Get to know iOS 8: Changes in the Settings app

Serenity Caldwell and Leah Yamshon
18 September, 2014
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iOS 8, settings, apple, macworld australiaWith every new version of iOS, Apple loves to add, tweak and change settings; unsurprisingly, iOS 8 is no different. Here’s a comprehensive list of just about everything the company has changed in iOS 8 within the Settings app.

Cellular

The Cellular section used to be hidden in iOS’ General section in previous versions, but was moved to the main screen of the Settings app in iOS 7. It remains there in iOS 8, and for the most part remains unchanged – Cellular features toggles for Cellular Data, LTE and Data Roaming, along with the menu for using your iPhone as a Personal Hotspot (which, oddly enough, also gets its own listing on the main screen).

If you have a sharp eye, you’ll notice that the layout of these toggles has changed ever so slightly: Cellular Data and Enable LTE are now stacked directly on top of each other with a shared caption about usage. They used to each have their own caption.

settings1Scrolling down, you’ll find info on your Call Time, broken down by Current Period and the total Lifetime of your iPhone. Your iPhone doesn’t automatically start these new data periods – if you’d like to track a specific time period, scroll all the way down and tap Reset Statistics to start the count from zero. This won’t affect the Lifetime count. Keep an eye on this section to avoid going over your monthly allotment of cellular call minutes (if your plan has restrictions, of course).

You’ll also find info on your overall and roaming cellular-data usage, combining uploads and downloads into one usage stat. This is split into Current Period (which is again tied to the time period you set with Reset Statistics) and Current Period Roaming. Roaming usage is super handy for travellers with a data limit, as it lets you easily keep an eye on how much data you’re using and scale back if necessary.

See that long list of apps in the next section? Those are all of the apps on your iPhone that use cellular data – all apps use cellular by default, but you can tap the toggle next to an apps’ name to restrict it to Wi-Fi downloading. This will help tremendously if you’re trying to watch your data usage.

Finally, at the very bottom of the screen, you’ll see a listing for System Services; tap it to see all of the services that use data, and how much data each is using. Uninstalled Apps shows how much data any apps you’ve recently uninstalled used during the current period before you gave them the axe.

Notifications

This section controls how your iPhone will receive notifications from other apps, and how they’ll appear in your personal Notification Center – the info panel that appears when you swipe down from the top of your iPhone’s screen. As far as settings go, we’ve gone there and back again with Notifications and how it’s listed: When iOS 7 launched, the Notifications section got a new name – Notification Center – but has now gone back to plain Notifications with iOS 8. (It’s probably more fitting, as you monitor all of your notifications here, not just what is displayed in your Notification Center.)

If you’re migrating from iOS 7, you’ll find that most of the same commands are here, but they’re laid out slightly differently. Right away, you’ll notice that the Today View section is gone, which indicated what you’d see in Notification Center’s Today tab. Instead, you can find those controls directly within Notification Center – just tap the Edit button at the bottom of your Today tab.

Back to Notifications. You’ll start by selecting how to sort your notifications, either manually or by time; tap your preferred view to select it.

You’ll then see two lists of apps: Include and Do Not Include. Include contains each app on your iPhone that has some kind of notification enabled; tap each app individually to control how that notification will be presented. And there is a lot you can control, starting with whether or not you even want to receive a push notification from this app – toggle it off if you don’t. Next, pick how many recent items from this app you’d like to see in your Notification Center; tap the listing to pick between none, one, five and ten. Select what sound you’d like, whether you want a badge with the app’s icon to appear, and if you’d like notifications for this app to pop up on your lock screen. Finally, select an alert style: None, Banners (a bar across the top of your screen that pops down when you get an incoming notification) or Alerts (which pop up on the centre of your screen).

Depending on the app, you might have a few more options. Calendar, for example, lets you set individual notification commands based on the incoming info – it’s split by upcoming events, invitations, invitee responses and shared calendar changes.

Yes, it’s a bit annoying to have to change your Notification settings one app at a time, but the amount of control really lets you customise your app experience.

For all you iOS veterans, all of that is old news – just laid out a bit differently. One new feature you’ll find in Notifications is a control for Family Sharing. Family Sharing is a new iOS 8 feature, and it allows you to register up to six Apple IDs to one ‘family’. Family members can then share app and media purchases across devices, have access to a shared family photo album and calendar, and much more. Here, you can set specific notification types for members within your Family Sharing account.

Apple introduced a brand new app for iOS 8 called Tips, which gives you a weekly tip to teach you more about your iPhone and iOS 8. You’ll have the option to control Tips’ notifications here, too.

General

settings3Your catch-all General settings have largely gone unchanged, save for a few rearrangements and one new addition.

ABOUT: The only change in the About section is the removal of the Diagnostics & Usage item.

SIRI: Siri can now respond to your cry of “Hey Siri” when your iPhone is connected to a power source – just toggle on Allow “Hey Siri” to try this out. This has replaced the Raise to Speak option from iOS 7.

SPOTLIGHT SEARCH: iOS 8 introduces two additional categories that can be included in Spotlight Search, which you access by swiping down on the screen. Spotlight Search now digs up Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web Results. Warning: You might want to check out the Spotlight Suggestions & Privacy disclaimer at the bottom.

HANDOFF & SUGGESTED APPS: This is a new section for two new features. Handoff lets you start something on one device and pick it up on another device, linked together by iCloud. Of course, there are some caveats: Mobile devices must be running iOS 8, and your Mac or MacBook must be running OS X Yosemite – which hasn’t shipped yet. This is part of Apple’s Continuity plan, and we can’t wait to put it to the test.

As for Suggested Apps, this feature will recommend apps for you to use depending on your current location and display them on your lock screen. Toggle on My Apps to get suggestions on apps you already have installed; Toggle on App Store for recommendations for apps you don’t own, but that your iPhone thinks will be useful.

settings4ACCESSIBILITY: This section has actually changed quite a bit, offering a wider range of options for those who need assistance. Options are broken down into different categories, starting with Vision. To start, the Text Size controls have been folded into Accessibility; you’ll find them by tapping Larger Text, and then use the scroll panel to set the size. You’ll also notice a new toggle for Greyscale, and a new category for Speech controls, with toggles for Speak Selection, Speak Screen and Speak Auto-text (which used to be found on the main Accessibility screen, but have now been condensed).

VoiceOver has a few tweaks, including updates to the adorable tortoise and hare icons on the Speaking Rate control slider. Where the Use Compact Voice toggle once was, you’ll find an option for Speech, where you can select your dialect based on your language (which used to be a standalone Accessibility control) and add a rotor language. Braille has a couple of more in-depth options, including the braille display’s output and input types (six-dot, eight-dot or contracted), and a toggle to turn pages when panning. Rotor has two new additions: Audio Ducking and Braille Screen Input. Another new control is Typing Style; iOS 8 supports Standard Typing, Touch Typing or Direct Touch Typing.

settings5Zoom houses your controls for magnifying the entire screen, and has a few more options in iOS 8. You’ll find toggles for Follow Focus, Zoom Keyboard and Show Controller, which reminds you of your zoom gesture controls in case you need a reminder. You can also set your Zoom Region (either Window Zoom or Full Screen Zoom) and select your maximum zoom level.

When looking at the Hearing assistance options, you’ll notice that the Subtitles & Captioning controls have moved to a new category – Media, which also offers an option for Video Descriptions.

The Physical & Motor category found in iOS 7 has been renamed as Interaction in iOS 8; within this category, the Incoming Calls function has been renamed to Call Audio Routing.

USAGE: Usage now provides a deeper a look at what apps are draining your precious battery life, which you can find by tapping Battery Usage. It shows what apps you’ve been using for the past three hours and the proportion of battery used by each app. Pretty nifty if you’re trying to find the worse battery offenders to kill in a pinch.

AUTO-LOCK: You can now select ‘Never’ as an auto-lock option.

RESTRICTIONS: Privacy buffs will surely appreciate iOS 8’s new restriction on location sharing – tap Share My Location to turn this restriction on. In turn, Find My Friends has been removed as a restriction option.

LANGUAGE & REGION: Formerly known as International, Language & Region is where you’ll select your iPhone’s language and select your region formats. A few things have been shuffled around in this section – there are no longer controls for keyboards and voice control here, for example, though you can easily find them in other settings controls (keyboards is on the main General page). You’ll also find an Advanced option that will automatically reformat dates, times and numbers to be the same as the primary language.

Display & Brightness

Formerly Wallpapers & Brightness, this setting gets a new name, icon and moves wallpaper picking into its own section. iOS 7’s dynamic Text Size picker and the Bold Text switch from the Accessibility section also now show up here.

Wallpaper

ios8 settings wallpaperYes, you can rejoice – your wallpaper now has its very own section of the Settings app. Here you can, unsurprisingly, view your current Lock screen and Home screen background, as well as pick new backgrounds. iOS 8 adds no new dynamic wallpaper images, but you will find two new static images: the underwater sea shot so prominent in the marketing, and a white shade of the hexagonal wallpaper already available in pink, orange, blue, green, grey and black.

Touch ID & Passcode

In iOS 8, you can enable access to a few more features on a locked phone if you choose to. Specifically, you can toggle on the Today and Notifications View screens for Notification Center.

Privacy

With every iOS release, Apple’s privacy settings expand and diversify, and iOS 8 is no exception. The biggest addition to the company’s Privacy settings screen comes inside the Location Services submenu; here, you’ve got a new subsection on sharing your location, more refined control for apps and new system services toggles.

ios8 settings share my locationLOCATION SERVICES: The Share My Location screen lets you turn location sharing on or off globally, lists any friends you’re sharing your location with permanently (temporary location-sharing friends won’t appear here), and offers a Stop Sharing My Location button for each at the bottom of their contact card.

Apps, too, have slightly more granular settings within Location Services. In iOS 7, you could toggle location services on or off for a specific program; with iOS 8, each app has the ‘Allow Location Access’ submenu, with options for Never, Always or While Using the App.

Within System Services, you’ll find new on/off toggles for the Find My iPhone service, Location-Based Alerts, Motion Calibration, Share My Location, Spotlight Suggestions and Improve Maps (relocated from the Frequent Locations submenu).

OTHER PRIVACY FEATURES: In iOS 8, you can choose whether to allow third-party apps access to your Camera, Health, HomeKit and Motion Activity data; those apps you’ve let in will appear in new Privacy menus named after each of those features.

The Diagnostics & Usage submenu (found at the bottom of the Privacy screen) also has a new toggle: Share with App Developers. If you turn it on, this feature lets third-party developers see anonymised crash data and statistics about how you use their apps.

iCloud

ios8 settings icloudThere are lots of new tweaks and feature additions in the iCloud preferences screen, though most dramatic comes in the form of the new Account submenu.

For one, you can now see which Apple ID your device is logged in to from the Settings screen, as it’s now listed below the iCloud submenu. Tap on iCloud, and the top of the settings screen lists your account, a toggle for setting up Family Sharing, your Storage information, iCloud services and advanced services.

The Account screen is protected by your iCloud password, but once you enter it, you can see and change your email addresses, primary mailing address and whether you want to receive offers from Apple. There are also fields for viewing or changing your account’s birthday, password, security questions and rescue email address, along with turning on two-step verification. You’ll additionally be able to view your primary payment method associated with your Apple ID, though you can’t change it from this screen.

Below the Account submenu, you can set up Family Sharing to help share purchased music and the like with family members; there’s also a new Storage section, which split off from iOS 7’s Storage & Backup screen.

The Photos subscreen lets you enable or disable iCloud Photo Library; there’s also a toggle for automatically uploading Burst Photos.

Within the iCloud Drive subscreen, you can toggle the feature on or off; there’s also a section for third-party apps that have looked you up by your email, along with a list of installed third-party apps on your device that can use iCloud Drive.

As mentioned earlier, iCloud Backup has become its own separate submenu, with an on/off toggle and a Back Up Now button. Also new in the iCloud section: a new toggle within the submenu for Find My iPhone called ‘Send Last Location’; in case of your device’s loss, Apple will beam your device’s last known location before shutdown to your iCloud account.

ios8 settings find my iphone

 

There are also two new sections within iCloud’s new Advanced subheader: Mail and Share My Location. The Mail subscreen lets you choose a default address for iCloud, along with choosing aliases and your SMTP server; Share My Location offers the same preferences that the screen of the same name in the Privacy subscreen does.

iTunes & App Store

The iTunes & App Store section is relatively unchanged, though it does move up in the Settings screen, grouped just after the iCloud screen. There are four new toggles: Two for showing all your music and video, and two for displaying suggested third-party apps that tie into your current location on the Lock screen, Home screen and in the app switcher (née multitasking screen).

Mail, Contacts, Calendars

The Mail, Contacts, Calendars Settings screen gets a bunch of little settings improvements. For Mail, there’s a new Swipe options submenu, which lets you choose a mail action for the app’s quick left/right swipe gestures; in addition, you can flag addresses that don’t end with a certain domain name.

ios8 settings swipe options

 

Contacts just gets one new preference, and that’s whether or not your people should show up in the app switcher. Calendars has a few new options, including alternate calendars for Chinese, Hebrew and Islamic people; a toggle for Week Numbers when viewing the app by month; a toggle for ‘Show Invite Declines’, and a new ‘Time to Leave’ toggle that estimates your departure time if you add an address to your calendar event.

Messages

Most of Messages’ new settings revolve around multimedia: You can now choose whether to keep your messages for 30 days, one year, or forever; audio and video messages can be set to expire within two minutes after reading (in true James Bond style) and then deleted, or also kept around forever. Message also incorporates a toggle for Raise to Listen, which lets you put the device to your ear to trigger Dictation for a conversation.

Maps

Maps gains no new toggles; instead, the ‘Preferred Driving/Walking’ toggle has disappeared.

Safari

Want to escape Google’s reach? You can now turn Duck Duck Go on as your search engine of choice within the Safari app. In addition, there are three new toggles related to web searches: Search Engine Suggestions, Spotlight Suggestions, Quick Website Search (which allows you to search a specific website by prefacing your search query with an abbreviated form of their name) and Preload Top Hit.

In addition, the Clear History and Website Data buttons from iOS 7 have been consolidated into one button, Clear Cookies and Data.

Photos & Camera

The Photos & Camera submenu has many of the same new toggles as the Photos section within iCloud, including toggles for turning on your iCloud Photo Library and managing burst photos.

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