If you’ve just gotten your first iPhone, and some tech-crazed friend is pelting you with the names of the dozens of apps you just must download, here’s what do to:
- Send your friend out to a movie.
- Take the iPhone somewhere quiet and explore the apps that come with the phone. You’ll be relieved to hear that many people don’t buy any apps at all — the ones on the phone take care of most major tasks seamlessly.
- Start with, of course, the phone. Make a call, and, after you’ve made the call, save the number to the Contacts app. It’s pretty easy to figure out how to make a FaceTime (video) call but keep in mind that FaceTime works only if you call (or are called by) someone with FaceTime on their iPhone or on a Mac with FaceTime installed.
- Take a few photos. Tap the screen, and use the slider that appears, to zoom.
- If you want to use email on your phone, configure email accounts. You have as many email accounts as you want on the iPhone including gmail accounts, MobileMe accounts, and accounts from most email systems.
- Most importantly, figure out a syncing strategy for your data so you can keep the information on your iPhone (such as calendars and address book contacts) in sync with the information on your computer (like that new phone number you just added to Contacts). A basic way to do this is to connect your iPhone to iTunes and then configure iTunes to sync the data when you connect and sync. But the most efficient way to keep everything in sync (particularly if you use multiple computers or multiple portable devices) is through a service like MobileMe or Google Sync — that way your data syncs quickly and you don’t need to remember to connect the phone to the computer. Whichever strategy you choose, make sure you stick with it. If you have your calendar set to sync through MobileMe or Google Sync and then you ask iTunes to sync calendar data as well, you could easily end up with multiple copies of your calendar events. (Here’s an article from Macworld on what to do if that happens.)
My ebook, Take Control of iPhone Basics, takes you through all of this, step by step. It also includes tips for households that want to sync two or three iPhones and/or iPads through one iTunes account. (The great news here is that you can install any app you buy on multiple devices.)
The ebook even covers downloading and installing apps. Once you’ve mastered that, it’s safe to ask your techie friend for his/her app recommendations. She’ll probably have a dozen or so new ones by then.