A child deletes a photo…

The problem with user-friendly gadgets is that they bring technology within the reach of toddlers. And toddlers have no concept of ‘do not delete’. 

Rescue: If a photo’s been deleted, you may be able to recover it from the backup files in iTunes (even if the photo doesn’t seem to be available on your desktop) by using a dedicated data recovery program such as Wondershare Data Recovery for iTunes (bit.ly/WgpNP8). Sometimes simply plugging the iPhone into a PC and exploring it through Windows Explorer – treating it as an external drive, in effect – can turn up pictures you thought were gone. Many people found the latter approach effective when they updated from iOS 5 to iOS 6, losing large swathes of photos in the process.

Avoid: Back up. Back up regularly and often. Create a backup on iTunes, and frequently copy your favourites on to your PC or Mac. Email baby pictures to relatives. Get them printed out. Make sure there are lots of copies.

…Or something else important

Rescue: If it’s an app, this is easy – see the box on the previous page. Other items are trickier. An important email? Check the account through your PC or Mac and it may still be there. If not, the sender may well still have a copy in their outbox, and if you can swallow your pride (remember to blame the child) you can always ask for a resend. Losing a contact is less serious, but you can save some time by asking a mutual friend to email you their contact info for that person as a single item: press Share Contact under the other details. Open the email and tap the attachment, then ‘Create New Contact’. 

Privacy breach (minor)

The nicer type of privacy breach first (these things are relative). This is where a cruel friend or colleague finds an iPhone on your desk at lunch and starts sending Facebook updates declaring your love for Tom on reception. 

Rescue: Delete everything incriminating. Apologise and explain where appropriate. Change your password…

Avoid: …and set up a passcode lock so you’re no longer vulnerable. You’ll find it in Settings > General > Passcode Lock.

Privacy breach (serious)

One of the dangers of an iOS device’s smooth, simple interface is the way everything is so easily accessed. If a stranger gets hold of your iPhone, say, it’s easy for them to get into your social network accounts and uncover personal details. They could even pose as you and phish for your friends’ details. 

Rescue: Use Find My iPhone to lock the device down remotely, then change your passwords and warn friends about any messages or status updates that have been sent already.

Mirroring embarrassment

Be careful when mirroring from your iOS device to a big-screen TV. You never know what people are going to see after you go to bed

You should never share your iPad screen display late at night. It’s easy to mirror your display either to Apple TV, so as to share your on-screen entertainment with a larger room, or through a Mac using an app such as Reflection.

If you decide to go to bed and take the iPad with you to read some personal emails before sleeping, you could possibly leave and still have the others within the house able to see everything you are doing courtesy of the AirPlay mirroring function.

Avoid: Either share your personal email and Facebook messages with the room, or turn off AirPlay mirroring before going to bed. 

Bluetooth embarrassment

Why aren’t my iPhone speakers working? That’s right, you paired up to a Bluetooth speaker a while ago in order to play carols to your family, and your smartphone is now continuing to broadcast various audio delights from the next floor up. 

Premature iOS updates

A lot of iPhone and iPad owners got stung when iOS 6 came out. Excited by the numerous new features, they updated from iOS 5 the day version 6 became available, and found themselves stuck with Maps, an error-strewn disappointment of a mapping service, and no Google Maps app. But every time iOS is updated there will be some drawbacks along with the many improvements. For this reason, we recommend waiting at least a couple of days after an update day, so you can read up on the experiences of other users. If there’s an issue, you can hang fire until it gets sorted. This also means you avoid the launch day rush on Apple’s servers, which were swamped when iOS 5 emerged. 

Rescue: If you have updated the iOS and regret it, we’d advise you look for individual workarounds rather than trying to downgrade the entire platform: you can’t sit on an outdated operating system forever. In the case of Maps, the best solution was to set up a Google Maps web bookmark on the home screen and use that instead; and it didn’t take too long for an app to be approved.

It is possible to downgrade iOS, but unless you do so almost immediately and have a usable pre-update backup on iTunes or iCloud (simply restore from this), it’s generally tricky. You’ll need to download the relevant IPSW file and use that for a restore, but depending on the specs of your device this may only be possible after a jailbreak.

Mini Fixes

Quick solutions for your little crisis

Battery keeps running out

We’ve looked at ways to extend the battery life of iOS devices before (see bit.ly/WmXAGH), but the essence is to switch off functions you don’t need: location services, notifications, Bluetooth and even Wi-Fi (if you’re not using it). Reduce screen brightness or use the helpful auto-brightness option (Settings, Brightness & Wallpaper).

Approaching the problem from the other end, consider investing in a case with a built-in, supplementary battery such as the Mophie Juice Pack Plus.

Speaker won’t work

Check the headphone port for fluff: this can make the device think the headphones are plugged in and disable the speaker. It’s a fairly common issue.

Phone won’t ring

We’ve lost count of the number of sensible people who’ve been caught out by this. Is the iPhone on silent mode? The switch is above the volume controls.

Won’t charge up

Dust in the dock connector can prevent it from charging. If it looks clogged in there, give it a blow and try again. Failing that, switch off and have a (very gentle) poke about with a paperclip.

The next thing to try is a spare cable, since your cable may have failed.

Deleted an app by mistake

Don’t worry, you can redownload it easily. Make sure you’re logged in under the same Apple ID you used to buy it in the first place, then find the app in the store and it should read ‘Install’ instead of showing a price.

Can’t see a contact

If you’re anything like us, your contacts are probably drawn from a variety of sources: iCloud, Facebook, and more.

On your contacts list, press Groups and ‘Show All Contacts’ – it’s easy not to notice if a small group is hidden.