iPhone Owner's Guide

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Getting Started with the App Store

Your new iPhone offers an engrossing smartphone user experience thanks to Apple's comprehensive selection of default applications. Fresh from the package, you can send calls and texts, browse the web, exchange emails, stream YouTube videos, listen to music, take photos, and so much more.

While these features may fulfill most of your expectations, the real potential of your iDevice unlocks with an App Store membership. With over 700,000 apps currently available, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer scope of Apple's software selection. To calm some of your analysis paralysis, we'll go over how to create an Apple ID for your new iPhone, as well as offer a few helpful app suggestions to get you started.

Registering with the App Store

If you have a credit card at hand and intend to make purchases from the App Store, you can create an Apple ID from your iPhone by navigating to Settings > Store. Then, follow these simple steps:

  • Select Create New Account.
  • Select Store, choose your current country of residence and confirm by selecting Done > Next.
  • Read the iTunes Store terms and conditions, then Agree and confirm to continue your registration.
  • Enter your email address, choose a password and security questions and select Next to continue.
  • Enter your credit card provider, card number, and security code. Apple stores your billing information to simplify future iTunes/App Store purchases. Select Next to continue.
  • To complete the account registration, select Done, then check your previously registered email account for your activation email. Through the email, select the Verify Now link. Enter your Apple ID and password and then tap Verify Address.

If you would prefer to register for the App Store without keeping a credit card on file, the process is slightly different:

  • Tap the App Store icon on the Home screen.
  • Select any free application and "purchase" it by tapping Free.
  • Select Create New Account, agree to the App Store terms and conditions, choose your country of residence and fill out your account information as detailed in the previous section.
  • At the payment information screen, choose None from the credit card field.
  • Finish entering your account information and then verify your account via email, as above.

For additional resources and alternative instructions for creating your account through iTunes, consult Apple's support sites here and here.

Best iPhone Apps: Social Networking

With built-in call, text, email, and video chat features, your iPhone keeps your finger on the pulse of your dynamic social life. Add Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest you'll never miss a beat on the next big happening. These services really come into their own on a mobile platform where you can post GPS location-aware status updates, arrange meet-ups, upload photos, or otherwise participate in vibrant digital conversations while on the go. With push notifications enabled, you'll be in the know the instant a friend posts an update. If you are a big Google user make sure to check out Google+ . With Google+ you share links, stories, and news with everybody in your circle from coworker to friends and family.

Best iPhone Apps: Digital Media (Books, Music, Movies, and More!)

The iPhone's data connection, built-in storage and smorgasbord of digital content apps put a wealth of media sources at your fingertips. The following apps will have you immersed in a wide selection of digital content in no time:

Reading Books and Graphic Novels on Your iPhone

For the digital literati, consider downloading apps from three of the major eBook distributors:

If you early-adopted the eBook format through Amazon's Kindle or B&N's Nook dedicated eReaders, their respective iPhone apps will automatically sync your digital library. You can customize your reading experience with different font styles and slick page-turn animations, as well as improve the readability of the text with increased font sizes and high contrast colors schemes.

The iPhone's vibrant, full-color screen also makes for a great graphic novel reading experience. Both Marvel and DCare well-represented in the online marketplace.

If you prefer a franchise-agnostic reader and rip your comics into CBR format, consider bitolithic's Comic Zealreader.

Finding New Music with Your iPhone

Your iPhone's basic iPod functionality may DJ your well-worn favorite tracks while on the road, but music discovery giants Pandora and Soundhound will get you outside your aural comfort zone in two unique ways. Pandora's software engine takes a cue from you for a band, song, or genre and breaks your suggestion down into its sonic components to build a radio station that streams music with similar qualities. Soundhound uses a bit of digital magic to analyze music playing in the environment. If you hear a snippet of a song on the radio and don't recognize the artist, start SoundHound's software while the tune is playing. The app will output the artist and track name from an extensive database. You can even sing or hum a tune for the same result.

Watching Movies and Television on Your iPhone

Whether you're a couch potato or an avid cinema-goer, there's never enough time to stay current with your favorite films and television shows. Try a mobile app like Netflix to relax on a long commute while taming your Watch Instantly queue.

For a free alternative, try Crackle. Though it has less content than Netflix, Crackle allows you to stream selections from Sony's catalog without a paid subscription.

If you prefer to catch the latest blockbusters on the big screen, check out Movies by Flixster to receive showtimes in your area. Flixster also gives you trailers and critics' reviews so you'll never fly blindly into a dud film again.

Best iPhone Apps: Productivity

As an evolutionary link between traditional cell phones and mobile computers, the iPhone is a capable digital assistant that works with your other electronics. To keep your fleet of mobile, personal, and work computers in perfect sync, try a cloud storage service like Dropbox. Once you install Dropbox on your iPhone and personal computers, any file that you put into your virtual storage space automatically syncs across all your devices. Then, prepare to enter productivity nirvana with a simple Dropbox text editor like PlainText. Anything you record, be it the opening sentence to the next great American novel or an addition to the weekly grocery list, transmits in real time to the cloud. Alternatively you can use iCloud, which is built into iOS for syncing and backing up. iCloud will back up all your iOS apps and data but will not give you the diversity of DropBox. Also make sure to check out SugarSync, which is another great piece of syncing/backup software that also works on iOS.

If staying productive means inundating yourself with as much information as possible, consider an RSS feed reader like Pulse or Reeder. Both apps create attractive and intuitive magazine-style interfaces for reading your favorite blogs. Reeder offers a slight advantage if you require Google Reader integration. If you prefer to hand-pick long-form web articles for later reading, try Instapaper.

Best iPhone Apps: Games

If you find yourself with an unexpected moment of leisure between socializing, keeping up on digital media and staying productive, try a renowned, addictive game like Angry Birds Space. Like the original Angry Birds, you will once again take control of the birds as they battle against the pigs in deep space. Features the same game play as the original version but at Zero Gravity!

For all those looking for a less confrontational challenge and more of a puzzle game, look no further than Disney's Where's My Water. In this game you will find yourself helping Swampy the alligator gain access to water so he can take a bath. Capture rubber ducks along the way and unlock new levels in this challenging puzzle game. Warning: This game is extremely entertaining and very addicting to all puzzle addicts!

To pit wits against one of your friends, try Zynga's Words with Friends, a digital take on the popular board game Scrabble. Once you connect with a friend's game, play your turn at your convenience. The game runs in the background and notifies you when your friend plays their round.

Finally, if you own dual-core processor iPhone (like the 4S and 5) and want to push the boundaries of Apple's hardware as a gaming platform, take a look at Chair Entertainment's Infinity Blade 2. As a technical achievement, the Unreal Engine 3 software used to build the game delivers near console-quality visuals. The RPG- and adventure-style gameplay appeals to both casual and hardcore gamers.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles

Once you take your first step into Apple's app ecosystem, keep going! These suggestions are only a fraction of what's available, so watch the App Store landing page for the latest essential apps.