The iPhone context menu is the menu that appears when you tap and hold on any text in a document or any text field in a website.
In the PC world, the contextual menu is activated by a simple right click on your mouse button. The contextual menu will have different options depending on the application and where the mouse is located while applying the right click on your screen.
For example, a right click on the PC desktop will display different contextual menu options than a right click on My Computer.
On the Mac world, this contextual menu functions in exactly the same manner, but since there is no right mouse button on the Mac, it appears by pressing the control button on the keyboard and pressing the single mouse button on the Apple mouse.
iOS Contextual Menu:
In the iOS or the iPhone OS, the iPhone context menu appears by tapping and holding on a word in a web page or any iPhone Notes application.
It also appears after you highlight a paragraph. Once you let go your finger from the iPhone screen, the iPhone contextual menu will appear.
Depending on the state of the iPhone you have, the context menu could have different options.
For example, the stock iPhone design has some basic options in the contextual menu like Copy and Past.
Those options that you can add to the iPhone contextual menu are so useful that you might consider jailbreaking your iPhone or iPhone 4 just to gain access to those additional useful features.
The Basic iPhone Context Menu:
The contextual menu on the iPhone has two modes. The normal mode and the virtual keyboard mode or text editing mode. The normal mode is the mode where you can only copy a text or paragraph.
The text editing mode is when the iPhone keyboard appears, which means you can edit the text and you can paste or enter copied text.
The iPhone by design comes with very simple contextual menu. It is a simple copy and paste options in addition to select or select all.
Once you select a text and tap Copy from the iPhone context menu, the text will be copied to the iPhone internal memory or a clip board. You can only copy once to the iPhone clipboard. But you can Paste whatever in the clip board as many times as you want. Once you copy a new text to the iPhone clip board, the old text will be deleted from the iPhone memory.
Moreover, the Copy and Paste is integrated between iPhone applications. For example, you can copy a paragraph from iPhone Safari or any iPhone browser and paste it to iPhone Notes, or your iPhone mail application.
Although Copy and Paste is very useful, the iPhone context menu can have many more options and features by design. However, Apple restrict developers from adding more to the iPhone contextual menu.
Advanced iPhone Contextual Menu:
The iPhone context menu is programmable which means you can add plugin's but because Apple doesn't allow modification or accessing to the iPhone file system, you are stock with those simple Copy and Paste options in the iPhone contextual menu.
The context menu items shown on the right are some features that you can add with Action Menu Plus Pack from Cydia.
Action menu is an iPhone hack that adds more features and options to the iPhone context menu. You can find a free version of Action menu in Cydia, while the full version is called Action Menu Plus Pack which adds more features to the iPhone context menu and cost $2.99. You will find that even the free version of Action Menu is very useful.
Action Menu Settings:
There is no iPhone icon for Action Menu. However, you will notice more items in your iPhone contextual menu after you install it. A new settings items will also be shown in your iPhone settings applications. Go to Settings, Action Menu to configure the options in your iPhone context menu.
The Favorites feature comes with the free version of the Action menu, and is my favorite feature in the iPhone contextual menu. It allows you to copy multiple texts or paragraphs to the iPhone memory or the iPhone clip board compared to the single Copy by default.
This Favorites context menu feature allows you to create a list of texts that you will use a lot. Therefore, when you select to Paste, you will have the option to paste any of the texts stored in the Favorites clip board.
You can edit your Favorites list from the iPhone Settings where you can add, arrange, or delete texts.
How to add a Favorite?
There are two ways to add texts to your favorites. One way is from the Action Menu Settings. Simply open Settings, Action Menu, and then Favorites. Then, Add Favorite.
When you tap Add Favorite, a new window will open allowing you to enter a word or a whole paragraph in the blank field. When you finish, tap the Create button to add the new text to the list of favorites.
You can also delete and arrange your favorites by tapping the Edit button. To move one item in the list up or down, just tap and hold the the area shown in the blue rectangle and move the item up or down.
You can also add to the Favorites list while in any document, iPhone note creator or any iPhone browser such as iPhone safari.
While you are in text edit mode (ie. virtual keyboard is displayed) in any iPhone application, select the word or phrase you want to add to your favorites, and then select Favorites from the iPhone context menu as shown below.
Your Favorites window will open. Tap the Add Favorite button at the bottom left and the text or phrase will be added to the favorites list.
To Paste any of the texts from your Favorites to ay iPhone application, tap on the field where you want to paste the text as shown below. When the iPhone contextual menu appears, tap Favorites instead of Paste.
Your stored clip board which has all your Favorites texts list will appear. You can simply tap on the text you want to paste and the text will be pasted in the space you selected as shown below, and then the Favorites list will disappear.
You can even add more contextual menu plugins to Action menu.
For example, one very nice plug-in is called Voice ActionMenu Plugin which allows you to highlight a paragraph from any iPhone application and choose hear it.!
Voice from the iPhone context menu will read the sentence or paragraph aloud using the iPhone internal voice which is also the standard Mac speech voice.
To get the Voice option in the iPhone context menu, select the sentence or paragraph you want the iPhone to speak and tap the button shown by the red square to get more menu items.
Tap Voice, and the iPhone will start speaking the paragraph using the standard Mac speech voice. When the paragraph is finished, the speech will stop. To cancel speech, just tap on the Speaking square once.
I have used this feature on both a Mac and a PC desktop computer before, but I have never seen it on a PDA or a smart phone before.
This feature is very useful while you are driving and want to read an article from a website or listening to your emails. However, it is only available for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and above.
This is a very useful feature in the iPhone contextual menu ActionMenu Plus Pack. You can select any word in an article or on a web page and do a quick google search for that word.
A browser window will open showing the google search page results with the search word already there.
As the name indicates, this iPhone contextual menu option allows you to search Wikipedia.
Select a word from any iPhone application such as iPhone email, iPhone notes, iPhone safari, or any iPhone browsers and then select Wikipedia from the contextual menu that appears.
You might have to tap Look UP first, and then Wikipedia from the context menu.
Wikipedia will open with the word you selected in the search field showing you the results of the Wikipedia search.
In this example, the word that I highlighted to look for in Wikipedia is SPACE. You can then choose to open the results page in iPhone Safari if you want.
This is one of the most useful features in the iPhone ActionMenu Plus Pack.
Suppose you are reading an article in iPhone Safari and you came across an english word that you don't understand, simply double tap the word, and open the dictionary within the iPhone context menu.
You can even tap the speaker button to hear the correct pronunciation. Moreover, you can open the results page in iPhone Safari if you want.
If english is not your first language, you will most probably have some iPhone translators applications on your iPhone.
The iPhone is great in that it support over 30 languages and that those languages on the iPhone are integrated in the iPhone OS without any additional plugins or software.
Now with the addition of a Translate option in the iPhone contextual menu, you can simply translate any word you come across while reading an article in iPhone Safari for example, or any iPhone document.
When you double tap the word you are looking for and selecting Translate from the contextual menu, a translator will open within the iPhone context menu.
You can then select what language you want to translate to, and you will immediately get the translation. Arabic language is selected in this example, but when you tap the To button many other languages on this iPhone translator can be selected.
Press Cancel to go back to the article to continue reading.
Go to bottom:
The iPhone allows you to scroll all the way to the top of a web page in Safari, or any document by simply taping the status bar at the top of the screen.
However, there is no easy way to scroll all the way to the bottom.
With this iPhone contextual menu feature, you can simply tap To Bottom and scroll all the way to the bottom. You can do the same thing to scroll to the top by tapping To Top.