The new iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.0 software have arrived, and New York Times tech columnist David Pogue is on top of it with a thoroughly updated edition of iPhone: The Missing Manual. The latest edition covers all models with 3.0 Software--including the iPhone 3GS. And here are David's top tips for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.0 software.
Dave's Faves: Top 10 Tips for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.0 Software
Start up the camera. If you use the iPhone's camera a lot, save yourself some steps. Open Settings -> General -> Home. Tap Camera. From now on, you can open the Camera app by quickly double-pressing the Home button, no matter what you're doing on the iPhone.
Use Macro Mode. If the foreground object is very close to the iPhone 3GS's camera lens--4 to 8 inches away--the iPhone automatically goes into macro (super closeup) mode. In this mode, you can do something really cool: You can defocus the background. The background goes soft, slightly blurry, just like the professional photos you see in magazines. Just make sure you tap the foreground object with your finger to say, "calculate the focus, exposure, and white balance here."
Orient the map. It's great to see a blue pin on the map representing your location--but how do you know which way you're facing? Legions of iPhone fans have developed a peculiar ritual known as the iPhone Circle, in which they run the perimeter of an imaginary 50-yard circle, holding out the iPhone before them, in an attempt to figure out which way is up on the map.
If you have an iPhone 3GS, you don't have to bother. Thanks to the built-in magnetometer (compass), the map can orient itself for you.
Just tap the circle-in-square button (lower-left corner) twice. The map spins so that true north is upward. A "flashlight beam" emanates from your blue dot; its width indicates the iPhone's degree of confidence.
Thumb-drag your portfolio. Here's one of the great unsung features of the iPhone 3.0 software: If you turn the iPhone sideways in the Stocks program, you get a much bigger, more detailed, widescreen graph of the stock in question. (Flick horizontally to view the previous or next stock.)
Better yet, you can drag two fingers or two thumbs across the graph to isolate a certain time period; pop-up bubbles show you how much of a bath you took (or how much of a windfall you received) during the interval you've highlighted. Cool!
Edit and name your voice memos. You might not guess that such a tiny, self-effacing app as Voice Memos might actually offer some basic editing functions, but it does. Tap the > button to the right of any recording to open its Info screen.
Here, you can give yourself some clue what it is by choosing a label (Podcast, Interview, and so on). Or tap Custom and type in any name you prefer.
If you tap Trim Memo, you get a special scroll bar. Drag the endpoints of the scroll bar inward to cut the dead air off the beginning and end, playing the sound as necessary to guide you. Tap Trim Voice Memo.
Voice Dialing. To dial by voice on the iPhone 3GS, you hold down the Home button for 3 seconds. (If you're wearing the earbuds, hold down the center button.) You hear a crisp double-beep, and then the Voice Control screen appears. Say "Dial Chris Mobile" or "Dial 823-1122" or whatever.
Here's the tip, though: this works even when the iPhone is asleep and locked. You don't have to wake it, you don't have to slide to unlock it. Just hold down the Home button for 3 seconds and speak! (If you feel that this presents a security risk, you can turn on a password requirement in Settings.)
Free Text Messaging. Text messaging is awesome. Paying for text messaging, not so much.
Fortunately, there are all kinds of sneaky ways to do text messaging for free. For example, FreeMMS is a $1 app from the App Store. It lets you send unlimited text messages--even picture messages--for free.
The gotcha: Replies come to your iPhone as email messages, so you're deprived of that nice chat-room/balloon conversational effect. But come on, man--you're saving 20 cents per message forever!
Copy and Paste, Tip 1. The basics are no secret: Double-tap a word. (In text that you can't edit, like Web pages and incoming email, don't double-tap. Instead, hold your finger down on a word to produce the blue handles.) Drag the blue handles to expand the selected text. Tap Cut or Copy. Switch to another app. Tap to place the insertion point, then tap Paste.
But there's a secret Select All button, which is often just what you want. To get it, tap in your text to place the blinking insertion point where you want it. Then tap the insertion point itself to highlight the next word and summon the selection handles. Now you can tap Select All to copy everything in the text box or message.
Copy and Paste, Tip 2. In Safari, if you're zoomed out to see the whole page, holding down your finger highlights the entire block of text (a paragraph or even a whole article) instead of one word. Now you can expand the selection to include a photo, if you like; that way, you can copy and paste the whole enchilada into an outgoing email message.
VoiceOver. VoiceOver is the centerpiece of the iPhone's accessibility features. It's the option that makes the iPhone speak everything you touch--even the little status gauges at the top of the screen.
On the VoiceOver pane (Settings -> General -> Accessibility), tap the On/Off switch to turn VoiceOver on. There's a lot to learn, and practice makes perfect, but the gist is that you tap something to hear it (icons, words, even status icons at the top), and double-tap anywhere on the screen to open whatever is selected.
There are all kinds of other special gestures in VoiceOver, but here's a wicked-cool possibility: try a three-finger triple tap. That blacks out the screen. You can still operate the whole phone, run software, read email, and so on. But now you have total privacy--and twice the battery life! (Repeat the three-finger triple-tap to turn the screen back on.)
If you enjoyed David Pogue's tips, we hope you purchase the new edition of edition of iPhone: The Missing Manual.