Phones

iPhone 4 Newbies: 10 Essential Tips and Tricks

3. Avoid the Top Enemy of the iPhone: Water

Trust me, you don't want to learn this lesson the hard way. Water will kill an iPhone faster than Clint Eastwood guns down bad guys in a Dirty Harry movie. Worse, Apple has a way of knowing if an iPhone has suffered water damage, which voids the warranty.

Rain? Danger. Washing machine? Double danger. Kyle Wiens, co-founder of iFixit, a Web site that provides free repair manuals and advice forums, has heard it all. One common water accident is iPhones falling into toilets. "People go into great detail about the water damage, like what kind of wine was spilled," Wiens says. (See Five Strange Ways iPhones Die.)

You might want to invest in a case that guards against water, such as the Dry CASE DC13, Overboard Waterproof Case, Pelican i1015, or Magellan ToughCase. Some case makers, though, are still working to come out with a version that's compatible with the Verizon iPhone 4.

If water is an iPhone's public enemy number one, then the second is concrete-as in an iPhone glass screen shattering upon impact. The iPhone 4 is especially susceptible to glass breakage. SquareTrade, an iPhone warranty provider, reported last year that iPhone 4 screens break a whopping 82 percent more than iPhone 3GS screens.

There are a few reasons for this. For starters, the iPhone 4 has glass on both front and back. More importantly, the iPhone 4 glass extends to the edges of the phone. A fall on concrete will likely shatter the glass because the glass directly takes the impact. The iPhone 4 glass is also extremely hard, which makes it more breakable.

So here's what you can do: Buy a shock-resistant case or screen protectors for the two glasses. Apple stopped selling screen protectors because the iPhone 4 screens are highly scratch resistant. But Worth Ave. Group, an insurer of consumer electronics, found that screen protectors (still available from third parties) prevent screens from shattering. Or you can just be more mindful when handling your iPhone 4.

4. Careful With That Cord

Apple's flimsy connector cord breaks easily, so handle with extreme care. Don't pull the cord to disconnect from the power outlet or USB port. Despite your best efforts, you'll likely have to buy a new one every year. It's amazing that Apple can't build a better cord.

5. The Screen Shot Trick

Tapping the home button and on-off button at the same time will take a screen shot that's stored in the camera roll. This feature doesn't sound very useful, but you'd be surprised how often the screen shot comes in handy. Also, in Safari, you can tap and hold an image to save it.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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