Get the most out of iOS 5

Christopher Brennan, Ashleigh Allsopp, Daniel Bramhall
28 May, 2012
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Apple’s mobile operating system is probably the most intuitive on the market, but there are always new things to learn.


Plugging in your iOS device every time you need to transfer something from your home computer can be tiresome. Thankfully, one of iOS 5’s features means you no longer have to reach for the cable every time you want to sync your movies, TV shows, apps and books.

Instead, Apple’s mobile operating system lets you connect to your computer wirelessly, so you can sit back and relax while you transfer content from your computer to your iOS device, and vice versa.

First, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes (10.6 at the time of writing) installed on your computer. (If
not, go to Software Update and download it.) Now you need to plug your iOS device into your computer and prepare for wireless syncing. Go to the iPad or iPhone’s Summary page, then under Options tick ‘Sync with this iPad over Wi-Fi’ (below).

You can then unplug the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, but bear in mind that wireless syncing will only initiate if the iOS device is plugged into some kind of power source. Go to your handset’s Settings and click on General, then iTunes Wi-Fi Sync. You’ll see a list of PCs or Macs that you are permitted to sync with – just choose one or hit Sync. If you’re not connected to mains power this will be greyed out.

You’ll be able to view the progress of each app, as well as how many are waiting to be transferred – while apps used to be synced individually, iOS 5 introduced multiple-app syncing.

Another great feature of iOS 5 is that you can use your iOS devices as normal while syncing – the days of not being able to use them while transferring content are gone. The only clue you now have that a sync is in progress is a small icon that appears in the status bar. With iOS 5, you can receive content from various iTunes libraries on numerous computers.


iCloud is a free service that lets you keep all your data in sync and backed up. It stores all your music, photos, documents and apps securely, and lets you download them wherever you are.

The best thing about the iCloud service is that everything happens automatically. Buy an app on your iPad and it’s immediately sent to your iPhone. Similarly, if you download a new album on your iPhone, it’s ready and waiting for you on your iPad. It works seamlessly and invisibly in the background.

It’s not just for music and apps, though, as iCloud ensures that your email, contacts and calendars are all kept up to date, too. It doesn’t matter which of your devices the change is made on; every single one will simply update itself to match when the change is made.

You can also back up your iOS device to iCloud for an added level of protection. No matter what happens, your data will be safe. iCloud also includes Photo Stream, which immediately pushes any pictures you take on your iPhone to your iPad or Mac.

If you don’t already have an Apple ID, you’ll need to create one before you can use iCloud. Tap on Settings, then iCloud and go to Create a Free Apple ID.

Once that’s done, you can choose what’s synced to iCloud by toggling the On/Off switches in iCloud Settings (above). You can pick any combination you like.

To see how much of your 5GB allowance you are using, tap Storage and Backup.

Here you’ll see how much space you have left. If 5GB isn’t enough, you can buy more space. It’s available in 10GB, 20GB and 50GB upgrades, priced at $21, $42 and $105 per year respectively.

You can let your iOS apps use the iCloud service to store saved data by turning on the option in Documents & Data. Similarly, using your iCloud account as a backup tool is a good idea.


If you were to lose your iOS device, it could be a mini disaster. Thankfully, Apple has already thought of this. Find My iPhone is a tool that – as the name suggests – will help you locate it. The app isn’t just for worst-case scenarios where you actually lose your device, but is also for when you’ve discovered that you’ve left it at home or at work.

You’ll need to remember to keep the Find My Phone service on at all times, and this will use some battery power. However, slightly less battery life is better than a lost device.

Once you’ve turned the GPS tracking on you’ll need to use the Find My iPhone app on another iOS device, or you can track it down online. Best of all you can send a message, so if someone has found your device you can let them know that it’s yours.

In addition, you can completely wipe it should it go astray. This means if you do lose your device no one can steal your data, and all your contact details are kept completely safe.

If nothing else, Find My iPhone offers complete peace of mind.

To start, go to the Settings app and tap on iCloud. Scroll down the until you see the Find My iPhone option. Switch it on and confirm that you want your iPhone tracked and the location to be shown on a map.

Once you’ve downloaded the Find My iPhone app, simply enter your Apple ID and password, and it will track down all your devices. Any devices the app finds will be displayed with a green light. Those that can’t be located will have a red dot next to them (left).

You can also lock your iOS device with the Find My iPhone software. Simply tap the blue arrow next to the device, then on Remote Lock. Similarly, you can send an SOS message to your device so that anyone who finds it will know where to return it. You can even add an alert sound.


Using your iPhone for reminders and to-do lists is a great idea, and that’s exactly where the Reminders app comes in.

Among its great features are the ability to set your own time-sensitive reminders, and easily search through all the entries. Reminders can be sorted in a list or by date, and you can also see a calendar view of all your reminders a month at a time.

If you’re using the iCloud service all your tasks can be synced across your iOS devices. If you set a reminder on your iPad, for example, it will show on your iPhone

and vice versa. Thanks to the Notification Center your reminders will show up, even on a locked iPhone, so you can see at a glance what you need to remember.

When you launch Reminders you’ll see your reminders and, if you’re using iCloud, the account name used to synchronise tasks. Tap on the ‘+’ icon to add a reminder. Type in your task and tap Return. To edit further, simply tap on the reminder again.

You can even dictate your reminder if you have Siri (the voice-recognition assistant available on the iPhone 4S) or Dictation (on the new iPad). Just tap on the microphone icon next to the spacebar and speak your reminder (below). When you’ve finished, tap Done to enter it.

To change a reminder, simply tap on it to change the time and alert Repeat settings, as well as delete the event. And once you’ve finished all your tasks just tick them off. Your iPhone will keep them handy in case you need to double-check them.

If you’re cursed with the forgetful gene, have no fear, the Reminders app is here. You’ll never forget your wedding anniversary again.


Picture this: You and a friend are travelling, and there’s no Wi-Fi signal. Your friend has an iPhone, and you have a Wi-Fi only iPad, so while she’s happily browsing the internet and finding out the latest gossip on Facebook, you’re enviously peering over her shoulder wishing your amazing device would allow you do to the same.

However, don’t despair. If your friend is willing, and her data plan allows, she can share the 3G signal from her iPhone with your iPad.

To start, navigate to the Settings menu on the iPhone and tap Personal Hotspot. Slide the toggle to On. If you have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off, a pop-up will appear asking you to choose between Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and USB Only. Choose the first option. The iPhone will now be available to other devices.

To pair two iOS devices using Bluetooth, go to the Settings menu on both, and switch on Bluetooth. On the iPad, find the iPhone you want to pair with. If you aren’t sure what the device is called, you can find out by going to the Personal Hotspot menu on your iOS device, where it will be listed.

On the iPad, tap the name of the iPhone you are pairing with in the Bluetooth menu. If it’s successful, both devices should get a pop-up with an identical PIN code. Tap Pair on both and you should now be connected. Your devices will remember each other, so you won’t need to enter a PIN if you want to pair them again.

If you are successfully sharing 3G with the iPhone, the iPad will have a symbol resembling two hoops linked together in the top-left corner. As for the iPhone, it will display a glowing blue bar along the top of the screen, with Personal Hotspot: 1 Connection written across it (above).

You’ll now be able to access the internet on both devices, but don’t forget not to stray too far away from each other. Of course, you won’t be able to get onto the 3G network on the iPad if the iPhone is also struggling to connect. Wait until there is a 3G indicator on the iPhone before getting too impatient.

When you no longer want to share 3G, remember to go back into Settings, Personal Hotspot and to switch the toggle to Off. With two devices using the 3G, data will be being used up more quickly, and we’re sure you don’t want to get charged if you accidentally stay connected.


4 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Gabriela says:

    Congratulations on the page, excellent, visit them every day, really professional and interesting information, nice share

  2. R. Newton says:

    I have been experiencing problems when syncing my iPhone contacts with my iCloud account. I would get most of my contacts duplicated while a number of contacts which exist in my Google contacts would no longer show on my iPhone.

    I am desperate to keep all my contacts in one place and if possible back them up to my computer. iOS 5 and the iCloud have unfortunately only made this harder…

  3. Lance says:

    R. Newton, you can use a number of third-party apps such as:

    which would help you create a backup of your iPhone contacts as well as allowing you two-way transfer of contacts between your computer to your iPhone – with or without the iCloud.

  4. sharon godsell says:

    why the hell do I now get random texts from someone and they wont stop I’m NOT HAPPY all hours and all day

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