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Guide to iPhone and iPad settings: how to use all the iOS Settings UPDATED

Cliff Joseph | Aug. 20, 2015
Like System Preferences on a Mac , Settings on your iPhone or iPad offers access to tools for adjusting screen brightness, setting up a password, configuring your WiFi, and more. But in addition you will also find options for handling phone calls and mobile broadband, as well as many additional security features that protect your personal files, photos and other information.

Downloads and Updates: App Settings

The next section in Settings is for the Passbook and Apple Pay, however we've already looked at Apple Pay in detail following its recent launch in the UK so we won't repeat that info here. That leaves one final section within Settings, which consists of a long list of the individual apps that are installed on your iPhone or iPad.

These are divided into two categories - Apple's own apps, and the third-party apps that you have bought and downloaded from the App Store. The third-party apps will obviously vary from person to person, but it's worth taking a closer look at some of Apple's pre-installed apps as we sometimes take these for granted.

Some of the options here are pretty straightforward - for instance, the Maps app allows you to display distances in either in miles or kilometers, while Compass lets you switch between 'true' north and magnetic north. However, there are a number of key apps that many of us use every day, and which provide a number of useful options that you may not know about.

Downloads and Updates: Mail, Contacts, Calendars

The three key apps here are the Mail, Contacts and Calendars apps, which are grouped together within a single settings panel. That's a little untidy, but they're probably all put together like this because these are the three main apps that give you the choice to either 'push' or 'fetch' new data.

Most apps go to sleep when you're not actually using them, and only 'fetch' new data when you launch the app once more. When I launch my BBC News app it will check to see if I have an Internet connection and then connect with the BBC servers to see if there are any new headlines that it can 'fetch' for me to read. However, some apps also have a 'push' option that allows new data to automatically be 'pushed' straight into them as soon as it becomes available.

What happens with an app like Mail is that your email server does all the work, and automatically pushes new email messages straight onto your iPhone or iPad without waiting for the app to wake up and fetch the messages for itself. When the app receives a new email it wakes up - even if it's not running on screen at that moment - and can pop a notification on screen to tell you that the message has arrived.

That's obviously very useful, but some people argue that using push technology continuously can drain your battery more quickly, so the Mail, Contacts, Calendars settings panel includes an option called Fetch New Data that allows you to turn off the push option so that these three apps will only fetch new data when you tell them to.


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