Starting from scratch

Blunt-force measures when nothing else works

A lot of problems with iOS devices can be fixed by powering down or resetting. (Yes, we’re not above “Have you tried switching it off and on again?”) There’s an established sequence you should follow that becomes increasingly drastic as the situation calls for it. 

Quit an app The first port of call if an app is playing up. Double-tap the Home button and a swipable row of icons will appear: these are the apps currently running. Press and hold one and they will all start wobbling. Tap the red circle to close an app. (If the device is playing up, it’s a good idea to close down apps you don’t need.)

Force-quit an app If an app freezes and you can’t get it to respond, force the device to close it down by holding down the sleep/wake button (top right of the iPhone or iPad) until the red power-off bar appears, then hold down the Home button. After a while, the app you’re in will shut down and you’ll be dumped back into the home screen.

Power off Press and hold the sleep/wake button, but this time slide the red bar to power down your iOS device. Give it a short break to cool down a little, then switch it back on by pressing and holding the sleep/wake button. You’d be surprised how many minor issues are fixed by this.

Full reset A more drastic solution is to do a full reset. Hold and hold both buttons – sleep/wake and Home – until the Apple logo appears, and the device restarts. 

Restore This is a full erase – everything on your iPhone or iPad will disappear. So this is not a step to be taken lightly. However, it should fix most software-level problems, and if you’ve been backing up assiduously your photos, songs, ebooks and comics are ready to be restored from backup, right? Connect to iTunes, click your iOS device’s icon and hit Restore. Alternatively, go into Settings > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings, then start from scratch.

Don't try this at home

5 inadvisable but interesting uses brave apple fans around the world have found for their ios devices

We advise against… controlling a car using your iOS device

The Siri-activated Viper SmartStart module can switch off your car alarm, unlock the door and start the engine. Image courtesy of developer Brandon Fiquett and gizmag.com

And no, we don’t mean a little remote-controlled Ferrari like the one reviewed here. For the past few years more and more crazy inventors have been coming up with methods of driving a full?size automobile using an iPhone.

Back in 2011, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a trial shipment of electric cars with a software package that turns the iPad into a vehicular controller and rather more besides (read it here).

While the article focuses on starting the climate control from the iPad before getting inside, this could be the first step towards a car that can take you where you want to go at the tap of an iPhone.

Indeed, developer Brandon Fiquett has taken things a step further and come up with a Siri-activated module that can control your vehicle’s door locks and alarm, open the booth and even start the engine from your iOS device’s interface. 

Why stop there? Using these kinds of technology an integrated Siri-Maps hybrid could be asked to plot the quickest route between point A and B (while in the background checking the traffic/weather reports to see anything that may influence your journey time), while using detectors around the car to judge important distances and ensure you don’t hit anything.

It’s a thrilling vision of the future, but we’re not ready to put our lives in the iPhone’s hands just yet. For the time being, we’d suggest entrusting Maps to find a location then following the directions yourself.

We advise against… wearing your iPad as a hat

It’s true that newspapers are increasingly being read in tablet form. But one thing print has still got over digital is the ability to be folded up and used as a rain hat.

Let’s be practical here. Tablets require electricity. If water gets into tablets, then they don’t work any more because water does bad things to them.

The answer is easy enough. If it starts raining and you don’t have a newspaper already, grab the nearest free copy of The Metro or The Evening Standard and use it to protect yourself. Job done.

We advise against… wearing your iPad as any other item of clothing, for that matter

There’s no denying that the iPad and iPhone ooze cool. They are both style icons; just being seen with one makes you look cool to the world around you.

Taking this idea to its logical extreme, Syte Gear (syteshirt.com) offers a shirt with a see-through slot on the front that holds an iPad. Priced at $49.95 (£31), it allows you to show off your designs, apps, promotions and so on – and we do have to admit it seems like quite a nice idea.

Until you forget that you’re walking down the street with your most expensive personal possession attached to the front of your body. It’s an invitation to get mugged. Or worse, somebody may replace your iPad with an Android tablet.

We advise against… jailbreaking your device and installing Android

You can do it, but we don’t think you should

The App Store is truly amazing, with thousands of apps released every month to suit the needs of every iPhone, iPad and iPod touch user. But what if you reach the point where you’ve simply had enough of iOS? You have the desire to change, to move on to something else – to experiment, if you will. Why not take a look at installing Android on your iPhone?

Well, mainly because you’ll need to ‘jailbreak’ your device, which is something we really don’t recommend. It’s a moderately tricky process that circumvents Apple’s hardware and software controls and allows you to install non-approved software, but is a legal grey area and may void your warranty. 

If you really want to go ahead, our sister magazine PC World details the full procedure here: bit.ly/TAI7p7. It will work only on a first-gen iPhone or an iPhone 3G with firmware between 2.0 and 3.1.2.

We advise against… asking Siri for the meaning of life

Apple’s voice control assistant is full of useful abilities, but philosophy isn’t its strong suit. What’s perhaps worse is that it has lots of wacky answers prepared for this question and you may get sucked in.

The first, and by far the most frequent, is 42. In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, scientists build a supercomputer which spends seven and a half million years thinking and comes up with that number. It must have been an anticlimax.

There are other possible answers, including “try to be nice to people”, “I don’t know but I think there’s an app for that”, “all evidence to date points to chocolate” and “I can’t answer that right now, but give me a very long time to write a play in which nothing happens”.