The ultimate list of new iOS 6 features

By , Jun 17, 2012

As expected, Apple took the wraps off the latest iteration of its mobile operating system last week. And although it may not be quite the upgrade that its predecessor was, iOS 6 still includes a ton of new features and other enhancements.

We’ve covered a number of these additions here on iDB already, but it’s hard to keep up with each and every new discovery. So, we’ve decided to put together a census of all of the new changes. Here’s iDB’s ultimate list of new iOS 6 features…

Note: Some of them are device-specific, so make sure to check out our feature compatibility guide for more information.

Phone

The Phone app gets a slight upgrade in iOS 6 with a new look, and at least one significant enhancement:

  • Decline options – now when declining phone calls, users have the option to respond with a preset or custom text message or set a callback reminder.

Facebook

iOS 6 includes deep, system-level Facebook integration:

  • Photo uploads - users can now post pictures to the social networking site directly from the Photos app.
  • Tap to Post - users can now update their Facebook statuses (and tweet) from the Notification Center.
  • Like content - the Facebook option to ‘Like’ something is now available in the App, iBooks and iTunes stores.

FaceTime

The video calling app gets two welcome new features in iOS 6:

  • FaceTime over cellular – users can now make FaceTime calls over a cellular connection, instead of being forced to find a Wi-Fi network.
  • Number/ID unification – users can now make FaceTime calls from their iPads and other devices using either their Apple IDs or their phone numbers.

Siri

Siri receives quite the upgrade in iOS 6, with the ability to answer a number of new questions, and perform new tasks:

  • Restaurants - Siri can now search for restaurants based on price and outdoor seating availability, in addition to location and cuisine. It can also now pull up photos, Yelp reviews, and make reservations via OpenTable.
  • Movies – in iOS 6, Siri can lookup showtimes, movie facts, and play trailers. It can also bring up movie ratings and reviews from Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Sports – the digital assistant can now look up sport scores for current and past games, as well as schedules and team rosters for baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer.
  • Launch apps – Users can now launch applications — both stock and third party — by telling Siri to “launch (insert app name here).”
  • Siri for iPad - the once iPhone 4S-exclusive feature is now available on Apple’s latest tablet.

Maps

The Maps app has been completely redesigned from the ground up in iOS 6. And not only does it look different, but it also has a handful of new features:

  • 3D Flyover view – thanks to the 3D technology from recently-acquired C3 Technologies, Maps now features gorgeous 3D models of buildings, landmarks, and monuments.
  • Turn-by-turn – Maps can now give users audible turn-by-turn directions to help them get to their destinations.
  • Traffic – Maps now uses real-time traffic conditions to calculate ETAs. It can also offer details about incidents and alternate routes to speed up travel times.

Clock

The Clock app in iOS 6 gets a minor new feature, and a fresh coat of paint for Apple’s tablet:

  • MP3 Alarm tones - users can now set songs as Alarm tones in iOS 6
  • New iPad app - iOS 6 brings the stock Clock app to the iPad. It doesn’t look exactly like its iPhone counterpart, but it performs all of the same functions.

Safari

Safari didn’t get quite the makeover that other apps did, but it did receive a couple of nice enhancements:

  • iCloud tabs – open a website in a new Safari tab on your desktop, and it automatically populates in mobile Safari on your iOS 6 device.
  • Offline Reading List – now Safari’s Reading List feature can save entire articles — not just links — for later viewing on any iOS device.
  • Media uploads – users can now upload photos and videos to websites from within Safari.
  • Full-screen – iPhones and iPod touches can now view web pages in full-screen when in landscape-mode.
  • Smart Banners – allows websites to display an interactive banner at the top of Safari to promote their App Store applications.

Photos

There aren’t many new features in the Photos app in iOS 6, but there are a few notable changes:

  • New share menu – There’s a new sharing menu in iOS 6 that allows users to upload photos and videos to Facebook, Twitter, and other services.
  • Shared Photo Streams – users can now easily share media from their Photo Streams with their friends and family, either via the Photos app, iPhotos, or even the web.

Passbook

Passbook is a brand new application in iOS 6 that organizes all of a user’s digital gift cards, event tickets and boarding passes. Cards are location-aware, so if a user approaches a building connected with one of the cards in their Passbook app, they receive a push notification.

Mail

The new Mail application in iOS 6 is exactly like the old one, but with the addition of a few handy features:

  • VIP Lists – a list of the contacts that you’d like to receive notifications from upon every email.
  • Pull-to-refresh – users can now use the popular pull-to-refresh gesture to refresh their inbox.
  • In-app attachements – users can now attach photos and videos to emails without ever leaving the Mail application.

App Store

After nearly four years without any major changes, the App Store gets a significant redesign in iOS 6, as do the iBook and iTunes stores. They look different, act different, and make browsing through content more enjoyable. Oh, and you don’t get kicked out of the app when you start a download anymore.

Settings

Apple made a few changes to the Settings app in iOS 6 in order to keep up with the other new features.

  • Do Not Disturb - a new option for users to turn off all push notifications and alerts with a single toggle. You can also choose contacts and apps to not be muted by this feature.
  • Relocated Bluetooth – the Bluetooth toggle has been moved to the main Settings pane in iOS 6, making it easier for users to access the option.
  • Government alerts - users can enable native Government Alerts in iOS 6, but this will undoubtedly be region and carrier-specific.
  • Privacy settings - users can now see what data each app is accessing — Calendar, Contacts, etc. — and have the ability to disable them.
  • Guided Access – this allows users to put their iPhone or iPad in “kiosk mode,” restricting access to customizable aspects of the device.

Miscellaneous

Other than the above-mentioned features and enhancements, there are a few other changes in iOS 6 worth pointing out:

We plan to continue to add to this list as more new features come to light. But if you feel like we’ve missed something, be sure to let us know about it in the comments below and we’ll add it.

So, what do you think of iOS 6 so far?

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  • http://twitter.com/PeterTheMooCow Peter Cao

    One minor feature, is when you’re on a facetime call, the status bar disappears on ios 5, but in ios 6, when you tap the screen, the status bar comes up, and when you have low bandwidth issues (especially over cellular) the call itself becomes audio only until better connection is obtained.

    • SebestyenSzabo

      Awesome typical Apple-y” problem solving :D

      • http://www.facebook.com/dasiths Dasith Sean Wijesiriwardena

        Except it’s been there on Android before.

      • SebestyenSzabo

        Then Android’s good at it too.

      • http://twitter.com/Daniel_J_P Daniel Phillips

        Love it when a trouble maker gets a nice swift low blow to the groin. Take that Sean.

  • http://twitter.com/thegabrielk Gabriel K

    There’s also cool new wallpapers xD

  • Patrick Bordeleau

    Multiple email signatures.

  • http://twitter.com/emil_vivi Tri Emil Alim

    -New screenshot option in assistive touch.
    - keyboard are now more gradient color than before, giving the feel of more soft button.
    - I’m not sure but my iPhone 4 have a significant battery improvement, even better than iOS 4.

  • http://twitter.com/emil_vivi Tri Emil Alim

    Also Also, i found this:
    - voice memo have a slightly diffrent splashscreen height resolution that it’s UI, I think it could be hint to the 4″ iphone.
    - i have much better signal (I have a favorite spot with my friends, that spot only giving me EDGE everytime, but now it’s always 3G.
    - I’m no longer have issue with my touchscreen when receiving call from sleep mode. So my iphone 4 is having issue of can’t receive input if awake after about 5 minutes of sleep, so almost everytime i have a call, i can’t slide to answer, instead, i connect my headphone and push the button on the headphone to answer the call.

  • seyss

    volume slider effect with gyro

  • http://www.facebook.com/paburton Philip Andrew Burton

    There isn’t a lock icon on the lock screen. At least not on mine.

  • Eric Armstrong

    Chinese keyboard gets an improvement too; “easier, faster, and more accurate” text input, increased to 30,000 characters, supports pinyin and english at the same time, without switching keyboards.

  • http://twitter.com/SpareMeYourBS Lawabidingcitizen

    I would probably enjoy it quite a bit, all of these features that most smartphones have had for years. Too bad I’ll only see about 30% of them on my perfectly capable iPhone 4.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001581901956 Patrick Everett

      No.
      “… all of these features that most smartphones have had for years.”
      Most smartphones have had these features for years via third-party apps, just like Apple iPhones. The difference is that Apple now provides the functionality directly within native apps which provides seamless integration with better features and functionality.
      Your iPhone 4 is perfectly capable same as yesterday and the same as when iOS 6 will be released. When iOS 6 is released, iPhone 4 will be two generations behind, however. Unfortunately, the lifecycle of smartphones is extremely short.
      You should be pleased with any new features considering Google Android-based “smartphones” receive virtually no software updates once purchased, in fact, many Android-based smartphones still ship today with a two major generations old operating system. This is akin to Apple shipping iPhone 4 with iOS 3.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dasiths Dasith Sean Wijesiriwardena

        Really? Two major generation behind? Android 3.0 wasn’t made for smart phones. It was for Tablets. So Gigerbread is one generation behind ICS. But then again All of these features except DND have been there in Gingerbread too. Android doesn’t need native integration because it’s 3rd party apps can DO EVERYTHING a native app can do. iOS needs native apps because 3rd party apps can’t do Everything in the OS. That’s the major difference. I had an iPhone 4 but now have a HTC One X which runs ICS didn’t even realize iOS didn’t have 3d maps yet.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001581901956 Patrick Everett

        I agree, Google Android wasn’t made for smartphones but then again none of the Google Android versions are made for smartphones. Google Android is so poorly designed they needed an entire major development cycle just to code for tablets and then still didn’t get a decent tablet OS.

        Google Android allows apps to “DO EVERYTHING a native app can do” which explains why Google Android is the least secure operating system ever conceived.

        There is very little third party apps can’t do via supported APIs in Apple iOS in a much more secure manner than Google Android.

      • Vikram Mohan

        Ignorance.. The Galaxy S1 had these.. Not from 3rd part.. it was in the stock..

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      Really… All of them? Every. Single. Feature?

      Privacy settings?
      DND?
      Decline options?
      Colour-matching status bar?

      All of these features most smart phones have had for years.

      I somehow do not believe you.

  • http://twitter.com/David_amp David Morones

    3d maps don’t work at all

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001581901956 Patrick Everett

      3D Maps aren’t available until the ninth zoom level.

  • http://twitter.com/Mattia_Menna Mattia Menna

    Will all the features be available on the 4S?

    • SebestyenSzabo

      Yes, all features that work on the iPhone will work on te 4s, as it’s the latest handset Apple has released. However, the next iPhone and iOS 6 come out around the same time, so the new iPhone may have something new that we haven’t yet heard about.

  • http://twitter.com/Rich_Inniss  Rich 

    Slightly off topic. But is anyone having an issue sending picture messages to other non iPhones? after installing iOS 6 friends that have android phones on other carriers are not getting my pictures. My girlfriend for instance, it worked the first few days I had iOS 6, now it says it gets sent on my end, but never shows up on her phone ( Only with newly taken pictures). But if I send her an old picture, it goes through, but she has to save the picture to her download roll. It won’t appear in her messages app. ( She has an HTC Amaze on T-Mobile) A co-worker of mine, said he was able to receive the picture and he has a Droid X on verizon. Another friend of mine has a Galaxy S2 on Sprint, and was able to get the message, but then gets an error that no media can be displayed. Another friend has a Black Berry on Sprint, and didn’t get the picture at all. Another friend with some android phone on verizon, was able to view the picture, but she said it showed up as a slide show kind of thing, but was still viewable. Anyone that has an iPhone that I sent a picture through on iMessage, came through just fine without any problems. I tried to google this issue to see if anyone else was having the same issue, but came up with nothing. I started to notice this issue Friday night (6/15/12) I reported the bug issue to apple, and hopefully they read it and can correct it for beta 2. If anyone is having the same issue can you please send me a tweet on twitter: @Rich_Inniss or you can respond here, and hopefully I see it.

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      Slightly … Try more like heading along a freeway and then taking a sharp right. An easy fix for this problem, buy your girlfriend an iPhone.

  • http://twitter.com/stuartglossop Stuart Crabtree

    The 3G toggle has gone! Hope it’s back in beta 2

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      OMG. Something is missing from a beta…

      I hope you reported it to Apple in a bug report.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matas.nasevicius Matas Nasevicius

      its back haha

  • http://twitter.com/chin2793 Darshan Patel

    In facebook integration, You can see b’days from contacts….

  • Wael Abdo

    i think they should invest in using any mp3 from the music app as ringtone, a hell lot of ppl demand that, maybe countries that has itunes store can do that, but a hell lot cannot.

    • http://twitter.com/_moose239 Max Jarrett

      Why would they do that when they can make money charging people for ringtones

      • Wael Abdo

        well actually charging exist in iTunes store countries, for my country we don’t have iTunes and many dont buy the iPhone for the lack of ringtone customization option.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001581901956 Patrick Everett

      You can use any purchased or imported song in iTunes to create a custom ringtone.

  • http://djterm.de/ Robo Term

    Updated Weather app
    Updated iPod app
    Umlaute on german keyboard
    Adaptive status bar color

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      I wonder if the status bar colour change has anything to do with a new taller iPhone…..?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=524186172 Gilad Weiss

    I’m not sure if this is new, but there are two new things in the game center app:
    1. There is a new challenges menu
    2. You can erase leaderboards right from the app by sliding your finger across them.

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      Yeah, both new.

      Apple touched on the challenges during the keynote, however “Challenges” is slightly flawed. When you find an achievement you want to send as a challenge to someone, if they have already completed it…it’s virtually pointless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.higgins.12 Brandon Higgins

    Within the app store if you have the app installed it now has an “open” feature.
    Safari allows you to hold the back button for history on iPhone.
    Safari now has a “safari cannot display this page” display instead of a pop-up.

    • goofygreek

      That open feature has been in the android market (play store) for a long time now, i wonder if google will sue apple over that?

  • insp1112

    Don’t forget the upgraded safari speed and javascript speed! That’s one of the best part!

  • Richard Nagy

    My overall conclusion: not worth to slow down my current iphone4′s ios by this upgrade to push me slowly forward to buy the new iPhone. I won’t be less without it. :)

    • Outhig

      It won’t slow down your iPhone 4!

      • Richard Nagy

        Maybe you’re right. I’ll wait until ppl will give positive feedback of the 6th iOS.

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        Positive feedback on a beta, really mate. What exactly are you asking for because the concept of betas aren’t supposed to be 100% flawless.

  • http://twitter.com/imperiumSG Andy M.

    It is gonna be awesome

  • http://www.facebook.com/HarshSachanandani Harsh Sac

    Can anything change from the Final Release?

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      Yes, and in the past it has.

      This is why “bug reports” are so important, Apple use it to gauge customer/user feedback.

      • http://www.facebook.com/HarshSachanandani Harsh Sac

        Thanks for pointing it out but I was tring to mention that whether the supporting devices will include the original iPad

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        You didn’t say that, did you…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001581901956 Patrick Everett

    App Store redesigned for improved app discoverability

    Geofencing in Find My Friends

    Battery indicator for devices in Find iPhone

    Siri has added languages and dialects, including; Chinese (China) Chinese (Hong Kong), Chinese (Taiwanese), English (Canadian), French (Canadian), French (Switzerland), German (Switzerland), Italian (Italy), Italian (Switzerland), Korean, Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (United States)

    Siri has added the ability to search for points of interest outside the United States (specifically, the ability to search the regions of supported languages)

    Siri has improved integration with Yelp

  • http://www.kurtlewis.com Kurt Lewis

    too bad this “ultimate” list isn’t so ultimate. not that cody is forgetting anything in particular, it’s just that iOS 6 is pretty bland compared with other releases

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001581901956 Patrick Everett

      What did you expect from iOS 6?
      Apple did exactly what they needed to do which is address a multitude of minor inconveniences with their already outstanding mobile operating system.
      Dramatic improvements in Quality of Service for Siri
      Vastly expanded feature set for Siri (especially outside the United States)
      “Do Not Disturb”
      Multiple Email Signatures
      Privacy Settings
      Not getting kicked out of the App Store when downloading updates
      Not being asked for your password when downloading updates

      Many small steps for iOS, one giant leap for iOS users.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2JFDZXSTUH2HWGIM6NSZX66KWA Kurt

        you have quite the flaw in your thinking. you think what you said is fact. its your opinion. which is similar to mine except mine is more factually based. now get a life

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001581901956 Patrick Everett

        Virtually everything I said is fact since my post is primarily a list of features for iOS 6.

        Your opinion of “ultimate” is just that, opinion. “iOS is pretty bland compared to other releases” is an opinion as well. I highly suggest you review the definition of “fact” and “opinion” as you seem to have the two definitions confused.

        The features Apple has included in iOS 6 are primarily the features I most often see people on various forums desiring or requesting be included in iOS.

        You didn’t answer the question I posed “what did you expect from iOS 6 which suggests you didn’t have an expectation.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2JFDZXSTUH2HWGIM6NSZX66KWA Kurt

        why are you talking to me? you don’t get sarcastic well and you don’t know your “facts” are your opinions not facts.
        “Apple did exactly what they needed to”=opinion
        “Dramatic improvements in Quality of Service for Siri” = Opinion (my opinion is they were no where near dramatic
        “Vastly expanded feature set for Siri” =opinion…vastly? come on mr. I’m in love with Steve Dead Jobs
        “Many small steps for iOS”=true, which is my whole point, small is not what we wanted. do you know how to debate? don’t end it with agreeing with the other person and admitting you were wrong and somehow believing you are right and i am wrong. you’re pathetic. apple is a for-profit company. not worthy of your sick worship. learn to be fair about the company by giving them criticisms where due

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001581901956 Patrick Everett

        You obviously haven’t used iOS 6.

        “Apple did exactly what they needed to” = Improve the iOS feature set by including many of the most desirable features as listed by users.

        “Vastly expanded feature set for Siri” = more than one dozen dialects and languages, movie data, sports data.

        Your ad hominem attacks and red herrings won’t fool anyone.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2JFDZXSTUH2HWGIM6NSZX66KWA Kurt

        why are you talking to me? you don’t get sarcastic well and you don’t know your “facts” are your opinions not facts.
        “Apple did exactly what they needed to”=opinion
        “Dramatic improvements in Quality of Service for Siri” = Opinion (my opinion is they were no where near dramatic
        “Vastly expanded feature set for Siri” =opinion…vastly? come on mr. I’m in love with Steve Dead Jobs
        “Many small steps for iOS”=true, which is my whole point, small is not what we wanted. do you know how to debate? don’t end it with agreeing with the other person and admitting you were wrong and somehow believing you are right and i am wrong. you’re pathetic. apple is a for-profit company. not worthy of your sick worship. learn to be fair about the company by giving them criticisms where due. now go away dork

  • goofygreek

    I wonder if google will sue apple over the decline options. Android has had the text response feature for a long time now. im not sure if its manufacturer specific, or if its built directly into android. Either way, i see apple getting sued over ios 6. Looks like ios is acting more and more like android with every upgrade. First notification center, now the decline options. Pretty soon the iphone will be doing what the galaxy s3 does, the facial recognition with the screen turning on and off, and the feature that calls people from a text message just by putting the phone up to your ear. I think apple is running out of ideas. More and more jailbreak apps are being put into ios, and even app store apps are being put into ios, like the passbook app for example. And yes, i can see they are improving there own apps their own way as well. Most of which is probably apple actually listening to the user feedback they get.

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      My gosh, you’re a trolling piece of trash, aren’t you.

      • goofygreek

        ok, please explain to me how im a trolling piece of trash. Seriously, you cant even give me any arguments about what i said, all you say is im a troll. By the looks of it, you are the troll.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dasiths Dasith Sean Wijesiriwardena

        Truth hurts doesn’t it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/jorge.f.n.vieira Jorge Vieira

      my nokia has been doing that for years. i wonder if nokia will sue google

  • Outhig

    The shutdown spinner is now retina!

  • Brandon Sterling

    Another new feature is within the Mail app. While creating a new email you can now click-hold to get an option to insert an image….FINALLY!

  • http://twitter.com/j9user Joshua Sierra

    Also if you preview a song in the iTunes store and want to switch to another one the song keeps playing not like in ios5 the song stops until you preview a new one

  • http://twitter.com/Ign0ttus Tom García

    Remember now siri speaks in more languages!

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      I wish Siri had in inbuilt translator.

      How nice would it be to go to another country and ask Siri to translate “Good morning” into Spanish or Italian or …Dutch?

  • Mark Lopez

    Can I copy this article to my blog? I’ll give credits to idb and it’s writers. :D

  • http://djterm.de/ Robo Term

    I think the Camera UI is new too.

  • Roger Tan

    Another feature I discovered. When cropping image in Photo, now it let you revert back to the original state even u have crop and saved.

  • http://www.syncers.com/ Karan Lugani

    But the problem is Android already has lots of features introduced in iOS 6. It has still not beaten Android.

  • http://www.downloadredsn0w.com/ Ash

    I’m sure iPhone 5 will definitely kick s3′ *** with iOS 6, i’m guite interested with the latest Siri enhancement.

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      Why do I have the feeling there’s more to Siri that will be announced with the iPhone?

  • http://twitter.com/imso_ModeLMadee ⬅[#tREYhAM❤]

    yall need to get the text messaging backgrounds… sorry i just wanted to say that. That would be so much better if yall do that.

  • http://twitter.com/imso_ModeLMadee ⬅[#tREYhAM❤]

    alot people been wanting that request.It would make the text messaging not look so boring if you have a background so please look into it :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728548305 Miras Safadi

    iOS 6 is the most amzing fascintaing mobile OS ever! I just can’t wait till fall!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jerrod.banks Jerrod IBanks Banks

    Haven’t really noticed this with iOS5 but while playing video via AirPlay on AppleTV, I am able to use my device normally and the AirPlay blue bar would show, where as before, AirPlay would pause the video.

  • LuckyBanana

    Why still no Canadian Flag in the new emoji icons???

  • Makkiez

    and where is the Dutch siri they promissed since the launch of the 4s?

  • DROD

    Need to work on text messaging. Contact photo an also color
    Keyboard. Like bite SMS

  • Kaylon

    My youtube app is gone so i dont really like that and also i cant send picture msgs anymore. Whats up with that?

  • McDuck

    My battery life went drastically down after installing OS6 any one having a solution?

  • Andy

    Add a battrey icon next to the battrey like the iPhone 4S

    And I will buy a new iPod

  • http://www.facebook.com/billy.herbert3 Billy Herbert

    it would be nice if you had a feature or app that allows the phone to automatic answer a phone call