iDevice Primer 104: Basic Usage and Troubleshooting

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

How do I lock my iDevice? What about turning it on or off? Resetting?

All modern iDevices have several buttons on them. The ones we will be concerned with are the home button--the round, flat button on the front of the device below the screen--and the power button--a rectangular button found on the side of the device.

To lock or unlock the iDevice, simply press the power button. If the iDevice is on and this button is pressed, it will lock. If it is locked when this button is pressed, the "lock screen" will appear, showing the time and date, any new notifications, the "Unlock" and "Camera" buttons, and, if you are listening to music or other audio, playback controls and information. Perform a three-finger swipe right, or double tap the "Unlock" button, to unlock your iDevice; if you have a passcode set, you will be prompted to enter it. Note that Touch ID can be used to unlock your device immediately; simply press the Home button with a finger your device knows, leave your finger there for a second, and that's it.

To completely shut off the iDevice, press and hold the power button. After a few seconds, a screen will appear with a "Slide to Power Off" control at the top. Double tap this to turn off the iDevice. Alternatively, just keep holding the power button until the device shuts off, about ten seconds. The power button is also used to turn the iDevice on; press and hold for about a second (in my experience at least--you may be able to simply hit the power button and have it work).

Many mobile devices have a "reset" button on them which is used to recover from a freeze or abnormal behavior. The iDevice line does not include this. If the iDevice freezes, pressing and holding the power button until it turns off, then turning it on, will normally do the trick. You can also perform a hard reset, by holding the Home and Power buttons down at the same time, for about twelve seconds or until your screen comes on.

How do I manage wifi, such as joining networks or turning wifi on and off?

Go to Settings, then Wifi. Here you will find a list of all networks in range. Simply double tap one to connect to it. If the selected network requires a password, you will be prompted to enter it before the connection can start. You will only have to enter the password once.

You have a few other options in the Wifi settings area. First, you can turn on or off wifi by double tapping the "wifi" switch button, which will act as a toggle. You can double tap the "more information"button that appears after each network to get more information about the network, or to tell iOS to "forget" the network. Forgetting will remove any information you had entered about that network, such as a password. Finally, you can choose whether known networks are joined automatically or not (the default is 'yes', which means that a network the iDevice recognizes will be joined as soon as it is picked up instead of you having to join it manually).

Help! VoiceOver has stopped speaking and I can no longer use my phone!

Don't panic, there are a few tricks which will usually resolve this quite easily. First, be sure your device is on and has power, so you aren't trying to fix an iThing which is silent simply because it has run out of juice.

  • You may have just muted speech. If you have set up triple-click home, just use it to turn off VO, then turn it back on. Even if it is muted, VoiceOver will always start with speech on. You can also try tapping three fingers on the screen twice (the "three finger double tap") to toggle speech on and off.
  • Sometimes, your speech volume--which is independent of your ringer/media volume--will get lowered to zero. Try doing a two-finger swipe up, so that VoiceOver starts reading, then repeatedly pressing the Volume Up button to raise your speech volume. Of course, you have to be on the Lock Screen, or have your device unlocked, for the reading command to do anything.
  • If nothing has yet worked, turn off the iDevice completely and turn it back on again.
  • If all else fails, Connect the iDevice to a computer and bring up iTunes. Select the "summary" section, tab over to universal access, and check the "enable VoiceOver" box. Sync with the iDevice and VoiceOver should be on again.



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Performing a Re-Boot

If you press and hold the on/off button, and then press and hold the Home button, the device will reboot after about 10 seconds I think this is a full reset, and does more to clear things out than just turning the device off and then on again. It has at least one draw back. If you are using the new iOS 5 feature to set a custom volume for Voice Over, it will return to the factory setting after the reboot.

personal hotspot

I have a question. How do you set up your personal hotspot? It has a password and I join but then it says again to join when I am already joined. Or how do I set up my hotspot? Thanks and God bless.