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10 of the Coolest Little Tips You Didn't Know about Your iPod

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Whether you've had your iPod for a while or just picked up that new nano, Scott Kelby's ten tips will make you love your iPod that much more.
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1. Hidden Keyboard Tips for iPod touch Users

If you have an iPod touch, there are some hidden keyboard features you’ll want to know about. First, if you press the spacebar twice at the end of a sentence, it’ll put the period and a space in there for you automatically. Also, you can skip adding apostrophes for most words that have them—the Auto-Complete feature will realize they’re missing and fix them for you (for example, if you type in “dont,” it will automatically change it to “don’t”). Also, there are hidden characters as well. For example, if you press and hold down on the period (“.”), a pop-up list appears with stuff like “...”. If you press and hold on the dash (“-”), you can choose the larger em-dash (“—”), and if you press and hold on the quotations and apostrophes, you can choose either “<<” or “>>”. Here’s a tip to make using the keyboard faster: If you need to add a comma to what you’re typing, just press and hold the “?123” button so that keyboard appears—keep holding down your finger, and just move it over the comma, then let go. It’ll automatically return you to the regular letter screen. Okay, just one more: If you’re in the email application, if you press and hold on the period button, a list will appear with .com, .net., .org, etc.

2. Cutting Out Long Boring Song Intros

Some songs have these long boring intros before the song actually kicks in (remember Aldo Novo’s “Final Countdown” or the two girls chatting at the beginning of “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot?). Luckily, iTunes lets you skip past this part and get right to the “good part” by setting the Start Time for the song. Here’s how: First, find out exactly where in the song the “good part” starts (let’s say the actual song starts 1 minute and 4 seconds in). Now, Ctrl-click (PC: Right-click) on the song you want to edit and choose Get Info from the contextual menu that appears. Click on the Options tab and you’ll see checkboxes for Start Time and Stop Time. Click the Start Time checkbox, and then enter 1:05. That’s it. Now when this song plays, it will skip over the long synth-sounds intro and get right to the good part.

3. Making Your iPod Sound Better

Your iPod has a built-in graphic Equalizer (EQ for short), but by default it’s turned off, so your music sounds pretty flat. To turn this feature on, all you have to do is go to your iPod’s setting menu and choose EQ. Now choose the type of music you generally listen to (try R&B at least once even if you don’t listen to R&B), and your iPod will sound amazingly better. Also, there’s an EQ built right into iTunes as well, so you can make the songs on your computer sound better, too. Go under the Window menu and choose Equalizer. Then at the top of dialog choose the type of music you listen to.

4. Using Your iPod Classic or Nano as a Clock While You’re Listening To Songs

To have your iPod show the current time while you’re playing a song, start at the main menu and click on Settings. Scroll down and click on Date & Time, then click on “Time in Title” to turn this feature On, and now you’ll see the current time in the top left side of your Title Bar anytime you’re playing a song.

5. Changing Your Scrubbing Speed

If you have an iPod touch, you probably already know that you can press and drag your finger on the little progress bar to scrub through the song (dragging the playhead forward or backward in the song). When you do this, it moves pretty quickly, but if you slide your finger down into the Album Art area while you’re scrubbing, it slows the speed of the scrubbing down, so you can more easily find just the spot you’re looking for.

6. iPod Touch users: Where Your App Preferences Are Hidden

A lot of apps these days have their own preference settings, and some are easily found right in the app themselves, but sometimes the developers have so many preference settings they choose to put them somewhere entirely different: they’re found in the Settings App (tap on Settings from the Home Screen) by scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the settings windows. There you’ll find a list of the preferences for many of your apps. Just tap on one to see them.

7. Put the iPod touch’s Camera a Quick-Click Away

If you use your iPod touch’s built-in camera a lot, you can set it up so you just double-click on the Home button, and it brings up the camera—ready to shoot! Just go to the Settings App, tap on General, then tap on Home, and then choose Camera from the list. Now, you’re just a double-click away from the camera any time.

8. Buying Songs You Hear On Your iPod nano’s Built-In FM Radio

If you’ve got the new iPod nano, one of my favorite features is the built-in radio, but with regular radio you’re bound to hear lots of songs you don’t have (but want to own). Luckily, a number of radio stations now support a thing called “iTunes Tagging.” What that means is, when you hear a song on the FM radio you think you’d like to buy, press and hold the center button, then choose Tag from the pop-up menu. When you sync your iPod nano to your computer, it creates a “Tagged” playlist of these songs (under the Store list on the left side of iTunes), with a direct link to them in the iTunes store, and you can preview them there or buy them on the spot. Sweet!

9. iPod touch Users: The Trick for Finding Any App Fast!

Once you get a few screens (or more) of apps, finding the app you want can start to get that “needle in a haystack” feel to it. Instead, use this tip to find any app fast. Just start at the Home screen, then flick to the right to bring up the built-in Spotlight Search, then type in the first few letters of the app’s name and it’ll come right up. Try it once—you’ll use it again and again.

10. Getting Your Own Home Movies and Videos On Your iPod

Besides videos that you download from the iTunes Store, you can also put your own videos onto your iPod. Start by downloading the video onto your computer. Then, open your video clip in QuickTime 7 Pro (if you don’t have it, it’s available at Apple.com for both a Windows PC and a Mac). Once it’s open in QuickTime 7 Pro, go under the File menu and choose Export, then choose Movie to iPod from the pop-up menu. Now hit the Save button and the converted movie file will appear on your computer. Drag it into iTunes, then connect your iPod and sync up. That’s it!

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