iPhone Tips and Tricks for beginners

There’s no question about it, Apple dominates the mobile market. They sold an estimated 7.1M iPhones in the UK last year, and there’s no signs of them slowing down. If you’ve only recently picked one up though, it can be quite difficult to know where to start. Never fear - here’s our top iPhone tips and tricks for beginners. 

Last updated: 20th Oct 2020 at 9:23am

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If you’ve just purchased a new iPhone and you’re wondering what simple things you should set up first, follow our tips below to have your handset up and running in no time.

Make security a priority

Once you’ve passed the opening “Hello” and initial config screens, you’ll find yourself on your home screen. The first thing you should do from here is set up your iPhone’s security settings (so you don’t forget later down the line). 

Simply go into your settings (look for a whirring mechanical widget titled ‘Settings’) and follow the red numbers to get secure. Set up Face ID and Touch ID as security measures to login to your phone, choose or change your pin password, and login to Apple Pay and sync your wallet if you’re wanting to use contactless payments. 

Get the admin stuff out of the way first, and then move on to the fun.

Explore the home screen

The home screen is your portal to everything you need to find on your phone.

You should explore the pre-installed apps to know if you’re going to use them, or if you should delete them to save space for any new apps. (Note: some apps like ‘Wallet’ and ‘Find My iPhone’ can’t be removed). 

Familiarise yourself with the basic setup and options available. Log in and sign up to the things you’ll need most, like:

  • iMessages - you can add contacts or download from your previous phone - learn more about transferring data across phone models
  • Mail - sign into your email; the Mail app supports most accounts
  • Photos - get used to your camera’s capabilities by switching between landscape and selfie mode
  • Calendar - sync with any other calendars you use (like Google), or add events yourself
  • Music - create a 3-month free trial and stream over 60 million songs. Have an old iTunes account? Your library can be automatically transferred to Music.

App Store

Once you’ve explored what’s already on your phone, you’re no doubt itching to download some more apps and games. Find the ‘App Store’, identified by a blue widget with a white ‘A’, and login using your iOS credentials to start looking for new apps. 

Note: if you want to download an app that costs money, you’ll have to make sure you have credit on your account. 

To find apps, you can browse through categories, or use the search bar to narrow things down. When you’ve found one you want, click “Get” or the download icon and enter your Apple email and password to purchase. If you don’t log out, you will only have to enter your password to buy something. 

All of the apps you download will be placed as widgets on your home screen, wherever the next available space is. If you’ve filled your first screen, swipe to the left to find your second screen. You are allowed up to 11 screens. 

Organise your home screen

Unless you’re happy to leave your screens scrambled with all of your apps in various places, you can organise and categorise your widgets by placing them in folders. 

To do this, hold down on an app and press “Edit Home Screen” when the options appear. When you press this, all of the editable widgets will shake with little X’s. Be warned - if you press the X, you will delete this app and wipe the data from your phone. To put two apps together in one folder, simply hold down on an app and drag it until it’s hovering over another. Your home screen will then bubble these two apps into a folder with a title suggestion based on what it believes their function is, such as ‘Health’, ‘Work’, and ‘Social’. 

Hold down and drag other apps into the folder, or hover over others to keep creating more folders. You can edit the folder titles yourself if you don’t like the automatic ones. 

This is all part of iOS 13, but as Apple releases more and more updates, the home screen is likely to alter and function differently. There are rumours about new features that could come with the iOS 14 that would change how you use apps and widgets, along with many other iPhone features. 

Have fun with Siri

Siri is your AI assistant, a voice-controlled helper that can answer questions and complete some everyday tasks for you, like sending messages, calling people, setting up a calendar date or reminder, and answering your web searches. 

Like the Google Assistant and Alexa of the Amazon world, Siri can be used for both entertainment purposes and general help. 

To personalise your assistant into your mini-me helper, you can ask the AI to call you by a nickname (by asking Siri to call you something else), or set nicknames for your friends. That way when you want Siri to call your best friend, you can use their nickname rather than full contact name. 

To set nicknames for your friends, simply edit the name written in your contact list, as this is where Siri will gather its information from when you ask to call or message a person.

In Settings > Siri & Search, you can set Siri’s voice to be male or female, and give them an accent like American, African, Indian, and Australian. This is where you can customise toggles like “Listen for Hey Siri” as a command, or turn the AI off when your phone is locked. 

Switch to ‘Dark Mode’

iOS 13 brought with it the option to switch between Dark and Light Mode. ‘Dark Mode’ switches the background colour of many of your apps to black or dark grey, making it easier on the eyes for reading and looking for longer periods of time. 

To switch from the default bright white to ‘Dark Mode’, go to Settings > Display and Brightness > Select the mode you want

You can also set Dark Mode to come on automatically at certain times, like at night or first thing in the morning. Very handy so you’re not blinded whilst just waking up or when you’re trying to wind down. 

Set up your Medical ID in case of an emergency

In your Apple Health App, you can fill in all of your personal medical information. The details you enter in this section will appear on your lockscreen if someone presses the caller’s emergency link. 

This can be used to save your life if you’re injured, as the emergency services (or any bystanders) can immediately discover if you have any severe allergies or illnesses they would need to know about. 

This can also be useful if you lose your phone as your contact details will appear (if you’ve entered them) and the finder can return it to you. 

To set it up, go to: 

Settings > Health > Medical ID > Create Medical ID

Make sure it’s switched to “Show When Locked”. 


So there’s some helpful guidance on setting up your new iPhone and taking advantage of some handy tricks to make using your iOS easier.

Have any more tips you’d like us to know? Contact us on Twitter. If you’ve just purchased a new iPhone, why not check out our amazing 30-day bundles and order yourself a free SIM?

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