Mobile

6 cool little features you didn’t know iOS 6 had

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This post is written by Kevin Kim, author of the forthcoming book More iOS 6 Development.

Rather than brooding over iOS 6′s buggy maps, here are a few little features you probably haven’t discovered yet on the new OS. They won’t change the world, but they’re still pretty cool:

1) Emoji Keyboard
Enter Settings and navigate to General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard. Scroll down and look for “Emoji”. Once you’ve added it, your keyboard should show a little globe icon on the lower left. If you tap it, you can toggle between your English keyboard and Emoji one. (If you’ve already installed another keyboard, tapping the globe will cycle through all your keyboards.)

2) Limit Ad Tracking 
Inside Settings, navigate to General > About > Advertising (it’s near the bottom). From there, you have the option to “Limit Ad Tracking.” iOS 6 introduces the concept of the “Advertising Identifier,” a temporary, anonymous device identifier. If you turn”Limit Ad Tracking” on, apps are not allowed to send you targeted ads. It’s not clear if this feature is working 100% yet, but in theory, it seems like a nice idea.

3) Do Not Disturb Mode
Settings > Do Not Disturb. Your phone won’t light up, ring, or chime when messages, calls, or notifications arrive. I’ve been setting this every night before bed. You can customize it inside Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. From there, you can schedule it to activate automatically, allow calls from specific groups of people, and allow a repeated (i.e. urgent) call to ring through. No more getting woken up by your friends’ late night Facebook updates, Tweets, or drunk dials.

4) Custom Alarm Sounds
Now when you set your clock alarm, you can use a custom ringtone or song. You can start your day with the theme from Rocky and take on the world!

5) Really Delete Gmail
When you want to delete a message from your Gmail account, tap and hold the Archive Box icon. You’ll be asked if you want to delete or archive the message. Not perfect, but at least now I can delete my Gmail messages.

6) (Bonus for giving your phone to kids) Guided Access
Technically, Guided Access is an “Accessibility” feature, but I use it when my niece or nephew want to play a game on my phone. Last time I did that, they called everyone in my Contacts (and got Siri to call me “Poopie Pants”). Turn on Guided Access via Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Launch the app you want and triple-tap the Home button. Once Guided Access is turned on, you can’t leave the app unless you triple-tap and enter a passcode.

Kevin Kim is a founder and partner of AppOrchard LLC, a Tipping Point Partners company focused on sustainable iOS development. He is also the author of the forthcoming book More iOS 6 Development (Apress, 2012).

[Top image c/o Apple.com]

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