Improve your productivity by reading the manual

I recently saw a comment online that read something like, “All I use the iPhone’s Home button is for is taking screenshots. What else is it for?” Here at Unclutterer, we believe that knowing what your gear is capable of doing improves your productivity and helps to keep you organized. In short, we think you should always read the manual so you get the most of your technology and don’t waste your time and money. With that in mind, the following is a list of the things that simple little Home button can do for iPhone and iPad owners, as described in the products’ manuals.

  1. Go home. This is the most important feature. No matter where you are, you can get back to home screen with a tap. If he gets frustrated or lost, it’s comforting to know that a single tap of the Home button is the way out. He can start over.
  2. Take screenshots. Yes, it does this and it’s quite useful. Hold down to Home button and the power button (top of the device) for just a second to take a screenshot. You’ll hear a “camera shutter” noise and find the image in your Camera Roll
  3. Multi-Task Bar. A double-tap reveals the apps you’ve opened most recently, in order. Tap any one to jump right to it. Or, swipe the image of the app screen up and it will close the app.
  4. Wake. Tap the Home button to wake your iPhone’s display.
  5. Reset. Force a misbehaving iPhone to shut down by holding down the Home button and power button simultaneously until the screen goes dark. When you see an Apple logo, let go. Note that you only have to do this if your phone is seriously misbehaving.
  6. Siri. Press and hold the Home button to get the attention of Siri, Apple’s automated assistant.
  7. Accessibility functions. The Home button can perform one of five accessibility functions: toggle VoiceOver, switch the display to white-on-black, toggle zoom, toggle AssistiveTouch and ask which function should be performed. You can set this up in the Accessibility Settings.
  8. Exit “Jiggle Mode.” Jiggle Mode refers to the state your iPhone is in when you’re rearranging or removing app icons. To enter Jiggle Mode, tap and hold on any app icon. When you’re done, tap the Home button to resume normal functioning.

By reading the manual we discovered this one button can do eight separate things.

Think about all of the devices you own and all of the buttons on those devices. Do you know what every single one of those buttons does? Can it perform more than one function? If you have technology in your home or office and you don’t know all that it can do, take a few minutes now to read the manual to save you time and money in the future.

9 Comments for “Improve your productivity by reading the manual”

  1. posted by Lisa on

    So incredibly true. Spending some time with the manual and some expert user tips sites made me discover all kinds of tips about my (android) phone so it now automatically senses where I am (home, office, etc.) and takes specific actions based on time of day / location.

    I also read the manual and watched some YouTube videos about my blender and realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t have a great blender – I was putting ingredients in it in the wrong order. Now I’m much happier with it and didn’t go spend $400+ on a replacement that I don’t need.

  2. posted by infmom on

    As a former computer tech and tech support worker I spent an incredible amount of time telling people to for pity’s sake look in the manual that came with their gizmo. So much time could be saved if people would just for pete’s sake READ.

    In fact, I once had a t-shirt that just said RTFM on the front. (read the …. manual)

  3. posted by [email protected] on

    I don’t ever sit down and read a manual from cover to cover but I do hit the highlights when I first get the item. Then I refer to the manual when things come up that I wonder whether it will do or if there’s a problem.

    It probably is a good idea to at least skim the manual so you have an idea of what devices will do. There’s just so much extra junk in there that it can be really boring. But figuring something out – that’s an amazing feeling!!!

  4. posted by JC on

    I am a firm believer in reading the manual, and online tutorials are a great way to maximize productivity and the effectiveness of any tool. I have become increasingly frustrated over the past several years, however, as more and more gadgets, appliances, gizmos etc. do not come with detailed manuals. You have to search for them online, and some you even have to purchase separately.

    If I had googled tutorials for my embroidery digitizing software, rather than struggling with the manual alone, I could have saved myself time, frustration and ruined materials. I should have known to do that when I first started having trouble.

  5. posted by tvjames on

    Actually, the triple-click for Accessibilities features can either toggle a single feature or bring up a menu so you can select from multiple accessibility features.

  6. posted by Pat Reble on

    I get frustrated by the fact that most devices now come with on line manuals only. I liked to curl up with a coffee occasionally and explore a few pages for tips. It’s not the same when you have to see it on screen, sigh.

  7. posted by Marie on

    Not bothering to read the manual also makes companies decide they can stop bothering to update them, which is how you end up with one-page, too-generic gooble-dee-gook. This is why tech writers are being downsized. Read the manual to save jobs!

  8. posted by Nicole on

    Excellent advice! I read my iPhone manual before I even got mine so I knew how to use it right away. I also recommend checking the manual before deciding to purchase something to be sure it will work the way you want. Since most manuals are online it’s very easy to do this and saves you from buying something that doesn’t work for your needs.

  9. posted by Neena on

    So many of the gadgets that we own are capable of doing a lot of stuff – if only we knew how to use them.

    I not only read the manual, but sometimes I will make a little cheat sheet of how to’s for features that I like but don’t use often enough to remember.

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