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Hands on with iOS 6: Settings

Dan Frakes | Sept. 21, 2012
Many changes in iOS 6 are squirreled away in the Settings app--if, like most users, you don't delve into Settings, you'll miss some great new features. Here's a look at the changes to this important-but-overlooked app, organized in the order the sections appear on the Settings screen. (Though the screenshots here show an iPhone, I describe changes for all iOS devices.)

Privacy Location Services has been moved inside a new Privacy screen that lets you fine-tune access to Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos, Bluetooth Sharing, and your Twitter and Facebook accounts. For each type of data, you can choose which apps have access to that data. The Location Services section of Privacy also gains a couple new settings, found in its System Services screen: toggles for Genius For Apps and Wi-Fi Networking.

Sounds In the Sounds screen on the iPhone, the two Vibrate toggles, previous split between a Silent section and the Ringer and Alerts section, are now grouped together as Vibrate On Ring and Vibrate On Silent. You can also now choose an alert tone for new-Facebook-post notifications, and you can choose one of seven preset vibration patterns, or create a custom vibration pattern, for each type of notification; these vibration patterns are in addition to each alert's audible tone. (You can also create and assign vibration patterns for individual contacts, but that's done in the Contacts app.)

On the iPad, the Sounds item is now at the top level of the Settings app--it was previously buried in the General screen.

Brightness & Wallpaper On the iPhone and iPod touch, the previously separate Brightness and Wallpaper items have been combined into a single Brightness & Wallpaper item that includes the same options for each as before. (Brightness & Wallpaper was already a single item on the iPad in iOS 5.)

General Apple has introduced a slew of changes in the General screen. For starters, it no longer contains the Bluetooth option (which, as noted above, has been moved to its own item in the main Settings list). On the iPad, iOS 6 removes the Network item and moves the VPN section up one level--the other items under Network in iOS 5 (Wi-Fi and Personal Hotspot) have their own top-level entries.

On the iPhone, the Network item has been renamed Cellular, and new here is a group of settings that let you choose which features (iCloud Documents, iTunes, FaceTime, Passbook Updates, and Reading List) can use cellular data. Note that to allow FaceTime to use cellular data, you must have an eligible cellular plan--AT&T, for example, requires that you subscribe to one of the company's Mobile Share plans in order to use this feature.

On iPads, the Usage screen now includes information on usage and standby time since the last full charge (options that were previously available only on the iPhone).

The Auto-Lock screen has gained a Never setting on all devices, and a 15-minute setting on the iPad. On the iPhone, the Require Passcode option in the Passcode Lock screen has gained settings for 15 minutes, 1 hour, and 4 hours. (Interestingly on an iPad 2, this screen actually loses a few options.) On iPhones, there are also new options to allow Passbook access when the device is locked, and to allow you to use iOS 6's new Reply With Message feature (see Phone, below) when the phone is locked.

 

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