The Beginning Guide to iOS: Basic Navigation (Part 2)

This is the Part 2 of our “iOS Beginner Guide” series.

Part 1: Setting your iOS device up
Part 2: Navigating around in your iOS device.

Many times it seems like the reason people don’t understand the basic navigation in iOS is because they are making it much harder than it needs to be. Getting around is really quite an easy process. Forgetting all previous knowledge about computers, if you just take the navigation at face value, you’ll understand it more quickly.

There are only a few different sides to the iOS navigation process. There is the home screen layout, gestures, editing text, the search screen, creating folders, and the multitasking bar. If you learn these few basic parts, you’ll have everything you need to know to move about your device, be it an iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, or iPod Touch.



Once you have started up your Apple iOS device for the first time, you’re greeted by the home screen. The screencap above looks a little bit different than the home screen on a brand new device, as I’ve already altered it and custom-tailored it to my own needs. But this is all you will need. Everything is right there. There are no directories to navigate, and the only reason you would have folders at all is if you you are an app collector, as I am, and you want to make each app very easy to find.



Moving around within iOS requires you to use easy-to-learn gestures. These include:

  • Tap. Tapping on an app or an item will allow you to select it; sometimes called a click.
  • Long Tap. Tapping on an app or an item for just a split second longer.
  • Double Tap: Zoom in and Out.
  • Pinch In or Out: Zoom in and Out.
  • Drag. Tapping on an item, holding, and dragging it to move it.
  • Flick: Short, quick movements left and right or up and down to scroll or flip pages.
  • Swipe. Movement that is a little longer than a flick.



To edit text, do a long tap on the word you wish to edit. If you wish to edit more than one word, drag the points on either end of the highlight bar to cover the entire phrase. You can cut, copy, and paste, sometimes change text to bold or italics, and define a word. Doing this in the Mail app offers up other options such as inserting a photo or video. If you select a misspelled word, it will instead offer you choices for the correct spelling of a word.



Even though iOS is easy to navigate, and everything is right there, they still provide you with a search function. It’s not something that’s used as much as a search function on a Mac or a PC, but it does come in handy sometimes. Along with searching your apps, it also searches emails, messages, notes, and the calendar. Flick to the right to reach this screen. Flicking to the left reveals more pages if you have more apps than would fit on one page.



Creating folders is quite easy. There’s no menu to choose a Create Folder function. It’s simply a matter of drag and drop. Initiating a long tap on any app will make the apps appear to dance. This means they are now ready to be dragged around. Along with being able to put them in a different order, you can also put them into folders for better organization. If you drag an app onto another app, it will automatically create a folder and allow you to name it, although it might choose one for you, such as Utilities or Navigation, yet you can still override that with your own name. The iPad can fit twenty apps to a folder, the iPhone 5 sixteen, and previous iPhones twelve.



To make it easier to switch back and forth between apps, there is a Multitasking Bar that is accessible with a double click. You can return to the home screen with a single click, while a the double click brings up the Multitasking Bar which includes all the apps you have used and opened. You can close these apps by doing a long tap on one app as the apps again being to shake or dance. Clicking on an app with an X on it in the Multitasking Bar allows you to close it out. If you click on the X of an app on the home page, it will delete the app.

This is all there is to learning how to move about in iOS. These are simple functions and actions for the most part, and as long as you remember that, it will remain simple.

In the next article, we will go through the Settings app of iOS. Stay tuned.

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