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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.

iCloud settings on the iPhone

The iCloud panel is a bit of a biggie - so big that we'll run a future article to cover more complex features such as iCloud Drive and Family Sharing in more detail. However, the essentials here are the ability to turn iCloud syncing on or off for a variety of different apps.

You can use iCloud to share photos, emails and contacts, as well as files created in apps such as Pages, Numbers and Keynote. One really useful iCloud option is Find My iPhone, which can be used to locate any device that's logged into your iCloud account. I mislay my phone around the house all the time, so I often use this feature to find it again - but, more importantly, Find My iPhone works with iPads and Macs too, and can be used to locate your devices if they get lost or stolen.

After iCloud and iTunes you'll find settings for a variety of individual apps. These include the standard apps, such as Mail and Contacts that are built into your iPhone or iPad, but there are also settings for other apps that you buy and install yourself, so these will obviously vary from person to person.

Creating Personal Hotspots on the iPhone and iPad

The first group of settings is fairly straightforward, allowing you to turn on basic features such as wifi and Bluetooth, but there's one option that can come in really handy. I travel around quite a lot with my MacBook laptop, and it can be frustrating when the wifi coverage in many locations is slow or doesn't work properly at all. The Personal Hotspot feature has come to my rescue on a number of occasions, as it allows you to share the mobile broadband on an iPhone or iPad with your laptop or other devices. Turning on Personal Hotspot prompts you to choose from two different options. You can connect your iPhone to your computer by using a USB cable - which is a little untidy, but uses less battery power. Alternatively, you can activate the wifi and Bluetooth on your iPhone and link to it using either of those connections. The connection is also password protected to make sure that nobody else can use your Internet connection without your permission. If you've got Yosemite running on your Mac you can even detect when your iPhone is nearby and use your Mac to turn on Personal Hotspot on your iPhone without even having to unlock it.

Using Hey Siri on the iPhone

As we discovered last time, the General settings panel is a bit of a hodge-podge, so it's worth taking a closer look at some of the options hidden in here. One neat new feature in iOS 8 is 'Hey Siri', which allows you to activate Siri without pressing the Home button and just using your voice. When this option is turned on and the iPhone or iPad is also connected to a power source, you can just say 'Hey Siri' to activate Siri and ask it questions or issue commands. Leaving Siri turned on all the time so that it can listen for your voice commands can drain your battery faster, which is why Apple thinks that you need to be charging the device to use this option (although there is a workaround that will make 'Hey Siri' work without power, which we'll come back to another time). There are a few other Siri options here as well, such as changing the language, or switching between male and female voices for Siri.

 

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