9 iPhone Annoyances (And How to Fix Them)
After six years on the market and untold upgrades to its hardware and operating system, Apple has come a long way toward enhancing the iPhone. At the same time, some nagging annoyances remain, and in cases where fixes are available, finding them isn't always obvious. Here are nine of the biggest iPhone gripes, and how to tweak your device to resolve them.
I can't connect over 4G
Even if you're in an area with good coverage, some iPhone users report that they can't get online on an LTE network. But you can try a few things before giving up all hope. Start by toggling Airplane Mode on and off at the top of the Settings menu. This can cause the radio to reset itself so it will connect over 4G again. If that doesn't work, temporarily turn off 4G. 4G is faster, but if it doesn't work, it's not doing you much good.
The iPhone battery drains quickly
Android users get a handy app that tells them which processes are draining their phone's battery, but iPhone users have to guess. The good news is these aren't generally big mysteries. Here's how to arrest the biggest battery-draining culprits.
1. The screen is one of the biggest battery drains, so decrease Auto-Lock time if possible to keep it off when it's not needed. One minute is the minimum allowed. Also, dim the overall screen brightness to the minimally comfortable level by visiting Settings > Brightness & Wallpaper. Turn Auto-Brightness off to manually adjust it.
2. Shut off radios you don't need. If you primarily use your phone while connected to Wi-Fi, you can shut off the more power-hungry cellular data to save power. Visit Settings > General > Cellular to find these options. Shut off all radios on this screen (the options will vary based on which iOS device you have).
3. Shut off Location Services (Settings > Privacy) as well, and turn off Bluetooth (at the top of the Settings menu) if these are not actively being used.
4. Turn off Push email and decrease Fetch time. Apple actually warns you that Push email (which essentially checks for new messages constantly) will drain your battery quickly. Turn this off under Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch and select Manual.
5. Turn off Notifications. This reduces CPU load a bit. Under Settings > Notifications, scroll down to the Notification Center and configure each app individually.
6. Not using iCloud? Shut these services off as well under Settings > iCloud.
7. Lastly, you can get a better handle on your overall battery life if you turn on the battery percentage meter (instead of having just the difficult-to-discern icon) by visiting General > Usage and turning Battery Percentage on.
Autocorrect keeps inserting the wrong winds — I mean words
Autocorrect giveth with one hand, and it tajerh takers— er, "taketh" away with the other. While you may never get Autocorrect perfect (short of turning it off altogether; see options under Settings > General > Keyboard), you can at least improve it.
The iPhone learns the words you use frequently in texts and emails, so over time, you'll find that proper names and terms of endearment are eventually added to the iOS internal dictionary. To add extra words or shorthand, go to Settings > General > Keyboard. Under Add New Shortcut, you can type whatever. For instance, try typing "ttyl" to have "Talk to you later" be automatically suggested.
If your dictionary gets stuffed with words that it shouldn't have because you typed "ridicalous" one too many times, you can take the nuclear option and wipe out the phone's dictionary. The Reset Keyboard Dictionary can be found in the General > Reset settings menu. This will eliminate all customization you've done to your autocorrections.
Inactive apps keep chattering
Just because you don't have an application on-screen doesn't mean it shut down. In fact, the iPhone's multitasking system ensures that once you launch an app, it keeps running until you manually close it — even if you reboot the phone. Pop-ups are the most common issue users will see, but some apps, such as the Waze traffic app, will actually keep providing audio voice navigation if the app isn't terminated completely.
To silence these apps, start by turning off Notifications. You'll need to turn these off for each application individually, under Settings > Notifications. Set all options to Off for minimal interruption. If that’s not going far enough for you, shut down apps manually by following our step-by-step instructions.
You can't create mailing lists of multiple recipients
Another weird oversight in iOS prevents you from easily creating a list of recipients you frequently email. But there is a way around this limitation. You can create a contact in your address book that contains a string of all the email addresses you want to include. Once you have a full string of addresses, separated by commas with no spaces, copy the list and email it to yourself. Download the list to your iPhone and paste the list into the address field of your new contact.
The screen turns off when I want it to stay on
Kids love playing with Mom or Dad’s phone. But that playtime is likely to result in some rearranged and deleted apps — and perhaps some interesting new purchases. Regain control over your phone by turning on restrictions in the Settings menu. You’ll need to set a passcode, but once turned off, you’ll be able to shut off access to specific apps and remove the ability to add or delete apps.
To stop your child from rearranging your home screen, turn on Guided Access, which limits guest access to a single app. This can be found in the Accessibility section of the Settings menu. Once turned on, you simply open the app you want them to use, and triple-click the home screen. Triple-click again to get out, and then enter your passcode.
New appointments don't pop up with a reminder before they take place
Unlike most calendars, the default behavior in the iOS calendar is to set no alert or reminder at all when you create a calendar item, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a calendar at all. This, however, can be changed by browsing to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and scrolling down to the Calendars section. Tap Default Alert Times. You'll get three self-explanatory options, the most important of which is the middle one, Events. Tap this and change the default alert from None to whatever time interval strikes your fancy.
My kids keep screwing my iPhone up
If you're following a recipe, reading an iBook, or using your iPhone or iPad as a "second screen" reference, it can be a terrible nuisance when the screen shuts off — forcing you to try to tap in your password while your fingers are covered in chicken juice.
To give yourself more time before the screen goes black, launch Settings. Tap through to General > Auto-Lock. This nonintuitive setting controls not just how long it takes for your phone's password lock to re-engage, but also controls the amount of time you get before the screen goes dark at all. Two minutes is the default. Five minutes gives you extra time and choosing Never, well, will leave the screen active indefinitely. Remember your battery will suffer the longer you let the screen stay active.
More: 25 Best iPhone 5 Apps
Siri keeps launching unintentionally
Siri has a nagging problem of always launching herself at the most inopportune time. You have two basic options to get her to settle down a bit.
1. Siri is normally activated by pressing and holding the home button, but another option is "Raise to Speak," which activates Siri when you hold the phone up to your ear. This may be too aggressive for most users. Turn it off under Settings > General > Siri and disabling Raise to Speak.
2. If Siri is still too active, you can turn it off completely at the top of the Settings > General > Siri page. But that means giving up the chance to speak to her.
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