Navigation, Control Centre, Keyboard Shortcuts and Silent Mode

This will cover the basics of navigating around and using your iPhone or iPad in iOS 11 including Buttons, Gestures, Control Centre, Keyboard (Shift, Capslock, Microphone), Cut/Copy/Paste/Undo, and Silent Mode. 

Buttons and Gestures

The button on the top of your device is the Sleep/Wake button, or some call it the Power button since that's what you press and hold to shut down your device, or to turn it on when it's been shut down. The circle in the middle of the bottom of the device is the Home button. It takes you back to the Home screen where all of your apps are available. Or, pressing and holding it brings up Siri. Screen Zoom - You can pinch your thumb and forefinger together to zoom out, or start with them together and spread them apart to zoom in.

Most functions within apps are activated by swiping (up, down, left, right) with one finger, pressing quickly on an item (similar to left-clicking on a PC), or long-pressing an item for more options (similar to right-clicking on a PC). Newer devices also have Force Touch where different levels of pressure give different responses, and they've removed the Home button entirely on the iPhone X, so this article focuses mainly on older models. iPads have additional multitasking gestures with multiple fingers, check out my article on Multitasking for more info.

Control Centre

The Control Centre gives you access to features such as Airplane Mode, wifi, bluetooth, playing or pausing music, changing the volume or brightness, activating the flashlight of calculator, Do Not Disturb, etc. To access the Control Centre, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access Control Centre on an iPhone. On an iPad, one quick swipe upwards activates the Dock, and swiping up again activates the Control Centre and open Apps (or two swipes in a row quickly, or one slow upwards swipe). On an iPhone, to access open apps, double press the Home button. If you swipe up on an open app, it Quits the app (only needed if the app is frozen or misbehaving). You can modify what appears in the Control Centre by going to Settings – Control Centre – Customise Controls. 


The Keyboard has 3 settings: letters (ABC key), numbers (123 key), and symbols (#+= key). iPad keyboards have the ability to swipe down on a letter to quickly print the number behind it.

The iPad has a new “quick access” keyboard in order to fit twice the options on one keyboard. In order to print the small grey symbols or numbers shown above each letter key, simply swipe down on the key, then release. You will see the key darken and the symobol appear as you do this.

To capitalise a letter, press the Shift arrow. To write in ALL CAPS double-press the Shift arrow, it will show a line underneath. Press it again to turn CAPS off. To activate Dictation, touch the microphone at the bottom of the keyboard by the emoji and space keys.

NOTE: If the microphone is greyed out and you can't click it, go to Settings - General - Keyboard - and scroll to the bottom and toggle "Enable Dictation" ON

Dictation is great for typing! Touch the microphone to start. You must speak out punctuation, like "Hi Sally comma I am fine comma running ten minutes late though full stop." It will type what it hears. Speak SLOWLY and CLEARLY, like you are talking to a robot, or YOU are a robot 🙂 When you are done, click the Keyboard icon to go back to the keyboard. 

Also, if you want to access Accents such as é, press and hold the letter to give you a selection of accents and drag across to the one you want, releasing when it's highlighted. 

Predictive Text (those words that appear at the top of the keyboard as you type) is on by default. If you like, it leave it on and touch a suggestion to use it as you type. If you don't like it, go to

Settings - General - Keyboard - and toggle Predictive off. 

Cut / Copy / Paste / Undo

Yes, iPads and iPhones can cut, copy, and paste! Double tap a word you've typed to highlight it. Cut/copy/paste will appear. Drag the “handlebars” to increase the words in your selection. Alternatively, press and hold the word to bring up options to Select it or Select All. 

To paste something you've cut or copied, open the app you want (like Mail or Notes), tap once inside the message body or note and the Options will appear. Select Paste. Swiping from right to left or clicking the right Arrow on the Options will give more choices, such as inserting a Photo. If you don't see the options, tap again or press and hold inside the area you want to paste. The iPad also has a Paste button on the keyboard that you can use if you prefer, see below. 

Cursor Magnifying Glass - Press and hold to activate the magnifying glass, which allows you to drag your finger to place the cursor in a precise spot if you need to edit something you've written.

You can copy the words in a text message by going to the text message, pressing and holding, you will see Copy or More. More allows you to Delete the message (for yourself only) or Forward the text in it to a new message. You can forward multiple messages this way. 

To copy a word in an article, press and hold on that word and select Copy (or Look Up if you want the definition). To copy a website url, you can press the Share arrow and then select Copy. On Chrome, it's the three dots (short for “more”) and then the Share arrow. If the site doesn't have that option for some reason, you can press and hold on the url, Select All – Copy. You can also press and hold in the url bar and select Paste and Go to both paste your copied url and go to it.


Undo – The iPad has undo and redo buttons at the top of the keyboard, but the iPhone has something cool as well: Shake to Undo. If you shake your phone (gently!) the option to undo or redo typing will pop up, great if you accidentally deleted a whole paragraph or pasted in the wrong spot. If you don't see the Undo option after shaking, check that it's turned on. Go to 

Settings - General - Accessibility - Shake to Undo - Toggle it ON. 

Silent Mode / Do Not Disturb

Tired of texts and notifications waking you up? I have the solution(s)! Silent Mode (iPhone only) is activated by physically toggling the switch on the side of the phone by the volume buttons. This silences incoming calls and noises such as the Camera Shutter, but still allows calls from Favourite contacts, and your alarms will still go off. If the switch shows Orange, Silent Mode is ON and the screen will confirm it by showing Ringer with a Mute bell.

Go to Settings – Sounds – and toggle "Vibrate on Silent" off - if you don't want the phone to still vibrate during incoming calls.

Do Not Disturb silences phone calls (unless the same number calls again or you've told it to take calls from certain numbers), and silences text messages and notifications. It is activated by swiping up and clicking the Moon in the Control Centre.

Go to Settings – Do Not Disturb if you want to set a daily schedule for Do Not Disturb times (such as 11pm – 6am), or change additional settings. 

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