How to Use Your iPhone as a Magnifier

Years ago, in the early days of our iPhones, the flashlight feature was introduced and I was in love. I don’t know why, but I seem to continually find myself looking in dark corners, and to have a flashlight readily available in my pocket has “saved the day” many, many times.

And now, I think we have been given another “tool” that once used would be hard to do without. It’s a magnifier!!

Ok, maybe it’s only a great discovery for ‘those of a certain age,’ but hey, we all run into small print sometimes, and how extraordinarily convenient to have a magnifier in your pocket. 🙂

To enable your magnifier, go to:
Settings > General > Accessibility > Magnifier

Turn the Magnifier “ON”

That’s it!!!

To use your Magnifier, just click your Home Button THREE times!


and ………Notice that you can move the slider to adjust the size of whatever you’re trying to see.

Have fun!

(To access your magnifier, I believe you must have iOS10+ on your iPhone. If someone discovers that an earlier OS has this feature, please let me know to adjust this post)

Apple Announces New iPhones and Release Date for iOS7

Screen shot 2013-09-11 at 7.36.50 AMYesterday Apple announced it’s newest phone, but as rumors had predicted, there wasn’t just one… there were two.

One is an upgrade to the iPhone 5 and this phone includes a home button that acts as a fingerprint sensor.

The other is a cheaper version of the iPhone 5, with plastic cases in a variety of colors.

If you are interested in getting a new phone, you can click on this link to compare the models now available, including prices and features: Compare iPhone models

Other news is that we now know the release date for the new operating system. It will be ready for downloading on September 18.

I think that iOS7 is MUCH bigger news than the new phones.

You will be able to download iOS7 if you have any of the following devices: an iPhone 4 or later, the iPad 2 or later, 5th generation iPod touch or the mini iPad.

Among the changes coming: new alerts and ringtones, improvements to Siri, a new control center, new icons, and many of the best Apple apps will be free such as iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

The design has been referred to as “radically different”, so…..

Once the new operating system releases, I’ll be going through it s-l-o-w-l-y, and addressing each new function on this blog.

Since they are promising new features AND new design, there is a lot to swallow. Remember, this is a blog for regular people, and us regular folks need to take our time so that we (me ! ) don’t get overwhelmed. 😆

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 9.35.25 PM

How to Open an App During a Call on your iPhone

photo credit: alexkerhead via photopin cc

It’s happened to all of us.

You are on a call, in the middle of a conversation, and something comes up for you to “check”. The information you need is on the phone. Perhaps an address, or a list of some sort or someone else’s phone number.

You fumble and you wonder how to do this. Will the call get disconnected?

No worries. You can do it. You won’t get disconnected. And it is easy to do.

Here is how to open an app when you are in the middle of a call:

While you are still connected with your phone call, push the home button.

The icons appear on the screen.

Open whatever app you would like to see.

As you are looking at your grocery list (or whatever), you will see a green bar at the top of the phone.

When you are ready to return to your call, just tap on that green bar.

How to Take a Screenshot on Your iPhone or iPad: (part of the) Very Beginner Series

*Occasional posts will contain how-tos and/or hints for VERY new users of iPads, iPhones or Kindles. All new users welcome! Non-tech speak, not terribly detailed, just basic device-enhancing goodness. All part of this Very Beginner Series. Please share with any beginners (Mom? Dad? Grandma?) in your life.*

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, this is something you will want to remember.

It is a handy little trick that you don’t know you need until you need it. But once you start using it, you’ll use it often.

It’s a screen shot.

By taking a screen shot, anything you see on your screen can be saved as a photo.

Imagine if you wanted to share a weather report, or a list of something, or a recipe……. so handy!

All you do is hold down the HOME button and the ON/OFF button at the same time.


Now look in your Camera Roll.

Your screen shot will be the last picture on your camera roll.

You can use this screenshot image of a recipe or whatever else you “captured” and send it off as you would any other photo, attached to an email or a text message.

One Feature at a Time: How to Add VIP Contacts to your iOS6 Email

photo credit: zizzybaloobah via photopin cc

There are those people who are forward thinking and organized.

They are the people who cleverly have several email addresses so that business, family and friends, and a ba-zillion company email contacts don’t all come barreling into their inboxes in overwhelming waves of clutter.

These people had the forethought to carefully separate these contacts from the get-go.

I am not one of those people.

I foolishly let my mailbox accept anything that came it’s way.

That’s why I am so happy that iOS6 has this new VIP feature.

By assigning your friends or family or special business contacts VIP status, any email that you receive from them will appear in a special VIP folder without having to scroll through your entire inbox.

Here is how you set up the VIP inbox in iOS6:

Go to your Mailbox by clicking on your blue Mail (envelope) icon.

You may have Mail set up for one or several email accounts. You’ll see them listed, and because you have iOS6, you will ALSO now see a choice marked VIP.

Touch the VIP bar and you will be brought to this screen, where you will tap to add contacts to this VIP list.

When you tap the ‘add’ button, you will be brought straight to your contacts where you can select your choices, one by one.

Once you have selected an individual, his/her emails will now appear in the VIP folder, where you can view them without having to sort through all the rest of your email.

If, at a later time, you want to add a person to the VIP list, you can do it like this:

When you open an email from a person you would like to add, just tap on his/her name. A window will appear with an opportunity to “add VIP”. Select “add VIP” and this name is now on your VIP list.

An extra great feature is this:
If you like to hear a noise when you get an email, you can set a SPECIAL notification noise for your VIP mail. So you can ignore emails as they arrive from mailing lists or your creepy old uncle Melvin, but if your loved one sends an email you will be alerted at once.

Just go to your Settings > Notifications > Mail and you will see this:

Tap on VIP and set your “New Mail Sound”

You are now all set. Notice, also, that in your regular long list mail view, your VIP contacts will appear with a Star.

Flipping Your iPad: How to Lock Your Screen in Landscape or in Portrait

photo credit: Team Traveller via photo pin cc

When you flip your iPad, the screen orientation changes as you rotate your device. You may find yourself preferring one view over the other.

Are you a “landscape person” or are you a “portrait person”?

“Landscape” and “portrait” refer to the two ways that you can view the screen on your iPad.


Holding it straight up, so that the home button is on the bottom (or top), puts you in “portrait” orientation.

photo credit: griffintech via photo pin cc

To change it to “landscape”, merely turn your iPad, so that the longest side of the rectangle is on the bottom. It does not matter if the home button is on the left side or on the right side. You can demonstrate this for yourself by turning the iPad all the way around, 180º.

One of the most common things to do on an iPad is read, whether you are looking at a website, a newsfeed, or a magazine. Over time, you have probably come to prefer to hold your iPad one way or the other. Landscape or portrait? Perhaps you enjoy doing crosswords or puzzles on your iPad. Landscape or portrait? Many games allow you to choose your orientation, as well. Your choice.

As you shift your position, as you swap the iPad from hand to hand, it sometimes flips to the OTHER orientation, the one you didn’t choose. This is especially a nuisance if you are trying to read something as you are lounging on your side or leaning at an angle. The screen flips back and forth. It’s sensitive, and it can be annoying.

But there are two ways that you can lock the screen in either mode. They are both quick and simple to do … and then to undo. Try them both, then set whichever you would prefer.

Many people choose to simply use the hardware button (the mute button) on the upper right side as the “lock” button.

To enable that switch, go to Settings > General

Now Scroll down and look for “Use Side Switch to:”

Tap on “Lock Rotation”

You can now use the button on the side to lock rotation.

The OTHER way is to set the rotation from the screen.

In order to do that, the side button must be set as a mute switch. So go back to the Settings > General, and then scroll to the “Use Side Switch to:” This time, instruct your iPad to use the side switch as a mute button.

Now you will lock your orientation from the screen. Here is how you do it:

Double-click the home button. This brings up the line of running icons we talked about here.

Now swipe to the right as far as it goes.

You will now see the screen below, (with several controls that we will address on another day.)

Look to the left. Do you see the square box with the circled arrow in it? That is all we need. Give it a tap. Your screen is now locked in the position that you are holding your iPad.

Tap it again to unlock it. That’s all there is.

Click click the home button. Swipe to the right. Tap the circular arrow. Locked!

That’s TWO ways to lock your orientation.

1. Use the side switch by selecting “lock rotation” in the settings.
2. Access the ability from the screen by sliding right on the running-icons strip and then tapping on the lock rotation. (to use this, “mute” must be selected on the “use side switch” in the settings.)

Two Gestures You Probably Don’t Know About on Your iPad

photo credit: ciro@tokyo via photo pin cc

Previously in this blog, I bubbled on about the four-or-five finger squish to close an app rather than using the Home Button. You can read about that here. Another is here.

There are other tasks that your four-or-five fingers can do on the iPad, as well. These do not work on the iPhone (that screen is too small), but on the iPad, these gestures are great.

Until now, you probably viewed your “running apps” by clicking the Home Button twice, and having the line-up appear at the bottom of the screen. No more! Save that Home Button the effort, and just use your fingers.

Here is how you do it: Place four (or five) fingers on the screen. Now > push them UP. Poof! You have just exposed the running icons at the bottom of the screen.

Gesture number 2 is a simple reverse of number 1. To return to the regular screen, and hide those running icons, just place your four (or five) fingers on the screen, and push DOWN. All gone.

Video Freeze on Your iPad: How to Get It Running Again

Sometimes the videos on my iPad stutter and stall. Netflix and the ABC apps specifically. I might be watching Modern Family, for example, and a reminder from another app disrupts the video by popping up on the screen. Or maybe I’m watching Lost on Netflix and I have to stop and restart it several times for the doorbell or for another distraction. Although the video often resumes with no problems, there are times when it freezes.

This quick fix is usually effective: Close the app. Now double-click the home button so you can see the string of running apps across the bottom. The video app that you were watching should be the one all the way to the left. Touch and hold it for a second. It will start to wiggle and have a little red minus sign on its corner. Touch the minus sign, and the app will disappear. Now double-click the home button and you will be brought back to your regular screen. Launch your video app again, and it should work just fine.

( Remember that occasionally you should do some housekeeping and close all your apps this way in order to keep things running smoothly. )

Put 6 Apps in Your iPad Tray: (part of the) Very Beginner Series

* Occasional posts will contain how-tos and/or hints for VERY new users of iPads, iPhones or Kindles. All new users welcome! Non-tech speak, not terribly detailed, just basic device-enhancing goodness. All part of this Very Beginner Series.

Please share with any beginners (Mom? Dad? Grandma?) in your life.*

The iPad gives you a place down at the bottom (the tray) to store several of your most-used apps. The apps you place at the bottom remain on the screen even when you swipe pages. Typically, people choose their favorite go-to apps to put in the tray. Perhaps email, or Safari, or contacts, or reminders will find a home at the bottom of your device. You personalize your iPad for yourself the way you want it.

Because many people who own an iPad also have an iPhone, they might assume that only 4 apps can sit in the tray, as they do on the iPhone. Also, when you originally fired-up your new iPad, there were only 4 apps in the tray. However, you can add more. You can store up to 6 apps in the tray of an iPad.

To bring an app to the tray, touch the app until it jiggles, and then drag it down to the bottom. When the apps are arranged as you would like, just click the home button and they will stop wiggling.