iPhone or '!'Phone ?

12 Aug 2010 - 2:40am
6 years ago
4 replies
1665 reads


I'm an avid iPhone user myself and I really love and appreciate the overall experience and the device itself.

But, being so successful, I feel that iPhone surprisingly has numerous undiscoverable UI features. Many of these, unless accidentally discovered, will never be known to a user. Also, many of them are not even listed under iPhone Tips & Tricks also! (I bet more than 90% of iPhone users wouldn't care to read the iPhone User Guides).

"iPhone Mobile Human Interface Guidelines" states that "iPhone OS... delivers consistent behaviors that users expect". This may be very much true. The UI could also have excelled in many usability studies too.

But for a layman user, to discover the UI features available and to use them is really difficult.

Here's a list of such features:


  1. Double click lock-button (on the top) to reject a call
  2. While there is an incoming call, click the lock-button to silence ringer
  3. For 'Undo'ing something, shake the phone
  4. Swipe to erase mails or list items
  5. Press-&-hold icon to delete/move an app
  6. To scroll to the top while reading, tap the annunciator
  7. Touch and hold an image from the web to save it
  8. Touch and hold on-screen 'Mute' button to place a call on hold
  9. To restart phone, press-&-hold the lock-button and the home button together
  10. You can 'clear' all; but can't erase a single Recent-Calls entry



I feel, the iPhone UI could somehow be bettered. Hope sooner or later it will...



12 Aug 2010 - 3:11am
Samuel Lee

I think it makes sense for some features to be unexplicitly visible until used.  The majority of them are not actions that could really cause drastic issues if used.  It would be worse for all of the features to be illustrated in their own icon, or through some drop-down/pop-up menus.  

Some users only use the surface of the device's abilites, others push it much further.
Just my thoughts.  Do you think it's good that there are "hidden" features?

12 Aug 2010 - 3:42am

I'm not expecting any drop-downs or popups; but at least a 'Help' feature could have helped a lot. Right?

12 Aug 2010 - 10:54am

<fanboy on>For me, I actually enjoy finding little hidden, or undocumented features like those you described. In fact, between my 3 yr. old daughter and myself we've discovered all but one of the features you mentioned (save an image from the web). My little kids have also figured out how to take screenshots of the iPhone, though I have not (nor have I the need - but I know I could if I wanted to). For me having features like that speak to me - part of the surprise and delight methodology Apple adheres to. It sort of goes like this - I wonder what would happen if I did this - oh! - they've thought of everything haven't they! oooh - that's cool. Oh - that's really handy. It reminds me of keyboard shortcuts. Not necessarily documented or easy to find, but there anyway for the adventurous user (power-user?) to seek out and find.</fanboy off>

12 Aug 2010 - 11:50am
Wilson Tu

This post reminded me of how Windows has a bunch of little shortcuts and tricks that aren't very well advertised either.  But I guess it adds an extra "oh cool!" factor when people figure it out themselves.  Like Samuel said, some people only use the surface of the device's abilities, and don't seem to mind it much--usually because I think they learned how to do it another way and don't care to learn how to do it differently (at least from my experiences from talking to my friends).

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