Skip Links

33 expert tips and tricks for iOS 6

By Dan Moren and Lex Friedman, Macworld
February 07, 2013 01:50 PM ET

Macworld - Perhaps you are 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 that we present below will be new to you. What's more, we hope you love them--and benefit from them--as much as we do.

Spread the word

Your iPhone or iPad can read to you. Enabling the Speak option makes it possible for your iOS device to read aloud any selectable text. Launch the Settings app, tap on General, and then choose Accessibility. Scroll down to Speak Selection, and tap to turn it on.

Now, go into any app where you can highlight text. Your options include Mail, Safari, Notes, and many 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.

Enable the Emoji keyboard. Perhaps you've seen these iconographic symbols in emails, iMessages, and tweets, and wondered how the heck 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. Launch Settings, and tap 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 regular keyboard and the Emoji one, which contains many tabs full of different characters. Tap on those characters to insert them wherever you'd like. (If you have many international keyboards, tap and hold the globe to bring up a menu of all your options.)

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.

A series of Siri tips

Use the "in transit" cue. Ask Siri to help you find an address with a couple extra words at the end, as in: "give me directions to San Francisco International Airport via transit." iOS will open up the Maps app and display the routing pane, which lets you choose which third-party app you'd like to supply your directions.

Attentive readers will know that Google Maps is included among these routing apps, which means that you can actually use this trick to get directions via Google Maps using Siri.

Siri audio output. If your car has a built-in speakerphone, or if you have 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 speaker icon to the right of the main Siri button. Tap it, and you'll get a menu of all the various sound inputs your iPhone can use; select the one you want, and Siri will listen using that microphone and, if possible, give its feedback via those speakers.

Your own private IMDb. You probably already know that you can use Siri to get information about what's playing at movie theaters near you. But Siri's also in expert in pretty much every motion picture ever made. That means you can ask questions about your favorite films, but you can also make Siri do more of the legwork for you when, say, you're curious about which films specific actors have appeared in together. You might ask, "What movies star both Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry?" And Siri will, in turn, reply with both The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Rugrats In Paris.

Get movie reviews. Not sure if a given movie is worth your time? Just ask Siri: "Is Rugrats In Paris any good?" Siri replies with a review from Rotten Tomatoes.

Editing Siri. Sometimes Siri doesn't understand you quite right. Maybe you told it to call your friend "Aaron" and it thought you said "Erin." Fortunately, you can fix Siri's mistake; after Siri reports that she 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. We'll give you time to make your own Inception joke about using Siri to fix Siri.

Page 2: More Siri tips and Settings fun '

Siri can help you post to your favorite social network. If you use Facebook and/or Twitter, Siri offers a bunch of helpful options. You can say "Post to Facebook I love reading Lex and Dan's stuff at Macworld.com," or "Write on my Wall I love Siri," or even, "Post I'm an over-sharer to Facebook." With Twitter, you can say "Tweet I'm eating breakfast" or "Post I'm still eating breakfast to Twitter," along with other, similar variations.

Fun with Settings

Privacy. You don't necessarily want your personal data accessible to every app that asks, and iOS is here to give you the kind of fine-grained control that you crave. Under the Privacy section of Settings you can not only adjust which apps have access to your location, but also prevent them from accessing your contacts, calendars, reminders, photos, and Bluetooth sharing. Plus, if you use Twitter or Facebook, you can decide which of your apps can log in with your credentials. Just tap the appropriate section for any of these and slide the switch for the selected app to Off.

Restrictions. Go to General and then to Restrictions. You'll be prompted to enter a passcode. You can then select which features you would like to lock down on your iOS device. If you're planning to hand the iPhone off to Junior, and Junior has a habit of unintentionally deleting your apps, you can specifically disable that capability from the Restrictions screen. You can also prevent access to the iTunes Store, the iBookstore, Safari, Camera, FaceTime, and more.

Guided Access. While we're talking about limiting what your iOS device can do, now's a good time to mention Guided Access, which you turn on under General > Accessibility. Once you've enabled the feature, go into any other app and triple-click the Home button. That enters Guided Access.

Now, if you want, you can black out certain regions of the current app's interface. Say, for example, that the game your kid will play has an omnipresent Settings button. You can trace a circle around that button, and that section of the app will ignore any taps. The other key feature of Guided Access is that it disables the Home button, so your kid won't accidentally quit the app prematurely. To exit an app in Guided Access mode, you triple-click the Home button again, and provide your passcode.

Originally published on www.macworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

Our Commenting Policies
Latest News
rssRss Feed
View more Latest News