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48 incredible iOS 8 iPad and iPhone tips & tricks

iPhone 5S Today Screen

Do things more quickly, more efficiently and easier with our tricks


iPhone only: Calculator

The Calculator app is only built into the iPhone and is a strange omission from the iPad, along with the missing Weather app. That said it’s probably one of the most useful apps available on the iPhone and it has a couple of tricks up its sleeve.

Delete a number

If you’ve accidentally added an extra number into your calculations, you don’t have start all over again, as you can delete one character at a time with a simple swipe. On the number display just swipe from right-to-left or left-to-right and you’ll delete a single character. We find that right-to-left worked a little better for us, while the opposite action wasn’t always picked up.

Scientific mode

The Calculator is rather basic when you open it, with just number keys, and the simple arithmetic operations. If you want to do something a bit more complicated, you don’t need to download a new app. Instead, just rotate your phone from portrait to landscape mode and you get the scientific mode, with all the additional operators you might need, including Sin, Cos, Tan, square root and more.

iPhone Calculator scientific mode 


The Music app hasn’t changed a lot since the first iPhone was launched, but underneath the surface there are a few little tips and tricks you can use to make it work the way you want, or to make it quicker and more convenient to use. These tips works on both the iPad and iPhone.

Use Siri to identify songs

Shazam has put an end to fun debates about what the song playing at the pub/bar/party actually is and now you can use it straight from Siri. Using Shazam in Siri is as easy as you’d expect. Fire up Siri, say ‘What song is this?’ or ‘What is currently playing’ or ‘Name that tune’ (other voice commands might work, so give it a go) and Siri will have a listen before displaying the name of the song, artist and a piece of cover art. You can even buy the track if you like it.

Siri and Shazm in iOS 8

Sleep timer

If you’re listening to music on your tablet or smartphone as you go to sleep, you can use the sleep timer to automatically turn it off after a set period of time. This is a well hidden feature, so don’t be surprised that you haven’t come across it before. In fact, the option’s not even in the Music app, but is with Timer in the Clock app. To access Timer, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to display Control Center. Tap the Timer app (looks like a stop watch and sits near the camera). On the iPhone tap ‘When Timer Ends’; on the iPad, just tap the musical note underneath the big circle. On both devices, select Stop Playing. Now choose your countdown timer and hit Start. Go back to the Music app and hit play on something and when the timer runs out, your iPhone or iPad will stop playing. You don’t have to just play music, either, hit play on anything with sound or video (such as iPlayer) and it will do the same job.

iPad Sleep Timer

Remote control earphones

If you’ve got a set of earphones or headphones with remotes in them, you can use these to control music. Now, you probably already knew that the middle button let you Play/Pause music, but you can actually use to skip tracks and fast-forward and rewind through music and videos, too. Here are the list of available controls:

  • One tap for play/pause
  • Double tap to skip forward one track
  • Double tap and then hold to fast forward
  • Triple tap to skip back one track
  • Triple tap and hold to rewind

Apple iPhone 5 EarPod

Navigation and maps

One of the most useful things about an iPad or an iPhone is using it to plan journeys using Apple Maps or Google Maps. This is particularly true of the iPhone, which has built-in GPS (only the Wi-Fi + Cellular version of the iPad has this). Regardless of whether you’re sitting at home or out-and-about, our tips will help you get more from your handset.

Google Maps offline maps

If you’re going somewhere without internet access or you don’t want to run up huge roaming bills while on holiday, saving maps offline can really help. There are a lot of aricles out there telling you that you have to type ‘OK Maps’ into the Google Maps app to save an offline map. While that will work, it’s a dumb way of doing it, as the iPhone and iPad apps have a proper offline mode, which is easier to use. Tap the search bar and look for the area you want to save. Tap the search bar again and select Save map to use offline. Pan and zoom around the map, until you’ve got the entire area you’ll need covered (Google Maps will save all zoom levels, so you’re just lining up where you want the borders of your offline map to be). Tap Save, give your map a name and click Save, and you’re done.

Google Maps offline

Set Google Maps home and work addresses

If you regularly need to plan journeys from/to home or work, you might as well save these addresses automatically. Fortunately, Google Maps makes this easy to do. Open the app and tap the settings button, which looks like three horizontal lines (top left on iPad, bottom left on iPhone). Tap Settings, then tap Edit home or work. You can tap either your home or work address and fill in the details. Once you’ve entered the details tap the search bar and you’ll see Home and Work listed just underneath it.

Apple Maps home and work addresses

If you want to use Apple Maps and want to set your home and work addresses, you have to do things a little differently. First, you need to open up Contacts and search for your name. If you don’t have an entry for yourself, create one and fill out your home and work addresses. When you’re done, go to Settings, General, Siri. Tap My Info and select your name from the list of contacts. Now go to Apple Maps and when you search for ‘home’ or ‘work’ your details will come up.

iPad Create Contact for Apple Maps


Although the on-screen keyboard isn’t as comfortable or as responsive as a ‘real’ keyboard, Apple has built quite a few tricks into it, in order to make it quicker to type on. Most of them work on both devices, but there’s one trick specifically for iPad, which we’ll point out. Follow these tricks and you’ll soon find your iPad or iPhone a lot quicker and easier to use.

Install a new keyboard

Android users have been able to choose their keyboards for years, but Apple has only just introduced the same feature with iOS 8. The actual procedure is a little bit fiddly, so read our full guide on how to install a keyboard on iOS 8 to get the full run-down.

Install keyboards in iOS

Quick numbers and accents

If you want to quickly add in a number or use an accented character, such as for the word ‘café’, you can do this easily. For numbers and punctuations (brackets, colon, semi-colon, etc), press and hold the button labelled ‘.?123’. Slide up the character you want, then release. You’ll be taken back to the regular keyboard. For accents on characters, just press and hold that character, then slide to the version you want.

iPad keyboard accents

Add a full-stop automatically

If you’re typing quickly, you don’t have to worry about filling in the punctuation automatically for full-stops. As you write, just hit Space twice and the iPad will add a full stop at the end of the last word and add a space, so you can carry on writing. Once you get into the swing of things, it makes writing longer emails or messages a lot easier.


If you want to type all in capital letters, you can put the keyboard into caps-lock mode. Just double tap the shift button twice and it will turn into an arrow with a line underneath it. This means that its in caps-lock mode. Tap it again at any point to disable this mode and return to normal typing.


iPad only: Split keyboard

If you’re using your iPad, particular a 10in version, in portrait mode, the keyboard can feel a bit spaced out. That’s why Apple has a split keyboard option for the iPad only. This splits the keyboard in half, with one half designed to sit under your left thumb and the other side under your right thumb. To split the keyboard simply use you finger and thumb and spread them apart on the keyboard. To put the keyboard back together again, press and hold the keyboard button at the bottom left, until a menu appears. Select Dock and Merge to slide it back together again.

iPad split keyboard


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