Perhaps you're already an iOS master. Or maybe you consider yourself more of a novice. Either way, we feel confident that at least some of the tips and tricks for iOS 7 and (for those who chose not to upgrade or even to downgrade) iOS 6 we'll be revealing over the next few pages will be new to you. What's more, we hope you get as much benefit and enjoyment out of them as we do.

And we have plenty more iOS 7 tips if you're still keen.

Our roundup of great iPad and iPhone tips begins with a roundup of iOS's communications features and apps - Mail, Messages and so on.

iPad & iPhone tips: Getting in touch

1. Get your iPhone or iPad to read to you

Enabling the Speak option makes it possible for your iOS device to read aloud any selectable text. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Scroll down to Speak Selection, and tap to turn it on. You can also adjust the speaking rate, choose from a wide variety of voices and highlight words as they are spoken.

iOS 7 Speak Selection settings

Now, go into any app that lets you highlight text. Your options include Mail, as well as Safari, Notes and a fair few others. Select some text, and you'll see a new option appear in the contextual menu (you may have to tap the right arrow to view more options). Tap the Speak command, and your iOS device will start reading the text aloud.

2. Enable the Emoji keyboard on your iPhone or iPad: get access to special characters and animal icons

How to add emoji special characters in iOS 6 and iOS 7

The Emoji keyboard lets you insert all kinds of fun images wherever you can type. And your iOS device can speak the names of those symbols, too

Perhaps you've seen these iconographic symbols in emails, iMessages and tweets, and wondered how on earth people managed to type them. Maybe you've mistakenly assumed that you need to purchase a third-party app to gain access to those special symbols.

You don't: Apple treats those symbols, called Emoji, as an international keyboard. Go to Settings > General > International > Keyboards. Then tap Add New Keyboard and find Emoji. Now open an app where you can type some text.

Next to the spacebar, you'll see a little globe icon. Tap it to switch between your normal keyboard and the Emoji one.

3. Spoken Emoji

For real fun, type in a bunch of Emoji symbols, select them all, and then tap the Speak button. You'll hear the often-entertaining names of each symbol read in sequence.

4. How to pull

Have you got the hang of 'pull to refresh'? Since the debut of iOS 6, you no longer force Mail to check for new messages by tapping a refresh button. Instead, navigate to a mailbox view or the Mailboxes screen - you can't force a refresh while viewing a message - then swipe the screen downward until you see a little refresh button (the one with the circular arrow) at the top. Keep swiping until that button stretches down and then 'snaps back' to a progress indicator.

5. Delete recent addresses

Mail has always been helpful with addresses, showing possible matches from your recent history and Contacts as soon as you start filling the 'To' field. As of iOS 6, however, you can remove those who you emailed once and are never likely to contact again.

Scroll down to the suggestion you want to delete. Tap the blue triangle, then 'Remove From Recents'. You can't do this for those on your Contacts list: they will always be suggested where relevant. If you want rid of them you'll need to delete the contact entirely.

In iOS 7 the list of suggested names appears below the To: field. Tap the little blue i next to the name and then select Remove From Recents.

How to remove recent email addresses in iOS 7

6. How to set a different signature for every Mail account

One of iOS 6's most welcome improvements to Mail was that it enabled you to configure a different signature (by default this would normally read 'Sent from my iPhone' or 'Sent from my iPad') for each of your email accounts. 

Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Signatures, then choose Per Account. This enables a separate signature field for each email account you've set up. Type or paste your preferred signatures, and Mail will automatically append them to each outgoing email message.

7. How to flag messages in iOS Mail

iOS 6 and 7 offer top-level Mailboxes (VIP and Flagged) that each gather particular messages across all your inboxes and present those messages in one convenient list. They're great.

The Flagged mailbox displays any flagged messages - those you've marked with the dedicated Flag button. It makes it easy to quickly see your most important messages without having to scroll through other messages in your inboxes.

You can flag an email when you're viewing it by tapping the little flag icon in the top bar and selecting Flag.

How to flag mail in iOS 7

8. How to set VIPs, and how to view VIP messages in iOS Mail

iOS 6's VIP mailbox gathers messages from people you've designated as VIPs - your wife, your boss, your bookie... er... financial advisor - so you won't overlook those messages in the daily flood of emails. To designate someone as a VIP, tap the blue-and-white arrow at the right edge of the VIP item (in All Mailboxes), then tap Add VIP and choose the person in your contacts list.

Tap VIP Alerts, and you're taken to Settings > Notifications > Mail > VIP, where you can configure notification settings for email received from VIPs.

In iOS 7, the VIP mailbox is visible below the other mailboxes - tap it to view your VIP messages. Or, from the previous screen that showed all the mailboxes, tap the blue i icon next to the VIP folder to add new people to it. It will show all the VIPs, and the option to 'Add VIP...' is at the bottom.

How to view and edit your VIP mailbox in iOS