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.
  • 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
  • 2
    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
  • 3
    "Required" question. lol – Jason Salaz Sep 20 '12 at 7:48
  • 2
    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
  • 2
    @ughoavgfhw That's not a new feature in iOS 6. – Mark E. Haase Sep 21 '12 at 0:32

44 Answers 44


Alarms can now make use of songs not just built in tones. Edit your alarm and select sound and then pick a song.

  • 5
    The only problem I find with this new feature is there's no way to disable the vibrations for alarms if they're enabled is settings. I'd prefer my phone to start playing the tune and not jump around on my nightstand while still vibrate when a message arrives or another alert is displayed. – Michal M Sep 21 '12 at 14:43

Tap and hold the "New Message" button inside Mail to open the Drafts folder.

  • 1
    Excellent little feature. – Redandwhite Sep 20 '12 at 15:10
  • IIRC this was available in iOS 5 or earlier. – Steve Moser Sep 21 '12 at 13:55
  • 2
    Doesn't seem to be in 5.1.1 – Bryan Cain Sep 21 '12 at 16:19
  • 4
    In iOS < 6, this used to bring back just the most recent saved draft. This is much better. – chrish Sep 26 '12 at 17:44

Receiving iMessages sent to your phone number on multiple devices.

I know this has been raved about but it is tricky to configure and took me a while to figure out.

Steps to get this working:

  1. Disable and then re-enable iMessage on your phone (this triggers the registration process with Apple servers). Done in Settings -> Messages
  2. Open Messages in Settings on other iOS devices and disable and then re-enable. This will add your phone number to the list. You need to then select it (a tick mark appears next to it). You will now receive messages on this device. There is also a section to choose to send from an address or number lower on the screen.
  3. On OS X devices (10.8.2), open Messages and choose Preferences (from Messages menu) and then choose Accounts. You will now see your number and can select to receive messages on that device.

When you do this, you will get notifications on the other devices confirming that is enabled.

  • If I have other iOS 5 device (iPad 1), will it get iMessage that is sent to my phone number? – Enrico Susatyo Sep 20 '12 at 2:36
  • 2
    @EnricoSusatyo That's a negative. Being able to consolidate messages received to a phone number is a new feature specific to iOS 6. – Terrance Shaw Sep 20 '12 at 5:06
  • 2
    @AndrewFerrier No, unfortunately only iMessages – Alain King Sep 20 '12 at 16:09
  • 3
    I'm not sure why I see so many people saying that it's tricky to get this new iMessage functionality working. I upgraded my equipment to iOS 6 and upon the first boot I was prompted to use my phone number as my primary iMessage identifier on all my devices, including iPad. There were no extra steps. – user11633 Sep 20 '12 at 23:09
  • 1
    @AlainKing I got it as soon as it was available for download. – user11633 Sep 21 '12 at 17:33

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

  • 2
    Cool... The video link: youtube.com/watch?v=BaZSJnWz6VY – Tom Brito Sep 25 '12 at 12:55
  • 4
    Unbelievable... – emmby Sep 25 '12 at 18:04
  • 2
    Amazing. Beauty is in the little things. – gentmatt Sep 25 '12 at 18:49
  • 5
    As far as I can tell, only the iPhone/iPod Music app has this feature. – grahamparks Sep 29 '12 at 15:47
  • 2
    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 Mumford Jan 29 '13 at 9:52

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.

  • 1
    That cool. How do you setup the time range? I only see an on/off switch? – AngryHacker Sep 20 '12 at 17:24
  • 4
    @AngryHacker Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb – Alain King Sep 20 '12 at 18:29
  • 11
    hardly undocumented, though. – Agos Sep 26 '12 at 8:05

Searching for an app in Spotlight reveals which folder the app is located in.

  • Not all the time; I've had hit-or-miss luck with this, sometimes it just shows "Top Hit" for search queries. – Terrance Shaw Sep 20 '12 at 5:07
  • @Veil If it's a top hit, it should be listed below with the folder too. – ughoavgfhw Sep 20 '12 at 22:13
  • @ughoavgfhw Just confirmed with a few different app searches, and it doesn't always happen, but when it does, it only shows as a "Top Hit", but nothing else. – Terrance Shaw Sep 21 '12 at 1:41
  • hmm, I can't get it not to work... also, very cool feature. There were many times I'd 'lost' an app on the phone. I could search for and find it, but I still didn't know where it was. – JoshP Sep 26 '12 at 15:41

Uploading images on Safari makes it easier to share images on websites that don't have apps.

  • 4
    And it saves your recent picks in a quick pick list – markhunte Sep 20 '12 at 19:19

The Settings icon no longer has RAZOR BLADE EDGES!

Image of both the old and the new settings icons

  • 4
    Is this really a feature or just a change? – Daniel Sep 21 '12 at 2:55
  • 8
    That's a feature. Now the gear could actually be working, without the top spikes that are too narrow. – bot47 Sep 22 '12 at 16:27
  • 2
    According to the initial question you should state "how this is useful". Is this something useful? ;-) – Johan Karlsson Sep 28 '12 at 8:24

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

App Label New

  • 2
    Mentioned in the keynote address. But still cool :) – Timothy Mueller-Harder Sep 26 '12 at 19:30
  • 3
    Not an undocumented feature. – Johan Karlsson Sep 28 '12 at 8:23
  • This is the least hidden feature. – ratbum Oct 5 '12 at 14:27

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

  • yeah, retina sizes... woooooooooooooow there. – Jason Salaz Sep 20 '12 at 18:43
  • Wow, that's buried in an out-of-the-way place. – Brant Bobby Sep 21 '12 at 16:00

Dictionary in the Cloud

Now, iCloud syncs your weird words across all of your devices without giving suggestions.

  • 3
    Do you have to enable this? Is there a setting to turn it off or clear/edit the list of saved words? – Andrew Ferrier Sep 25 '12 at 23:47

New emojis in the emojis keyboard!

enter image description here

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

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.


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

  • How do you indicate that a number contains an extension? – Andrew Ferrier Sep 25 '12 at 23:50
  • I've only tested it a bit but a space then x### seems to work. I suspect it will pick up a few other methods too. But tried with 'ex' instead of x and it didn't work. – Josh Newman Sep 26 '12 at 2:59
  • I'm a bit confused; how do you "dial" a space on the phone keypad? – Andrew Ferrier Sep 26 '12 at 10:16
  • 2
    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

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.


Add images and video to emails from within the Mail app

Tap in the body of an email you're writing and you'll get the standard "Select | Select All | Paste" options, but tap the right arrow and you get a new one: Insert Photo or Video.


Landscape maps

Maps.app on iPhone now supports landscape orientation.

  • Is this undocumented? – Johan Karlsson Sep 28 '12 at 8:25
  • 1
    I doubt it, but the question asks for "under-documented" features, not undocumented ones. Most of the answers to this question are documented somewhere. – Simon Whitaker Sep 28 '12 at 18:57

Pull to refresh in Mail.app

Mail now has pull to refresh (like Twitter, Facebook, etc.). This is also now a standard control that third party developers can use. So far I've only seen this new "native" pull to refresh in Lumatics City Maps but I'm sure it'll be everywhere soon enough.

  • 6
    And its got that nifty little rubber band globule thing, too! – da4 Sep 20 '12 at 22:06
  • About damn time! – gentmatt Sep 22 '12 at 15:33
  • I really dislike Apple's implementation though... – daviesgeek Oct 27 '12 at 6:37

Signature by mail account

You can now set a signature per mail account. Before it was a signature for all accounts set on iOS.

Set signatures in Settings > Mail, Contacts and Calendar > Signature.


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.)


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


App Store experience redesign. Most notably, when you install or update an application the App Store App no longer closes but instead show the download/installation progress inside the store (below the icon).


Email accounts in the mail app can now be sorted in the Mailbox view.


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

  • Btput 'answering' you mean 'acknowledging the notificatioon', correct? – Josh Newman Sep 26 '12 at 3:00
  • If by 'acknowledging the notification' you mean swiping on it, and, therefore, calling back, yes. – Thecafremo Sep 26 '12 at 7:15
  • 'edited' for clarity – Josh Newman Sep 26 '12 at 14:59

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)!


The clock app on iPad 3. I had no idea it was coming...

  • 8
    Well this was just mentioned in the long list of features during the update. – Kunal Vyas Sep 20 '12 at 0:03
  • Yes, but for me it got buried under the noise about maps/youtube/siri/etc. – Roddy Sep 20 '12 at 7:50

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.


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.


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.

  • 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. – user11633 Sep 25 '12 at 17:56
  • 4
    @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
  • 1
    I know, I was so disappointed when I found out (I think I saw it on Lifehacker also) :( – user11633 Sep 25 '12 at 18:39
  • 1
    With iOS 7, this feature finally works with Gmail! – user11633 Sep 18 '13 at 20:45

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).


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

  • how does the update work then? – carbonr Sep 30 '12 at 19:30
  • I hated having to do that...soo much better now! – daviesgeek Oct 27 '12 at 6:39
  • @carbonr You press update, it starts updating. That's pretty much it. – Jason Salaz Oct 30 '12 at 9:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .