30 best iphone tutorials | iPhone tips

Apple is famed for creating devices that just work. Except in our experience not everything you want to do on an iPhone is quite so straightforward. Here we round up our 30 most useful iPhone tutorials to show you how to do that thing you really wish you could do on your iPhone. For each tip just click on the header for detailed step-by-step instructions. 

1. How to get iOS 8 on your iPhone 

The final version of iOS 8 won't be unveiled until the iPhone 6 launches in September, but if you just can't wait to see what iOS 8 has got in store you can download the beta version on your iPhone now. But hold up: you should note that the iOS 8 beta programme is primarily aimed at app developers, allowing them to get started writing new apps or updating existing apps for the platform. You may also notice the odd bug from which even a can of hairspray and a lighter won't save you.  

2. How to back up an iPhone 

Don't wait until it's to late to make copies of the irreplaceable photos, videos, music, data and more on your iPhone. Kicking yourself won't bring them back if your iPhone is lost, stolen or breaks. It will only hurt. But the chore of backing up your iPhone is a lot less painful than you think. 

3. How to download YouTube videos to iPhone 

Downloading videos from YouTube isn't a policy we advocate (see: Is it illegal to download YouTube videos?). However, there may be some circumstances in which it is okay. Plus, as ever, where there is a will there is a way. Downloading YouTube videos to your iPhone to watch offline is not only possible, but pretty simple. 

4. How to listen to YouTube videos in the background on iPhone 

YouTube isn't just great for watching video, it's also a useful platform for listening to music. Until you decide you want to do something else on your iPhone, like send a text or go online. YouTube doesn't like it when you play with other apps. But you can force YouTube to continue playing videos in the background whether it likes it or not.  

5. How to set any song as a ringtone on your iPhone 

Loads of apps are available that claim to create ringtones for your iPhone, but without the necessary access privileges they are unable to store those tunes in your tones list. The solution is to use GarageBand, which not only lets you create and save ringtones on your iPhone without requiring a separate computer, but can let you create custom text tones, too. 

6. How to retrieve deleted texts on iPhone 

For whatever reason you've deleted a bunch of texts on your iPhone and now you need them back. Dagnamit. The good news - or bad news, depending on what you're looking to unearth - is that it's possible to retrieve deleted text messages on an iPhone. We'll show you three ways in which you can do so. 

7. How to send group texts from iPhone 

Most of the time we stick to just the one texting partner, but if you're tyring to arrange a group meeting such as a book club or a pub crawl then the ability to send texts to multiple recipients is a boon. We're not talking simply about adding several recipients to a single message - we'll show you how to ensure the whole group gets to follow the entire conversation. 

8. How to use Find My iPhone  

Find My iPhone can be an incredibly useful tool if you misplace your iPhone or your iPhone is stolen. It lets you locate your iPhone on a map, provided that the device is connected to the internet. Find My iPhone can also display a message on the iPhone's screen, cause it to make a noise to alert you to its whereabouts, and even let you remotely wipe your data if you suspect someone has pinched your iPhone. But for Find My iPhone to do all this, you need to ensure it is properly configured. 

9. How to connect an iPhone to a TV  

The iPhone has a beautiful screen, but the movies and videos you stream to it would look even better on a big-screen TV. Traditionally, if you wanted to connect a device to a TV, you'd do so using HDMI or SCART. The iPhone has neither. We'll show you how to connect an iPhone to a TV using either AirPlay or Apple's Digital AV adaptor. 

10. How to connect an iPhone to a printer  

If your iPhone has become your primary computer, what happens when you need to print out some tickets, a web page or an email? Fortunately your iPhone will connect to a printer just like any other computer, but you'll need to use AirPrint or another third-party app. Don't worry, it's easy. We'll walk you through how to print from an iPhone.

30 best iphone tutorials | iPhone tips 

11. How to block WhatsApp contacts on an iPhone  

The iPhone's Messaging app is great, but we love WhatsApp for its ability to send free photos and videos on an iPhone. All you need to contact someone is to have their phone number in your Contacts, but that simplicity can mean all kinds of people you really don't want to talk to can send you WhatsApp messages. We'll show you how to block people on WhatsApp for iPhone. (And while we're on the subject, you can even install WhatsApp on an iPad.) 

12. How to block a number on iPhone  

Of course, it's not just through WhatsApp that the crazies can reach you. You might also be getting nuisance calls and texts from cold callers, ex-boyfriends (possibly new boyfriends), sales people and others. In iOS 7 it's easy to block a specific phone number, preventing that person from either calling or texting you. 

13. How to tell if you've been blocked by an iPhone  

Are you one of those crazies we were talking about in the last point? It's important to remember that while you can block nuisance callers on your iPhone, they can also do the same to you - and if you've upset anyone lately, it's quite possible that they have blocked you. Fortunately, there are several clues that will help you to work out whether an iPhone has blocked your phone number; we reveal all. 

14. How to delete songs from your iPhone  

Storage can be something of an issue with iPhones if you like to hoard music, films, photos and video. Until Apple does the unimaginable and adds an SD card slot (don't get your hopes up), you will likely need to manage what media is stored on your device. And, at times, that means deleting music from your iPhone. We'll show you how to delete both the songs stored on your iPhone and those in iCloud. 

15. How to play any video format on your iPhone  

What's the point in having such a nice screen if the videos you want to play just aren't compatible? The iPhone supports H.264 video, plus MPEG-4 at 640x480, but we just can't be bothered to have to keep converting videos to watch them on our iPhone. What we need is an app that does all this in the background. Well, wouldn't you know... 

16. How to share your iPhone photos with anyone  

Is there anyone you have yet to show your holiday slideshow? Don't let them off so lightly. While My Photo Stream lets you share your photos with other iDevices linked to your iCloud account, it isn't able to share those photos with your mum and dad, friends and collegues, the postman, the woman on the till at Sainsbury's… But it's all good: Shared Streams is a relatively new option within iCloud that can ensure all these people will also be able to admire your wonky beach shots and photos of what you ate for dinner on every single night of your trip. 

17. How to close running apps on iPhone  

Look at all those apps on your shiny new iPhone. Wow. Bet you just can't wait to try them all out. Thing is, as good as the iPhone is at multitasking, it can cope with only so much. Depending on the apps in question, keeping open multiple apps can hog system resources, drain the battery and could be using more of your data allowance than you realise. We'll show you how to close those bad boys down. 

18. How to dry out an iPhone  

Whether you dropped your iPhone in a sink, swimming pool, toilet or a river, one thing is for sure: it's drowned-rat soaked through. Don't try to use it, don't even try to turn it on. Instead, follow our advice on how to fix a water-damaged iPhone. (And next time be more careful.) 

19. How to replace an iPhone battery  

Apple charges silly money to replace your iPhone battery, whereas a replacement iPhone battery costs about a tenner on eBay. Given that it's 'non-removable' only in the sense that you can't just whip it in and out (there are just a few screws holding it in place), our wallet says DIY. Go on: if we can do it, so can you. 

20. How to unlock an iPhone  

If you're looking to get the best deal on an iPhone, you might find yourself locked to a certain carrier. And that's annoying if you later find a better tariff elsewhere, or if you want to sell on your old iPhone to someone who's on a different network. There are several ways you can unlock an iPhone to accept any SIM; we'll run you through the options.

 30 best iphone tutorials | iPhone tips

21. How to change your Apple ID on an iPhone 

If you have more than one Apple ID - perhaps you have a family account or one for the kids - you'll need to be able to switch between them. Just remember that any apps or content bought via one Apple ID will remain locked to that account. 

22. How to reset a forgotten iPhone passcode  

We've all been locked out at some point in our lives and, while it's annoying, there's always a window you can break, a locksmith you can call or a nearby pub in which you can drown your sorrows. Getting locked out of your iPhone is another matter entirely, especially when it's been a whole five minutes since you last checked your Facebook News Feed or it's your turn on Word With Friends. Luckily, you can reset a forgotten iPhone passcode, even after you've put in the wrong code several times and got the error message 'iPhone is disabled'. 

23. How to restore an iPhone to factory settings 

If you're selling an old iPhone or passing it on to a friend or relative, they really don't need to hang on to all your old texts, apps, photos, music, internet settings and more. There may even be some stuff on there you'd rather keep from prying eyes. Give them a nice fresh environment in which to make themselves at home by restoring an iPhone to its factory settings.  

24. How to get an iPhone in and out of recovery mode 

Sometimes, through no fault of your own, an iPhone will choose to enter recovery mode. Perhaps you've just updated the firmware or restored from a backup, or perhaps your iPhone is just having a bad day. Your iPhone won't turn on, or it will cycle the boot process and never reach the home screen. All is most certainly not lost, and putting your iPhone either into or out of recovery mode is a piece of cake. 

25. How to use an iPhone as a Wi-Fi hotspot  

You know how no-one ever has any reception apart from you, because your iPhone rocks? Okay, how about those times when you're trying to get a laptop or tablet online and no Wi-Fi or ethernet connection is available? Your iPhone is able to act as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing all those inferior devices to get online. And that means you get to save the day. Well done you. 

26. How to turn off mobile data on an iPhone 

If your mobile tariff restricts you to a certain data limit rather than offering unlimited internet access, even if you're careful with your internet usage and video streaming all those internet-enabled apps that frequently check in with their servers could easily put you over your monthly data limit. If you want to avoid a huge phone bill, just switch off 3G. 

27. How to minimise data usage on iPhone  

Following on from our last point, if you're the kind of person who has that little-known quality called willpower, you may find you can keep under your data limit without adopting an all-or-nothing approach. There are several things you can do to minimise data usage on your iPhone, from restricting which apps can use mobile data to disabling background app refresh. We'll also show you how to keep tabs on exactly how much 3G data you are using each month. 

28. How to avoid data roaming charges on iPhone  

If you're planning a trip abroad this summer, bear in mind that your network operator may charge you obscene amounts for using your iPhone outside the UK (even despite some recent regulation regarding roaming charges). We look at what each network operator charges, and offer tips on how to avoid bank-busting bills. 

29. How to see iPhone in Windows  

It's a difficult conversation to have when you sit opposite the Macworld UK team (check out those guys for more great iPhone advice), but not every iPhone owner is also an iPad and a Mac owner (and an Apple TV owner and an iPod owner and a MacBook owner…). Believe it or not, a lot of people in this world use iPhones and they use Windows, and they actually don't hate Microsoft (also see Mac vs PC returns in Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 vs MacBook Air advert). If you are one of those people and are having trouble getting Windows and iOS to play nicely together - maybe you can't see your iPhone in Windows Explorer - follow our advice on how to see an iPhone in Windows. 

30. How to transfer photos from computer to iPhone the easy way  

We love the iPhone's camera, but it's probably not the only camera in your life. If you've got some great pictures that weren't taken on your iPhone, yet you'd like them to be on your iPhone so you can actually look at them or show them off, that's no bother. The easiest way to upload photos from PC to iPhone is using iCloud for Windows.

Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter.