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.
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.
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.
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 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.
- 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Other than the above-mentioned features and enhancements, there are a few other changes in iOS 6 worth pointing out:
- Color-matching status bar
- Separate Podcast app
- New Emoji icons
- ‘New’ app ribbons
- Stream or download songs in iTunes Match
- Retina-friendly shutdown spinner
- Custom dictionary in the cloud
- New UI in Music app
- Keyboard now capitalizes after quotes and emoji icons
- In-app iTunes previews
- Live wallpaper previews
- Folders labeled in Spotlight search
- Shared Photo Stream toggle in Settings
- Calendar items now show ending times and dates in Notification Center
- New Wi-Fi networking option in Settings > Location Services > System Services
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?