download apps, video calling and more basic functions

Congratulations on your first iPhone! A new world is now opening up to you and this is the guide you can fall back on. On the basis of practical tips and directions, we walk through the iPhone step by step. Are you reading along?

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iPhone for beginners: this is how you get started

First things first: it is impossible to summarize everything about the iPhone in one article. The device (and the entire system around it) is simply too complex for that. In this article, we therefore focus on the absolute basics for iPhone beginners.

We do assume that you have already turned on and set up the phone. Is your device still in the box? Then first read the tip below to learn more about setting up an iPhone.

Index: iPhone for beginners

Anatomy: Few buttons, but a large screen

So let’s start simple. An iPhone can best be seen as a computer, but in hand size. New versions are released every year and of course they are slightly better than their predecessors.

The front of an iPhone consists of touchscreen, or touch-sensitive glass. You operate the device by tapping the screen. On the side you will find several physical buttons including an on/off button, volume control (to turn the sound up or down) and a switch to mute the sound completely.

Some older iPhones also have a physical ‘home button’ below the screen. On recent models, this has been removed to make the screen larger. The SIM card, which you need for mobile internet and for calling, is placed in a slide on the side. You can remove this with the included snap, but you can also bend a paper clip.

How to insert or replace an iPhone SIM card

Operate: this is how the touchscreen works

Operating an iPhone is very simple. There are only a few things you really need to know:

  • To tap. The most important way to operate an iPhone. The phone has a touch-sensitive screen so you can tap anywhere. You tap the screen to open an app or, for example, open a file. You can also type messages by tapping the iPhone’s virtual keyboard.
  • Sweep. Also important when operating an iPhone. While viewing a website in Safari, swipe from top to bottom to read the rest of the text. The same goes for reading messages and navigating menus on iPhone. Do you have an iPhone without a home button below the screen? Then swipe up from below the screen to return to the home screen.
  • squeezing fingers together. Would you like to take a closer look at a photo or picture? Which can. Simply place your thumb and forefinger on the iPhone screen and move them together in a pinching motion. Zooming out works exactly the other way around.
  • Keep pressed. Finally, you can also operate the iPhone by resting your fingers on the screen. For example, leave your thumb on a word to copy it so that you can paste it directly into another app.
iPhone 12 Apple market leader

Download apps

A big plus of the iPhone is that you can download apps, i.e. programs that are not on the phone when you first start it up. Popular apps are messaging service WhatsApp and the social networks Facebook and Instagram.

You download these apps via the App Store, Apple’s app store that can be found on all iPhones by default. To download apps, your iPhone must first be prepared for use, see the previous step. For example, you need an Apple ID. Are you ready for it? Then follow the steps below to download an app:

  1. Grab your iPhone and go to the App Store. You can recognize the app store by the logo on the right, or swipe from the top of the screen to the center. You can now enter “App Store” in the search bar and then tap the icon;
  2. Search the App Store for the one you want to download, such as “WhatsApp”;
  3. Tap the download icon of the app, recognizable by the cloud with the arrow in it;
  4. You may now need to enter your Apple ID account credentials for security;
  5. The app will now start to download and once it is ready you can open the program;
  6. Then it is a matter of starting the app and using it.

These are the most must-have iPhone apps in our opinion
And these are the best alternatives to Apple’s default apps

9 must-have iOS apps that should be on every iPhone

Calling and messaging

A telephone is no longer just for making calls, but it remains an important part of modern smartphones.

On the iPhone, use the Phone ‘app’ to make calls. In this app you can enter a new number or call an already saved contact. You can then find these contacts via the Contacts app.

Tip: if you have regular contact with someone, it is wise to add them to your phone book. You can then call them or send them a message by entering their name and your iPhone will automatically retrieve the number.

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You send text messages on the iPhone via the Messages app. You can provide messages not only with text, but also with fun animations: called emoji. These pictures lighten up the conversation.

Please note: sending text messages and calling someone is not free. Text messages and calling minutes are deducted from the bundles of your telephone subscription as standard, or they cost a rate on your prepaid SIM card. If the person you want to reach has iMessage, Apple’s internal messaging service, sending messages is free. iMessage is only available on Apple devices like iPhone, iPad and Mac.

personalize iPhone

Every iPhone comes the same out of the box. The layout of apps on the home screens is the same and the background is also identical. Fortunately, you can add your own personal twist here.

iOS 14: Give your home screen a makeover with widgets, app icons and more!

You can choose a different wallpaper (background), the design of app icons and, for example, put certain similar programs together in folders. In the articles below we explain in detail how this works.

This is how you give your iPhone home screen a personal twist

Taking photos and videos

An iPhone is actually all kinds of different types of devices in one. For example, you can also take pictures with it.

Most people use the Camera app for this, which comes standard on the iPhone. Almost everyone can take a photo or video, but the iPhone camera is packed with features and settings for the perfect picture. In the article below (and accompanying video) we completely unravel the iPhone Camera app.

How the iPhone Camera app works

Get the most out of your iPhone camera with these 8 camera tips iPhone

Video calling: talking to each other remotely

Calling is nice, but video calling is better. Especially when it is difficult to see each other physically, speaking via a screen is a solid alternative, although it is of course not a replacement.

There are several ways to video call each other with an iPhone. Do you and the other person both have an Apple device (such as iPhone, iPad, or a Mac computer)? Then you can best reach each other via FaceTime, Apple’s own (and free) calling service.

This is our FaceTime Beginner’s Guide

Are you trying to reach someone with an Android phone? Then FaceTime will not work, but you will need an alternative. The most popular options are WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram. In the article below we explain per alternative what the unique characteristics are, what you have to take into account and how to get started.

These are the best apps for video calling

The 3 Best Video Calling Apps for Group Calls

To work

So, that was the absolute basics for iPhone beginners. Hopefully this guide has helped you and you continue to explore all the possibilities. There is much more to explain and to really understand everything it is useful to just get started.

The iPhone is intuitively constructed so that most of it is self-explanatory. If you do get stuck, you can most likely find the answer to your problem on our website. Since our foundation in 2007, we have been the go-to place on the internet for Dutch Apple fans. Take a look at our beginner’s guide to learn more about the iPhone.

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