Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

If you had never seen all the videos and photos of the iPhone, and you just found it lying on someone's desk, you might not guess that it's a phone (let alone an iPod/web browser/alarm clock/stopwatch/etc.). You can't see any antenna, mouthpiece, earpiece – and, goodness knows, there are no number keys for dialing.

It's all there, though, hidden inside this sleek black-and-silver slab.

For all your dealings with the iPhone, you'll be expected to know what's meant by terms such as 'the Home button' and 'the Sleep/Wake switch'. A guided tour, therefore, is in order. So, allow us to present everything you need to know to get started with your iPhone.

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

Sleep switch (on/off)

On the top edge of the iPhone, you'll find a black plastic button shaped like a dash.

This button has several functions.

  • Sleep/Wake Tapping it once puts the iPhone to sleep – that is, into Standby mode, ready for incoming calls but consuming very little power. Tapping it again turns on the screen, so it's ready for action.
  • On/Off This switch can also turn the iPhone off completely, so it consumes no power at all; incoming calls get dumped into voicemail. You might turn the iPhone off whenever you're not going to use it for a few days. To turn the iPhone off, press the Sleep/Wake switch for three seconds. The screen changes to say, 'slide to power off'. Confirm your decision by placing a fingertip on the red right-pointing arrow and sliding to the right. The device shuts off completely. To turn the iPhone back on, press the switch again for one second. The chromelike Apple logo appears as the phone boots up.
  • Answer call/Dump to voicemail The upper-right switch has one more function. When a call comes in, you can tap it once to silence the ringing or vibrating. After four rings, the call goes to your voicemail. You can also tap it twice to dump the call to voicemail immediately. Of course, because they didn't hear four rings, iPhone veterans will know that you've blown them off. Bruised egos may result. Welcome to the new world of iPhone Etiquette.

Locked mode

When you don't touch the screen for one minute, or when you put the iPhone to sleep, the phone locks itself. When it's locked, the screen isn't touch-sensitive.

Fortunately, you can still take phone calls and control music playback.

Remember, this phone is all touchscreen, so it's much more prone to accidental button-pushes than most phones. You wouldn't want to discover that your iPhone has been calling people or taking photos from the depths of your pocket or purse.

That's why the first thing you do after waking the iPhone is unlock it.

Fortunately, that's easy (and a lot of fun) to do: place your fingertip on the gray arrow and slide it to the right, as indicated by the animation.

Tip: If you change your mind about turning the iPhone off, tap the Cancel button, or do nothing. If the iPhone decides that you're not paying attention, it dismisses the 'slide to power off' screen automatically.

Apple iPhone

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

SIM card slot

On the top edge of the phone, in the middle, is a tiny pinhole next to what looks like a very thin slot cover. If you push a pin or an unfolded paper clip straight into the hole, the SIM card tray suddenly pops out.

So what's a SIM card?

It turns out that there are two main mobile network types: CDMA, used by some networks in the US and places like Korea; and GSM, used by most UK networks, the majority of other countries around the world. Your iPhone works only on GSM networks. (That's one huge reason that Apple chose AT&T as its US exclusive carrier. Apple wanted to design a phone that works overseas.)

Every GSM phone keeps your account information — details such as your phone number and calling-plan details — on a tiny memory card known as a SIM card (Subscriber Information Module). On some phones, although not the iPhone, it even stores your address book.

What's cool is that, by removing the card and putting it into another GSM phone, you transplant the iPhone's brain. The other phone now knows your number and account details, which can be handy when your iPhone goes in for repair or battery replacement.

Apple thinks that SIM cards are geeky and intimidating, and that they should be invisible. That's why, unlike most GSM phones, your iPhone came with the card preinstalled and ready to go. Most people will never have any reason to open this tray, unless they just want to see what a SIM card looks like.

If you were curious enough to open it up, you close the tray simply by pushing it back into the phone until it clicks.

Tip: You can't use any other company's SIM card in the iPhone—it's not an "unlocked" GSM phone. Other recent O2 cards will work, however, but only after you first activate them. After inserting the other card — it fits only one way, with the O2 logo facing up—connect the iPhone to your computer and let the iTunes software walk you through the process.

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

Audio jack

The tour continues with the top-left corner of the iPhone. Here's where you plug in the white earbuds that came with your iPhone.

This little recessed hole is no ordinary 3.5mm audio jack, however. It contains a secret fourth pin that conducts sound into the phone from the microphone on the earbuds cord. Now you, too, can be one of those executives who walk down the street barking orders to nobody in particular.

The iPhone can stay in your pocket as you walk or drive. You hear the other person through your earbuds, and the mic on the cord picks up your voice.

Incidentally, the tiny microphone nodule on the cord is more than a microphone; it's also an Answer/Hang Up clicker.

Tip: In theory, you can use any standard headphones with the iPhone — a welcome bit of news for audiophiles who don't think the included earbuds do their music justice. The catch, however, is that the molding around the iPhone's audio jack prevents most miniplugs from going all the way in. You may be able to get your headphones to fit by trimming its own plastic collar with a razor blade — or you can spend £7.99 for a headphone adaptor (from, among others) to get around this problem.

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

The screen

The touchscreen is your mouse, keyboard, dialing pad, and note pad. It's going to get fingerprinty and streaky, although it wipes clean with a quick rub on your sleeve. You can also use it as a mirror when the iPhone is off.

But what about scratches? Fortunately, Apple learned its lesson on this one. The iPhone screen is made of optical-quality, chemically treated glass — not polycarbonate plastic like the iPod's screen. It's actually very difficult to scratch glass; try it on a window pane some day.

If you're nervous about protecting your iPhone, you can always get a carrying case for it. But in general, the iPhone is far more scratch-resistant than the iPod. Even many Apple employees carry the iPhone in their pockets without carrying cases.

Screen icons

Here's a round-up of the icons that you may see in the status bar at the top of the iPhone screen, from left to right.

Phone signal As on any mobile, the number of bars indicates the strength of your mobile signal, and thus the quality of your call audio and likelihood of losing the connection. If there are zero bars, the dreaded words "No service" appear here.

EDGE Network When this logo appears, your iPhone can get onto the Internet via O2's very handy, but very slow, EDGE data network. In general, if you have a mobile signal, you likely have an EDGE signal.

Airplane Mode If you see the airplane instead of signal and Wi-Fi bars, the iPhone is in Airplane mode.

Wi-Fi Signal When you're connected to a wireless Wi-Fi internet hotspot, this indicator appears. The more "soundwaves," the stronger the signal.

iPhone locked This means that the screen and most buttons don't work, to avoid accidental presses, whenever it goes to sleep.

The clock When the iPhone is unlocked, a digital clock replaces the Lock symbol.

Play indicator The iPhone's playing music. Before you respond, "well, duh!" keep in mind that you may not be able to hear the music playing. For example, maybe the earbuds are plugged into the iPhone but aren't in your ears. So this icon is actually a handy reminder that you're running your battery down unnecessarily.

Alarm You've got an alarm set. This reminder, too, can be valuable, especially when you intend to sleep late and don't want an alarm to go off.

Bluetooth connection The iPhone is connected wirelessly to a Bluetooth earpiece or hands-free car system. (If this symbol is gray, it means that Bluetooth is turned on — and draining your battery — but it's not connected to any other gear.)

TTY symbol You've turned on Teletype mode, meaning that the iPhone can communicate with a Teletype machine. (That's a special machine that lets deaf people make phone calls by typing and reading text. It hooks up to the iPhone with a special cable that Apple sells from its website.)

Battery meter When the iPhone is plugged into its cradle (which is itself plugged into a wall outlet or computer), the lightning bolt appears, indicating that the phone is charging. Otherwise, the battery logo "empties out" from right to left to indicate how much charge remains.

Tip: Camouflaged behind the black glass above the earpiece, where you can't see them except with a bright flashlight, are two sensors. First, there's an ambient-light sensor that brightens the display when you're in sunlight and dims it in darker places. You can also adjust the brightness manually. Second, there's a proximity sensor. When something (like your head) is close to the sensor when you're using the phone functions, it shuts off the screen illumination and touch sensitivity. Try it out with your hand. (It works only in the Phone application.) You save power and avoid tapping buttons with your cheekbone.

Apple iPhone

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

Home button

Here it is. The one and only real button on the front of this phone. Push it to summon the Home screen, which is your gateway to everything the iPhone can do.

Having a Home button is a wonderful thing. It means you can never get lost.

No matter how deeply you burrow into the iPhone software, no matter how far off track you find yourself, one push of the Home button takes you all the way back to the beginning.

Sounds simple, but remember that the iPhone doesn't have an actual Back button or End button.

The Home button is the only way out of some screens.

The Home button also wakes up the iPhone if it's in Standby mode. That's sometimes easier than finding the Sleep/Wake switch on the top edge.

Some beginners forget that the Home button is a physical pushbutton — it's not touch-sensitive like the screen — and get frustrated when it doesn't respond. Give it a real manly push.

Tip: The Home button is also a "force quit" button. If you press it for six seconds straight, whatever program you're running completely shuts down. That's a good troubleshooting technique when a particular program seems to be acting up.

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

Silencer switch, volume keys

Praise be to the gods of technology — this phone has a 'silence all' switch!

This little flipper, on the left edge at the top, means that no ringer or alert sound will humiliate you in a meeting, a movie, or church. When you move the switch toward the front of the iPhone, the ringer is on. When you push it toward the back, exposing the orange dot, the ringer is off.

No menus, no holding down keys, just instant silence. All mobile phones should have this feature.

Below the silencer, still on the left edge, is the volume control—an up/down rocker switch. It works three different ways:

  1. On a call, these buttons adjust the speaker or earbud volume.
  2. When you're listening to music, they adjust the playback volume.
  3. At all other times, they adjust the volume of sound effects like the ringer and alarms.

Either way, a corresponding volume graphic appears on the screen to show you where you are on the volume scale.

Tip: Even when silenced, the iPhone still makes noise if you've explicitly set an alarm. Also, the phone still vibrates when the silencer is engaged, although you can turn this feature off.

Tip: With practice, you can learn to tell if the ringer is on while the iPhone is still in your pocket. That's because when the ringer is on, the switch falls in a straight line with the volume keys. By swiping your thumb across these controls from front to back, you can feel whether the silencer switch is lined up or tilted away.

Apple iPhone

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

The bottom and the back

On the bottom edge of the iPhone, Apple has parked three important components, none of which you'll ever have to bother with: the speakerphone speaker, the microphone, and the 30-pin connector that charges and syncs the iPhone with your computer.

On the back of the iPhone, the camera lens appears in the upper-left corner. The rest of the back is mostly textured aluminium — all except the bottom, which is black plastic. That's where the antenna is. Phone signals have a hard time going through metal, which is why this one piece is made of plastic. Fortunately for people who fear mobile-phone radiation, the antenna is as far from your brain as it can be.

Tip: There's only one payoff for knowing what's down here: the speakerphone isn't very loud, because it's aimed straight out of the iPhone's edge, away from you. If you cup your hand around the bottom edge, you can redirect the sound toward your face, for an immediate boost in volume and quality.

Apple iPhone

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

In the box

Inside the minimalist box, you get the iPhone, its earbud/mike cord, and:

The charging/syncing dock You charge your iPhone by seating it in this white desktop dock. Most people plug the dock's USB cord into a Mac or PC for simultaneous syncing and charging.

The AC adaptor When you're traveling without a computer, though, you can plug the dock's USB cable into the included two-prong outlet adaptor, so you can charge the iPhone directly from a wall socket.

Finger tips Cute name for a cute fold-out leaflet of iPhone basics.

Two white Apple stickers Let your car window show that you're a phone-carrying member of the Apple cult.

A screen cloth This little pseudo-suede cloth wipes the grease off the screen, although your clothing does just as well.

What you won't find in the box (because it wouldn't fit) is a CD containing the iTunes software. You're expected to have a copy of that on your computer already. In fact, you must have an iTunes account to set up and use the iPhone. If you don't have iTunes on your computer, you can download it from

Note: You may have noticed one standard mobile feature that's not here: the battery compartment door. The battery isn't user-replaceable. It's rechargeable, of course — it charges whenever it's in the white dock — but after 300 or 400 charges, it will start to hold less juice. Eventually, you'll have to pay Apple to install a new battery.

(Apple says that the added bulk of a protective plastic battery compartment, a removable door and latch, and battery retaining springs would have meant a much smaller battery — or a much thicker iPhone).

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

Seven basic finger techniques

The iPhone isn't quite like any machine that came before it, and operating it isn't quite like using any other machine. You do everything on the touch screen instead of with physical buttons. Here's what you need to know.


You'll do a lot of tapping on the iPhone's onscreen buttons. They're usually nice and big, giving your fleshy fingertip a fat target. You can't use a stylus, fingernail, or pen tip; only skin contact works.


When you're zoomed into a map, web page, email or photo, you scroll around just by sliding your finger across the glass in any direction — like a flick, but slower and more controlled. It's a huge improvement over scroll bars, especially when you want to scroll diagonally.


In some situations, you'll be asked to confirm an action by sliding your finger across the screen. That's how you unlock the phone's buttons after it's been in your pocket, for example. It's ingenious, really; you may bump the touchscreen when you reach into your pocket for something, but it's extremely unlikely that your knuckles will randomly slide it in just the right way.

You also have to swipe to confirm that you want to turn off the iPhone, to answer a call on a locked iPhone, or to shut off an alarm. Swiping like this is also a great shortcut for deleting email or text message.


A flick is a fast, less controlled slide. You flick vertically to scroll lists on the iPhone. You'll discover, usually with some expletive like "Whoa!" or "Jeez!", that scrolling a list in this way is a blast. The faster your flick, the faster the list spins downward or upward. But lists have a real-world sort of momentum; they slow down after a second or two, so you can see where you wound up.

At any point during the scrolling of the list, you can flick again (if you didn't go far enough) or tap to stop the scrolling (if you see the item you want to choose).

Pinch and spread

In the Photos, Mail, Web, and Google Maps programs, you can zoom in on a photo, message, web page, or map by placing two fingers (usually thumb and forefinger) on the glass and spreading them. The image magically grows, as though it's printed on a sheet of rubber.

Once you've zoomed in like this, you can then zoom out again by putting two fingers on the glass and pinching them together.


Double-tapping is actually pretty rare on the iPhone. It's not like the Mac or Windows, where double-clicking the mouse always means "open". Because the iPhone's operating system is far more limited, you open something with one tap.

A double tap, therefore, is reserved for three functions:

  • In Safari (the web browser), Photos, and Google Maps programs, double-tapping zooms in on whatever you tap, magnifying it.
  • In the same programs, as well as Mail, double-tapping means, "restore to original size" after you've zoomed in.
  • When you're watching a video, double-tapping switches aspect ratios (video screen shape).

Two-finger tap

This weird little gesture crops up only in one place: in Google Maps. It means "zoom out". To perform it, you tap once on the screen — with two fingers.

Note: The English language has failed Apple here. Moving your thumb and forefinger closer together has a perfect verb: pinching. But there's no word to describe moving them the opposite direction. Apple uses the oxymoronic expression pinch out to describe that move (along with the redundant-sounding pinch in). In this book, the opposite of "pinching" is "spreading".

Apple iPhone

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

The keyboard

Very few iPhone features have triggered as much angst, hope, and criticism as the onscreen keyboard. It's true, boys and girls: the iPhone has no physical keys. A virtual keyboard, therefore, is the only possible system for entering text.

The keyboard appears automatically whenever you tap in a place where typing is possible: in an outgoing email or text message, in the Notes program, in the address bar of the web browser, and so on.

Just tap the key you want. As your finger taps the glass, a "speech balloon" appears above your finger, showing an enlarged version of the key you actually hit (since your finger is now blocking your view of the keyboard).

In darker gray, surrounding the letters, you'll find these special keys:

  • Shift (L). When you tap this key, it glows white, to indicate that it's in effect. The next letter you type appears as a capital. Then the L key automatically returns to normal, meaning that the next letter will be lowercase.
  • Backspace (V). This key actually has three speeds. Tap it once to delete the letter just before the blinking insertion point. Hold it down to "walk" backward, deleting as you go. If you hold down the key long enough, it starts deleting words rather than letters, one whole chunk at a time.
  • „. Tap this button when you want to type numbers or punctuation. The keyboard changes to offer a palette of numbers and symbols. Tap the same key—which now says ABC—to return to the letters keyboard.
  • Once you're on the numbers/symbols pad, a new dark gray button appears, labeled =. Tapping it summons a third keyboard layout, containing the less frequently used symbols, like brackets, the # and % symbols, bullets, and math symbols.
  • Return. Tapping this key moves to the next line, just as on a real keyboard.
Apple iPhone

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

Making the keyboard work

Some people have no problem tapping those tiny virtual keys; others struggle for days. Either way, here are some tips:

  • Don't be freaked out by the tiny narrow keys. Apple knows that your fingertip is fatter than that. So as you type, use the whole pad of your finger or thumb. Go ahead—tap as though you're trying to make a fingerprint. Don't try to tap with only a skinny part of your finger to match the skinny keys. You'll be surprised at how fast and accurate this method is. (Tap, don't press.)
  • This may sound like new-age bunkum, but trust the keyboard. Don't get hung up on individual letters, pausing to check the result, and so on. Just plough on.
  • Start out with one-finger typing. Two-thumb, BlackBerry-style typing usually comes much later. You'll drive yourself crazy if you start out that way.
  • If you make a mistake, don't reflexively go for the Backspace key (V). Instead, just beneath the word you typed, you'll find the iPhone's proposed replacement. The software analyses the letters around the one you typed and, more often than not, figures out what you really meant. For example, if you accidentally type imsame, the iPhone realises that you meant insane, and suggests that word.
  • The suggestion feature also kicks in when the iPhone thinks it knows how you intend to complete a correctly spelled word. For example, if you type fathe, the suggestion says father. This trick usually saves you only a letter or two, but that's better than nothing.
  • Without cursor keys, how are you supposed to correct an error that you made a few sentences ago? Easy — use the Loupe.
  • Hold your fingertip down anywhere in the text until you see the magnified circle appear. Without lifting your finger, drag anywhere in the text; you'll see that the insertion point moves along with it. Release when the blinking line is where you want to delete or add text, just as though you'd clicked there with a mouse.
  • Don't bother using the Shift key to capitalise a new sentence. The iPhone does that capitalising automatically. (To turn this feature on or off, tap Home; Settings; General; Keyboard; Auto-Capitalisation.)

How to type punctuation with one touch

On the iPhone, the punctuation keys and alphabet keys appear on two different keyboard layouts. That's a serious hassle, because each time you want a full stop or a comma, it's an awkward, three-step dance: (1) Tap the „ key to get the punctuation layout. (2) Tap the full stop. (3) Tap the ABC key, or just press the Space bar, to return to the alphabet layout.

Imagine how excruciating it is to type, for example, "a P.O. Box in the U.S.A."! That's 34 finger taps and 10 mode changes!

Fortunately, there's a secret way to get a full stop, comma, or another punctuation mark with only a single finger gesture.

The iPhone doesn't register most key presses until you lift your finger. But the Shift and Punctuation keys register their taps on the press down instead.

So here's what you can do, all in one motion:

  • Touch the „ key, but don't lift your finger. The punctuation layout appears.
  • Slide your finger onto the full stop or comma key, and release. The ABC layout returns automatically. You've typed a full stop or a comma with one finger touch instead of three.

In fact, you can type any of the punctuation symbols the same way. This technique makes a huge difference in the usability of the keyboard.

Apple iPhone

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).

Here's everything you need to know to get started with a new iPhone.

Tip: The iPhone has a Caps Lock feature, but you have to request it. In the Settings program, turn on "Enable caps lock". From now on, if you double-tap the L key, the key turns blue. You're now in Caps Lock mode, and you'll now type in ALL CAPITALS until you tap the L key again. (If you can't seem to make Caps Lock work, try double-tapping the L key fast.)

Tip: Although you don't see it with your eyes, the sizes of the keys on the iPhone keyboard are actually changing all the time. That is, the software enlarges the "landing area" of certain keys, based on probability. For example, suppose you type tim. Now, the iPhone knows that no word in the language begins timw or timr — and so, invisibly, it enlarges the "landing area" of the E key, which greatly diminishes your chances of making a typo on that last letter. Cool.

Tip: In the Safari address bar, you can skip the part about waiting for the loupe to appear. Once you've clicked into the address, just start dragging to make it appear at once.

Tip: If you're a two-thumbed typist, you can also hit the „ key with your left thumb, and then tap the punctuation key with your right. It even works on the = sub-punctuation layout, although you'll probably visit that screen less often.

Tip: This same trick saves you a finger-press when capitalising words, too. You can put your finger down on the L key and slide directly onto the letter you want to type its uppercase version.

This article is extracted from David Pogue's 'iPhone UK The Missing Manual' (OReilly 2007).