iOS 6 arrived last week with much fanfare but with mixed reviews. With over 200 new features, Apple’s latest mobile operating system brought many changes to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Whether you’re considering upgrading your device or have already upgraded, you’re probably still becoming familiar with the new features.
iOS 6 is available for:
- iPhone 5, 4S, 4, and 3GS
- iPad 3 and 2
- iPod Touch 5th and 4th generations
Updating to iOS 6
Before you update to iOS 6, make sure to close your apps and back up your device to your computer. You can back up either by downloading the update to your computer and syncing your device with iTunes or by doing an over-the-air update.
If you’re doing an over-the-air update, make sure to connect your device to a power source, Also, for iPhones and iPads with 3G or 4G data, make sure to put the devices into Airplane Mode (Settings => Airplane Mode => On), then turn on Wi-Fi, to make sure you’re using Wi-Fi for your update.
Guide to iOS 6
Whether you’re stumped on a new feature or want to have a manual to guide you through the operating system, you should download Apple’s free guide to iOS 6: iPhone User Guide For iOS 6. Although this iBook is written for iPhone users, the instruction also is helpful for iPad and iPod Touch users.
The Google Maps app has been replaced in iOS 6 with the Apple Maps app. Apple Maps bring you turn-by-turn voice directions which may be very useful to you. The Google Maps app is gone and, as of this writing, there is no Google Maps app available on iOS 6.
If you use Google Maps frequently, you may be tempted to wait to upgrade to iOS 6 until a Google Maps app appears in the iTunes App Store, though your wait might be a long one. Yesterday, Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, said that Google had no plans to bring a Google Maps app to the iPhone. (CBS News) If you can’t wait or have already upgraded, you can access Google Maps using Safari.
Open Safari => Go to maps.google.com=> press the arrow button at the bottom of the screen => press Add to Home Screen. The Google Maps site will be added as a bookmark to your home screen.
iOS 6 gave Siri more power. She is now available on the iPad 3 (a/k/a the New iPad) and can now open apps, make restaurant reservations, give sports scores, driving directions and movie times, and can be used to post on Facebook and Twitter.
iOS 5 brought us Twitter integration. With iOS 6, you can link your iDevice with Facebook so that your contacts and calendars are synced between the two platforms.
To set up Facebook integration, go to Settings => Facebook and log into your account. You can authorize your calendar and/or contacts to sync. You also have the option to “Update All Contacts” to sync email addresses, phone numbers, photos and user names. You can also go into Facebook Settings to set your Chat and Message alerts for vibration and sound.
Syncing your Facebook calendar on iOS 6 can result in your friends’ birthdays appearing on your calendar. You may appreciate having these handy reminders or you may regret having your calendar cluttered with this information.
To turn off Facebook birthdays, go to your Calendar app => Calendars (upper left corner of your screen) => Facebook and uncheck Birthdays.
Facebook and Siri
You can now update your Facebook status by using Siri. Tell Siri, “Update Facebook Status” and then tell her what you want your new status to be (Tech Tip: make sure that Siri understands you correctly before you confirm your post).
You can use Siri from your lock screen without a password, which may come in handy. But if you have friends who are practical jokesters, you may want to disable this feature. iOS 6 requires that you balance your need to use Siri from your lock screen with your need for friends who play practical jokes.
To disable using Siri from the lock screen:
Go to Settings => General => Passcode Lock Option => Siri => Off
Settings has a new category called Privacy that allows you to adjust your privacy settings for each individual app. Similar to Clean Up Your Permissions! for websites, iOS 6 allows you to see which apps have access to your contacts, calendar, Twitter, Facebook, Bluetooth and other apps/functions on your device. You can turn off permissions from Privacy.
Location Services is also included in Privacy. Although the ability to turn on and off Location Services is not new for iOS 6, putting it in Settings might help alert people that they should not allow access to Location Services for apps where that function doesn’t benefit them.
A very cool feature of iOS 6 is the ability to take panoramic photos. To take a panoramic photo, open the Camera app and press Options. Press the Panorama button and you will see a bar across the screen with a line and an arrow.
Press the camera button at the bottom of the screen and turn your phone slowly from left to right. The app guides you and tells you if you need to move more slowly or up or down.
One article I read suggested putting the camera in a coffee mug and rotating the mug to keep the camera level. (Tech Tip: make sure there is no actual coffee in the mug when you place your camera in there.)
Here is a sample panoramic picture I took with my iPhone 4S:
As you can see from the black in the top left corner, I wasn’t too steady in the beginning. Next time I will try the coffee mug idea…
Passbook is a feature designed to Lighten Your Wallet! You can enter boarding passes, store loyalty cards, tickets and coupons onto the app from partner companies.
To use the app, open it and press the App Store button, which takes you to the iTunes App Store where you can find apps from partner companies such as Fandango, Walgreens and others.
I have been unable to test this app because it doesn’t work on my iPhone 4S. Pressing the App Store button led me to this screen:
A fix to this problem involving changing the clock settings has been posted around the Internet, but that fix didn’t work for me. I also asked at the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store and was told incorrectly that no apps that work with Passbook are available yet in the iTunes App Store.
I expect an update to Passbook will be released soon.
If you never want to miss an email from your boss, significant other, or George Clooney, you will be very pleased with this new feature. iOS 6 lets you designate certain contacts as VIP’s so their emails are in a separate VIP folder in addition to being in your inbox. If you have more than one email account linked to your iDevice, this can be very helpful for you to see when you’ve received an email from that Very Important Person.
App Store Updates
Apple has made it much easier to updates apps in iOS 6. You don’t need to enter a password for free updates to apps on your device. The App Store app no longer kicks you out of the app when you update, making it easier to update multiple apps from your device.
Do Not Disturb
If you’re headed into an important meeting, going to sleep or in another place where you don’t want to be disturbed, you can now activate the Do Not Disturb feature on your iDevice. This keeps your screen dark and silences your calls and notifications, but not your alarms (see, How to Silence Your Phone). A crescent moon will appear at the top of your screen when Do Not Disturb is activated.
You can schedule Do Not Disturb ahead of time or at regular intervals, such as before you go to bed at night.
To turn on Do Not Disturb, go to Settings => Do Not Disturb => On.
Then go into Notifications (just below Do Not Disturb in Settings) and press Do Not Disturb. You can schedule Do Not Disturb to turn on automatically and set whose calls will be allowed to ring. You can choose to allow calls from Favorites, Everyone or No One (I would like to see a VIP section added here).
The iPad now has a clock app!
You can also set a song from your iTunes library to be used as an alarm. Go to Clock => Alarm and press the + in the upper left corner of the screen. Press Sound => Pick a Song and choose the tune you want to greet you in the morning!
Your iPhone Keypad gets a facelift in iOS 6:
These are some of the key features of iOS 6. Although some features don’t seem to be quite ready for prime time, many others may interest you enough to update to iOS 6 now. If not, you may want to wait for an update to see if some of the issues with Apple Maps and Passbook get sorted out.
Have you updated to iOS 6 yet? Have you used Passbook successfully? Have you encountered problems with Apple’s Maps app? If you’ve updated, which is your favorite feature? Let us know in the Comments section below!
For those of you on the fence about getting the new iPhone, check out the new Longest iPhone:
(No, this isn’t real…)