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Smartphone U: Introduction to iPhone and iOS

Category: Apple iPhone Smartphone U Smartphones

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If you’re new to smartphones, the transition can be daunting, and the iPhone is no exception. This quick start guide will tell you everything you need to know so you can consider yourself an iPhone expert in no time.


The Apple iPhone was first launched in June 2007 and exclusively runs on iOS which, simply put, stands for Operating System. There are currently nine generations of iPhones, with Apple releasing a new generation each year. New device releases usually come with iOS upgrades which improve the functionality of your existing device.

Tip: unless you’re way behind on updating your operating system, it’s usually helpful to wait a little bit before you update as many people try to download it as soon as it’s available, which means it will take longer to download.

Using your iPhone

If you’re switching from a basic phone with a number pad or keyboard, the biggest change will be the drastic reduction in buttons. Trust us, though – you’ll get the hang of the touchscreen keyboard pretty quickly. All it takes is a little practice.

The buttons you do have are pretty simple. Depending on your model, you can find your power button on the top right or on the upper right hand side. It’s pretty self explanatory – it turns the phone on and off. If you need to turn the phone off, all you do is hold the button down until your screen says “slide to power off.” Place your finger on the power button on the screen and drag it to the other side of the screen. Your iPhone will start to power down.

Pressing this button once, quickly, will turn just your screen off or on. Follow the on-screen instructions to “unlock” your phone with a swipe. You can also set your phone to have a passcode or fingerprint touch unlock option.

Volume controls are on the left side of the phone. If you want to make sure your iPhone doesn’t make a noise when someone calls or sends you a text message, there’s a little switch above the volume buttons that you can flip down. The phone will only vibrate now.
Tip: Pressing the power button when receiving a phone call will send that call to your voicemail. This is helpful when you forget to turn off your phone during a “phones off” type of event.

The Home button, found just under the screen at the bottom of your iPhone, allows you to have access to your home screen just by clicking it. If you hold the Home button down for two seconds, you will activate Siri. Think of Siri as your personal assistant. All you have to do is ask her a question, and she’ll get you the answer. This is especially helpful when you’re driving and you need to text someone or find directions, because it’s hands free, and Siri speaks back to you.

Tip: Check out the Siri User Guide for help setting up and using Siri. 

Want to make a call? Simply press the phone icon on your home screen and navigate to Contacts if you want to call someone whose number you already have in your phone, or click on Keypad if you want to dial the number. These are at the bottom of the screen at all times when you’re in the phone area.

Sending a message is the same. Press the green icon with the white message bubble, then press the square with a pencil on it that you see in the upper right hand corner, and you’ll have a blank canvas to fire off your message. Press the plus sign in the To: line to find the right contact, or type in the number using the keyboard. You can add pictures to your message by pressing the camera icon on the left side of the chat bubble. When you’re done typing your message, hit send.

Congrats, you’re officially an iPhone user! Check out our Smartphone U YouTube channel for more helpful tips.

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