They moved the Level

They moved the iPhone’s Level app. It used to be in the Compass app. Now it’s in Measure. Either way, it’s easy and fun to use it.

The iPhone’s Level used to be hidden inside the Compass app. Now (if you’re using iOS 12 on an iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or later, iPad 5th Generation or later, or iPad Pro) it’s hidden in the Measure app. It’s still very useful and super-handy, once you find it. Hang your pictures perfectly, get your table level, settle arguments about whether that wall is leaning or not.

To use the Level you have to first start the Measure app, so do that. Then, look for the “Level” icon at the bottom right of the screen. Tap that, then put your iPhone on edge and you’ll see something like this:

iPhone Level app, 7 degrees away from level

If you lay your iPhone down flat, on a table or perhaps the floor, you’ll see something like this:

iPhone Level app. This iPhone is on a tilted table!

When your iPhone is level on edge, it looks like this:

iPhone Level app: that’s level!

When your iPhone is laying flat on a level surface you’ll see something like this:

iPhone Level app, iPhone laying flat on a level surface

Bonus: Here’s how to use the Measure app.

Quick fix for when you can’t send mail from your iPhone

Sometimes you can receive mail, but can’t send. This leads to a lot of confusion. One common cause: your iPhone’s joined a WiFi network that is blocking your outgoing mail. Here’s the fix.

This article addresses a very common cause of the “can’t send mail from my iPhone” issue, and provides a very, very easy answer. Try this before doing the harder stuff.

There are at least a couple of reasons why you can’t send emails even though you can receive them. One reason, which is easy to fix, is that your iPhone has joined a WiFi network, and the iPhone is trying to send mail out through that network, and something about that network is blocking your mail. (Joining a network can happen without intervention from you, if the network doesn’t require a password– that’s an “open,” or “unsecured” network. You probably shouldn’t use an open network anyway.)

If the problem’s in the WiFi network just turn off WiFi and use your iPhone’s built-in cellular connection. You can do it via the Control Center (swipe up from below the bottom of the screen), or via the Settings app. Either way, just turn off WiFi, and see how it goes. If everything works when you’re not using the WiFi, you know there’s something about the network that’s messing things up. You’re not going to fix the network– that’s someone else’s job– so just don’t use it. Use your cellular service instead.

Note: the iPhone will always use WiFi if it’s available, even when it’s not working properly, and even if things would be better over the cellular system. You can’t tell the iPhone to prioritize cellular ahead of WiFi– if both are available, the iPhone uses WiFi. The only way to not use WiFi is to turn it off. Can’t hurt to try. You can always turn the WiFi back on later.

If you’re having the opposite problem (Mail works when on WiFi, not when on cellular) check out my article on that: How I Fixed an iPhone that Couldn’t Get Mail Unless On WiFi

How to switch keyboards quickly on an iPhone

This iOS tip works anytime you have a keyboard on the screen. Switch between layouts, and switch to and from the one-handed keyboards.

Normally you tap the globe icon on the iPhone and iPad keyboards to switch between the regular keyboard and the emoji one. That’s fine– it works. But, if you tap and HOLD the globe icon, you get a quick way to switch to the one-handed keyboards (left- and right-handed versions), as well as an easy way to switch among multiple keyboard layouts (Bitmoji, anyone?).

First you tap and hold the globe button (assuming you have more than one keyboard installed and activated)…

Tap and hold the globe button in iOS 12

Then you get a bunch of handy options.

Look at all these options!

Free 4th of July Fireworks App

Here’s the best fireworks app for the iPhone. Fun and free. Perfect for 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, and July 27th (my birthday).

Just in time, here’s a link to “Fireworks Arcade,” a free fireworks app that I really like. As the name implies, it has games in it too. Celebrate the 4th of July with this safest of all fireworks shows!

Save Your iPhone’s Battery by Turning Off the Maps app

Save your iPhone’s battery: turn off the Maps app when you’re not using it. Maps uses GPS to know where you are, and that uses the battery.

The Maps app uses GPS to know where you are. Turn Maps off when you can (after you arrive, maybe?) to avoid draining your iPhone’s battery.

Save Your iPhone’s Battery by Turning Off “Push” for Mail

Want to make your iPhone’s battery last longer? Here’s the single most important thing to do– turn OFF “Push” mail. Try it and see.

Do you want your iPhone’s batter to last longer? Of course you do. The single most important thing to do is to set your iPhone to check for new mail only when you open the app and ask for it. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Go to Settings and then Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  2. Tap Fetch New Data and turn Pushoff
  3. Scroll down to Fetch and set Fetch to Manually.
Set Push to Off
Checking Mail Manually

This is going to save your battery. A lot. But, you are not going to know that you have new email until you open the Mail app and check for yourself. This means you will have to pull down and release in Mail to get it to check for new messages.. That’s a tradeoff I’m happy to make.

BONUS: you will finally be able to get something done because you won’t be interrupted every couple of minutes with an email notification. Trust me, those emails can wait. Check the mail when you have time to do it rather than letting it barge in around the clock.

Yes, I know that’s not the way most people do it. But most people’s iPhone batteries don’t make it through the day. Try it “my way” and see how it goes. You can always switch back.

Turn Your iPhone Sideways: Mail

Mail gets a new look when you turn your iPhone sideways. You might get larger text or a different layout. Depends on the phone.

Second in a series of “Turn Your iPhone Sideways” posts.

Depending on the model of phone you have, and whether you have Display Zoom enabled, turning the iPhone sideways may show the list of messages alongside the message you’re reading. You can tap the two-headed arrow at top to go full-screen. 

Mail message, portrait view
Mail message, sideways view
Also depending on the model of iPhone you have, and whether you have Display Zoom enabled, rotating your iPhone may increase the size of the text.. The increased size can make the difference between squinting and reading comfortably. See below.
Mail, with iPhone vertical
Mail, iPhone turned sideways

Turn Your iPhone Sideways: Calendar

The Calendar app changes when you rotate your iPhone: get a Week-at-a-Glance view, where you can drag appointments around with your finger.

Note: first in a series of “Turn Your iPhone Sideways” posts.

You get a nice multi-day view of your calendar when you turn your iPhone sideways. Try it!

iPhone Calendar, vertical orientation
iPhone Calendar, sideways orientation

Ask Siri about airplanes

Wondering about that low-flying jet? Ask Siri. She knows.

If you ask Siri “What airplanes are flying over me” you will get something like this:

Result from asking Siri about airplanes

Interesting stuff, although Siri doesn’t seem to know about helicopters. Or UFOs.

Check out my Seven Super Siri Tips for more. And, check out my giant, up-to-date list of every Siri article on this site.

Greetings, iPhone users!

Learn something new about the iPhone in 60 seconds! Short, helpful, and fun articles about the iPhone by Apple consultant Christian Boyce.

Note: iPad users are also welcome.

This is my one-quick-tip-a-day-for-the-iPhone site. It’s short and sweet, which is good for both of us. If you want the same sort of thing for the Mac, try my site. If you want longer how-to articles, try Suggestions, comments, questions– all are welcomed. See the About page for a handy form.