Complete Guide to What's New in iOS 6 Settings

It's here: iOS 6 is out. If you're a "let's lift up the hood and take a look-see" sort of person (as I certainly am), the Settings app is the first place to go and see what's new in iOS 6. It's where you'll find new app-related settings that you might otherwise miss because they are not located within the app itself (such as the settings for Maps). And it's where you'll discover entirely new iOS 6 features that can only be enabled from the Settings app (such as Do Not Disturb and Guided Access). For any iOS update, there are more changes and additions in the Settings app than in any other single location.

That's why I am, once again, digging deep into all that is new and different in the Settings app. Compared to the explosion of stuff in Settings for iOS 5, iOS 6 is somewhat quieter. But there is more than enough stuff to keep you busy.

Two things to bear in mind before I get started: (1) A few changes are so minor (such as when the location of a setting moves up or down a notch) that I omit mention of them; (2) Some changes are device specific. This latter point means that exactly what you see in Settings can vary depending upon whether you are looking at (for example) a new iPad, an iPhone 4S or an iPhone 5. For this article, I focused on an iPhone 4S running iOS 6; all the figures come from this device.

And here we go…in more or less the order these options appear in Settings…


The popularity of Bluetooth continues to expand. You'll now find it in headphones, portable speakers and, of course, car audio systems. This means you'll likely have more and more reason to access Bluetooth on iOS devices. In recognition of this, Apple moved the location of Bluetooth's settings location from inside the General section to near the top of Settings.

Settings; top

The top of Settings in iOS 6. Note especially Bluetooth and Do Not Disturb.

Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb is a spanking new option in iOS 6. It allows you to prevent calls and alerts from making sounds at times when you typically do not want to be disturbed (such as after you go to sleep). To enable the feature, move the slider from Off to On. Where, you may be asking, do you customize the settings for this feature? Hang on, we're getting there.


Numerous apps in iOS can notify you when an event related to their app occurs. It can be an upcoming calendar appointment, the arrival of the latest edition of a newspaper, a breaking news item, or a Facebook update.

Notifications is where you determine what sort of alerts you wish to receive, customized for each app. For any app that offers notifications, you can indicate whether or not to show badges on the app's icon, display a text banner or play a sound. You can also decide whether the app's recent notifications should show up in Notification Center. Note that not all apps offer all of these options.


(Left) Notifications; (Right) Photos app item in Notifications.

New in Notifications for iOS 6 is Do Not Disturb. This is where you customize the aforementioned Do Not Disturb feature. You can specify exactly what hours you want Do Not Disturb to be in effect. You can also create exceptions for calls from specific people or for someone who calls repeatedly within 3 minutes.

Do Not DIsturb

Do Not Disturb in Notifications

Another new addition is the Share Widget. From this setting, you enable whether or not the Tap to Tweet and Tap to Post (to Facebook) options appear in Notification Center.

Tap Options in Notfiications

Notification Center's "Tap" options (seen at bottom) appear after enabled by the Share Widget.


Entirely new in iOS 6, this setting allows you to modify what apps can access data from another app. For example, on my iPhone, I have given the Busy To Do app permission to access data from the Calendars app. Should I ever want to undo this permission, I can do it from the Privacy app.


(Left) Privacy settings; (Right) Privacy option for Calendars.

Location Services, found at the root level of Settings in iOS 5, is now in Privacy. From Location Services, you can enable or disable the ability of any given app to "see" your location.

At the bottom of the Location Services app list, you'll find System Services. From here, you can toggle Location access for various iOS features, such as Compass Calibration and Traffic. With one exception, the options are identical to what was available here in iOS 5. The new entry is Genius for Apps. While I am not entirely certain what this option does, I do know that Genius for Apps is a feature of the App Store app. Enabling it generates recommendations of new apps for you, based on your purchase history. Perhaps, with it enabled in Location Services, the feature modifies its recommendations based on where you are? We'll see.

Genius for Apps

Settings>Privacy>Location Services>System Services. Note Genius for Apps.


Maps in iOS 6 is completely revamped in iOS 6. It is developed by Apple rather than Google. One consequence of the change is that Maps now has its own Settings section. From here, you can do things such as adjust the volume of the turn-by-turn navigation voice or select whether you want distances shown in miles or kilometers.


Settings>Maps in iOS 6.


Safari's settings have a new option to Use Cellular Data for Reading List. This allows you to save Reading List items from iCloud, for offline reading, via a 3G/LTE connection as well as a Wi-Fi one.

If you scroll down and tap Safari's Advanced setting, you'll find a new Web Inspector option. This appears to be a replacement for the Debug Console option previously available in iOS 5. With Web Inspector, you can access a USB-connected iOS device from the Develop menu of Safari on a Mac. When connected and if Safari is displayed on your iOS device, you'll be able to select a webpage and access a wide set of options useful to web developers for debugging their work.

Web Inspector

The iOS 6 Web Inspector option in Settings>Safari>Advanced.


Next, let's delve into the General section of Settings. Although the rule is not always consistently applied, here is where you should find settings that affect the iOS device in "general" — not just for a specific app. The two most notable settings in the General section where you'll find new stuff in iOS 6 are:

Accessibility.  Navigate to Settings>General>Accessibility. From here, scroll down to the Learning section and tap Guided Access. Here you'll find one of my favorite new features in iOS 6.

Guided Access

(Left) The Guided Access item in iOS 6's Accessibility Settings; (Right) Guided Access settings.

From this screen, you can enable Guided Access, which also requires setting a passcode. When you next launch an app, you can disable the ability of the Home button to exit the app. To do this, triple-click the Home button. From the upper-right corner, click the Start button that appears.

This option is great if you want to let a small child play a game on your iPad but worry about where they might wander when you are not looking. It's also good for using an iOS device in a kiosk.

Guided Access in App

After a triple-click of the Home button in Stocks app, the Guided Access options appear.

In addition to the default disabling of physical buttons, you can go to Options to disable touch and/or motion sensitivity. There is even an feature to designate a portion of the screen as off-limits to touch sensitivity. This could restrict access to a particular button while retaining touch access to the rest of the display.

To exit Guided Access mode, triple-click the Home button again and enter your passcode.

Via Accessibility's Triple-Click Home setting, you can assign multiple actions to a triple-click. If you do, you will be asked which one you wish to use when you triple-click the Home button.

Several other options in Accessibility get minor improvements. For example, in the Speak Selection section, there are now options to select a Dialect and to have words highlighted as they are spoken. You can also adjust the Home-click Speed needed for iOS to recognize a double- or triple-click.

Restrictions. Restrictions, which was also present in iOS 5, is a sort of "Parental Controls." It allows you to block access to various apps and options — unless you have the passcode. New in iOS 6 is the Privacy section of Restrictions. From here, if you change Allow Changes to Don't Allow Changes for a particular option, you prevent an unauthorized user from making changes to that same option in Settings>Privacy. In the figure below, I select to block the ability make a change to Calendars' Privacy setting.


Calendars in the Privacy section of Settings>General>Restrictions.

Assorted other new Settings in iOS 6

A new Reminders setting allows you to select how far back to sync your reminders and what the default reminder list should be. A new Facebook option joins the Twitter setting that first appear in iOS 5. From the new Newsstand item, you can select which subscribed content you want automatically downloaded.

Reminders & Facebook

Reminders settings and Facebook settings in iOS 6.

In iOS 6, the Photos & Cameras setting (called Photos in iOS 5) adds an option to enable the new Shared Photo Streams feature.

For iOS devices with cellular access, a new FaceTime setting allows FaceTime to Use Cellular Data. Unfortunately, if you try to enable this on an AT&T device, you may be prompted to contact AT&T to change your data service — as it is only permitted with AT&T's new "shared" data plans. More generally, in the Cellular setting, there is a "Use Cellular Data for" section. It allows you to choose which of certain Apple apps and features can function over a cellular connection. If not enabled, the item is restricted to Wi-Fi only. The FaceTime item is duplicated here.

Wrapping up

You now know just about every new thing there is to know about Settings in iOS 6. If and when I discover something that I've missed, I'll let you know in a comment below. Feel free to do the same.