How to get started with the new iPad, iPad mini, iPhone and iPod touch
We take you through the setup of your new Apple device
Did you get a new iPad, iPad mini, iPhone or iPod touch for Christmas? We take you through everything you'll need to know to get started.
Unboxing and first steps
You've just got back from the Apple Store, or you've torn open your flagship Christmas present, and there's a thrillingly unblemished iPad, iPad mini, iPhone or iPod touch sitting in its box in front of you.
What are you waiting for? Open the box and get stuck in. You'll find a power/syncing cable and detachable plug, and your first job is to plug your device into the mains and give the battery a charge.
If you've bought an iPhone or a cellular-equipped iPad, you'll need a SIM card and data plan to get mobile internet access. (Check your provider is sending you the right type of SIM: the iPhone 5 uses a super-slim nano-SIM, while earlier models use a micro-SIM, and the iPad can't use the same SIM as the iPhone. State the device you're using when you sign up for a data plan and you should be fine.) Use the metal spike provided to poke the hole next to the SIM slot, remove the tray when it pops out, and insert your SIM card. Put the tray back into the device.
Switch on your device (press the Home button below the screen, or the sleep/wake button top right) and follow the instructions. You'll need to pick a language and location, enter an Apple ID if you've got one (if not, we discuss how to set one up later), decide whether you want location services (this is useful for mapping apps and such like, but will run down your battery more quickly) and log on to a local Wi-Fi network if you wish. Just select your network and type in the password, and it will remember this in future. Choose to set up as a new iPhone, assuming this is your first Apple device.
We'd suggest ticking yes for Siri, Find My iPhone and iCloud backup, but these decisions can all be changed later on.
Know your symbols
Signal StrengthOn an iPhone or cellular-equipped iPad, these bars indicate the current 3G and 4G/LTE strength as well as the mobile reception. From one bar to five
Wi-Fi StrengthYou'll see this symbol if you're connected to a Wi-Fi network. The stronger the signal, the more bars you'll see
BluetoothTurn on Bluetooth, and you'll see this icon. By default the symbol is grey, but it'll turn blue if you connect to a Bluetooth device
VPNhis icon appears when you connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Use a VPN to securely access your corporate network
Airplane Mode Turn on Airplane Mode in the Settings menu to switch off all phone, internet and Bluetooth connections. You will still be able to access your email and the web over Wi-Fi and use other features
Processing IconWhen your iPhone or iPad is trying to make a network connection, it says "Searching" in the upper-left corner. This circle appears if it is looking for items to sync to iCloud over your network, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
Call ForwardingThis icon appears next to the network type or Wi-Fi signal-strength icon whenever an iPhone's call forwarding is active. Switch on call forwarding in the iPhone's Settings, Phone menu
Battery StatusThe battery status icon in the upper-right corner of the screen shows how much charge your device's battery has left. When the battery is charging, you'll see a small lightning bolt
Orientation LockYou can lock your display in portrait mode. On an iPhone, double-click the Home button and scroll to the left in the multitasking bar. iPads have a dedicated switch above the volume controls
TTYIf you have turned on your TTY (teletype machine) setting, this symbol will appear on the upper-right side of your screen, to the left of the battery symbol.
Play ButtonIf you're playing an audio track in iTunes, this triangle will appear to the left of the battery icon
Alarm ClockWhen you've set an alarm in the Clock app, this clock appears to the right of the time at the top of your device's screen
LockWhen your Apple device is locked, the padlock icon appears at the top of the screen - where the time is usually displayed
Location ServicesWhen an app such as Apple Maps is using Location Services, this purple pointer will appear to the left of the battery icon. Location Services can reduce battery life, so use them sparingly. But they can be among the most helpful of the iPhone's functions
Get to know the Home screen
When you first turn on your device, you'll be taken to the Home screen. Here, you'll see an assortment of icons grouped into rows. The Home screen is where your apps live.
The Dock: The grey translucent bar along the bottom is called the Dock. If you swipe left and right, you'll notice the icons in the Dock don't change from one page to the next. The Dock is for the most frequently used apps: up to six on iPad, and four on iPhone.
Spotlight: From the first (or left-most) page of your Home screen, swipe right one more time to reach Spotlight. (Or press your Home button again.) To search, just type your query in the text box at the top.
Open and close an app: To open an app, all you have to do is tap its icon. Once it's open, you can return to the Home screen at any time by pressing the Home button.
Rearrange and delete apps: To rearrange your icons, tap and hold any icon on the Home screen. After a few seconds, all your app icons, including the one you're holding, will start to wiggle, and a small black X will appear in each icon's top-left corner. Once they do this, you can rearrange the order of apps on the Home screen, drag one on to another to form a folder, or even drag apps into or out of the Dock. If you've installed an app you don't want any more, tap the X to delete it (you can't delete the apps that came pre-installed on your device). When you're finished, press the Home button, and your icons will stop wiggling.
The multitasking bar: Quickly double-press the Home button to bring up the multitasking bar below the Dock. This shows the apps run most recently. To switch to a different app, tap its icon.
Multitasking shortcuts: You can swipe right on the multitasking bar to access useful further controls: lock the rotation, adjust brightness, control music, adjust volume and access the Music app.
Know your gestures
Tap: As clicking is to a desktop computer, so is tapping to an iOS device. It's the most common and basic gesture
Tap, hold and drag: For some functions, such as highlighting text, copying and pasting, or deleting and moving apps, you'll need to tap and hold down on the screen. When you do this on a piece of text, it will be highlighted in blue, and editing handles - vertical lines with blue dots - will appear on either side of the highlighted area. You can tap, hold and, while holding down, drag your finger to increase or decrease the selection
Pinch: To zoom in or to open something, place your thumb and index finger, pinched together, on the screen and spread them apart. To zoom out, do the reverse
Double-tap: Tap an object twice in succession to effect a double-tap. These are primarily used for zooming in or out on text
Flick and swipe: Swiping is one of your primary navigational tools. You use a left or right swipe to move through app pages on your Home screen or images in the Photos app; and you use an up or down swipe to read text in Safari, iBooks, Newsstand or elsewhere. It's an easy gesture to learn
Rotate: You can even rotate some elements with two or more fingers. Just place two fingers on the screen and make a circular gesture, clockwise or anticlockwise
Get to know the phone
iPad owners, look away now. Making and answering phone calls on the iPhone is a piece of cake. There's also plenty you can do while on the device to manage multiple calls or locate useful information. And if you miss a call, the iPhone automatically creates a list of callers, who you can then call back at your convenience thanks to Visual Voicemail.
Receiving and returning calls: Slide the green arrow across the screen to unlock your phone and answer a call. If someone calls when you're using the iPhone, you'll instead see options to Answer or Decline the call. The Reply With Message option lets you acknowledge the caller if you can't take the call. Remind Me Later and the location or time-based Do Not Disturb feature that automatically sends calls to voicemail are handy when you need to get stuff done, or are travelling overseas and don't want mid-slumber interruptions.
Favorites and VIPs: Favorites lists your most frequently called numbers and is the iPhone's equivalent of speed dialling. To designate a favourite, tap the '+' sign at the top of the Favorites screen. The iPhone 5 has an override feature for VIPs - anyone, such as your spouse, kids or boss, you'll always take calls from.
In-call options: Six buttons appear during phone calls: Mute, Keypad, Speaker, Add Call, FaceTime and Contacts. Tapping the Mute button turns off your microphone; you'll still be able to hear callers on the other end of the line. If you tap and hold the Mute button, you'll put the caller on hold and mute both ends of the conversation. Tap the Speaker button to put the call on speakerphone. You can use the keypad while on a call to navigate phone trees or dial extensions. If you need to look up a number or an -address while on a call, tap Contacts to access your Address Book. You can have more than one person on the call. Tap the Contacts button or the Add Call button to add another.
Recents: The Recent calls screen offers two views: All or Missed. Tap the blue arrow next to a caller's name to view the date and time the call was logged and its duration.
Get in touch
Email: Apple slimmed down its Mail program for iOS, giving it fast and powerful features to make up for the lack of a physical keyboard.
When you first set up your device, iTunes will ask if you want to transfer your existing email accounts from your computer. On a Mac, you can transfer accounts from Apple Mail. On a Windows PC, you can transfer account details from Windows Mail, Microsoft Outlook Express or Outlook.
If you use a different email program, you'll have to enter your account information manually. On the Home screen, tap the Settings button and then select Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Under the Accounts header, tap Add Account. You'll see a screen with buttons for Microsoft Exchange, iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL and Other.
Every time you view your Inbox - either by tapping it from the Mailboxes screen or by returning to it from another app - your device will check that account for new mail. You'll see a preview of each message, including the sender, the time it was sent, the subject line and, if desired, a few lines of text. Unread messages display a blue dot to the left. Mail you've replied to or forwarded will have small indicator arrows to the left of it.
Messages: You can text non-Apple users, of course, but the iPhone also has an exceptional function called iMessage that lets you exchange text, photos and video with other iOS devices using internet data.
Unlike regular SMS text messaging, iMessage supports niceties such as delivery receipts (indicating that your message has been delivered), read receipts (telling you your message has been read) and live typing status (so you can know your friend is replying). Note, however, that by default, your iOS device won't tell your contact when you've read their message; you must enable that.
When you compose a message on the iPhone, iOS will automatically switch to the iMessage protocol if your recipient is also an iMessage user. For non-iOS conversations, it will default to regular old SMS.
You can tell iMessages from regular messages because they appear with a blue background instead of green. The great thing about iMessages is that they don't cost a penny to send, and they can also be sent to an iPad (unlike an SMS, which can only be sent to an iPhone or other mobile phone).
Conducting webcam-based calls on a laptop or PC is nothing new. FaceTime extends the concept of video chatting to tablets and smartphones. You need a Wi-Fi or 3G cellular network connection, and for whoever you're calling to have a FaceTime-compatible device (an iPad 2 or later, an iPhone 4/4S or iPhone 5, or a 2010 or later iPod touch).
To initiate a FaceTime call on iPhone, you can make a voice call as usual and then switch over to a video chat by tapping the FaceTime button. A question mark will appear if your iPhone isn't sure that the other party has FaceTime abilities. If they do, the recipient will be presented with a screen allowing him or her to decide whether to accept your FaceTime request. If they decline, you'll stay on the phone without video. If you accept it, FaceTime will launch.
iPad users can activate the FaceTime feature by clicking the FaceTime icon and selecting someone with a compatible device from their contacts list - you'll need to select or input their phone number (if you're contacting an iPhone) or the email address they've linked to FaceTime on their iPad.
FaceTime now works over cellular as well as Wi-Fi, but you may need to turn it on by going to Settings > FaceTime and changing the Use Cellular Data setting to On. This can use a lot of data.
Type like a pro
For many, the biggest challenge of the iPhone or iPad is getting used to the virtual keyboard. Unlike BlackBerries and older mobile phones they have no hardware keys, instead relying on software keys that appear onscreen as and when they're needed. The lack of physical shapes for your fingers to seek out can be confusing at first, but there are lots of ways Apple ensures touchscreen typing is a positive experience, whether you're coming from a full-size computer keyboard or a thumb-based smartphone. Here are some ways to tap into the iPhone's typing features.
Catch and release: Your Apple device registers the key you've pressed when you take your finger off the key, rather than when you tap on it. So if you press a key and see that it's the wrong one, you can easily slide your finger to the correct key. In conventional typing it's common to try and avoid pressing multiple keys. With the iPhone there's no need: it recognises only single keys at once, while its correction tools quickly work out what you meant to type. Hopefully.
Punctuation slide: To add a punctuation mark, press and hold the '.?123' button until the numeric and punctuation keyboard appears, slide your finger to the key you want, and release it. Not only will you type the punctuation mark, but you'll find yourself back in alphabet mode without having to press the ABC key.
Unlock caps lock: Typing in capitals may be considered impolite, but sometimes it's necessary. Go to Settings: General: Keyboard and check Enable Caps Lock is activated. Then, when you're typing, quickly double-tap the Shift key; it'll turn blue to tell you Caps Lock is on. Tap it once more to disable it.
Present and correct: Mistakes happen. Fortunately, the iPhone's pretty smart. By looking at the letters near the ones you typed, it can deduce what you meant to type and will offer a suggested correction in a text bubble. To accept this, simply carry on, hitting the spacebar or a punctuation mark. Tap the suggestion to reject and dismiss it. That might seem counter-intuitive, but it makes sense, we promise. Dismiss the iPhone's suggestion for the same word twice, and it'll add the word you typed to its dictionary.
Zoom in: If you discover a typo, it's easy to fix. Tap the spot where you want the cursor to appear, and then on the backspace to delete your mistake. For more precise cursor control, tap and hold on the text to make a magnifier appear. As you drag the magnifier around, the text insertion point will follow it.
Get serious about Siri
Siri allows you to speak commands to your phone and have it do your bidding. In the latest version of iOS 6.0, it enables you to search for businesses, restaurants, movie screenings and sports information - although British sports are still largely limited to football - all by using the power of your voice.
You activate Siri by holding down the Home button on the iPhone itself, or by holding down the control button on your wired or wireless headset.
You can ask Siri to do all kinds of things. It's great at working with text messages: simply say: "Send a text to Dave that says hello, what time are we meeting tonight" and Siri will do exactly that. (If you know more than one Dave, it'll ask you which one.) Excitingly, you can also do the same with your emails.
Siri knows a lot about weather and restaurants, sport results and film times. Apple says understanding the words you say is the easy part, and that Siri's true genius is in figuring out what you want when you say those words and providing you with the answer. Siri now also works with Apple's Maps application in the UK, so you can search for directions and local businesses.
Speak and spell: When you receive a text message, you can instruct Siri to read the message, and it will. You can then tell the software to reply, dictate the entire message, have Siri read it back to you to confirm that it makes sense and then send it.
Wake me up: It's much easier to set an alarm or timer using Siri than it is to unlock your phone, find the Clock app and tap within the app. Just say, "set a timer for three minutes," and your phone begins to count down until your tea is ready. "Set an alarm for 5am" does what you'd expect, instantly.
Take note: Say to Siri: "Remind me to record my favourite show" and it will. Saying "Note that I need to take my suit to the cleaners" works, too. These are short bursts of data input that can be handled quickly by voice, and they work well.
Compile your contacts
Phone numbers, email addresses, Twitter handles, usernames, aliases - your device can store all of this and more in the Contacts app, which syncs across iOS to provide communication auto-completion across the board. To make sure your Contacts list is as up to date as possible, here are a few ways to keep things neat, organised and useful.
Import contacts: To sync your contacts, iTunes will require you to connect specifically with one computer. Syncing is bi-directional: any changes made to a contact on your device will show up on the computer the next time you connect the two, and vice versa.
Sync with a Mac: On the Mac, your device can sync contacts from OS X's Address Book, an online Yahoo Address Book or your Google contacts. The first time you connect your phone to your Mac, iTunes will ask which contacts you want to import. You can choose to import every contact in OS X's Address Book or specify only selected groups.
Sync wirelessly: You can synchronise your device's contacts without having to connect to your computer. The best option is Apple's iCloud service. Visit Settings > iCloud and slide Contacts to On. Now any changes you make to Contacts will be reflected in the iCloud contacts on your Mac or other iOS devices.
Enter contacts manually: Enter the Contacts app and tap the '+' sign to create a new contact. Tap each section to enter the -appropriate contact information, including the name, company, number (or numbers), email address and website. But you're not limited to the default fields - tap Add Field at the bottom of the screen to access a list of additional -options, including birthday, nickname and a general Note field.
Access an LDAP account: If you have an LDAP account, you can connect to it from your device. You'll need the server address, a user name and a password. Go to Settings > Mail > Contacts > Calendars > Add Account > Other > Add LDAP Account. Enter your account information, tap Next to verify your account, then tap Save. The LDAP account will appear in your Contacts application in a new group. These contacts are stored on the server, so you must be connected to the internet when viewing and searching them.
Locate contacts: In the Phone app, All Contacts alphabetically lists every contact (you can set it to sort by first or last name in the Settings screen). You can scroll up and down, or use the alphabet running down the right side to jump to contacts starting with a particular letter. You can also look for someone by using the search bar at the top. Alternatively, you can perform a Spotlight search in the main Spotlight screen (swipe left from the first Home screen). The search results will include matching contacts.
If you have your contacts divided into groups and synced, you can also look through them using the Groups button.
Start downloading apps
Create an Apple ID: The first thing you need is an Apple ID, if haven't got one already. You can create this on a PC or Mac via iTunes (click the iTunes Store, then Sign In and follow the instructions), but we're going to create it on the device itself.
Hit the App Store icon on the home screen and tap the Featured icon at the bottom. Scroll down and press Sign In, then Create Apple ID. Choose a country, agree to the terms and conditions and enter an email address - this will act as your Apple ID - and password. (Apple is a lot stricter about password quality than it used to be, so be prepared to come up with something fairly long that includes upper- and lower-case letters and numbers.) You'll also need to enter some security questions and a 'rescue email address'.
Finally, you need to enter your card details, so you'll be able to buy apps - ultimately that's what the App Store is all about. Apple has a strong record on financial security (touch wood), so you should be safe entering your details. You'll only be charged if you actually buy something.
Download an app: Within the App Store, browse the apps to see if there's something you like. The Top Charts section shows the most popular downloads, while Featured has apps that Apple has picked out as new and/or interesting. If something takes your fancy, click it and you'll be taken to its page, where you can read reviews and view screenshots.
If you decide to proceed, press the button with the price written on it; it will turn green and change to 'Buy App'. Press it once again to confirm - the iOS device may now ask you to enter your password if you haven't been asked for it recently. The app will start downloading, appearing as an icon on the last page of your home screen. Click it to get started.