Guide to Game Centre on the iPad and iPhone

With around 1.2 million apps in the App Store (many of them games), iOS's Game Center is one of the most popular mobile gaming platforms around today. The iOS Game Center is a little more polished in appearance than its OS X sibling and like the OS X Game Center, is also cross platform and tied to your Apple ID. We're going to outline how to use the Game Center - what each of the tabs do, and address a few common issues with the app.

By

Update: As of 13 June 2016, Apple has confirmed that Game Center will be scrapped for iOS 10. So, be aware that if you’re here to find out more about it and continue to use it, you’ll want to stick with the version of iOS 9 you’re using.

  • me tab Me tab
  • friends tab Friends tab
  • add friend2 Inviting Friends
  • friend info Friend profiles
  • settings 003 Facebook
  • message icon Messaging
  • Games centre Challenges
  • send challenge Issuing challenges
  • challenges tab Challenge accepted
  • Games centre Turns tab
  • games tab Games tab
  • add game Adding games
  • remove game Removing a game
  • nickname Change your username
  • sign out Log out of Game Center
  • restrictions Disabling alerts
  • Profile pic Profile picture
  • IMG 8044 iOS 8 Game Centre
  • More stories
Next Prev

The Tabs: The Me Tab

We'll start with the Game Center's five tabs.

The Me tab is an at the glance summary of your Game Center activity, including how many points you’ve acquired. Points are gained from accomplishing certain tasks in-game and unlocking 'Achievements'

As you can see, I'm not a huge Game Center user so there's not all that much happening here!

You can add/change your Game Center photo and change your status from this screen. You can also click on the spheres to be taken to each corresponding tab.

Next »

Next Prev me tab

We'll start with the Game Center's five tabs.

The Me tab is an at the glance summary of your Game Center activity, including how many points you’ve acquired. Points are gained from accomplishing certain tasks in-game and unlocking 'Achievements'

As you can see, I'm not a huge Game Center user so there's not all that much happening here!

You can add/change your Game Center photo and change your status from this screen. You can also click on the spheres to be taken to each corresponding tab.

 

Step 2 of 18: The Tabs: The Friends Tab

The Friends tab is used to add new contacts to play against, and keep on top of your current list of Friends. Game Center Friends are obviously essential for multiplayer gaming, and also allow you to interact via Challenges.

As well as your current friends (at the top of the list) you can also see Game Center's friend recommendations  - which are drawn from Game Center itself. It will also make recommendations from your iCloud contacts and your Facebook profile, if you've connected them - more on that later.

You’ll also see any pending friend requests others have sent you here.

 

Step 3 of 18: Inviting Friends

There are two ways to connect with Friends.

In the first method, you simply scroll along the Friend suggestions and click a name that appeals to you. This will bring up an option to send a friend request.

In the second option, click the ‘+’ at the top right hand corner, which will take you to a screen where you can add a friend based on email address, or Game Center nickname. In this way, you can add people who you want to connect with, but who haven’t shown up in Game Centre’s recommendations.

 

Step 4 of 18: Game Center friends

Once they’ve accepted a friend request, you can use the Friends Tab to get a more detailed look at your new Game Center friend.

Tapping on their profile reveals three coloured bubbles – which will show you how many points he/she has earned, how many friends he/she has and how many games he/she plays.

 

Step 5 of 18: Connecting iCloud and Facebook

Connecting to your iCloud contacts and Facebook account is optional, but will allow Game Center to recommend Friends based on your existing contacts.

To do enable this, navigate to Settings > Game Center and scroll down to ‘Friend Recommendations’. Enable both ‘Contacts’ and ‘Facebook’.

 

Step 6 of 18: (not) messaging your friends

Another thing to remember with Game Center is that you can't use it to message people, even Game Center friends.

However, if you added an existing connection (i.e someone you already knew) you could message them outside of the Game Center using iMessage.

 

Step 7 of 18: The Challenges Tab

The Challenges Tab is where you are notified of challenges presented to you by your Friends.

Challenges are issued by selecting a game that your friend has installed, then selecting an Achievement for that game and challenging your Friend to complete it. 

In fact, you can issue challenges even if you don’t’ have the game installed yourself.

Read: How to save ad restore iPhone and iPad game progress data

 

Step 8 of 18: How to issue a challenge

Go to your friend’s profile in the Friends tab, see what games they have installed, - click a game and then browse it’s Achievements.

Click one of these Achievements and then the 'send challenge' bubble.

This will allow you to send the challenge, along with an optional message.

 

Step 9 of 18: Challenge accepted

Once issued, your friend will see the name of challenge, along with the game it’s for, and who sent it (i.e you!) show up on this tab.

Note: Not all games have 'Achievements'. Some are purely points based- which means you can’t issue a challenge for every game.

 

Step 10 of 18: The Turns Tab

This tab is mostly used for co-ordinating between multiplayer, turn-based games – showing you how many players are in the queue before it’s your turn.

It’s not used for games that you play against others in ‘real time’ (non turn based games).

 

Step 11 of 18: The Games Tab

The games tab allows you to see, at a glance, what games you have installed and what games are recommended to you by the Game Center. You can find out more info about Games here.

Scroll down below ‘recommended’ to see the games you currently have installed on OS X and iOS.

Click the game’s title to get more information, rate it, see the leaderboards and ‘like’ it in Facebook

 

Step 12 of 18: Adding a game

To add a game, click on the title of the game you want to download, which will take you to a screen with more information.

Click on the right hand corner where it'll either say ‘free app’ or state the price for the game.

This'll take you to the App Store app, where you can confirm your purchase.

Read:

 

Step 13 of 18: Removing a game

To remove a game, tap on the game you want to get rid of, and then scroll left until the red ‘remove’ box appears.

Clicking this prompt you to confirm the delete request, and remind you of you'll lose all your data for the game, such as the achievements unlocked and ranks gained.

Read: How to remove or delete any app

 

Step 14 of 18: Change your username

The username or 'nickname' by which you're known on Game Center can be easily changed -  here's how

Go to Settings > Game Center and click on your current username.

You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID. Once you’ve signed in, you can change your username on this screen.

Read: How to close, shut down or change your Apple ID

 

Step 15 of 18: Log out of your Game Center account

If you want to log out of your Game Center account for one reason or another, it's quite simple.

Go to Settings > Game Center and then click on your Apple ID - which will be the email address you’re currently signed in with - a dialogue box will appear that’ll let you sign out.

 

Step 16 of 18: Disabling multiplayer features and Game Center alerts

This is might be useful if you’re a parent concerned with your child’s safety online, or you just don't want to deal with anyone else!

In involves the ‘Restrictions’ feature in Settings

Settings > General > Restrictions (scroll right to the bottom to get to it)

Then disable ‘Multiplayer Games’ and ‘Adding Friends’

This also sometimes fixes bugs that involve interruptions by a Game Center ‘alert’. These are alert that comes up onscreen in Game Center or right in the middle of a game you’re playing - they're native to Game Center and are not the same as standard iOS notifications.

You can also use Game Centre on the Mac. Read more here: How to use Game Centre on the Mac, tips

 

Step 17 of 18: Adding a profile picture

Adding a profile picture, although not compulsory, can help make you a little more memorable to other Game Center users.

To add a picture – go to the ‘Me’ tab and then click ‘add photo’ at the top.

 

Step 18 of 18: Game Centre and iOS 8

From a few peaks at other people’s iOS 8 developer builds, we know that Game Centre will be included in iOS 8, for a time earlier this year there were rumours that Apple would ditch the service.

What’ll change remains to be seen because in the most recent beta version of iOS 8 the Games Centre app is identical to the Games Centre app in iOS 7 as you can see from this image taken in iOS 8.

With the release of new developer tools for game developers coming in iOS 8, and the new Metal technology designed to boost iOS gaming, it seems fair to expect Apple to continue with its development.

Read: The 10 best shooting games for iPhone and iPad

Hands-on: Acer Predator Triton 700 review

Hands-on: Acer Predator Triton 700 review

1995-2015: How technology has changed the world in 20 years

1995-2015: How technology has changed the world in 20 years

D&AD Awards 2017: see the best design, advertising, illustration, animation and VR of the past year

D&AD Awards 2017: see the best design, advertising, illustration, animation and VR of the past year

Apple predictions 2017

Apple predictions 2017