How do you make the point that the iPhone has changed the world? The easy answer is “use statistics”—600 million sold, 1.3 million apps available on the iPhone App Store, 75 billion downloads…. Trouble is, those statistics get stale almost before you’ve finished typing them.
Maybe it’s better to talk about the aftermath. How since the iPhone came along, cell carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and so on) have opened up the calcified, conservative way they used to consider new cellphone designs. How every phone and its brother now have a touchscreen. How Google (Android) phones, Windows, and even BlackBerry phones all have their own app stores. How, in essence, everybody wants to be the iPhone.
Apple introduces a new iPhone model every fall. In September 2014, for example, it introduced the eighth iPhone model, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus—bigger, thinner, faster, and better in most ways.
More importantly, there’s a new, free version of the iPhone’s software, called iOS 8. (Why not “iPhone OS” anymore? Because the same operating system runs on the iPad and the iPod Touch. It’s not just for iPhones anymore, and saying “the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch OS” takes too long.)
You can run iOS 8 on older iPhone models without having to buy a new phone. This book covers all phones that can run iOS 8: the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
So what’s the iPhone?
Really, the better question is what isn’t the iPhone?
It’s a cellphone, obviously. But it’s also a full-blown iPod, complete with a dazzling screen for watching videos. And it’s a sensational pocket Internet viewer. It shows fully formatted email (with attachments, thank you) and displays entire Web pages with fonts and design intact. It’s tricked out with a tilt sensor, a proximity sensor, a light sensor, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, a gyroscope, a barometer, and that amazing multitouch screen.
For many people, the iPhone is primarily a camera and a camcorder—one that’s getting better with every year’s new model.
Furthermore, it’s a calendar, address book, calculator, alarm clock, stopwatch, stock tracker, traffic reporter, RSS reader, and weather forecaster. It even stands in for a flashlight and, with the screen off, a pocket mirror.
But don’t forget the App Store. Thanks to the million add-on programs that await there, the iPhone is also a fast, wicked-fun pocket computer. All those free or cheap programs can turn it into a medical reference, a musical keyboard, a time tracker, a remote control, a sleep monitor, a tip calculator, an ebook reader, and so on. And, whoa, those games! Thousands of them, with smooth 3-D graphics and tilt control.
All of this sends the iPhone’s utility and power through the roof. Calling it a phone is practically an insult.
(Apple probably should have called it an “iPod,” but that name was taken.)
You don’t get a printed manual when you buy an iPhone. Online, you can find an electronic PDF manual that covers the basics well, but it’s largely free of details, hacks, workarounds, tutorials, humor, and any acknowledgment of the iPhone’s flaws. You can’t easily mark your place, underline, or read it in the bathroom.
The purpose of this book, then, is to serve as the manual that should have accompanied the iPhone. (If you have an original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4, you really need one of this book’s earlier editions. If you have an iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, or 5s, this book assumes that you’ve installed iOS 8; see Appendix A.)
Writing a book about the iPhone is a study in exasperation, because the darned thing is a moving target. Apple updates the iPhone’s software fairly often, piping in new features, bug fixes, speed-ups, and so on.
Therefore, you should think of this book the way you think of the first iPhone: as a darned good start. To keep in touch with updates we make to it as developments unfold, drop in to the book’s Errata/Changes page. (Go to www.missingmanuals.com, click this book’s name, and then click View/Submit Errata.)
This book covers the iOS 8.1 software. There will surely be an 8.1.1, an 8.1.2, and so on. Check this book’s page at www.missingmanuals.com to read about those updates when they occur.
iPhone: The Missing Manual is divided into five parts, each containing several chapters:
Part 1, covers everything related to phone calls: dialing, answering, voice control, voicemail, conference calling, text messaging, iMessages, MMS, and the Contacts (address book) program. It’s also where you can read about FaceTime, the iPhone’s video-calling feature; Siri, the “virtual assistant”; and the surprisingly rich array of features for people with disabilities—some of which are surprisingly useful for even for people without them.
Part 2, is dedicated to the iPhone’s built-in software, with a special emphasis on its multimedia abilities: playing music, podcasts, movies, TV shows, and photos; capturing photos and videos; the Maps app; reading ebooks; and so on. These chapters also cover some of the standard techniques that most apps share: installing, organizing, and quitting them; switching among them; and sharing material from within them using the Share sheet.
Part 3, is a detailed exploration of the iPhone’s third talent: its ability to get you onto the Internet, either over a WiFi hotspot connection or via the cellular network. It’s all here: email, Web browsing, and tethering (that is, letting your phone serve as a sort of Internet antenna for your laptop).
Part 4, describes the world beyond the iPhone itself—like the copy of iTunes on your Mac or PC that can fill up the iPhone with music, videos, and photos; and syncing the calendar, address book, and mail settings. These chapters also cover the iPhone’s control panel, the Settings program; Continuity (the wireless integration of iPhone and Mac); and how the iPhone syncs wirelessly with corporate networks using Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync—or with your own computers using Apple’s iCloud service.
Throughout this book, and throughout the Missing Manual series, you’ll find sentences like this one: Tap Settings→General→Keyboard. That’s shorthand for a much longer instruction that directs you to open three nested screens in sequence, like this: “Tap the Settings button. On the next screen, tap General. On the screen after that, tap Keyboard.” (In this book, tappable things on the screen are printed in orange to make them stand out.)
To get the most out of this book, visit www.missingmanuals.com. Click the Missing CDs link, and then click this book’s title to reveal a neat, organized list of the shareware, freeware, and bonus articles mentioned in this book.
The Web site also offers corrections and updates to the book; to see them, click the book’s title, and then click View/Submit Errata. In fact, please submit corrections yourself! Each time we print more copies of this book, we’ll make any confirmed corrections you’ve suggested. We’ll also note such changes on the Web site, so you can mark important corrections into your own copy of the book, if you like. And we’ll keep the book current as Apple releases more iPhone updates.
Apple’s usual routine is to introduce a new iPhone shape every other year (iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 5)—and then release a follow-up, upgraded “s” model in alternate years (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s). The 2014–15 models, the 6 and 6 Plus, fit right in. Here’s what’s new:
Bigger screens. The public has spoken (especially the public that’s been buying Samsung’s big-screened phones): This is the age of the larger screen. Kind of weird, when you think about it—for years, the huge accomplishment of the iPhone was how small it was.
Anyway, the iPhone 6’s screen has 1334 x 750 pixels (326 dots per inch), and the 6 Plus’s screen is 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 dpi), which is full high definition.
Bigger screen means bigger phone, of course; the Plus, in particular, is a bit beyond the confines of the average back pocket. (On these phones, Apple put the Sleep switch on the side instead of the top, so your thumb can reach it.)
But a big screen means a bigger canvas for ebooks, email, movies, Web pages, maps, and so on.
A better camera. The iPhone is the most-used camera in the world, believe it or not—and it’s getting amazingly good. The 6 models offer what Apple calls Focus Pixels, and what the camera world calls phase-detection autofocusing; it compares incoming light from two pixels for fast, precise focusing—or quick, smooth refocusing while you’re recording video.
The 6 Plus also has optical image stabilization: The lens jiggles in precise motion to counteract the tiny shakes of your hand, for sharper still photos. It works extremely well.
The 6 models can capture slow-motion video at 240 frames a second (that is, one-eighth full speed, in addition to the one-quarter full speed of previous iPhones). And the 6 Plus can capture regular video at 60 frames a second, giving video a creepily crisp, smooth, lifelike feel.
More storage. The iPhones still don’t have a memory-card slot so you can expand their storage. But at least they come in 16-, 64-, and, for the first time, 128-gigabyte versions.
Cellular attractions. The iPhone 6 is among the first VoLTE phones (“VOLty”), which means super-clear, rich sound quality when you’re calling another VoLTE phone on a VoLTE-compatible cell carrier like T-Mobile, Verizon, and (soon) AT&T. See A Word about VoLTE for details.
The iPhone 6 can also place calls over WiFi, which gives you coverage indoors and doesn’t use up any cellular minutes. In fact, if you start a call in WiFi, and then walk outside into a cellular LTE area, you don’t even drop the call. (At this writing, this is a T-Mobile–only feature.)
Apple Pay. The new phones contain an NFC chip (near-field communications), which let them communicate with contactless payment terminals in hundreds of thousands of shops and restaurants. All of this means you can pay for things just by waving your iPhone near that terminal. You don’t have to wake the phone, open an app, or enter a password. Chapter 15 has details.
In 2013, Apple freaked out the world by introducing a radical iPhone-software redesign in iOS 7: clean, white, almost barren, with a razor-thin font (Helvetica Neue) and bright, light colors. The design was controversial and polarizing.
The iOS 8 design is the same—by now, people have gotten used to it—so the improvements now are focused on features and flexibility.
If the fonts are too thin for your taste, you can fatten them up just enough by turning on Settings→Display & Brightness→Bold Text. While you’re there, you can make text larger in most apps, too; tap the Larger Type control.
Apple says iOS 8 contains over 200 new features, but here are the big-ticket items:
Predictive keyboard (and Swype, and SwiftKey). At long last, the iPhone now offers three buttons, predicting the next word you’re likely to type, above the onscreen keyboard. It’s smart enough to save you a lot of typing.
Family Sharing. The days of having to share your iCloud password with your kid—or type it into the kid’s phone every time he wants to download something—are over. Now, up to six family members can share each other’s Apple-purchased books, videos, and music. You can keep track of your teenagers’ locations. And you each get a common Family category in Calendar, Reminders, and Photos, so the whole family can share.
iCloud Drive. Now there’s a single folder in the sky—the iCloud Drive—that stores whatever files you want to be able to access from any Mac, Windows PC, phone, or tablet. It’s like the Apple version of Dropbox.
The Health app. All those fitness bands, Bluetooth scales, running apps, and other health-tracking products can now report their data to a single dashboard: the Health app.
Expanded Spotlight. The iPhone’s built-in search bar can find all kinds of stuff beyond the phone. You can search for Wikipedia entries, movie showtimes, news, Apple’s online app/movie/bookstores, and so on.
Continuity. If you have a Mac, prepare to be mind-blown. The suite of features Apple calls Continuity (Chapter 16) makes the phone an extension of the Mac. Now you can use the Mac as a speakerphone, taking and making calls. You can send and receive text messages from your Mac—to any cellphone, Apple or not. You can begin working on something in Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, or Contacts—and when you arrive at your Mac, the half-finished document is magically already on the screen, ready to complete.
Photo editing. There’s a lot less need to duck into another app to adjust color, saturation, brightness, and other photographic settings; that’s all right in the Photos app now. So is a search command. So are “smart albums” that can round up all photos taken within a certain time period, or in a certain place.
Video and audio texting. Hard to explain, easy to use: Now, when you’re texting in Messages, you can hold down a button to record a sound instead of typing; when you release your finger, it shoots off to the recipient instantly. She, furthermore, can hold the phone to her head and speak her reply—she doesn’t even have to press a button. The iPhone becomes a walkie-talkie. Except that it works with photos and videos, too.
Mail upgrades. You can swipe across a Mail message in the list to delete it—no second confirmation tap required. Swipe a different way to archive it, flag it, or mark it as read. When you’re composing a message, you can now refer to another message without losing your place. And Data Detectors, a great feature on the Mac, have finally come to the phone: When an incoming message contains the sender’s contact information or a date for an event, Mail offers to pop it into Contacts or Calendar automatically.
A thousand helpful tweaks. When a notification about an incoming text, mail message, calendar invitation, or reminder appears, you can reply, delete it, accept it, or snooze it on the spot—right in the notification banner. The app-switcher screen now has icons of the people you contact the most, so shooting off a call or a text is only a double-press of the Home button away.
You can use the fingerprint reader (iPhone 5s, 6, and 6 Plus) to do more than unlock the phone. You can use it to log into apps instead of remembering a password. The Camera app can now record time-lapse video.
They’ve fixed Siri. Siri’s command recognition (“Set my alarm”) has always been good, but people always had trouble with its dictation skills. They won’t much anymore. The speech recognition is much more accurate, especially if you have an accent. You see the words appear as you’re speaking them now. And there’s a new, hands-free, “always listening” mode for Siri whenever the phone is charging (for example, in the car). Even if it’s asleep, you can say, “Hey Siri” to make it listen to a spoken command.
It’s a lot of tweaks, polishing, and finesse—and a lot to learn. Fortunately, 500 pages of instructions now await you.