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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.

The Notifications and Lock screen settings are followed by a ragtag set of options that cover some of the most basic functions of your iPhone or iPad.

The General panel doesn't sound all that important, but actually includes major functions such as Software Update - so that you can download the weekly bug fixes for iOS 8 - as well as the Auto-Lock security feature, and the Usage panel, which displays information about both battery usage and the amount of storage used by all the apps on your iPhone or iPad.

Control Background App Refresh on iPhone

One option that it's useful to know about is the Background Refresh panel. Many apps, such as newspapers and magazines, or weather and stock prices, can automatically update themselves with new information even when you're not actually using them.

Allowing apps to download data in the background can save time if you're a real news junkie or if you want to make a killing on the stock market, but it can also drain your battery more quickly, so you might want to turn this option off for some of your less essential apps.

iPhone settings for Handoff

The General panel also includes settings for Handoff - the new feature that allows you to start a document or message on one device and then switch and finish it off on a Mac or another iOS device. We've not been able to test Handoff properly yet, as it requires Yosemite on a Mac to work properly, so that's something we can come back to later. 

Privacy Settings on the iPhone

The General settings panel is followed by a number of other options that control the basic hardware of the iPhone or iPad. Many of these are quite straightforward, such as controls for the screen brightness, ringtones and other warning sounds. But, rather oddly tucked away at the bottom of this list, is the all-important Privacy panel.

There are lots of different security and privacy settings in iOS 8, but this particular settings panel focuses specifically on 'third-party' (non-Apple) apps that want access to information such as location data, your camera roll and contacts, and even medical data gathered by the new HealthKit features in iOS 8.

Every app that requests access to your personal information is listed here, and you can choose whether or not to allow access for each app individually. It's a bit of a chore going through them all, but it's worth making the effort to keep your personal data private.

iTunes settings on the iPhone

The next two settings panels provide controls for iCloud and your iTunes account. The iTunes options are straightforward enough, although you might want to turn off the Cellular Data option that uses your mobile broadband to automatically download items purchased on other devices - downloading Game Of Thrones Season 4 in HD will bust your mobile broadband data cap in no time flat.

 

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