If you're brand new to the iPhone, there are a few important skills you ought to know. Here's a run down of the basics, plus a few pro tips to give an extra edge.
Note to expert iPhone users: This is a guide for beginners. If you're already an expert, it's not intended for you. But please feel free to send it along to your friends and family who could use a little extra help.
Use the Phone App
Your iPhone can do a lot, but it's primary function is being a phone. To use the phone to make a call, just tap the Phone app on your home screen. (By default it will be in the bottom-left corner. From there, you'll have a few options. From the black bar at the bottom, tap Contacts to choose an address book contact to call. These will only appear if you've already entered some. If you haven't and want to add one, tap the + sign in the top right corner and you'll be able to fill out a form with new information. Just be sure to tap Done when you're finished so the information is saved.
If you don't want to call an existing contact, tap the Keypad option in the black bar at the bottom to dial a number manually. Once you've dialled the number, press the Call button to initiate the call.
Finally, if you want to check your Voicemail then tap the Voicemail button at the right of bottom black bar. If you have any new voicemails, you'll see them listed. Just tap them to start playing.
Make a Video Call with Facetime
Making a video call with Facetime is very simple, but you need to be calling another iPhone, iPod touch or iPad in order for it to work. To make the call, use your phone app to call another iPhone like you normally would. When you do, you'll see a little Facetime icon in the middle of the bottom row. Tap that and you'll see your face pop up on screen. Now all you have to do is wait for the other person to accept your call and you'll be video chatting in no time.
Note: Facetime calls require that you're on a Wi-Fi connection and that both devices have cameras. If they do, you're good to go. If not, you may run into trouble.
Use Siri, Your Personal Voice Assistant
Siri is very easy to use — so much so that you probably don't need instructions. But just in case, you activate Siri by pressing and holding the home button on your iPhone. The Siri bar will appear at the bottom of your iPhone and you'll be able to speak to it. Give Siri whatever command you want, using your natural speech. You can say things like "Make an appointment for dinner with Dad on Tuesday at 7pm". Siri will then provide you with an answer or ask you to clarify if you were misunderstood. That's all there is to it. Also, Siri location-aware services only work in the US right now.
Note: Siri currently only works for the iPhone 4S, so if you have another iPhone with iOS 5 you won't be able to use this feature. This is, however, also how you activate voice control.
Pair a Bluetooth Headset, Keyboard or Other Device
If you want to use a wireless Bluetooth headset, keyboard, or any other compatible device, there's a simple process called pairing you need to go through in order for your iPhone to recognise it. To get started, open the Settings app on your iPhone's home screen (it looks like a metal gear). Tap the General tab and then tap the Bluetooth tab. If the Bluetooth toggle switch is currently in the OFF position, tap it to set it to ON. Once Bluetooth is on, you'll see a list of devices you can pair with your iPhone. At this point, the list may be empty. If you do not see the device you want, you probably need to put it in to discoverable mode. You'll need to check your device's instructions on how to do this, but generally it involves holding down the power button until a light starts blinking. (We have specific guides for Bluetooth keyboards and Bluetooth headsets, if you need to set up one of those.) Once your device is discoverable it should show up in the Bluetooth list on your iPhone. Tap it and follow the on screen instructions until the device has been paired. In many cases, you'll just have to wait. In some cases, you'll need to enter a code on the device's keypad or keyboard. Once that's finished, your Bluetooth device will be paired with your iPhone and you can start using it right away.
Change Your Ringtone
If you don't like the iPhone's default ringtone, it comes with a bunch of others you can choose instead. This is also how you select a custom ringtone you purchased from the iTunes store. To get started, open the Settings app on your iPhone's home screen (it looks like a metal gear). Tap the Sounds tab, then the Ringtone section. There you'll see a list of ringtones that you can select. Tap any to hear it and choose it as your ringtone. When you're done, just press the home button to return to the home screen. Alternatively, you can use these same instructions to change the sound you hear when you receive a text message, voicemail, and more. In the Sound settings, right below Ringtone, are a bunch of other options: Text Tone, New Voicemail, New Mail, Sent Mail, Tweet, Calendar Alerts and Reminder Alerts. Tap any of these to select the tone you want to play when that specific event occurs.
Change Your Wallpaper
It's easy to change your wallpaper to a custom image. To get started, open the Settings app on your iPhone's home screen (it looks like a metal gear). Tap the Wallpaper tab and then tap the image of your lock screen and home screen. This will allow you to select a wallaper from the built-in iPhone options or any photos on your device. Go ahead and select what you want, then pinch, zoom and/or drag to move the image into the position you want for your wallpaper. When you're finished, tap the Set button. You'll now be asked if you want to set this wallpaper for your Lock Screen, Home Screen or both. Your Lock Screen is the screen you see when you turn on your iPhone and it asks you to swipe to unlock. Your Home Screen is the screen with all your icons on it. You can set the image however you like, but if you want to set two different images — one for the Home Screen and one for the Lock Screen — you'll need to go through this process twice to set each one.
Add an Email Account
Adding an email account can vary a lot depending on the service you use, but we'll try to provide some basic instructions to at least help you find what you need to know to get the ball rolling. To get started, open the Settings app on your iPhone's home screen (it looks like a metal gear). From there, tap the Mail, Contacts, Calendars tab. This will display a list of email accounts that already exist on your phone. If you don't have any, all you'll see up top is an Add Account button. Either way, tap on that. From here you'll want to choose the type of account you want to add. If you have Gmail, pick Gmail. If you have iCloud, pick iCloud. If you don't see your service provider on this list, tap Other. If you picked an email provider that wasn't Other, you should just be able to enter your email address and password. From there the iPhone will take care of the rest. If you did tap Other, however, you'll need to enter a lot more information. Check with your email provider for specific instructions as this can get a little complicated.
For more detailed instructions, read this.
Set a Password
If you want to password-protect your iPhone, you can either set an alphanumeric password or a simple passcode (much like a pin number). To do either, open the Settings app on your home screen (it looks like metal gear). Tap on the General tab, then the Passcode Lock tab. Tap Turn Passcode On to enter a four-digit numeric passcode. If you'd prefer a complex password, however, press the toggle switch next to Simple Passcode to put it in the OFF position. Now when you tap the Turn Passcode On button you'll be able to set a password that's far more complex. When you're done, you'll be required to entire a passcode/word next time you try to unlock your iPhone.
Organise Your Apps in Folders
If you download a lot of apps, your iPhone can get a little bit messy. Fortunately this is easy to fix because you can organise your apps in folders. To do this, tap and hold down any app on your home screen. You'll know you've succeeded when all the apps start to jiggle. Now tap and drag an app of your choice on top of another app. When you let go, both of these apps will be added to a new folder. Now you can name it or accept the name your iPhone chooses for you. You can now drag more apps into this folder. Your iPhone can support up to 12. When you're done, just press the home button to stop the jiggling.
Want to Learn More?
Here are a few more tips you should check out if you want to learn more about using your new iPhone: