Tips for iOS

High dynamic range (HDR) photos on iPhone 4

Hdr photos on iPhone 4One of the big pluses of the iPhone 4 is its high dynamic range (HDR) camera, which can capture amazing images. However, the file size of these images tends to be quite large and e-mailing them as attachments can take a bite out of your data plan. Our advice: turn it on if you want high resolution; turn it off if you're going to e-mail a photo to a friend.

Turning HDR on and off

Launch the Camera app. In the middle of the screen at the top, you'll see the HDR button. If it reads "HDR Off," tap it once to turn it on. Tap it again to turn it off.

Save an HDR and lower-resolution photo

KeepNormalPhotoWhen you take your first HDR photo, you'll see a dialog box asking if you want to save both the original and HDR versions of your photo. This can be changed later in Settings, but I recommend clicking dismiss and save both versions. Sometimes the regular photo is actually better than the HDR, and it's nice to have the option to see the original before you delete it.

Don't move the iPhone when taking a photo

The iPhone creates HDR images by taking three photos in quick succession using different exposures. It then combines these pictures together into one image. If you move the camera while taking a photo, you may find that some parts of your picture will be mysteriously missing.


Add a FaceTime contact to your Favorites

VoiceCallFavoritesYou can change the status of an existing Contact to FaceTime or Voice Call from within the Phone app. Open Phone, go to the Favorites tab, tap on the + (plus) button, and select a name from the Contacts list. A pop-up appears that will allow you to make the listing a FaceTime or Voice Call item.

Note that you can do this with any contact listing, even those that do not have a phone number or a phone with FaceTime capabilities. Be sure to check about this before you try to add them. Also, if you're trying to FaceTime with an iPod touch user, you can only do this if they have a Wi-Fi connection to the Internet. In addition, you must have the e-mail address they use for their iTunes account. If you're trying to FaceTime with an iPhone 4 user, you have to have their phone number.

Solve FaceTime problems

Some people may have difficulty using FaceTime after porting their number or installing a carrier settings update. FaceTime may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • When you call someone on FaceTime, the number displayed on their screen is not your number
  • People cannot initiate a FaceTime call with you.

  • After installing a new carrier settings update, FaceTime will not activate.

To resolve these issues:

  • Go to iTunes and update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.

  • Disable FaceTime in Settings > Phone and then turn it on again. Do this by sliding the slider off and then on.

  • Reset all settings under Settings >General >Reset.

Mute Audio/Video on FaceTime

There are times when you may need to mute the video or the audio while using FaceTime.

  • To mute the audio, tap on the microphone icon on the application screen.
  • To mute the v ideo, press the Home button and the call will continue in the background. The person on the other end of the call will still be able to hear you, but they will only see a blank screen until you return to the FaceTime screen.

Reduce battery drain

If you've had your phone for a while now, you're probably beginning to notice that your battery doesn't last quite as long as it used to. Here are a few tips to help extend your battery life.

  • Turn off location services. Apps that use location services in the background can quickly drain the battery. Go to Settings >General >Location Services to select the apps for which you want to disable this feature.

  • Check Internet tethering. The tethering feature on your iPhone seems to be persistently attempting to establish a connection. To stop this, go Settings >General >Network, select "Internet Tethering," and tap on "Cancel." You may need to turn Wi-Fi off and back on again to stop the tethering connection attempts.

  • Calibrate the battery. Fully charge your iPhone and then allow it to drain until the device shuts down. Then recharge it again.
  • Close open Safari windows. One iOS app that consumes memory and processor time in the background is Safari. Close all unused windows in the application by pressing the page switch button in the lower right portion of the screen then clicking the X at the top left of each page.

Find addresses

WhitepagesSay you live in Chicago and you have a friend in Fairfield, Iowa. You want to send her a birthday card, but you forgot her address. You know she lives somewhere on Main Street, across from a park close to the railroad tracks. The easiest thing would be to call her, but you want the card to be a surprise. If you have another friend in the same city, you can call them and ask them to look up her name in a local phone book, which usually lists the address (but not the Zip code). If that's not possible, try using your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

Look it up yourself

Maps Fig. 1The easiest way to do this is to install WhitePages Mobile (free,, which lists 200 million U.S. adults and businesses. You can use this app to search by the person's name or do a reverse phone number search.

Use the Maps app to find the address

You can actually use the built-in Maps app to find an address or narrow your search. Here's how you do it using the Fairfield example: 

  1. Open Maps. If you are not in the street Map view, tap on the icon in the lower right corner and select "Map" from the four options towards the bottom of the screen (Fig. 1).

  2. Type "Main Street Fairfield, Iowa" in the search field at the top of the screen, and tap on the search button. This displays a map of Fairfield with a pushpin at the beginning of Main Street (see Fig. 2) Map view displays parks as light green areas. In this example, there are 4 such green areas.

  3. Railroad tracks are indicated by a gray line. Note that the park at the top of the map in Fig. 2 has a gray line above it. Zoom in on that area of the map to confirm that the gray line is indeed the railroad tracks.
  4. The zoomed in view does not actually show houses, but you can switch to Satellite or Hybrid views to locate a specific house.
  5. When you see the house, press down on it until the pushpin icon appears (Fig. 3). The address closest to the pushpin will appear above it. (Note that in some cases, Maps will list a range of possible addresses.)

Maps Fig. 2Maps Fig.3You might need to refine this if you are searching for an address in a large city. For example, searching on "Broadway, New Your City" will probably not help much. (Broadway is a very long street.) In such cases, it's better to search for the closest cross street and home in from there. 

Add PDFs to iBooks library

You can sync PDFs to your iOS device using iTunes and view them using the iBooks app (free, Simply drag the desired PDF from your desktop computer's file explorer to the Library panel in the upper left of the iTunes screen.

You can also view PDFs attached to e-mail or a Web page. Simply touch and hold the PDF icon and select "Open in iBooks" from the pop-up menu. This adds the PDF to your iBooks library and opens it.

Hidden features that make the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad more powerful
March-April 2011
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