The Best iOS 6 Features Nobody Is Talking About (Updated)

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iOS 6, your cup runneth over. The new future brain of your iPhone and iPad is lovelier than ever, and chock full of new features worth gabbing about. But what about the unsung stuff? Here are the coolest quiet additions.

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Wake up to a song

Illustration for article titled The Best iOS 6 Features Nobody Is Talking About (Updated)

Marimba gets a little stale. Now you can select any song on your iPhone as an alarm from within the Clock app. Ride of the Valkyries works well, as does anything by Waka Flocka. Beach House and Fiona Apple aren't quite as conducive to getting your ass out of bed. There have been apps offering this for years, but now it's built in, and built in is better.


Easier, prettier sharing menu

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The old one was ugly! It was just a drab list! Now, if you want to share that dong shot you just took, you're presented with a neat graphical grid of services—email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS—your pick. It's easier to scan, ergo easier to share.


Power privacy

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This one's simple: there's now a list in settings of all the apps that have requested access to your location, contacts, calendars, reminders, and photos. Turn on or off access as you see fit.


Your (weird) words saved in the cloud

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If you repeatedly use a word that's not in Apple's standard dictionary—like "fuckface," or calling your girlfriend "scootbooty," your phone will stop trying to correct you and just add it to the list of real words. Now this list of all your slang, inside jokes, and abbreviations, will be stored on iCloud forever, across devices. Totes amazeballs, amirite?


A modern iPod

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The Music app ditched its old skin for a darker, simpler, monochromatic getup. It functions the exact same, but steps closer to OS X in appearance. Maybe you'll like it more than the old look—if not, you'll quickly forget what the old look looked like, anyway.


Bonus: Remodeled iTunes/App Stores

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Talk about stale! The stores on your phone were never easy to get around: too many lists, too many sections, too much scrolling. In iOS 6 they get a chic makeover, highly reminiscent of the glamorous Apple TV storefront. The new stores also add clever horizontal scrolling through lists and categories, which is less of a pain and allows for a more digestible spread of information on a non-television screen. Featured albums, apps, videos, and the like are all sorted together with big eye-easy graphics. It won't cost you any less, but you'll spend less sanity on your downloads.


Tons of new emoji

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All emoji are good emoji. And the old iOS 5 set was pretty great. But just look at the artistry and detail in each of these teeny tiny animals. Notice the chicken's softly shaded feathers. The poodle's regal pose. That blow fish! Now return to your old iOS 5 emoji animals—they basically resemble balloon animal heads with beaks.

Update: You guys have pointed out some neat ones.

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New apps are marked with an adorbz (stick that in your iCloud custom dictionary) blue ribbon to designate their freshness.

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The iPad now has a new Clock app of its own.


Noticed any other goodies that have been flying under the radar? Let us know!

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DISCUSSION

There are still sooooooooo x10^6 many little simple things they could do to improve the experience and make it more efficient.

One itsy bitsy example: when a user goes into settings to change the brightness of the screen, one must 1) tap settings then 2) tap brightness and then 3) move the slider. Three steps.

Why not: 1) tap settings, and 2) gesture (swipe left/right) over the word 'brightness' rather than necessitating the 3rd step of tapping brightness and then moving the slider? Removing that last utterly inane (and equally as frustrating) step is a 33% improvement in user efficiency.

I have a list of about 100 such things that would make things faster and more efficient. For a user experience company I've always been utterly baffled (and equally as astonished) at how many extra steps are sometimes required by the iOS UI. It's like sometimes Apple goes out of its way to make users take 3 right turns just to make a left.