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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.)

Under the Physical & Motor section in Accessibility, there's a new setting that lets you choose how quickly you need to double-press or triple-press the Home button for it to register as a single action, rather than separate presses: Default, Slow, or Slowest. And the Triple-click Home setting now allows you to choose a single action (Guided Access, VoiceOver, Invert Colors, Zoom, or Assistive Touch) to occur, or to choose multiple options that will appear in a menu when you perform a triple-press. Finally, on iPhones, the Custom Vibrations option has been removed; as noted above, you can now create custom vibration patterns in the Sounds screen.

Finally, hidden in General > About > Advertising is a new setting called Limit Ad Tracking. If you tap Learn More, at the bottom of this screen, you see Apple's own explanation of this feature: "iOS 6 introduces the Advertising Identifier, a non-permanent, non-personal, device identifier, that apps will use to give you more control over advertisers' ability to use tracking methods." If you enable the Limit Ad Tracking feature, apps cannot use this Ad ID to serve you targeted ads.

iCloud On iPhones, the iCloud settings screen now includes an option for syncing your Passbook data, and on all devices, the Photo Stream item now includes a toggle for Shared Photo Streams; if the latter is enabled, you can create photo streams to share with other people and you can subscribe to other people's shared streams.

Mail, Contacts, Calendars The biggest--and most welcome--change in the Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen is found when you tap Signature. Instead of a single text field for a signature that appears in all your messages, you can choose between All Accounts (which gives you that single field) or Per Account. The latter setting offers a separate signature field for each email account you've set up on your device. Type or paste your preferred signatures, and Mail will automatically append, to each outgoing email message, the appropriate signature for the sending account.

Also new here is an option to be notified about changes to shared calendars. On the other hand, the Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen loses the setting for minimum font size in Mail, as well as the section for Reminders settings; the latter has been moved to a new top-level Reminders item.

Phone The big change here is Reply With Message. This new feature lets you respond to incoming phone calls by sending, with a couple simple taps, a text message to the caller. The Reply With Message screen lets you configure up to three stock responses, such as "Can't talk right now...I'll call you back in a bit."


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