Carlson, has decided not to update this ebook.

Posted by Tonya Engst

  1. Running a Mail Spam Filter on an iPad or iPhone

    Take Control reader Genevieve S. wrote in with an interesting question a few days ago:

    Genevieve: Do you know any third-party app that can filter mail on iPad and iPhone—i.e., apply rules?
    Tonya’s reply: I don’t know of any apps that can filter mail locally on the iPad, but I’ve cc’d Adam and Joe here to see if either of them has a suggestion. Personally, I use my gmail account on the iPad, and Google handles the filtering on the server.
    Joe’s reply: There is an app called ibisMail, which comes in both iPad and iPhone versions, that does filtering on the device. However, I do what Tonya does—let a server-based filter do all the work before messages appear on any of my devices.
    Genevieve: Thank you for responding. I use the Gmail filter too, but the AT&T/Yahoo filter is lousy. This is not a problem when receiving mail on the Mac—the rules in Mail handle the leakage—but if I read the mail on the iPhone, a local filter would help.
    Adam jumps in: You could forward the other account to Gmail to get the benefit of its filter. Lots of people do that. smile
    Genevieve: Great idea!!

    In the third edition of Take Control of Mail on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, Joe touches on email forwarding in “Decide Which Account(s) to Use,” and he references a Macworld article that he wrote—Streamline e-mail with Gmail. The Macworld article discusses how to forward a non-Gmail email account through Gmail.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  2. Karen and Chuck Talk about the iPhone and iOS 4

    In MacVoices podcast episode #10114 Karen G. Anderson (author of Take Control of iPhone Basics) swaps iPhone tips and insights with MacVoices host Chuck Joiner. In this wide-ranging conversation, Karen and Chuck talk about why some people call the iPhone 3GS the “iPhone Give Spouse,” how they approach learning about iPhone features, various interesting third-party apps, and what they like—and do not like—about the iPhone.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  3. Two New Take Control Ebooks about the iPhone and iPod touch

    Apple’s release of the iPad and their decision to keep it at iOS 3.2 while the iPhone and iPod touch jumped to iOS 4 has created some confusion for users: although some differences among current iOS devices will disappear once they are all running iOS 4.2, other differences between the iPad and its smaller brethren are inescapable.

    To provide the help that people need right now, we’ve released two new ebooks: Take Control of iPhone Basics, iOS 4 Edition, by Karen G. Anderson, and Take Control of Mail on the iPhone and iPod touch, iOS 4 Edition, by Joe Kissell.

    Take Control of iPhone Basics, iOS 4 Edition is our first book from Karen Anderson, who was the managing editor of .Mac at Apple before the MobileMe transition and who has edited a number of Take Control titles. Her book covers the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4, and is designed to help new and prospective iPhone buyers pick the right iPhone model and accessories and successfully complete basic setup tasks. She explains power management, connecting to the Internet, how to set up a Bluetooth headset, transferring songs and other media from a computer, creating a security passcode, and how to get around the interface. Readers will also find help with synchronizing calendar events and contacts (whether via iTunes or over-the-air), buying apps, and finding apps and data on the iPhone. Finally, Karen provides a tour of the important apps from Apple, making sure that readers are comfortable with everything the iPhone can do.

    Take Control of iPhone Basics, iOS 4 Edition is for those who are new to the iPhone or who want to ramp up their skill level and expand their comfort zone with Apple’s phone. However, there’s an area where even experienced users are often frustrated - dealing with email - and that’s where our next book steps in.

    Take Control of Mail on the iPhone and iPod touch, iOS 4 Edition, by Joe Kissell, looks at email on the iPhone and iPod touch under iOS 4. In its 100 pages it provides the help you need to develop a mobile email strategy that gives you full control of your email and its related accounts, whether you use a regular IMAP account, Gmail, MobileMe, or Exchange.

    (This ebook is essentially an updated version of Joe’s earlier Take Control of Mail on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch that focuses on the iOS 3 version of the Mail app on all three iOS devices. Since the iPad still runs iOS 3.2, the earlier book remains for sale for iPad users.)

    For those using an iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4, Joe shares his real-world recommendations about the best ways to use the Mail app, offering carefully tested advice and directions for how to set up accounts, receive email, read and send email, and file messages. Joe also explains how to solve connection problems and work around feature limitations.

    We’re fully aware that we’ve constructed a sand castle on the beach with this title, and the high tide slated to come with iOS 4.2 will erode it. Once all the iOS devices are in sync with iOS 4.2, we’ll rationalize the situation in a way that doesn’t penalize anyone who buys Take Control of Mail on the iPhone and iPod touch, iOS 4 Edition now. Meanwhile, if you have questions like the following, you’ll find the answers in this book.

    • What are the new features in iOS 4 Mail, and how do I use them?
    • Why is an IMAP account especially useful on a mobile device?
    • How do I set up my email accounts?
    • How do I move around in the Mail app?
    • What’s the best mailbox setup for effective navigation and filing?
    • How do I handle attachments?
    • How does Mail integrate with other apps, like Calendar and Contacts?
    • What are the best ways to find messages in the Mail app?
    • What’s the deal with Exchange ActiveSync accounts?
    • Should I use push or fetch to get my messages?
    • How do I integrate Gmail with Mail?
    • Is there a way to move a message from one account to another?
    • How can I use alternative From addresses for outgoing mail?
    • Help! I can’t send my email… what should I do?

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  4. Should You Install iOS 4.1?

    If you have an original iPhone or a first-generation iPod touch, the answer is “no,” because the device doesn’t have the hardware oomph for iOS 4 and isn’t compatible with it.

    In the case of the iPhone 3G and the second-generation iPod touch, iOS 4.1 comes with good news—many people, including myself, have found that it runs much faster on the iPhone 3G than iOS 4.0.x did. I’ve read one positive report from a second-generation iPod touch user as well. Apple did not specificy in their release notes if the iPod touch was helped by the update.

    For an iPhone 3GS, third-generation iPod touch, or iPhone 4, you won’t see any particular speed enhancements from iOS 4.1, but there are several new features and bug fixes. To learn more about what’s new in iOS 4.1, read my TidBITS article, iOS 4.1: Does it Work? Should You Install It?.

    If you are updating from iOS 3 to iOS 4, note that its best to have a recent backup of your device before you begin the update. It seems that the update will erase your device and then restore from the backup. It also seems that you’ll need to re-sync any media after updating from iOS 3 to 4.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  5. YouTube Debuts New Mobile Site as an Alternative to App

    YouTube has introduced a mobile version of its site at According to YouTube, the mobile version’s features are more in alignment with the full Web site’s features and the mobile site does not use Flash, so all the videos should play on the iPhone and iPod touch. If you decide to try the site, note that once a video is playing, you can access the playback controls by tapping the playing video. Once you’ve done this, the video plays in an app-like interface, complete with playback controls. Rotate the device to the landscape (horizontal) position to view the largest image.

    The mobile version may have more to do clashing titans of the tech industry (YouTube’s parent company is Google) than with user’s needs, but it certainly offers another option for viewing YouTube videos.

    If you like the mobile site and want to view it quickly from your Home screen, you can make a “Web clip” of the site: Go to the site in Safari, tap the plus (+) button on the toolbar, and then Tap Add to Home Screen. Then, name the clip and tap the Add button. Your device will switch to the Home screen and show an icon for the clip you created. Tap the icon to quickly return to the mobile YouTube site.

    If you’d like to read more about the mobile YouTube site, here are two good resources:

    The site is currently in English only, but localized versions are expected.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  6. iPhone OS 4 Shipping with a New Name and New Apps

    At yesterday’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, Steve Jobs announced that the previously announced iPhone OS 4 will ship as iOS 4 on June 21. Because the iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone will all run iOS 4, the iOS name change makes sense. If you have an original iPhone or iPod touch, you will not be able to upgrade the device to iOS 4, but for newer devices, the upgrade is free.

    Steve showcased several changes coming to the iOS’s core apps. Here’s a quick rundown:

    • iBooks: iBooks will support PDFs and it will sync ebooks and ebook information (bookmarks, notes, your place) between iOS devices using the same account.

    • FaceTime feature in Phone: FaceTime will turn a normal phone call into a video call. At least initially, FaceTime will require that both callers have an iPhone 4 and be on a Wi-Fi connection, though it needn’t be the same Wi-Fi network. FaceTime will have options for sending video via the new front-facing camera or the back-facing camera.

    • iMovie for iPhone: This new $4.99 app will offer video editing. You can add several video clips to a project; trim their lengths using cropping handles at the clips’ edges; and add transitions, titles, music, and photos with customizable Ken Burns panning effects. The app also has five themes, which add styled text, transitions, and music to tie the movie together. The finished movie can be uploaded to a MobileMe Gallery or YouTube, or shared via email or MMS in one of three resolutions: Medium (360p), Large (540p), and HD (720p).

    • Mail: The new Mail app will have a unified Inbox for multiple accounts, message threading, support for more than one Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync account, and Document Support. Document Support means you’ll have more options for which apps you can use to open attachments.

    To find out more about iOS, see the TidBITS articles Apple Reveals iOS 4 and More at WWDC 2010 Keynote and New iPhone 4 Still Had Secrets to Reveal. Also, read Apple’s New features in the iOS 4 Software Update.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  7. iBooks Coming to the iPhone and iPod touch

    During his keynote speech at yesterday’s Apple Worldwide Developer conference, Steve Jobs discussed the upcoming version of iBooks, Apple’s ebook-reading app. When the new version of iBooks ships later this month, we’ll be able to enjoy these new features:

    • Multi-device support: The new version of iBooks will run not only on the iPad, but also on any iOS 4 device. (I’m not certain if it will run on an iPhone or iPod touch under iPhone OS 3.)

    • Sync: If you have iBooks running on multiple devices set to use the same account, you can wirelessly sync ebooks, bookmarks, notes, and current reading position across all devices. There is no charge for iBooks syncing. (This is similar to the Kindle’s Whispersync service, which works among Kindles and various Apple devices.)

    • PDF support: Steve showed PDFs being loaded into iBooks through iTunes, and he noted that an option in the Mail app will let you save attached PDFs into iBooks. However, he did not clarify whether (or when) PDFs will be offered in the iBookstore. He did say that better PDF reading was “one of the biggest requests we’ve gotten for the iPad.” PDFs wil show on a separate shelf, accessed through a button at the top of the iBooks screen.

      Many publishers, including TidBITS, are excited about this change, because the PDF format allows us to retain “page fidelity.” Page fidelity means that we can retain the layout we created in the ebook. Page fidelity works well for anything that has a lot of graphics or tables—cookbooks, technical books, children’s books, text books, and so forth. EPUB is best for books that have a simple layout with only a few graphics or with graphics that can sit nicely on a line by themselves.

    • Notes: You’ll be able to afix virtual notes to pages in your ebooks, much like attaching a sticky note to a real-life sheet of paper.

    • Fast bookmarking: You’ll be able to tap in the upper right of the iBooks screen to bookmark a page. Also, there appears to be a few new options for working more efficiently with bookmarks and a table of contents.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  8. Read Your Email on Multiple Computers

    In MacVoices #1065, Joe Kissell talks with host Chuck Joiner about two core email concepts—the POP and IMAP protocols. In particular, he explains how IMAP makes it possible to work with your email messages from more than one computer in a fluid, sensible manner. He also gives tips for switching from POP to IMAP and for using IMAP in popular email systems, including Gmail and MobileMe accounts, the Mail program on a Macintosh, the Mail app on an iPhone or iPod touch, and he discusses how the Gmail approach to storing, searching, and labeling email messages can sometimes be “hyper-weird.” Joe also talks about how spam filtering can work with IMAP accounts.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  9. Apple Enhances for the iPhone and iPod touch

    If you log in to from the Safari app on your iPhone or iPod touch, you’ll find that Apple now provides more options. Most notably, you can access Find My iPhone, making it possible to hunt for your missing device from a friend’s or colleague’s iPhone or iPod touch instead of from a regular computer. You can also now set up Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, and tap buttons for installing the iDisk and Gallery apps. For a few more details and screenshots, see the TidBITS article, MobileMe Site Adds Some Mobile Safari Support.

    Ted Landau, author of Take Control of iPhone OS 3 put this new functionality to use right away—see his blog post, New Find My iPhone from an iPhone Saves Day, for how various aspects of Find My iPhone elegantly solved a frustrating problem.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  10. MacVoices Interviews Jeff about iPhone Apps

    In MacVoices #9117, author Jeff Carlson discusses the history of why Take Control of Your iPhone Apps was created and what apps are covered out of the 100,000+ apps that are available. Jeff shares some of his favorite app-related tips, and he chats with MacVoices host Chuck Joiner about various iPhone related topics.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  11. iPhone and iPod touch Thoroughly Explained by Two New Ebooks

    For anyone who is perplexed by their iPhone or iPod touch, or who feels that they’d get more out of it if they understood it better, two new Take Control ebooks are now available and ready to help.

    Much as we wanted to release these ebooks shortly after Apple released iPhone OS 3 and the iPhone 3GS in June 2009, it took time to give these ebooks the depth and polish that we require. Luckily, during that time, Apple updated the iPhone OS several times, plus Snow Leopard and iTunes 9, so we were able to incorporate those changes as we worked. And so we are extremely pleased to announce the release of two very up-to-date ebooks: Jeff Carlson’s Take Control of Your iPhone Apps and Ted Landau’s Take Control of iPhone OS 3.

    You can buy either ebook separately or purchase them together in a discounted bundle:

    • Take Control of Your iPhone Apps, by TidBITS Managing Editor Jeff Carlson, teaches you iPhone app basics and offers numerous clever tips based on Jeff’s real-world experiences with using the iPhone for work, photography, and fun since its initial release. Apps that Jeff covers with the eye of a professional tech writer include Calendar, Camera, Compass, Contacts, iPod, Mail, Maps, Messages, Phone, Photos, Remote, and Safari (and, for iPod touch owners, the Music and Video apps). He also provides pointers to independent apps that further expand the iPhone’s capabilities. This is Jeff’s first Take Control ebook, though he has written numerous books for Peachpit Press; contributes regularly to TidBITS, Macworld, and the Seattle Times; and has even edited various Take Control titles. We are pleased to have him on board as an official Take Control author, and we have particularly enjoyed his clear, concise text and illustrative screenshots. The 122-page ebook costs $10.

    • Take Control of iPhone OS 3, by troubleshooting guru Ted Landau, helps you deepen your iPhone and iPod touch knowledge by exploring the operating system and hardware. Ted takes you under the hood to clear up mysteries about many topics including backups, batteries, Bluetooth, buying and managing third-party apps, damage control, jailbreaking, Location Services, MobileMe, networking, passwords, ringtones, root access, security, SIM cards, syncing, tethering, voice control, and volume control, among much else. And, if you run into trouble, you’ll find a cornucopia of advice on handling freezes, crashes, and buggy behavior, as well as on solving problems with Safari, syncing, and your network connection. Ted also discusses how to determine if a recalcitrant iPhone might need a hardware repair. The 202-page ebook costs $15.

    If you already own Ted’s previous Take Control ebook about the iPhone - Take Control of Your iPhone - note that this is effectively the third edition of that ebook. You should have already received an email message with update information; if not, if you bought the second edition after May 1, 2009, get in touch with us. Otherwise, open your PDF of that ebook and - on page 1 - click the Check for Updates button.

    If you would like to purchase both ebooks, you can do so at a discount; look on the left side of either of the book pages linked above for a 20% discount on both, or a 30% discount if you want additional ebooks that cover related topics.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

The Author

Jeff Carlson is a contributing editor of TidBITS, a columnist for the Seattle Times, a frequent contributor to Macworld, and the author of best-selling books on the Mac, video editing, digital photography, and, in earlier incarnations, Web design and Palm organizers. He consumes almost too much coffee. Almost.