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12 tips to help get the most out of your iPhone 5S

apple iphone 5s screen front ios 7
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Apple excels at producing devices that are intuitive to use. The new iPhone 5S fits the usual profile, but when you have this many features packed into a device it’s easy to miss a couple of things. That’s why we’ve been compiling a list of useful iPhone 5S tips and tricks that will ensure your smartphone is all it can be. Everything in our iOS 7 tips roundup is going to be relevant for iPhone 5S owners, but we’ll cover some different ground here.

If you haven’t already snagged some protection, then our first tip is to check out the best iPhone 5S cases and buy one today.

Updated on 6-16-2014 by Simon Hill: Added tips on Spotlight Search, Touch ID, email, and LED flash alerts.

How to set up your new iPhone 5S

If you’re upgrading from an older iPhone then it’s easy to set up your new iPhone 5S. The Setup Assistant will give you two choices. You can:

  • Restore from iTunes Backup: Fire up iTunes and connect your iPhone 5S using the Lightning cable to sync up all your personal data.
  • Restore from iCloud backup: Connect to Wi-Fi on your new iPhone 5S, log in with your Apple ID, and all your info will sync right up.

For people coming from another platform the process of getting your contacts and data will be a little trickier. Here’s our guide on how to switch from Android to iPhone.

How to take photos fastiPhone 5S hands on camera app 2

The iPhone 5S camera and camera app hold a few tricks. At the bottom right of the lock screen there’s a small camera icon. You can flick it up to launch the Camera app. The Volume Up button can be used as a shutter button. Finally, to take a series of burst shots, tap and hold the shutter button onscreen or the Volume Up key and your iPhone 5S will take photos at a speed of 10 per second. It even picks the best shot and groups the rest together in a sub folder so it’s easy to delete the duds.

How to record slo-mo videos

The iPhone 5S boasts a slow motion video option. Just load up the Camera app and swipe to the right twice and you’re into Slo-Mo mode. Tap the shutter to start and stop recording as normal. If you tap the thumbnail at the bottom left to review your video, you can drag the markers in the timeline to dictate where you want the slow motion effect to start and stop. You can make just about anything look dramatic with this effect.

How to get free copies of iWork on your iPhone 5S

The iPhone 5S comes with a bundle of free productivity apps including Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. You can also snag iMovie and iPhoto. To get your free iWork apps, open up the App Store and search for the individual app you want in the App Store and download it. These apps used to be $10 a piece, but now you can get them for free if you have a new phone.

How to take advantage of the motion processor

Apple made a big deal out of the M7 motion co-processor and its ability to track your activity. We’re sure lots of apps will take advantage of the possibilities over time, but for now here’s a quick list of fitness apps that work with it today: Strava Run, Argus, Weather Run, Pedometer ++, and M7 Pedometer – Steps.

How to use SiriSiri

It may not be an iPhone 5S exclusive, but Siri has been improved and it’s a feature worth using. You don’t have to tap and hold on the Home button to launch Siri. Instead, you can go into Settings > General > Siri and turn Raise to Speak on. Now you’ll find Siri waiting whenever you hold the iPhone 5S up to your ear. Remember to tell Siri about your relationships and your home and work addresses to make it more useful. If you don’t like how Siri says something then tell it “that’s not how you pronounce that” and choose from three alternative options. You can also tell Siri to turn settings like Wi-Fi on and off or post an update to Facebook.

How to use Apple navigation

The Apple Maps app is improving and it does boast a few nice features that are worth playing with on your iPhone 5S. The all new Night Mode comes on automatically when the sun goes down. Tap the 3D icon to switch to Flyover view and use two fingers to tilt and rotate. Every time you tap to drop a pin and mark a location you can tap the Quick Route button next to the location name to get turn-by-turn directions. You can also choose to share locations via AirDrop, Mail, Messages, or social media. If you still don’t like it then install Google Maps.

How to add more emoticons to your messages

You can unlock a ton of emoticons and images to spice up your messages by going to Settings > General > Keyboard > International Keyboards, choosing to Add New Keyboard,and picking Emoji. Now, when you’re typing up a message, you can tap the globe icon at the bottom left and open up a panel full of emoticons to use.

How to use Spotlight Search

If you swipe down on a home screen you’ll see the universal search bar, Spotlight Search. Avoid swiping down from the very top of the screen or you’ll open notifications. Spotlight Search is your quick shortcut to find anything on your iPhone 5S. You don’t even need to type the full name; the first few characters should be enough to highlight what you’re looking for. You can use it to search apps, emails, your calendar, and lots more. If you want to filter it down to focus on specific areas of your phone then go into Settings > General > Spotlight Search and you can dictate exactly what is included in searches.

How to use Touch IDiPhone 5s Touch ID confirmation

Being able to unlock your iPhone and authorize purchases by scanning your fingerprint is a great blend of secure and convenient. You can set it up and tweak your settings in Settings > General > Touch ID & Passcode > Touch ID. It’s possible to set up to five different fingerprints and they actually don’t have to be fingerprints. You can argue about the usefulness, but people have successfully used nipples, toes, noses, and other body parts we’ll leave up to your imagination.

If you’re having problems with Touch ID then make sure your home button and your fingers are clean and dry. Hold your finger on the button without pressing it until you feel it vibrate. You can actually repeat this process several times with the same finger just touching a slightly different part or angle on the home button, and it should map more of your finger making it more likely to work every time.

On the Touch ID screen, if you hold your finger on the Home button the correct entry will be highlighted if your iPhone 5S recognizes it. You can wipe entries to delete them or you can tap Edit at the top right, which also allows you to rename them. Sometimes deleting and re-enrolling a finger can help you get a better success rate.

How to use email shortcuts

There are lots of great gesture shortcuts in the Mail app. Swipe right to left to delete a message. If you want to delete or move multiple emails then tap Edit and then select them all. To go back swipe left to right from the edge of your screen. If you want to add a video or a photo then tap and hold on the blank message and the Select, Select All menu will pop up. Tap the arrow and choose Insert Photo or Video. You can also touch and hold the Compose button to bring up your list of saved drafts.

How to get flashing alerts

Sometimes you’ll have your iPhone 5S on silent or you’ll be in a loud environment, but you still want to know when a message comes in. There isn’t a notification light on the iPhone 5S, but you can set the LED flash to blink as an additional alert. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and slide LED Flash for Alerts on.

That’s it for our iPhone 5S tips, but our top iOS 7 tips is worth checking out before you go. You can also find more tips via the iPhone User Guide which you’ll find under Bookmarks in Safari. If you’ve got another tip you want to recommend we’d love to hear it. We’ll update this post regularly with the best of the bunch.

Article originally published 10-9-2013.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
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