You've just been given an iDevice: a magical entity that bestows the gift of more apps than you can fathom. We'll help you make sense of it all with some great apps, tips, and tricks for your shiny new Apple toy.
Before you dive in, here are a few things you should do with your new iDevice first:
- Update to the Lastest Version of iOS - There's a decent chance your new iDevice isn't running the latest version of iOS. Before you sync for the first time, check for updates in iTunes. If there's one available, iTunes should tell you automatically but it's always good to double check.
- Get to Know iOS 4.2 - Once you've updated, you ought to know what you're in for. We've got you covered with our guide to iOS 4.2.
- Sign Up For Free Find My iPhone - You no longer need to pay to use Apple's great Find My iPhone app. Just download it from the iTunes App Store and follow the signup instructions. You'll need to create a MobileMe account to get it to work but you will not have to pay for it. Once you're all set up, you'll be able to find your lost or stolen iPhone much more easily.
- Organise Your Home Screen - When you start downloading a bunch of apps, your home screen is going to get cluttered very quickly. Stay ahead of the game and start organising. As you download apps it'll be easier to keep track of where every app is and will be stored.
Download Some Killer Apps
One of the iPhone's primary draws is the high quality of apps in the iTunes App Store. Here are some app suggestions to get you started:
- Lifehacker Pack for iPhone: Our List of the Best iPhone Apps - Looking to power up your iPhone with the best free and cheap apps out there? Our first edition of the Lifehacker Pack for iPhone rounds up our favourite must-have iPhone applications.
- The Best Media Streaming Apps for Your iPhone - Why store media on your iPhone when you can stream it? Whether it's coming from the cloud, your computer, or a third-party service, these are our picks for the best media streaming apps for your iPhone
- The Best Writing Apps for iOS - Although writing in iOS might seem troublesome, with faster fingers or a Bluetooth keyboard you can actually get a lot done. Whether it's just a note, your next novel, or new screenplay, here are the apps you'll need.
- The Best VNC Apps for Your iPad - The iPad is a great remote desktop tool, but there are tons of VNC apps and many are very pricey. Luckily for you, we've sifted through a bunch to help you find the best for your needs.
- The Best "Evil" Apps for iPhone - Locked down for your "safety", your iPhone is designed to operate the way Apple intended. With recently relaxed app store policies and great strides within the jailbreaking community, however, you can add great functionality that Apple never wanted you to have.
- The Best Photography Apps for Your iPhone - With the quality of mobile phone cameras approximating that of yesterday's point-and-shoots, you can take some amazing photographs on your iPhone. It gets even better with the right apps. Here are our favourite photography apps for your iPhone.
- The Feed is a Straightforward, Simple, and Organised RSS Reader for iPad - The iPad has solidified itself as the fanciest of RSS feed readers with so many pretty apps to handle the task. The Feed is another attractive app, but it makes reading feeds enjoyable by staying out of your way.
- Wunderlist for iPhone Is an Elegant, Syncing To-Do Manager - We loved the Wunderlist desktop app for Mac and Windows and the iPhone app makes a perfect companion. With the same simple features, attractive interface, and syncing support, you can now easily manage your Wunderlist from your pocket
- Word Lens is a Mind-Blowing App that Translates Any Text Your Camera Can See On the Fly - Word Lens is an app for your iPhone or iPod touch that translates any Spanish or English text your camera can see. And it does it on the fly. And it's amazing.
- Nike Training Club is Your New, Handheld Personal Trainer - Nike Training Club is a handheld personal trainer for your iPhone, walking you through timed exercises with visual demonstrations and keep you on task with your exercise goals. Oh, and it's free.
Neat iOS Tips and Tricks
Even if you don't jailbreak, there are tons of neat things you can do with your iPhone. Here's a selection of tips, tricks and hacks to try:
- Top 10 iOS Jailbreak Hacks - If you've purchased an iOS device, you've also signed up for its many limitations. Jailbreaking can put you back in control. Here are ten great jailbreak hacks to help you customise and better utilise your iOS device.
- Lock Your iPad's Screen Orientation in iOS 4.2 - If you've updated to the latest and greatest version of iOS for the iPad, you're probably fuming at the disappearance of the hardware screen orientation lock. Luckily, the feature still exists, it's just a little harder to get to.
- Printopia Enables iOS-to-Mac AirPrint Support Hack-Free, Adds Virtual Printers - You could use AirPrint Hacktivator (or do it manually) to add AirPrint support to your Mac, but if you don't want to modify your system files and would like virtual printers, you should check out Printopia.
- How to Make Music in GarageBand with iOS - Want to lay down some tracks but all you've got is your iOS device and a Mac? With an OpenSound Control (OSC) app on your iPhone and server on your Mac you can record a virtual keyboard over Wi-Fi.
- How to Google-ify Your iPhone - Got Android envy? Just wish Apple handled sync, the web, and openness a bit better? You can't have it all, but if you want to bring more Google paradigms to your iPhone, here's how to do it.
- Never Sync Your iPhone with iTunes Again - iTunes can be useful, but it can also be a huge pain. If you've ever used it for sync you've likely experienced problems. Fortunately, with the help of a few apps, you don't ever have to sync with iTunes again.
- AppMakr Helps You Create Your Own iPhone App for Free, No Coding Necessary - AppMakr is a webapp that lets you design iOS apps with a WYSIWYG editor. It's free to use, and you can create your very own app in just a few minutes.
- HomeControl Lets You Control Your Mac from Your iOS Device - HomeControl is a free, customisable webapp that lets you control your Mac from your iOS device, giving you free reign over your machine from the palm of your hand.
- How to Create a Visual Speed Dial Folder on Your iPhone - Visual speed dial is a nice idea, but when you have to launch a separate app to make a phone call it's a little annoying. Here are two ways to add visual speed dial to your home screen.
- How to Break Down the Barrier Between Your iPhone and Computer - Your iOS device is a killer pocketable computer; your desktop is more powerful with a bigger screen. They need to play better together. Here's how to break down the barrier between the two and shuttle text, files, media, and more seamlessly between your desktop and iPhone.
- How to Open Compressed Files on Your iOS Device - iOS does pretty well with handling various file types, but when it comes to compressed files you run into problems. Fortunately, with the aid of a file browsing app you'll be able to view compressed files easily.
- How to Encode Video for All Your Mobile Devices - With H.264 solidly planted as the codec of choice for just about every mobile device, we've come to a point where you can encode a video once and play it back on pretty much anything. Here's how.
Do Even More: Jailbreak
If you're looking to escape the walled garden that is Apple, jailbreaking your iDevice is the path to take. When you've got a successfully jailbroken device, check out our Top 10 iOS Jailbreak Hacks to get the most out of your newly freed device.
We hope we've been able to help create a foundation for a long, loving relationship with your brand new iDevice. If you're an iOS veteran, maybe you've got some additional tips, tricks, and suggestions. If so, let's hear 'em in the comments.