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Jargon Dictionary: Translate Those Techy Buzzwords | iPadOS 17 Guide

Stumbled across a word or phrase and not sure what it means? You’ve come to the right place.

We’ve listed some of the most common phrases you might encounter in iOS, defined them all in plain English, and sorted them alphabetically¬†for easy reference. If you want to dig a little deeper, many entries include links to full explanations. You can thank us later.


Used to transfer files such as photos or documents wirelessly between Apple devices. Read more.

Airplane Mode

Shuts off all connectivity features when activated, including cell coverage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. So-called because it’s useful for using your device on a flight. Read more.


Wirelessly transmits audio or video content to another device, such as an Apple TV. Read more.


Used to print photos or documents wirelessly over a Wi-Fi network. Only compatible with certain printers. Read more.

App Drawer

The home for all active iMessage extensions, including things like stickers, animated GIFs and multiplayer games. Read more.

Apple Pay

Apple’s secure contactless payment system, accepted in many stores throughout the world. Can also be used for online purchases. Read more.

App Switcher

Invoked with a double-tap of the Home button, the App Switcher allows you to return to any recently used app. Read more.


A virtual Home button offering various functions to help deal with certain hardware faults. Read more.


A wireless technology used to connect two devices in relatively close proximity. Can be used to connect keyboards, speakers, and other gadgets to an iPhone.


Used in Safari to keep track of websites you want to remember while browsing the internet. Read more.

Camera Roll

The store of photographs kept on your device. Everything shot with the Camera app is saved here, in chronological order. Read more.

Cellular data

Information pulled from the internet while using a 3G or 4G connection. Most cell plans have a monthly cellular data limit. Known as “mobile data” in the UK. Read more.

Control Center

A sheet of handy shortcuts accessed by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen. Includes volume and brightness sliders, audio controls, and much more. Read more.

Cover Sheet

The home of all recent notifications and alerts. Cover Sheet can be seen on the Lock screen, or by swiping down from the top of the screen any other time. Read more.

Dark Mode

An alternative toned-down look for iOS, better suited to low-light usage. Read more.

Do Not Disturb

This mode will temporarily mute/hide distractions like incoming alerts and phone calls. Read more.


Pictograms representing various emotions, objects, and activities. Accessible via the iOS keyboard and used conversationally. Read more.

Face ID

Apple’s advanced facial recognition authentication used to log into compatible devices, and to validate purchases. Read more.


Apple’s internet-based video chat. Allows users to communicate with other Apple devices, and doesn’t require a cellular connection. Read more.


The three-dimensional city tours available in the Maps app. Read more.

Game Center

A system to track your progress, high scores, and multiplayer sessions across the games you play on your iOS devices. Read more.

Guided Access

Customizable restrictions intended to be used when handing your device to a child, to limit what they can access. Read more.


A feature that allows users to seamlessly move between Apple devices, without stopping the task at hand. Read more.


High Dynamic Range. A setting in the Camera app which can improve photographs taken in many lighting conditions. Read more.


Apple’s home automation platform, which can connect smart gadgets together via the Home app.

Home screen

The main page of iOS and home to all the apps installed on your device. The first thing you see when you unlock your device. Read more.


An online service platform used by Apple to store files and photos, sync data between devices, create secure backups, and more. Read more.


Apple’s chat platform used to send messages to other Apple users. Similar to SMS text messaging but sent via the internet. Read more.

Live Photo

Animated photographs that capture a few seconds of video in addition to the main image. Read more.

Lock screen

The screen you see when waking the device. Shows the current time and date, any recent notifications, and allows users to log in with Touch ID, Face ID, or a password.

Low Power Mode

Battery-saving feature that temporarily disables certain power-hungry features. Can be used to get more life from a device if it’s running low on battery. Read more.


Personalized 3D avatars that look just like you. Read more.


Automatically-generated video slideshows in the Photos app, themed around events or locations from your life. Read more.


Alerts that buzz your device and subsequently show on the Cover Sheet. Notifications include messages, emails, and reminders from apps. Read more.


Ultra-wide photographs taken by panning the camera slowly around to capture a whole scene. Intended for shooting wide landscapes. Read more.


A common document format that displays a combination of text and images. Used for a variety of things, including eBooks, application forms, and much more. Read more.

Picture in Picture

Also known as PIP, this is an overlay allowing you to continue watching videos while multitasking in other apps. Read more.

QR Code

A square graphic, not unlike a barcode, which can prompt an action on your device when scanned with the camera. Read more.


A photo of yourself taken with the front-facing camera.


The automated sign-off to all your emails, which could include your name and contact details. The default in the iOS Mail app is “Sent from my iPhone/iPad.” Read more.


Apple’s voice-controlled digital assistant, which can answer questions and perform certain actions for you. Press and hold the Home button to talk to Siri. Read more.


The search function in iOS that can find everything from apps and contacts to websites and emails. Read more.

Touch ID

Fingerprint-sensing technology embedded into the Home button of many Apple devices. Can be used to unlock the device or authenticate Apple Pay. Read more.


App that can store bank card details for use with Apple Pay, as well as useful documents like boarding passes and tickets.


The background visuals seen on your device, which can be customized to your liking. Separate wallpapers can be set for the Home and Lock screens. Read more.


A wireless technology allowing devices to connect to the internet via a nearby router. Wi-Fi is available in most homes and many public places. Read more.


These give quick access to snippets of information from your favorite apps. Widgets can be found by swiping left to right from the Cover Sheet. Read more.