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This is the required hidden gems questions for iOS 6.

Here are the rules:

  • One feature per answer
  • Also include how you use the feature or why it is useful
  • Must be an under-documented feature. No "flag pole" features like VIP's in Mail.
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7  
I have made this CW and let's see how the community reacts to this. Not only are CW surveys not required - they work best when people can collaborate on one useful answer as opposed to a beauty contest where certain things get voted up or down for criteria that are vague at best. (e.g. "flag pole" to me certainly isn't the same to you. The whole idea of "under-documented" is so relative and a moment in time as Apple writes KB articles and all the details come out here, in reviews, and in training as people explore the OS.) –  bmike Sep 19 '12 at 19:04
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On devices with a magnetometer, tapping the location button in Maps a second time will make the view rotate with your device. (Posting this here for whoever starts following bmike's suggestion to use) –  ughoavgfhw Sep 20 '12 at 0:27
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"Required" question. lol –  Jason Salaz Sep 20 '12 at 7:48
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Rather than add a bunch of answers - here is one of many good articles written to survey the little things in iOS 6. iOS 6 Features I Didn’t Know About by Chad Williams –  bmike Sep 20 '12 at 16:39
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@ughoavgfhw That's not a new feature in iOS 6. –  mehaase Sep 21 '12 at 0:32

44 Answers 44

Improved accessibility features

iOS 6 gains some really neat features concerning accessibility. For example, there is the all new Guided Access feature which allows you to prohibit people from leaving a specific app or even from using certain interface areas. It can also disable sleeping the screen and motion controls (like rotation and shaking).

Also, Apple added the ability to adjust the speed with which you have to double- or triple- click the home button.

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A web inspector for mobile Safari.

Goto Settings > Safari > Advanced and turn on web inspector, then open Safari on your Mac and you can use the web inspector on the Mac to inspect the web page opened on mobile Safari.

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Delete own Shared Photostream comments

You can delete shared Photostream comments by tapping and holding on your own comment until the Copy | Delete options appear. The option to "Delete" only appears on comments you have made.

This can be very helpful if you happen to mistype, or if you say something you later wish you hadn't.

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You don't have to enter your password any longer when updating an app you've already bought and installed.

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Apple's new iOS 6 Maps support automatic offline use for a wide area

Vector maps in iOS 6 are so efficient that Apple can cache a very large surrounding area for offline browsing and GPS navigation under Airplane Mode or when traveling outside of data coverage.

Map data cache is available even after power cycling. Hybrid and 3D building model are cached.

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In iOS 5, Apple added a "Store" button to the upper-left of the Music app. It used to drive me nuts because I'd tap it as I was backing out of a long stack of views (for example, traversing back from now playing, to artist's album list, to the artist list).

In iOS 6, a slight delay has been added to that button. If you back up through the stack in 6, the first tap on the Store button no longer activates it.

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This is excellent, and undoubtedly the result of intense attention to how users interact with the app –  Redandwhite Oct 6 '12 at 12:18

Panorama Panning Direction

Don't like the default left to right panning direction in Camera.app's new Panorama function? Just tap the arrow and it will change from right to left!

When the app quits, the direction defaults back to left to right.

Just happened to hit the arrow yesterday by accident and saw the change. A nice feature, but for the life of me I can't figure out why it is there, other than to help the dyslexic among us (and I am one of them, so no flames, please)!

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Safari on iPad now lets you open up to 24 tabs, up from 8 previously. The iPhone is still limited to 8, sadly ;(

Also, the + button for opening a blank tab becomes disabled once you reach the limit on both iPhone and iPad, although you can still lose tabs inadvertently by opening links in new tabs after reaching the limit.

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Newly downloaded apps have a "new" label on the home screen.

App Label New

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Mentioned in the keynote address. But still cool :) –  timothymh Sep 26 '12 at 19:30
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Not an undocumented feature. –  Johan Karlsson Sep 28 '12 at 8:23

Browser history:

Hold down the back/forward button to see a list of pages you can select to go back to.

(This was previously only available on the iPad, but has now been added to the iPhone and iPod touch.)

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Open in.... for documents is no longer limited to the last 10 suitable apps. That is, if one taps and holds a PDF mail attachment, for example, all the apps capable of opening the PDF are presented for selection (may need to swipe to second screen, but they are all there).

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It is now possible to add an Internet link to your Reading List straight from Mail. You no longer have to open the link in Safari before saving it to your Reading List.

More globally, this is made possible by the OS-wide Reading List API, enabling any app to interact with the Reading List.

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When you are viewing a location's details in Maps the 'distance' ticks up/down as you get closer/further, I really love this.

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Acknowledging (swiping) a Missed Call through its Notification in a Locked Screen will now remove it from the Notifications.

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The animation in an app does not stop when double-pressing the home button. For example, go to the messages app, scroll in a long conversation and double-tap the home button.

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Do not disturb

You can use the Do Not Disturb setting while your iOS device is locked to silence calls, alerts, and notifications.

The setting is located at Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb.

Also very handy as it will silence a call but if the same person rings back within three minutes it wont silence it.

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That cool. How do you setup the time range? I only see an on/off switch? –  AngryHacker Sep 20 '12 at 17:24
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@AngryHacker Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb –  Alain King Sep 20 '12 at 18:29
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hardly undocumented, though. –  Agos Sep 26 '12 at 8:05

Auto-correct now considers your keyboard shortcuts when giving you suggestions and correcting your typing. In iOS 5, if you had a keyboard shortcut defined, you had to type it in exactly in order to get the substitution. iOS 6 now guesses that you meant to enter one of your shortcuts, and offers the substitution straight up even if you were going to misspell the shortcut.

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Rotate maps

In the new maps app, use two fingers to rotate the map. Now you can orient the map exactly in a way that makes sense. It even remembers the rotation if you rotate your device.

And even better, if you activate the compass, and then move away from your position, it remembers the rotation (previously when you moved away, it rotated back to north being up, which was very annoying).

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The Settings icon no longer has RAZOR BLADE EDGES!

Image of both the old and the new settings icons

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4  
Is this really a feature or just a change? –  Daniel Lawson Sep 21 '12 at 2:55
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That's a feature. Now the gear could actually be working, without the top spikes that are too narrow. –  Max Ried Sep 22 '12 at 16:27
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According to the initial question you should state "how this is useful". Is this something useful? ;-) –  Johan Karlsson Sep 28 '12 at 8:24

15-second forward & rewind buttons in lock screen during podcast playback

Which replace previous and next track buttons in iOS 5 and prior.

enter image description here

Regular songs still have next & previous track buttons. It used to be too easy to accidentally push next or previous track while trying to pause a long podcast, causing you to completely lose your place. This change both solves that problem and offers a very handy quick-rewind option.

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PRIVACY

Now we have a better control over application that require personal data!

With the privacy field on "Settings", we can see which application have access to your contacts, your calendar, your photos, your bluetooth, and disable this access directly from "Settings -> Privacy".

(By my point of view this is very important!)

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1  
Screenshots or specific examples of how this is useful will prevent further downvoting... –  Josh Newman Sep 25 '12 at 18:46

iOS 6 Features I Didn’t Know About by Chad Williams via bmike♦

Metallic sliders across the OS now have a subtle reflection effect that is created with the accelerometer.

enter image description here

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Cool... The video link: youtube.com/watch?v=BaZSJnWz6VY –  Tom Brito Sep 25 '12 at 12:55
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Unbelievable... –  emmby Sep 25 '12 at 18:04
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Amazing. Beauty is in the little things. –  gentmatt Sep 25 '12 at 18:49
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As far as I can tell, only the iPhone/iPod Music app has this feature. –  grahamparks Sep 29 '12 at 15:47
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With the recent iOS 6.1 update, this effect is also applied on the lock screen volume slider, but still not the multitasking tray slider. –  Tyler Wayne Jan 29 '13 at 9:52

There is a new French keyboard setup under Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboard: Accented AZERTY.

This layout adds an extra context-sensitive key between N and backspace. It will switch between an apostrophe and various accents depending on the first letter to the left of the input cursor:

Accented AZERTY Context-sensitive key

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Wow, great, thanks! I am intrigued by the “encrypted” mention on your mail, though. What trickery is this? –  MattiSG Sep 26 '12 at 8:27
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@MattiSG iOS supports S/MIME (since 5.0, I believe). If you have a certificate you can import it into your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch to sign and encrypt outgoing messages. –  Phong Sep 26 '12 at 17:20

Data Detectors finally separate a phone extension [416.555.5555 x101] and provide a button prompt to "DIAL [EXTENSION]" after the initial number is dialed.

Screenshot

Previously it would simply 'dial' all of the numbers lumped together [4165555555101].

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It's not about dialing, it's about having a phone number in a contact, web page, or email where iOS' data detector turns it into a clickable link. –  Josh Newman Sep 26 '12 at 14:30

Delete Messages in Gmail

Some email providers support archiving emails (most well known: Gmail). Now you have the option to archive or delete a message.

Tap-hold the delete button to access the menu options "Delete Message" and "Archieve Message".

Update: According to @Phong this does not work with Gmail.

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1  
I tested this and it doesn't work for Gmail. If turn off "Archive Mail" under account properties, then tapping-and-holding only gives you the option to delete. If you turn it on, then tapping-and-holding gives you both options, but both do the same thing (archiving). You would expect it to work with Gmail since All Mail now has a distinctive "Archive" icon, but Apple likely only tested this with iCloud Mail. –  Phong Sep 25 '12 at 17:56
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@Phong Oh wow, that's disappointing. :( I got this tip from lifehacker. I'll add this info about Gmail. Thanks for the update! –  gentmatt Sep 25 '12 at 18:31
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I know, I was so disappointed when I found out (I think I saw it on Lifehacker also) :( –  Phong Sep 25 '12 at 18:39
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With iOS 7, this feature finally works with Gmail! –  Phong Sep 18 '13 at 20:45

Opt Out of Advertising Tracking

Settings > General > About > Advertising allows you to turn off ad tracking. Details in the photo below.

enter image description here

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New emojis in the emojis keyboard!

enter image description here

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2  
Jack Wolfskin obviously paid more to Apple than Lacoste :-) –  patrix Sep 25 '12 at 18:26

iPad App Store screenshots can now be clicked and seen in full screen "slideshow" mode.

They're definitely not Retina resolution, but still a much better indication what the app looks like on the screen.

enter image description here

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Rearrange mailboxes. I receive email from about 8 different email addresses and now you can rearrange the order in which they appear.

From the Mailbox Screen, select Edit in top right hand corner of the panel. The three transparent grey lines that indicate moving/rearranging appear. Drag and drop accordingly.

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This answer was already posted previously. –  Phong Sep 26 '12 at 3:28

Opening a new tab in iPad's Safari now focuses the URL Bar instead of the Search bar.

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Still not sure why there are even two bars. They changed it in Mountain Lion. –  asmeurer Sep 26 '12 at 4:49
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@asmeurer, it's so the OS can display an appropriate keyboard. It makes it easier to type a URL when that's what you want to do. Still, Apple could fix this. –  Tyler Wayne Jan 29 '13 at 10:03

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