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Apple user's dictionary of tech jargon

David Price | May 10, 2016
From Arrangement Mode to Xcode: we explain all the jargon in our plain-English dictionary of tech terms, focusing on concepts that affect Apple fans

What is a phablet?

An ugly contraction of 'phone' and 'tablet', this refers to the very largest smartphones, generally with screens in the region of 5 or more inches diagonally from corner to corner.

Apple currently sells two phablets: the iPhone 6 Plus (from 2014) and the iPhone 6s Plus (released in September 2015), both of which have 5.5in screens; there will probably be an iPhone 7 Plus in September 2016. Rival smartphone makers have been selling phablets for much longer.

What is Photo Booth?

Program for iOS and Mac OS X that captures self portraits. Often combined with humorous effects.

What is Photo Stream?

iCloud service that shares recently captured photographs across multiple iOS and Mac OS X devices.

What is 'pinch to zoom'?

Gesture made on iOS devices and Mac trackpads. Made by pinching finger and thumb together on screen, or 'unpinching' them apart. Often used to zoom in on items (web pages, photographs, and so on). Technically speaking it's usually the 'unpinch' that zooms into maps and so on, whereas the pinch zooms out, but we still call the feature 'pinch to zoom' in a general sense.

What is pocket dialling?

The irritating phenomenon whereby you accidentally ring someone up when your phone is in your pocket - the result of overly tight trousers, one would imagine.

Also known as butt dialling, apparently, and recently added to

What is Proactive?

Proactive is the (apparently unofficial) name for new contextually aware features iniOS 9. The system keeps tabs on when and where you use certain apps or contact certain people, for example, and offers quick links to those actions in the lock screen or search screen. It sounds a little sinister but can be a handy time-saver.

What is Push?

Push notifications are notifications that can be sent immediately to you on your iPhone. Push is often a type of e-mail service, as opposed to IMAP or POP. With Push enabled e-mails that are sent to your iPhone appear immediately on the device. The opposite of Push is Fetch, a system where the iPhone checks for e-mail in regular intervals (typically once every 15 minutes). iCloud is a Push service, so new e-mails and changes to the Calendar and Contacts are sent to other devices immediately.

What is QuickTime?

Video compression technology used by apple to distribute movies across the web. Also the name of a program used on Mac OS X to watch and share video clips.

Not to be confused with quick time events, which are those rubbish bits in computer games where you have to 'press X to escape from bag'.


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