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Jargon Dictionary: translate those technology buzzwords

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. More info

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. More info


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


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

App Drawer

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


A virtual Home button offering various functions to help deal with certain hardware faults. More info


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. More info


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

Camera Roll

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

Cellular data

Information pulled from the internet while using a 3G or 4G connection. Not all iPads have cellular access. Known as “mobile data” in the UK.

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. More info

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. More info


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


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


The three-dimensional city tours available in the Maps app. More info

Guided Access

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


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


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


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. More info


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


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

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 or a password.


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


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


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


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. More info


Used to denote a specific location in Maps. Pins can represent existing places, or be “dropped” manually to help you remember a place for later. More info

QR Code

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


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.” More info


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. More info

Touch ID

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


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. More info


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. More info


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. More info