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Yes iOS 6 Maps Suck, But...

Honestly, I’ve been using the new Maps since June of 2012 without any major issues. Right after WWDC, I visited my sister and her family in LA and used the turn-by-turn directions without any problem. Maps even had me avoid the freeway when driving from Hollywood to LAX. I’m sure it still needs a lot of work, but for my infrequent needs, it seems to be okay.

Rather than beat up on Maps, Let’s take a look at some cool little features that you might not know about.

  1. Emoji Keyboard. Enter Settings and navigate to General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard. Scroll down and look for “Emoji”. Once you’ve added it, your keyboard should show a little globe icon on the lower left. If you tap it, you can toggle between your English keyboard and Emoji one. (If you’ve already installed another keyboard, tapping the globe with cycle through all your keyboards.

  2. Limit Ad Tracking. Inside Settings, navigate to General > About > Advertising (it’s near the bottom). From there, you have the option to “Limit Ad Tracking.” iOS 6 introduces the concept of the “Advertising Identifier”, a temporary, anonymous device identifier. If you turn “Limit Ad Tracking” on, apps are not allowed to send you targeted ads. It’s not clear if this feature is working 100% yet, but in theory, it seems like a nice idea.

  3. Do Not Disturb Mode. Settings > Do Not Disturb. Your phone won’t light up, ring or chime when messages, calls or notifications arrive. I’ve been setting every night before bed. You can customize it inside Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. From there, you can schedule it to activate automatically, allow calls from specific groups of people, and allow a repeated (i.e. urgent) call to ring through. No more getting woken up by your friend’s late night Facebook updates, Tweets, or drunk dials.

  4. Custom Alarm Sounds. Now when you set your clock alarm, you can use a custom ringtone or song. Now you can start your day with the theme from Rocky and take on the world.

  5. Really delete Gmail. When you want to delete a message from your Gmail account, tap and hold the Archive Box icon. You’ll be asked if you want to delete or archive the message. Not perfect, but at least now I can delete my Gmail messages.

  6. (Bonus for giving your phone to kids) Guided Access. Technically, Guided Access is an “Accessibility” feature, but I use it when my niece or nephew wants to play a game on my phone. Last time I did that, they called everyone in my Contacts (and got Siri to call me “Poopie Pants”). Turn on Guided Access via Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Launch the app you want and triple-tap the Home button. Once Guided Access is turned on, you can’t leave the app unless you triple-tap and enter a passcode.