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iOS 6: What you need to know

Macworld Staff | June 14, 2012
It’s been a busy start to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference: Not only was Monday’s keynote jam-packed with information, but the company continued to release products and programs throughout the day—enough to make anyone’s head reel a bit.

System features



What’s Do Not Disturb?

A nice way to keep your phone from buzzing, beeping, or otherwise annoying you when it shouldn’t. You can use Do Not Disturb to set specific hours in which you won’t get notifications or calls; that can be modified to let you receive calls from those in your Favorites or from those who call you multiple times in a preset time period, so that you don’t miss anything important.

What are the new Accessibility features?

Designed for students with disabilities (but also good for just about any young child), Guided Access lets you disable certain sections of the screen and turn off hardware buttons, touch, or motion. Apple’s VoiceOver service now supports Maps, AssistiveTouch, and Zoom. Additionally, the company is working to create Bluetooth hearing aids for the iPhone 4S.

I heard there were new versions of the stores coming out. Is that true?

It is indeed. Not only are the App and iTunes Store apps being redesigned, but they’ll also bring forth a few features like in-app download (without booting you to the home screen), a section for viewing your preview history—all the easier to buy those music, movies, and TV shows you’ve been perusing—and integration with Facebook.

Voices, voices, everywhere

What’s new with Siri?

Siri leaves beta in iOS 6, and gains a host of new abilities. Among them are abilities to answer sports- and movie-related queries, more and better data when you ask about restaurants, and of course the ability to offer those turn-by-turn directions in Maps. You’ll be able to launch apps using Siri, too.

And as mentioned above, you’ll be able to do all this from a third-generation iPad as well as from an iPhone 4S.

Hey, I saw a Clock app on the iPad in one of Apple’s screenshots! Are we finally getting Clocks, Stocks, and Weather?

We may be! It’s still early days, but it’s likely that in order to support Siri, the third-generation iPad will receive those apps. In the current beta version of iOS 6, the third-generation iPad can provide answers related to the weather, stocks, and time, but only the Clocks app exists as a true native iPad app so far.

Can I really use FaceTime over my cellular connection?

You can in iOS 6, yes! (Assuming you’re using an iPhone 4 or iPad 2 or later.) Previously, FaceTime conversations required a Wi-Fi connection but that expands to cellular with iOS 6. Apple says that in order to bring FaceTime to cellular connections, it's tweaked the feature so that it uses less bandwidth on those connections and is a bit more robust at handling data drop-outs. If you're worried about unplanned calls eating up your cellular data plan, you can turn the feature off.


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