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Top 10 hidden features and gems in the new Apple iOS 6

October 08, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • One of the best hidden features on iOS 6 is Siri's science fiction movie reviews.
One of the best hidden features on iOS 6 is Siri's science fiction movie… (Salvador Rodriguez /Los…)

The new Maps app and Facebook integration are some of the more well-known additions that come with the iOS 6 updated operating system. 

But iOS 6 is packed with hidden gems that have escaped attention even though a lot of them are very useful.

Here's our top 10 favorites.

Alarm songs

By far, the coolest new and hidden feature on iOS 6 is the ability to set your alarm clock to play any of the songs in your music library. Previously, users were limited to Apple-installed tones, and though they (usually) get the job done, not much compares with waking up to the song "Bodies" by Drowning Pool.

To set a song as your alarm, create a new alarm by hitting the plus sign at the top right of the alarm tab within the Clock app. Tap Sound and in the next page scroll up until you find "pick a song." Choose your song and finish setting up your alarm.

Browser access to camera roll

Another welcome addition to iOS 6 is the ability to upload photos and videos using the Safari Web browser. Previously, sites like Facebook would say the browser wasn't supported and you could not upload an image to the social network.

Tap and hold for drafts in Mail

Mail has by far gotten the most new hidden features. One of them is a simpler and faster way to access your saved drafts. To do this, tap and hold the new mail icon at the bottom right of the Mail app until a new page comes up. It'll show your saved drafts that you can continue editing and send.

Multiple Mail signatures

If you use more than one email account you know how long overdue this feature is, but thankfully, Apple has finally given you a way to have different email signatures for multiple accounts. To access this feature, go into the Settings app and tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Scroll down and select Signature and you'll get a new screen where you can choose Per Account. Once you select that, you'll be able to write the signature for each of your accounts.

And while we're on the topic of signatures ...

HTML Mail signatures

You can now also use HTML in your signatures, meaning you can include links without having to write out entire URLs. Unfortunately, you can't write the HTML within the signature field, but you can easily copy it from anywhere else. I set up mine by copying the signature from an email I sent from my desktop GMail and pasting it into the signature field.

Add photos or videos within Mail

Last but not least is the ability to add photos and videos within the Mail app. In past versions of iOS, you had to start an email using the Photo app in order to include pictures or videos. In Mail, tap the message field just as you would if you wanted to copy or paste text. You'll see three options come up along with an arrow. Press the arrow and tap Insert Photo or Video to attach a photo or video.

Messages memorizes international keyboards

If you've enabled multiple keyboard languages, you'll find this feature very helpful. Now, when you have a conversation with someone in the Messages app, iOS 6 will remember what language you were typing in. So you can have a conversation with someone in English and switch over to a conversation you were having with someone else in Spanish and the keyboard will switch appropriately. In older versions, you had to make the switches yourself.

Receive iMessages to your number on other devices

Another new feature is found with iMessage, which is Apple's proprietary messaging system that lets you text others for free as long as they use an Apple device.

You can now set up the iPad tablet, the Mac computer and the iPod Touch to receive iMessages sent to your iPhone number. This is helpful when you are working on a device other than the iPhone. Before iOS 6 the other devices could only get iMessages that were sent to the user's Apple ID email address.

The set up, however, is a bit tricky.

Go to your iPhone's Settings app and tap Messages. Turn off iMessage and turn it back on. Once you do that, go to your other device.

On an iPad or iPod Touch follow the same steps to get to the Messages tab of the Settings app. Scroll down and tap Send & Receive. There, you can choose to receive iMessages sent to your iPhone number. On your Mac, you can enable the feature by opening the Messages app, clicking Messages at the top left of your screen and selecting Preferences. From there click the Accounts tab and under iMessage you'll see your phone number. Make sure it's checked.

Limited ad tracking

For those concerned about their privacy, Apple now gives you the ability to limit ad tracking. To enable this go to your Settings app and tap General followed by About. Scroll down to Advertising and once you click that you'll be given the option to turn on Limit Ad Tracking.

Siri science fiction movie reviews

A fun new iOS 6 gem comes from Siri. She gives her own take on some science fiction movies. Some are pretty funny. The Verge has a full write up on all her reviews, but our favorite is what she says about "Inception:"

"'Inception' is about dreaming about dreaming about dreaming about dreaming about something or other. I fell asleep," the voice assistant says.

Music player volume knob

And finally, the last of our favorite hidden gems is found in the iOS 6 music player. Play a song and look at the volume knob. If you turn your phone back and forth you'll notice that the knob changes the way it reflects light. Don't get what I mean? Check out the video below.

Know of other features we should check out? Let us know in the comments.

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