3 Simple iPhone Tips That Make You Smarter

Jan 7, 2013 - 5 Comments

iPhone brain, get smarter with your iPhone

Your iPhone is a smartphone, and if it isn’t making you smarter as well then you just aren’t using the devices included features to it’s full potential. Here are three super simple tips that let your iPhone make you smarter, these will be perfect for educators, learners, students, or really, just about anyone – unless you’re a human dictionary and encyclopedia, that is. There’s no need to download any new apps or do anything that’s not included in stock iOS.

1: Learn the Meaning of Words & Get Definitions Instantly

How many times have you been reading something and ran into a word you just don’t know the meaning of? It happens to all of us, but now that iOS has a built-in dictionary all you need to do is use it to quickly find out the definition and meaning. Do this by tapping and holding on the word you don’t know, then select “Define” from the pop-up menu to summon the instant dictionary right atop what you’re currently doing. Once finished, tap “Done” and you’ll be back to what you were reading originally.

Get word definitions and meanings

2: Listen to & Learn Word Pronunciations

Just like we’ve all encountered words we don’t know the meaning of, we also encounter words we just don’t know how to pronounce. Even when we know what they mean, sometimes they just aren’t heard often enough, if ever, to know how the words actually sound when spoken. Not to worry, because iOS does know how to say words, and the text-to-speech feature of iOS is smart enough to pronounce the vast majority of words that appears in dictionaries properly (though you certainly can’t always say the same for peoples names or foreign languages). To get a words pronunciation, tap-and-hold on it within iOS and then select “Speak” to hear it spoken.

Word pronunciation with Speak

3: Ask Siri the Tough Questions

If you have a tough question or just a completely random thought and would like the answer to it, ask Siri! Because Siri is backed by the computational knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha, you’ll be able to get information on tons of topics and the answers to a lot of questions just by asking. Just pose your inquiry to Siri as a question, like “What is the population of Anaheim, California?” or “How many minutes are in seven and a half years?”, and you’ll quickly get a response.

Ask Siri tough questions

By the way, Siri can also get definitions for you, but if you don’t know how to pronounce the word to ask then that likely won’t be of much help.

We’ve focused on the iPhone because most people tend to have one with them at all times, but these tips are iOS wide nowadays, so they will work on an iPad or iPod touch too.

Got any other tips to become smarter using your iPhone? Let us know!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

5 Comments

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  1. Jeremy Brown says:

    On iBooks on my iPad, if I select a word and do NOT select one of the options (define, etc.) then subsequent attempts only give the ‘Speak’ option.

    If I extend the initial selection to multiple words (e.g., ‘Alta Vista’), only the ‘Speak’ option is available also. Very frustrating when I want a multi-word definition or want to view it on Wikipedia.

  2. Nacsák Tamás says:

    Ask Siri for the time in a City. It will tell you and show the same picture what you could get in the Clock app World Clock tab.

  3. marc11 says:

    Too bad siri never actually answered the question asked for the number of minutes in 7.5 years but instead told you how to calculate it yourself. siri fail.

    • Cerebro says:

      Um…it did provide the answer:

      Result
      3.942 x 10^6 minutes

      Reading fail. :)

    • Tim says:

      Siri did provide the answer, but like almost any other calculator, when a number is too large it will display the result in exponential form rather than lay out a billion zeros. Easier to read that way.

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