When you install iOS 6 on your iPhone or other iOS device, you won’t see any changes to the user interface, but there are a few new apps and several new features under the hood that will make your device a lot more handy to use.
In addition to a new Maps app with turn-by-turn voice navigation, you also get Facebook integration throughout the iOS, the ability to share selected photos in your Photo Stream; preset voicemail replies, FaceTime over your cellular network, and several new handy features for the iOS camera, Mail, Safari, Find My Phone. In fact Apple claims over 200 new features are included in the new update. You can get an overview of them here, but let’s explore some of the best tips for quickly getting up and running with iOS 6.
iOS 6 is fully supported on the iPhone 4S, the third generation iPad, the 4th generation iPod Touch, and the soon to be released iPhone 5. It also supports the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2, but these two devices do not include Siri, FaceTime on 3G or 4G. The iPhone 3GS will support iOS 6, but it will not include several features and apps, including Siri, Photo Streaming sharing, FaceTime on 3G, Offline Reading list, and hearing aid support. You can download and install iOS 6 wirelessly on your device (Settings app > General > Software Update) or via a wired iTunes connection.
After you get iOS up and running, launch the Settings app and tap open the Phone settings, followed by “Reply with Message.” This handy little feature enables to you send preset messages when someone calls, but you can’t or don’t want to answer.
You can of course customize the preset messages; for example: “Sorry, working, will call you later.” When you receive a call, you will need to slide up the phone icon handle to reveal the “Reply with Message” and “Remind Me Later.” You can choose your options from there.
Now in Photo Stream you can select photos and share them directly from your supported device. To do this, tap the Photo Stream icon in the bottom menu bar; tap “My Photo Stream” and then the Edit button at the top-right. Select the photos you want to share, and tap the Share button at the bottom.
Tap the Photo Stream button to share your selected photos with other people. When you share with someone who is also running iOS 6 and iCloud, your photos will show up in their Photo Library or iPhoto app, after they approve the import. Those not running iOS 6 will receive a link to your selected photos posted online via your iCloud account. From there, they can download your photos. You will need to enable Public Website sharing from within Photo Stream. The link to your photo pages can be shared anywhere.
VIPs in Mail
The Mail app in iOS 6 has inherited the VIP feature, first released in Mountain Lion. This feature enables you to select contacts as VIPs, each of whom will get a special smart folder where all their emails will be collected.
To assign a contact VIP status, tap on his or her From address in an email, and then the next window tap “Add to VIP.” Your VIPs will show up under Mailboxes in your Mail app. However, the only drawback is that you will get all the messages sent by a selected contact, not just their new mail.
Insert Photo or Video
Also in Mail, you can now import/insert photos or a video from within a Mail message, instead of having to export selected content from your Photos Library. To add a photo to an email, press down briefly with your index finger on an empty spot in your email, and then left your finger to bring up the pop-up menu bar. From there, tap on the right arrow and select “Insert Photo or Video.” The contents of your Photo library will pop up. You can add one photo or video at a time to your email. It’s probably best not add more than one video to a mail message.
Do Not Disturb
Though the Notifications feature was a big deal when first released, many iOS users now often find it nuisance when they get too many notices at in appropriate times. In the new update, when you go into the Settings app and turn off notifications completely, or you tap the Notifications > Do Not Disturb, you can schedule a time for when you don’t want to receive calls and alerts.
Furthermore, you can make exceptions for selected contacts in your Contact book, and also allow for Repeated Calls to your phone. This is very useful if you often get calls and alerts while sleeping or in a meeting.
Managing Your Privacy
Also in the Settings app, Apple has placed all your privacy settings in one place, so you can know which apps are accessing data on your phone. Tap on Privacy to find out which app has requested access to say your photos, Twitter and Facebook accounts, your current location, Calendar, Reminders, or Contacts. This is where you can disable and enable access to particular apps. With iOS 6, Apple now requires developers to get permission to access your data.
For us shutterbugs, Apple has added a feature for taking panorama shots. Now you can shoot large group and scenic photos in one single shot of mainly non-moving subjects. To do so, launch the Camera app, tap on the Options button and select Panorama.
Frame your shot and hold the iPhone or iPod touch steady; tap the shutter button, and pan continuously to capture the subject. When you reach the end of your panning, tap the exposure button again. Voila, you get a nice smooth panorama in one shot.
More Siri Commands
As expected, Siri now includes even more commands—from getting sports stats and finding local movie time listings, to actually telling it launch apps. You can even have Siri setup reservations at an elegant restaurant. Learn more about Siri commands here.
iOS Safari also received some enhancements. You can now save web pages in the Reading List for offline reading. So say your iPad doesn’t have cellular connection, you can save pages for later reading without needing an internet connection.
With the latest Safari, you can also access web pages open on your other devices. So say you’re reading an MUO review on your Mac, and you want to pick up the reading on your iPhone or iPad. Simply tap on the Cloud icon at the top of iOS Safari and it will display a list of opened tabs from your other devices.
In iOS 6, Apple ditched Google Maps and replaced it with its own navigation system. Now you have free default turn-by-turn voice navigation system to give you directions from point A to point B.
Getting directions is very similar to the old Map. When you’re ready for directions, simply tap the Start button. The design makeover of the Apple Map is a lot cleaner and visually appealing.
Find My Phone
Under iOS 6, Find My Phone now includes Lock Mode, which enables you to remotely locate and lock your phone or other Apple device and send a contact message that will be displayed on the locked screen of your device. You can send a contact message by signing into your iCloud.com account, and selecting the Find My Phone icon on the Home page.
You can also use the Find My Phone app on other your iOS devices. Your lost device however must be be shut down in order for Find My Phone to work. You should definitely bookmark the iCloud site and know the steps to locate your device in case of an emergency. Find My Phone can also be used on Mac laptops and desktop computers.
One of the two new default default apps you will see in iOS 6 is Passbook, which is for storing supported travel boarding passes, movie tickets, store coupons, and loyalty cards. When you launch the app, it takes you to the App Store where you select and download the supporting apps to your iPhone. From there, cards and tickets will be added to your Passbook when you register for loyalty cards or purchase movie tickets, for example.
iOS includes lots of other features including Facebook integration, improved Accessibility features, FaceTime access over cellular networks and location-based alerts in the updated Find My Friends app—just to name a few.
Let us know what iOS 6 features you find most useful, and which features you think could use some improvements.