Quick Answers for Your Most Pressing iPhone Questions

As the Technical Director at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, I’m often bombarded with techy questions (“Rachel, how do I pick the right laptop?” “Rachel, what’s the best fitness app?” “Rachel, I think I messed up my computer, how I do fix it??”)

But one thing people always love to know are iPhone functions and shortcuts. Often, the best way to, say, share a photo, send a message isn’t covered in the owner’s manual (and how many peoplea actually read that anyway?). Here are a few tips and tricks for solving some common conundrums:

1. My phone says my photo memory is full, but I really need to snap a picture, and don’t have time to remove old ones. What can I do?


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Try taking the photo in an open text message. Go to send a new message, then click on the camera icon to take the photo. Or, just swipe up on your lock screen to get to the camera. Both maneuvers will save a new photo to your camera roll, even if it says its full. Of course, at some point, it really will be completely filled, so delete or upload your old photos soon.

2. How do I share a text message from one person with another?

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This function is helpful for sharing a restaurant address or movie time options (or a juicy piece of gossip) with more than one person. Tap and hold down on the message you want to resend, look for the option bar to pop up and then tap “More…” A new screen will appear with the text you want to copy checked off. Tap the forward icon on the bottom right corner. This will automatically copy and paste it into a new text window.

3. What the difference between the green and blue background on text messages?

Green means the message was sent over SMS (regular text messages that are part of your cell phone plan). Blue messages are via iMessage, Apple’s service that sends messages for free over Wi-Fi between iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Mac computers.

4. How can I see what percent of my battery life is left?

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Open the Settings app, and tap General, and then Usage. Scroll down until you see “Battery Percentage,” and switch it on.

5. The moving background on my new iPhone is nauseating. Can I fix this?

The latest iPhone operating system, iOS 7, creates a “parallax effect,” which creates 3D feel when you move the device. Open the Settings app, and tap General, and then Accesibility. Scroll down until you see “Reduce Motion” and switch it on.

6. Can I make the text size larger? It’s too small to read!

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In the Settings app, tap General, and then Text Size. Drag the slider to choose the reading size you prefer.

7. How do I delete the “Sent from my iPhone” that appears on emails I send?

In the Settings app, tap “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.” Scroll until you see “Signature.” Tap it to delete (or change) the signature from one or all of your email accounts.

8. How can I see the timestamps on my text messages?

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Swipe (and hold) from right to left on the screen, and you’ll see the time each message was sent pop out from the right.

9. How I can silence my phone easily if I’m headed into meeting at work or dinner with friends?

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Use the “Do Not Disturb” feature in Settings. To get to it quickly, swipe up on your home screen and tap the moon icon. In Settings, you can also schedule when you’d like your phone to go into silence mode. I set mine for quiet hours between 10PM and 7AM, so I’m not tempted to check my phone every time I get a message. But you can also choose to allow calls from some or all your contacts, so you won’t miss an emergency call.

Rachel Rothman is the technical director of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, overseeing testing in the Institute’s six labs.

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