You are here: Home > Blog > The 10 little things you haven’t heard about in iOS 6
iOS 6 is packed with some brilliant headline features, such as turn-by-turn navigation in the revamped Maps app, Passbook for managing tickets, vouchers and loyalty cards, and a smarter Siri that will also make its debut onto iPad. You can find out about all these and more on Apple’s website.
But for us, and as always, the things we’re really looking forward to are the tiny improvements and flashes of genius that make using iOS devices such a joy. And so here are our favourite little features that we know are coming to iOS 6 that you might have missed.
Unified phone number and Apple ID
Matt was watching the keynote on his iPad while also watching the England-France game in Euro 2012; when news that Apple is unifying your phone number and Apple ID broke, his ‘Yesss!’ fist-pump made Tom think England had scored. Why was he so excited? It means not only that people can FaceTime you on your phone-number-less iPad or Mac by punching in your phone number, but that iMessages sent specifically to your phone number also appear on your other Apple devices – rather than just popping up only on your phone.
FaceTime over 3G
And, joy of joys, FaceTime now works over the mobile data network. At the moment, it requires Wi-Fi, which is obviously annoying if you want to brag to your colleagues that you’re sitting on a beach sipping sangría – or if you’re a nicer person and just want to call up your parents to let them see their granddaughter on the swings at the park. Now that FaceTime works over cellular networks – likely to be limited to 3G and 4G – taunting and tumbling tots can be shared over a video chat from anywhere you can get a good mobile signal.
Find My iPhone is a great service for tracking your lost iOS devices, sending messages to them or even wiping them clean in case you worry about sensitive data falling into the wrong hands. It gets even better with iOS 6. Now if you lose your phone, you can ping it with an alternative number – your spouse’s, say, or your office phone number – and when someone finds your phone, they just have to tap a button to be connected straight to you. No longer do you have to rely on people rifling through your Contacts.
Reminders gets some welcome improvements in iOS 6. Not only will you be able to set location-based reminders on iPad as well as iPhone, but you can also both set those locations manually, and manually reorder items in the list.
Being able to define those geofences – the areas that will trigger alerts when you enter of leave them – by hand is great, because currently you have to pick an address from your Contacts list, which can be irritating.
There’s some really cool stuff here. On the one hand, Guided Access lets you lock down bits of apps – buttons that can configure the app, say – so that kids or people on the autistic spectrum who can benefit from a distraction-free, guided experience can use an app on their own without the danger that they’ll mess things up or get frustrated.
Guided Access also lets you do things like suppress the Home button, so people can’t quit the app. (It’s easy to securely deactivate Guided Access though.)
This is a boon for, say, museums who want to use iOS devices for guide apps, or for schools who might want to use iOS devices for tests.
Quickly tweet and update Facebook
Love to tweet or update your Facebook status? With iOS 6 it’ll be even quicker; there are buttons for Twitter and Facebook right on Notification Center, so all you have to do is swipe your finger down from the top of the screen and tap a button. It’s never been easier to tell your friends what you had for lunch!
Facebook contacts and calendars
Facebook is actually integrated much more deeply into the system as well. Not only can you share photos, links and more like you can with Twitter in iOS 5, but you can integrate your Facebook Events and friends’ birthdays into Calendar, and sync your Facebook friends list with Contacts. Plus, you can Like apps in the redesigned App Stores.
Finally, the full Siri experience will make it outside the US. Not only is there support for a wider range of languages – including localised versions of Spanish and both Mandarin and Cantonese – but it also launches local search for more countries than just America, including the UK.
Insert photos into emails
Finally, you can now attach photos and videos to emails after you’ve started writing them. Yes, we’d still like the option of attaching any document rather than just photos and videos, but without a file system (and we understand the reasons for not exposing a file system to users) this is a tricky proposition.
App linking from Safari
Admittedly, people like us are more excited about this than most normal human beings, but we really are excited here. The idea is that if you have made an app and have a website – such as tapmag.co.uk and the app edition of our magazine – you can trigger a banner as soon as someone comes to your website that tells them about the app and optionally takes them straight to the App Store. If they already have it installed, it knows this and instead offers to open that app, in some cases at the the equivalent point they're viewing the website. It’s going to be a great way of discovering some great apps as you browse around the web.