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Connecting Your iPhone to the Internet, Bluetooth Devices, and iPhones/iPods/iPads

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In this chapter from My iPhone for Seniors, 2nd Edition, you explore how to connect your iPhone to the Internet; Bluetooth devices; and other iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads.
This chapter is from the book

Topics include the following:

  • Getting started
  • Securing your iPhone
  • Using Wi-Fi networks to connect to the Internet
  • Using cellular data networks to connect to the Internet
  • Using Bluetooth to connect to other devices
  • Connecting your iPhone to other iPhones, iPod touches, or iPads
  • Using AirDrop to share content with Macs, other iPhones, iPod touches, or iPads

Your iPhone has many functions that rely on an Internet connection. Fortunately, you can easily connect your iPhone to the Internet by connecting it to a Wi-Fi network that provides Internet access. You can connect your phone to the Internet even more easily through a cellular data network operated by your cell phone provider because that happens automatically.

Using Bluetooth, you can wirelessly connect your iPhone to other devices, including keyboards, headsets, headphones, and so on.

There are a number of ways to connect your iPhone to other iPhones, iPod touches, iPads, and Macintosh computers. This is useful to use collaborative apps, play games, and share information. For example, using AirDrop, you can quickly and easily share photos and other content with other people using iOS devices or a Mac computer.

Getting Started

The bad news is that there are lots of complex-sounding terms that you hear and see when you are connecting your iPhone to the Internet and other devices. The good news is that you don’t need to understand these terms in-depth to be able to connect your iPhone to the Internet and other devices because the iPhone manages the complexity for you. You just need to make a few simple settings, and you’ll be connected in no time. Here’s a quick guide to the most important concepts you encounter in this chapter:

  • Wi-Fi—This acronym stands for Wireless Fidelity and encompasses a whole slew of technical specifications around connecting devices together without using cables or wires. Wi-Fi networks have a relatively short range and are used to create a Local Area Network (LAN). The most important thing to know is that you can use Wi-Fi networks to connect your iPhone to the Internet. This is great because Wi-Fi networks are available in many places you go. You probably have a Wi-Fi network available in your home, too. (If you connect your computers to the Internet without a cable from your computer to a modem or network hub, you are using a Wi-Fi network.) You can connect your iPhone to your home’s Wi-Fi network, too.
  • Cellular data network—In addition to your voice, your iPhone can transmit and receive data over the cellular network to which it is connected. This enables you to connect your iPhone to the Internet just about anywhere you are. You use the cellular network provided by your cell phone company. There are many different cell phone providers that support iPhones. In the United States, these include AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. You don’t need to configure your iPhone to use the cellular data network, as it is set up from the start to do so.
  • 3G/4G/LTE—The speed of the connection you have when using a cellular data network varies, which means the things you do on the Internet (such as browsing a web page) will be faster or slower depending on the current connection speed. These terms (this is not an exhaustive list; you may see these networks called by other names) refer to various types of cellular data networks you can use with your iPhone. Each type has a different speed. LTE networks are currently the fastest type. You usually don’t choose which type of network you use because the iPhone connects to the fastest one available automatically.
  • Data Plan—When you use your iPhone on the Internet (for web browsing, email, and apps), data is transmitted to your iPhone and the iPhone transmits data back to the Internet. Your cellular account includes a data plan that defines how much data you can send/receive during a specific time period (usually per month) based on how much you pay per month. It’s important to know the size of your data plan so that you can be aware of how much of it you are using per month.
  • Overage charge—If you use more data than is allowed under your data plan, you can be charged a fee. These fees can be quite expensive so you need to be aware of how much data you are using so that you can avoid overage charges.
  • Roaming charge—Your cellular provider’s network covers a defined geographic area. When you leave your provider’s network coverage area, your iPhone automatically connects to another provider’s network when one is available. When your iPhone is connected to a different provider’s network, this is called roaming. You need to be aware when you are roaming because you can incur additional fees while using the roaming network.
  • Bluetooth—This is the name of a technology that is used to wirelessly connect devices together. It is widely used for many different kinds of devices. Your iPhone can use Bluetooth to connect to speakers, the audio system in your car, keyboards, and headphones.
  • AirDrop—This is Apple’s technology for connecting iPhones, iPads, iPod touches, and Macintosh computers together to share information. AirDrop is a short-range technology—typically, the devices need to be in the same room or area for it to work. For example, you can use AirDrop to send photos from your iPhone to someone’s iPad. The nice thing about AirDrop is that it requires very little setup and is quite easy to use, as you will see in this chapter.
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