Passbook may be one of the most underrated technologies on the iPhone. In theory, it lets you collect your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, and loyalty cards all in one place. In reality, it isn’t supported by too many retailers, many of whom already have their own system of handling these types of passes.
In addition, many iPhone users don’t know how to get apps that support Passbook, as the only way to find a special list of apps that are supported by the service is to open the Passbook app itself. If you’re one of those users, here’s how to get some great apps on your iPhone and carry a few less bits of paper and plastic ephemera around with you.
But iPhones are still lacking some of the best innovations out there. This isn’t because Apple can’t innovate. It’s because Apple can’t share. Apple can’t play nice with others. Apple wants to control the user experience, even at the expense of the user.
Apple isn’t open.
This quality used to be a benefit because it prevented the platform from becoming an ugly, confusing, fragmented mess.
But in the past month, Apple’s lack of openness has become a serious problem.
Somehow, Apple managed to cram in a ton of web browsing functionality into a teeny, tiny package called Safari. To distinguish the mobile web browser from the one of the same name on OS X, we’ll call it Mobile Safari and be done with it.
Regardless of the name, the mobile version of Safari is chock full of features both subtle and hidden. Here are five great tips and tricks to help you master Mobile Safari on your own iOS device, whether that be an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
If you’re a fan of Lucas Arts and Sierra Games adventure games like Grim Fandango, The Dig, Monkey Island, or King’s Quest, you’ll dig this fun game from Replay Games, Inc. Fester Mudd: Curse of the Gold, Episode 1 is a spot-on tribute to the gaming days of yore, with hilarious writing, painterly-yet-pixelly artwork, and some quirky puzzles to solve with various items needing to be used with various other items.
It’s also by the guys who are working on the upcoming Leisure Suit Larry remake for iOS, so you know it’s gonna be good.
Want to get to websites faster using mobile Safari? No, I’m not talking about upgrading your internet or data plan to LTE or something, though that will obviously help. No, I’m more interested in showing you how to get to most major websites with just a bit less typing involved.
It’s pretty simple and straightforward, to be honest. Here’s how.
Mobile Safari has a great sharing feature, letting you send a web page to anyone via iMessage, Twitter, Facebook, or email. The bummer thing is, though, that if you hit Mail, your iPhone will wrest control from you and make you send via the built-in iOS Mail App.
But you don’t want to use Mail. You prefer the Gmail app, right? Of course you do. How the heck, then, can you send that adorable picture of a cute pug puppy via email using the Gmail app? With a secret bookmark, of course.
One of the more useful features of modern browsing, the AutoFill function started on the desktop, then made its way to the iPhone and iPad a while ago. It lets your iOS device hold all the form data, populating the oft-repeated fields with your personal info like your name and address. That way, you don’t have to type it all in all the time, which is brilliant on a mobile device with a small touch-keyboard.
When you share a device like an iPAd, like I do with my kids at home, you may not want to share this personal data. Until a proper multi-user experience comes to iOS, the best way to get around this is to clear out your personal info, and then turn off AutoFill. Here’s how.
One of the limitations of the iPhone and iPod touch version of Safari has always been a lack of tabbed browsing. Granted, there’s only so much space on the smaller mobile screen, but all the same – tabbed browsing is great.
So is being able to open tabs in the background, so that you can continue reading Cult oF Mac posts, but still save an interesting link in another tab, just like you can on the Mac with a Command-click.
When you tap and hold on any link on a web page, Safari’s default behavior on the iPhone is to ask if you want to open the link, open it in a new page, Add to Reading List, or Copy it. Choosing Open in New Page will do just that, but in the foreground, taking you away from your current web page.
Luckily, with a simple Settings tweak, you can change this default behavior.
With all the sites we visit on a daily basis on our iPhones and iPads, we are capturing and storing where we visit in the background of every web page we see. You may want to clear your browsing history or other stored web data from your iPhone from time to time, if you’re of a security or privacy turn of mind.
Accessibility is a priority to the designers and engineers at Apple. They have built some amazing software right into each operating system, from OS X to iOS, all for no etra charge and no need to add extra programs on to be able to use the products if you have a visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive disability.
But if you don’t have a disability (yet–we’re all just a lucky step or two away), you can take advantage of these systems for yourself or other family members.