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Guide to iPhone and iPad settings: how to use all the iOS Settings UPDATED

Cliff Joseph | Aug. 20, 2015
Like System Preferences on a Mac , Settings on your iPhone or iPad offers access to tools for adjusting screen brightness, setting up a password, configuring your WiFi, and more. But in addition you will also find options for handling phone calls and mobile broadband, as well as many additional security features that protect your personal files, photos and other information.

Using Spotlight on the iPhone

Right after Siri in the General settings panel is Spotlight Search, which allows you to control how Spotlight works on your iPhone or iPad. You activate Spotlight by pulling your finger downwards on any of the device's Home screens. By default, Spotlight will only do a 'local' search, looking for information or apps stored directly on your iPhone or iPad. So typing in 'key' will show me Keynote, as well as songs from my favourite Stevie Wonder album, Songs In The Key Of Life. However, you can fine-tune Spotlight by telling it to ignore certain types of information - such as all those song names. You can also turn on another option called 'Spotlight Suggestions', which will also tell Spotlight to look for info on the Internet, or for relevant apps on the App Store.

Using HandOff on the iPhone

Next after Spotlight is HandOff, which is one of the top new features in iOS 8 and Yosemite on the Mac. When activated, HandOff allows you to start using an app, such as Pages or Keynote, on one device and then switch to the same app on another device so that you can carry on working on the same document straight away. You can even pick up a phone call on your Mac when your iPhone rings, or use FaceTime on your Mac to make a phone call via your iPhone.

To be honest, HandOff is a bit of a HandFull, and it takes a little effort to get it working properly, but before you can even start you need to turn HandOff on in this settings panel. Once that's done you'll see a little icon displayed on the lock screen of your iPhone or iPad, indicating any apps that are using HandOff and waiting for you to pick up where you left off.

Setting Restrictions on the iPhone

A key set of options found within the General settings panel - and one that is particularly important for parents with young children - is Restrictions. By default, all restrictions are disabled - which means that all your apps run normally - and if you want to enable restrictions you first need to enter the passcode for your iPhone or iPad. Once that's done you'll see several different sets of controls that you can use to limit your child's access to apps, making purchases, and unsuitable content.

Under the heading 'Allow:' you'll see a list of apps - including Safari, the Camera and FaceTime - that you can block altogether. You can also restrict access to the iTunes Store and iBooks Store, so that your kids don't run up a huge bill without your permission. When you block these apps they disappear from the iPhone or iPad Home screen altogether, so your kids won't even know that they exist. The one exception here is the iBooks app, which remains visible and will allow anyone to read books that you've already purchased - but which will no longer allow access to the iBooks Store for making any new purchases.


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