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Lifehack’s iOS 5 Tips and Tricks Guide

Lifehack’s iOS 5 Tips and Tricks Guide

    The latest, greatest OS from Apple has been out for almost a week. Now that we have started to put it through its paces we can bring Lifehack readers some tips and guidance.

    This article is simply about iOS 5 specific enhancements. Later this week we will cover Siri and and how you can use it to increase your productivity.

    Check out the list below and click on the thumbnails to see a more detailed view of the screenshots. If you have a tip that you love about iOS 5 that isn’t covered here, add it to the comments!

    Camera

    Quick access – To get to your camera quickly just double tap your home button when your iPhone is locked or asleep. You will see a small camera button on the bottom left of the lock screen. Touching it will take you to your camera app. Snap away.

      Grid – Under options, where the HDR option is, you are now given an option to place a grid over your shot, allowing you to line it up. Power of thirds!

      Slide to album / camera – When you are on your camera screen you can flick the camera to the right to go straight to your album. Then you can flick left to get back to your camera.

      No need for too many camera apps – The iPhone’s camera app now has built in cropping, red-eye removal, and auto-enhancements. So for quick and simple editing you can stick with the built in app.

      Hardware snap – You can now snap a picture by clicking your volume up button while in the Camera app.

      Notification Center

      Notification Center is a much needed addition to iOS as the very modal popups have gotten quite annoying over the years. Notifications are now on par with Android and could be even better by some aspects.

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        Organize your notifications

        – It’s easy to organize what notifications you want to see and in what order you want to see them. Going to Settings > Notifications you have access to all the apps that support the new Notification Center. Tap the Edit button in the top right and you can organize the order as well as move some apps’ notifications to “Not in Notification Center”. Also, you can skip organizing notifications by order and choose to view them by time.

          Adjust your notifications – By tapping on each app in Notification Center you can adjust the alert’s style (None, Banners, and (old school) Alerts). You can also control the app’s badges and if the notifications show up in the lock screen.

          Weather widget – Just a quick one. The weather widget in Notification Center can be swiped to see the five day forecast.

          iCloud

          iCloud is a huge advancement in iOS 5. Here are some of the things that you will love to know about it.

            iCloud Backup

            – When you are setting up iOS 5 for the first time, you are asked whether-or-not you want to backup to iCloud. Regardless if you answered yes or now you can always go to Setting > iCloud > Storage and Backup and turn on iCloud Backup. Your iPhone will now backup automatically when you are connected to power and WiFi and with your screen locked. You can backup manually by pressing the Backup Now button. You have to be connected to WiFi to backup.

              Managing iCloud storage – If you are running low on iCloud storage, which you can check by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage and Backup > Manage Storage, you can easily delete backups of iOS or even documents that you have put “in the cloud”. That is if you have any iWork apps on your device.

              General sync items – Of course, you can turn off any iCloud sync items from Settings > iCloud.

              Maps

              Multiple route choices – The biggest addition to maps is the ability to choose among multiple routes when getting directions. To choose a different route after getting directions, simply click on the alternate route’s blue line.

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              Safari

              Mobile Safari is probably one of the apps that I am in most of the time. There are some small enhancements that make it even better.

                Reading List – Oh, no! Is it an Instapaper killer!? Not really at all. But it is easy to use and a great feature to have integrated into the OS. When you are on an article that you want to read later, click the middle bookmark button and choose “Add to Reading List”. Then to get to your Reading List click the little Open Book Button (the second from the right) and choose Reading List. There you will see a list of all the articles that you added.

                  Reader – Reading List doesn’t inherently do much of anything other than give you a simple list of stuff you want to read later. The real magic is in the Reader function of Safari. This strips down the page and lets you see just the content of the article in a nicely formatted way. On any article in Safari, just tap the Reader button in the address bar.

                  Twitter

                  iOS 5 comes with “deep” Twitter integration. It’s a shame that no other apps can hook into iOS this way, but it’s cool to see Twitter get the “rock star” treatment.

                    System-wide sign in – Go to Settings > Twitter. You can sign in with your Twitter credentials as well as install the official Twitter app. You don’t “need” to install the official Twitter app to take advantage of using Twitter in mobile Safari. After signing in you can update your iOS contacts with information from your Twitter contacts.

                    Tweeting from Safari – On any page in mobile Safari tap the middle Bookmark button. In the list choose Tweet. Fill in your Tweet. Couldn’t be easier and more convenient! You can also add your location by tapping the Add location label at the bottom of the Tweet prompt.

                    Calendar

                    The calendar on iOS is pretty mature but there were a few tweaks that iOS 5 brought to it.

                      Adjust appointments – To adjust the time-span or time of an appointment long tap on the appointment and then drag it wherever you want to move it to. After long tapping you can let go and then adjust the span of the appointment by dragging the small top and bottom handles.

                        Week view – You can go to week view by rotating the device to landscape.

                        Year view – On iPad you can go to year view by rotating the device to landscape.

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                        Reminders

                        I was super excited about reminders when they were announced at WWDC. The idea of having a nice, simple task and reminder manager built directly into iOS is compelling. Personally, I am an OmniFocus user, but to set up a quick reminder, Reminders is perfect.

                          Add and adjust lists – Tap on the list button on the top left and then tap “Edit” on the top right. You can then adjust the order of your lists as well as add new lists by tapping “Create New List…”

                          Navigate and using lists – You can navigate all of your lists by swiping left and right or by tapping the list button in the top left and then tapping which list you want to go to. Adding tasks is simple. Just hit the plus button on the list and type the name of the task.

                          You can rapidly type in tasks by typing and tapping return and typing more. Tapping Done on the top right will get you out of “task adding mode.” To edit a task, tap the task and edit the task’s details. You can add a reminder for the task at your current location, or set a specific due date. You will then be notified through Notification Center (as long as you set up the notification).

                          Mail

                          I don’t like to use any email application more than I have to and with the new iOS 5 enhancements to the stock mail app, Apple has made it easier and faster to use.

                            Searching mailboxes – To search any “mailbox” (that is any label for you Gmail peeps or any folder for you regular mail guys) tap which one you want to search then scroll up all the way and start typing. When you start typing four buttons show up below your query allowing you to search the fields From, To, Subject, or All. All searches every aspect of your email messages.

                            Notifications – This goes with any app that allows notifications. You can turn on lock screen previews of your incoming mail, choose how many messages you want to see, choose the way you want to be interrupted (I mean notified) by the message, and also turn off the mail unread count badge completely.

                              Rich Text – You can now add some rich text formatting to your messages. Long hold on any word, select the text you want to format, tap the small right arrow, then tap ‘BIU’ to choose either bold, italics or underline. You can also change the quote level of the sentence you are working on.

                              Move recipients – You can quickly move mail recipients from the To, CC, and BCC fields by long holding their little blue name labels and dragging them to the desired field.

                              iMessage

                              Using iMessage – My experience with iMessage has been limited to my wife. As far as I can tell iOS simply recognizes that my wife has an iPhone with iOS 5 and we can instantly start iMessaging each other with nothing more to set up. Pretty simple.

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                              Accessibility

                              Apple has always made strides to make their iDevices accessible to those that need it. iOS devices seem to be some of the only devices that make it easy for people with special needs to use.

                                LED notifications – There is no small multi-colored LED on the iPhone to notify you that something is happening with your phone, but you can now turn on LED notifications (they use the LED flash on the back of the iPhone) to make the iPhone alert you. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and switch on the LED Flash for Alerts. When an app alerts you, the LED will flash.

                                Custom vibration settings – You can create custom vibration patterns for any contact. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and switch on Custom Vibrations under the Hearing subheading. Then go to a contact and tap Edit in the top right. Right under where you can set up their custom ringtone you will now see vibration. Choose that and you can then select one of the built in vibration settings or choose Create New Vibration. On this screen you can tap your vibration and then play it back. Ingenious.

                                System-wide

                                iOS 5 is all about increasing overall features and functionality. Here are some of the great little tweaks across the entire system.

                                  Dictionary – Don’t know the meaning of a word? No problem. Long hold on a anywhere in the OS to select it and tap “Define”. You are then given a nicely formatted definition of the word.

                                  Keyboard shortcuts – Go to Settings > Keyboard and down at the bottom of the screen you will see the Shortcuts section. You can add custom keyboard shortcuts that can be used in any iOS app. This is great for small signatures, email addresses, and just about anything else you type a lot of that is a pain in the ass to type.

                                  Split keyboard – On iPad you can split the landscape and portrait keyboards so you can thumb type. To do it, tap and hold each side of the keyboard with your thumbs and slide to the outside of the iPad. To put the keyboard back together slide your thumbs together to push both sides of the split together. This is a much needed and much appreciated feature.

                                    Emoji – For all you smiley and little cute graphic lovers out there, an Emoji keyboard now comes standard in iOS 5. Go to Settings > Keyboard > International Keyboards > Add New Keyboard… and tap Emoji. You can then access your pretty pictures from anywhere you can type by tapping the small globe icon by your spacebar. As far as I know, only iOS devices can see these little icons.

                                    There are so many enhancements to iOS 5 that we are still uncovering to this day. What’s your favorite tip or trick in iOS 5? Share it in the comments below!

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                                    CM Smith

                                    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

                                    Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Ways to Beat It Once and for All To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

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                                    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                                    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                                    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                                    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                                    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                                    Joe’s Goals

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                                      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                                      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                                      Daytum

                                        Daytum

                                        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                                        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                                        Excel or Numbers

                                          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                                          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                                          Evernote

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                                            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                                            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                                            Access or Bento

                                              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                              Conclusion

                                              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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