Perhaps you’re already an iOS master. Or maybe you consider yourself more of a novice. Either way, we feel confident that at least some of the tips and tricks for iOS 6 we’ll be revealing over the next few pages will be new to you. What’s more, we hope you get as much benefit and enjoyment out of them as we do.
Tips for getting in touch
1. Get your iPhone or iPad to read to you
Enabling the Speak option makes it possible for your iOS device to read aloud any selectable text. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Scroll down to Speak Selection, and tap to turn it on.
Now, go into any app that lets you highlight text. Your options include Mail, as well as Safari, Notes and a fair few others. Select some text, and you’ll see a new option appear in the contextual menu (you may have to tap the right arrow to view more options). Tap the Speak command, and your iOS device will start reading the text aloud.
2. Enable the Emoji keyboard
The Emoji keyboard lets you insert all kinds of fun images wherever you can type. And your iOS device can speak the names of those symbols, too
Perhaps you’ve seen these iconographic symbols in emails, iMessages and tweets, and wondered how on earth people managed to type them. Maybe you’ve mistakenly assumed that you need to purchase a third-party app to gain access to those special symbols.
You don’t: Apple treats those symbols, called Emoji, as an international keyboard. Go to Settings > General > International > Keyboards. Then tap Add New Keyboard and find Emoji. Now open an app where you can type some text.
Next to the spacebar, you’ll see a little globe icon. Tap it to switch between your normal keyboard and the Emoji one.
3. Spoken Emoji
For real fun, type in a bunch of Emoji symbols, select them all, and then tap the Speak button. You’ll hear the often-entertaining names of each symbol read in sequence.
4. How to pull
Have you got the hang of ‘pull to refresh’? You no longer force Mail to check for new messages by tapping a refresh button. Instead, navigate to a mailbox view or the Mailboxes screen – you can’t force a refresh while viewing a message – then swipe the screen downward until you see a little refresh button (the one with the circular arrow) at the top. Keep swiping until that button stretches down and then ‘snaps back’ to a progress indicator.
5. Delete recent addresses
Mail has always been helpful with addresses, showing possible matches from your recent history and Contacts as soon as you start filling the ‘To’ field. As of iOS 6, however, you can remove those who you emailed once and are never likely to contact again.
Scroll down to the suggestion you want to delete. Tap the blue triangle, then ‘Remove From Recents’. You can’t do this for those on your Contacts list: they will always be suggested where relevant.
6. A different signature for every account
One of the most welcome improvements to Mail is that you can now configure a different signature for each of your email accounts.
Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Signatures, then choose Per Account. This enables a separate signature field for each email account you’ve set up. Type or paste your preferred signatures, and Mail will automatically append them to each outgoing email message.
7. Place flags…
iOS 6’s natty new top-level Mailboxes (VIP and Flagged) each gather particular messages across all your inboxes and present those messages in one convenient list. They’re great.
The Flagged mailbox displays any flagged messages – those you’ve marked with the dedicated Flag button. It makes it easy to quickly see your most important messages without having to scroll through other messages in your inboxes.
8. …And name VIPs
The VIP mailbox gathers messages from people you’ve designated as VIPs – your wife, your boss, your bookie... er... financial advisor – so you won’t overlook those messages in the daily flood of emails. To designate someone as a VIP, tap the blue-and-white arrow at the right edge of the VIP item (in All Mailboxes), then tap Add VIP and choose the person in your contacts list.
Tap VIP Alerts, and you’re taken to Settings > Notifications > Mail > VIP, where you can configure notification settings for email received from VIPs.
9. Pick Siri’s audio input
If your car has a built-in speakerphone, or if you’ve got a Bluetooth accessory that has a microphone and speakers, you can choose which one Siri listens to for commands.
When you click and hold the iPhone’s Home button, you’ll see a small ‘i’ icon to the right of the main Siri button. Tap it, and you’ll get a menu of all the various inputs your iPhone can use; select the one you want.
10. Your own private IMDb
You probably already know that you can use Siri to get information about what’s playing at cinemas near you. But Siri’s also an expert in pretty much every motion picture ever made.
Not only can you ask about your favourite films, but you can also make Siri do the legwork when, for example, you’re curious about which films actors have appeared in together. You might ask, “What movies star both Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry?” And Siri will reply: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Rugrats In Paris. Er, how interesting.
Siri can help you find unusual actor pairings
11. Editing Siri
Sometimes Siri doesn’t understand you. Maybe you wanted to call your friend Joan and it thought you said John. Fortunately, you can fix the mistake; after Siri reports that it doesn’t know what you’re talking about, scroll up and find the speech bubble where Siri records what it thinks you said. Then tap that bubble, and you’ll find that you can now edit what Siri heard and resubmit your request.
If you don’t want to bother typing out a long correction, you can also use iOS’s built-in dictation feature to enter your corrected text. Just tap the microphone in the keyboard and speak your text aloud. Feel free to make your own Inception joke about using Siri to fix Siri.
12. Post to social networks
If you use Facebook and Twitter, Siri offers lots of helpful options. You can say “Post to Facebook I love iPad and iPhone User” or “Write on my wall I love Siri”, or even “Post I’m an over-sharer to Facebook”. For Twitter, say “Tweet I’m eating breakfast”, and so on.
13. Name your friends
You can tell Siri about connections. For instance, Lauren Friedman is my wife. You can name other contacts your father-in-law, best friend or even nemesis. (Perhaps all three.)
Your relationships are recorded in your address book. Add them manually by looking up yourself in your iPhone or iPad’s Contacts app, tapping Edit, and adding or editing fields in the relationship section.
14. Okay, so how do i get to…
Siri is linked to Apple Maps and its turn-by-turn navigation service. Just say “How do I get to…” or “Give me directions to…” and it’ll automatically open the Maps app.
Those in the US can add the words “…via transit” for public transport directions. Sadly, Brits don’t have that yet.
Saying punctuation aloud doesn’t feel natural, but it can massively improve the readability of Siri-dictated emails. For instance:
Dear Jason comma new paragraph I’m working on that Siri story comma and I expect it will be ready soon exclamation mark
Other exciting punctuation is available: ampersand, asterisk, all caps on and all caps off (Caps Lock) and even winky face.
16. Secure siri
We’ll end with a more serious tip. By default, Siri can be used even from a locked iDevice – which means a thief could send messages to your contacts. To change this, go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock and enter your passcode. Switch Siri from ON to OFF.
Phone & text tips
17. Customise iMessage auto-replies
Sometimes it’s not the right time for a phone call; while you could just let calls you don’t want to take go to voicemail, sometimes you want to explain why you’re not picking up. iOS 6 lets you quickly respond to a call with a text message. Just swipe upward on the phone icon that appears next to the unlock slider and choose Reply with Message.
By default, you’ll get three pre-written options, along with a button that lets you enter text there and then. However, you can customise the prepared messages under Settings > Phone > Reply with Message.
18. Remind me later
Alternatively, you can get iOS 6 to remind you to call back later. As with the auto-replies, swipe upwards but select Remind Me Later instead.
You can choose to be reminded in an hour or (based on your GPS movements) ‘When I Leave’ or ‘When I get home’. Make sure your address details are up to date in Contacts, so your iPhone knows where home is.
19. Create custom ringtones and alert tones in GarageBand
It’s true, you can create custom ringtones for your iPhone – on your iPhone. We looked at this in depth last issue (page 48), but to sum up: create a 30-second track in GarageBand; go to the Share options and choose Export Ringtone; then assign it to a contact or notification. Find out more at bit.ly/WMzQ3n.
20. Hold my calls…
Are you using the Do Not Disturb feature? It’s perfect for insulating you from distractions where you’re trying to work, or get some sleep.
Go to Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb, and set your ‘quiet hours’. During these, incoming calls and alerts will be silenced.
21. …Unless it’s the wife
Tap ‘All Calls From’ to allow this to be overridden by calls from Favourites. (Make people Favourites in Contacts.)
22. …Or an emergency
Switch Repeated Calls to ON and you’ll be alerted to a second call from the same person within three minutes.
23. Custom vibrations
Want to know who’s calling you without taking your phone out of your pocket? That’s easy – assign a ringtone to a contact. But what about doing it all silently? Not only can you assign a custom ringtone or text tone to a contact, you can even give them a custom vibration pattern.
Open Phone or Contacts; select a contact, then tap the Edit button in the top-right corner. Scroll down to find the ringtone field; below it is a vibration field. Tap that, and you’ll see an assortment of built-in vibration patterns you can choose from. Further down, though, is the ability to add a custom pattern: tap Create New Vibration, and you can tap on the screen to create your own rhythm. When you’re satisfied (tap the Play button to see what it will feel like), tap Save to set the pattern.
If that’s not enough, go back to the contact and also assign a custom vibration pattern for text messages.
With a custom pattern, you can achieve some pretty good vibrations