Funny thing about iOS (the operating system for the iPhone and iPad) – it’s loaded with shortcuts, and they’re usually in the form of different gestures or “swipes” on the screen.
We all check messages, whether it’s email or text messages (they all blend together anymore). So here are 3 ways to get to a new message (with a bonus item – or two – thrown in for the holiday week):
Way #1: From the Inbox
New/unread messages are flagged with the blue ball indicator. With a single tap, we’re reading the entire message.
(Extra bonus tip here – want to see more of the message in your inbox view? Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > and change the number of lines for Preview.)
This is an iOS 5 feature – so if you haven’t upgraded yet, shame on you, go do it now.
Let’s say you’re using your phone – either already reading messages, or choosing a new playlist in iTunes. A new message arrives – if you’ve enabled Alerts for new messages in your Notifications settings (found under General), you’ll see the notification banner at the top of the screen – and if you tap it, you’ll go directly to the new message.
Way #3: From the Lock Screen
Conveniently, the same bunch of Alerts settings in Notifications can also be used to display new mail in the Lock Screen, as show here (because we’re all locking our screens, right? Of course we are. Silly me.).
There are two options at work here - Notification Center is set to ON, and View in Lock Screen is also set to ON.
So when a new message arrives, my screen will light up and display the alert. Notice the slide bar at the bottom of the screen; normally it would read “slide to unlock”, but in this case it reads “slide to read”. Doing so will challenge you for your password/PIN, and will then take you directly to the message.
This is useful if you actually get to the alert when it arrives; most of us don’t because we actually put our phones down every now and then. If more than one message has arrived since the last time the device was unlocked, there will be multiple messages displayed.
So here’s Bonus #1 for message management – let’s say I want to view the first message in my list (shown at left):
- Drag the icon from left to right (shown at right).
- Enter your password/PIN, and you’ll jump directly to it.
So now that you’ve changed your settings to use the Notification Center (an iOS 5 feature – upgrade if you have not done so already), why not use it when the phone isn’t locked?
The Notification Center is much more than just messaging alerts – it’s a summary of all unread items, and can also be configured to display Calendar entries, Reminders and a slew of other things (and probably worthy of a post of its own). In short, a very handy tool.
It’s accessed at any time from any app, using a single finger swipe from the very top of the screen. At right is a sample – showing my current unread items and a few calendar entries. Choose any item from the screen with a single tap, and you’ll jump directly to the selected item.
To close it, swipe from the bottom up.
This is one of my favorite features of the iPhone and iPad; it’s not just “day at a glance”, it’s more like “NOW at a glance”.
I used email messages to demonstrate all of these features; the biggest bonus is that these tricks apply to messaging in general in iOS – so feel free to substitute the term Messages for Mail in any of the demos above. It all works the same.
Now go forth and shortcut.