Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 4 | iLounge Article


Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 4

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Mail, Contacts, Calendars

iOS 4 introduces two significant new changes to the built-in Mail application: Unified Inbox and Threaded Messaging, as well as several other smaller enhancements.

Unified Inbox

Mail in iOS 4 now provides a unified inbox for users with multiple e-mail accounts on their device. This can be accessed by navigating back up to the very top-level Mail screen, where a list of Inboxes and Accounts is shown.


Selecting “All Inboxes” will show a single Inbox view of messages from all accounts, sorted in reverse-chronological order. Replies and forwards will be sent by default from whichever account the message was originally received by, although this can be changed in the same manner as in previous versions. As part of the Unified Inbox it is also now possible to move messages into other account folders as part of the normal message move process.


From the top-level accounts screen you can still access individual inboxes or account folders directly. The Inbox shortcuts provide faster direct access to individual inboxes when moving between accounts. The Outbox is also shown here for any messages that are waiting to be sent.


Messages in the Outbox can now be edited or deleted from here as well.

Message Threads

iOS 4 also introduces the option to organize conversations into threads. The option for this can be found in the Mail, Contacts and Calendar section of the Settings app.


Once enabled, any messages that are part of the same thread will be grouped together into a single entry in the message listing, showing a preview of the most recent message followed by a number displaying how many messages are in the current thread.


Tapping on a threaded message will open a second listing showing only those messages in that particular thread, organized in reverse-chronological order. A search can also be conducted from here for only the messages in the thread.


Threads can be deleted or moved in the same manner as individual messages. When swiping-to-delete on a thread, the total number of messages in the thread will be displayed beside the “Delete” button as a reminder that you are deleting more than one message. To delete individual messages from within a thread you need to open the thread first and then delete the messages from that view.


Note that message threading only works on a per-folder basis, so only messages that are in the current folder are grouped into threads. If you have moved individual messages from a thread into another folder, they will not be shown unless you specifically access that folder.

Edit in Search Results

When searching within the Mail application, an Edit button now appears to allow you to either move or delete items from within the search results.


New Data Detectors—Create Events, Track Packages

Mail introduces two new data detectors for creating events and tracking packages. Any text that looks like a possible date or time is highlighted and can be tapped on to create a new calendar event.  Likewise, well-known tracking number formats are detected automatically and link to the appropriate tracking web page in Safari.


Sending E-Mail from Other Apps

When sending e-mail messages from other applications, users will now be prompted to either save the message as a draft or delete the draft when cancelling the message.


Resize Photos when Sending

When sending photos as attachments, you can now resize them before sending.  The resize prompt appears once you actually finish the message and tap the “Send” button.


Support for Opening Attachments

First introduced on the iPad, iOS 4 now allows attachments on the iPhone and iPod touch to be opened using supported third-party applications. If no third-party apps are available for a given attachment type, it will simply be viewed using Quick Look as before.


Support for MobileMe Aliases

MobileMe users can now send using any of their aliases. Aliases from your MobileMe account appear in the “From” selector:


Note that for aliases to appear they must be enabled in your MobileMe account and you must have filled in a description for each alias and your primary account in your MobileMe Mail settings on the web.

GMail Enhancements

In prior versions of iOS, messages deleted from GMail accounts were archived within GMail rather than actually being deleted. iOS 4 emphasizes this behaviour by replacing the “Delete” button with an “Archive” button instead.


However, this default behaviour can now be changed. When configuring a GMail account, a new option “Archive Messages” now appears, allowing you to select your preferred behaviour.


Direct support for Google Calendar is also included when configuring GMail accounts. This uses the standard CalDAV protocol and could be configured manually in previous iOS versions; the new setting simply provides for simpler configuration.

Mail, Contact and Calendar Settings

Some visual enhancements have been made to individual account settings. Icons for different content types now appear within each account’s settings beside the on/off toggles.


Accounts also include a “Notes” content type that can be toggled on for any mail account. This allows entries from the iOS Notes app to be synchronized with a Mail account via IMAP.

Microsoft Exchange Enhancements

Prior versions of iOS only supported a single Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync account. iOS 4 now allows multiple Exchange accounts to be created on the same device. iOS 4 also brings support for Exchange 2010 servers and more advanced Microsoft Exchange policies.


The Calendar app in iOS 4 remains almost identical to previous versions with only a couple of relatively minor enhancements. As on the iPad, users can now choose to display a subset of calendars rather than the all-or-none options offered by previous versions.


A built-in Birthdays calendar is also available to display your contacts’ birthdays. This is generated automatically from the Birthday field in your Contact info.

It is also now possible to change the assigned calendar when editing existing events. In prior versions, you could only assign a calendar when first creating an event.


iOS 4 also adds the ability to send calendar invitations wirelessly via CalDAV when using a supported CalDAV server.


Contacts remains mostly the same as in previous versions, although the contact entry screen has undergone a slight facelift to reduce the number of separate entry screens that were previously used. Individual name fields, phone number entry fields and address entry fields now appear on the main screen and are edited in place rather than switching to secondary data entry screens.


On existing devices, all other contact options remain the same as before. iPhone 4 adds a “FaceTime” button on the contact screen for initiating a FaceTime conversation.


The Camera app in iOS 4 includes some additional enhancements both for existing iPhone hardware and the new iPhone 4.

The iPhone now gets a 5X digital zoom option when taking still pictures. The quality of the digital zoom is not particularly impressive considering that it’s simply magnifying the existing camera image in much the same way that enlarging an image in Photoshop would, but users may find it helpful in certain situations.


When recording video, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 users can now also take advantage of the tap-to-focus feature that was previously only available for taking still photos.

The Camera app on the iPhone 4 provides additional on-screen buttons for controlling the built-in LED flash and switching between the front and rear cameras.


The iOS 4 photos app adds direct support for Events, Faces, and Places transferred from iPhoto. In prior iOS versions, iPhoto users could transfer Events and Faces, however these appeared as normal photo albums in a single listing. iOS 4 separates photo albums, events, and faces into their own categories using a menu bar at the bottom of the screen.


The Photos app also now displays Faces entries for all face-tagged photos from your iPhoto library, regardless of whether you’ve chosen them for synchronization from iTunes or not. Previously, only specifically-selected Faces appeared on the device.


The Photos app also introduces a Places feature, similar to the one found on the iPad. The Places option shows an integrated map with pins indicating locations for photos that are currently stored on the device. You can zoom in on the map as normal, and pins will separate to indicate more detailed locations. Tapping on a pin will show an indicator of how many photos were taken at that location and an arrow to view the photos.



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hey guys just download iOS 4 and was going through the settings and found a setting in messages not on your screen shot. Im on at t and there is a toggle for group messaging on/off any one know what this is?? thanks.

Posted by phil in Lake Dallas, TX in Toronto on June 21, 2010 at 6:48 PM (CDT)


Where the &*# is mms?

Posted by Kelvin in Toronto on June 21, 2010 at 8:10 PM (CDT)


Great job (as usual) Jesse!

Posted by rockmyplimsoul in Toronto on June 21, 2010 at 8:47 PM (CDT)


Best of all on updating my iTouch 2G (that i won on a iLouge art contest, thanks again) is that smart playlists that are not working at all on iOS3 are working 100% now. Just this feature working again makes updating worthwhile.

Posted by Walter Segundo in Toronto on June 21, 2010 at 9:02 PM (CDT)


Where is the iPod out setting?  I have an Alpine iXA-W404 and the dock connection stopped working after I updated to iOS 4.  Thanks.

Posted by Me in Toronto on June 21, 2010 at 11:30 PM (CDT)


Phil (#1) & Kelvin (#2): The MMS settings are carrier-specific and determined by carrier configuration files. If MMS is not appearing then it’s either been turned off under Messages in the Settings app or it has been disabled by your carrier—perhaps inadvertently by an incorrect configuration file in the update. Similarly, “Group Messaging” is likely appearing as a result of an AT&T specific configuration.  Since I don’t have that setting, I’m not entirely sure what it means.

I know that Rogers in Canada pushed out a carrier update a couple of days before the iOS 4 release, and reports are that iOS 4 should now be able to receive carrier updates over-the-air and not just via iTunes..

Me (#5): I suspect the iPod Out feature will require new accessories that have not as-yet been released, or in the very least some kind of firmware update to existing car systems. It’s unfortunate, but not surprising that iOS 4 broke the connection to the Alpine—such things have happened with prior updates also—but hopefully this is something that Alpine can fix for you with a firmware update, or that Apple can address in 4.0.1.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 9:06 AM (CDT)


@Me.  I have the same Apline unit and the same problem.  The Apple Knowledge boards have posts with similar issues with Alpine.  Hopefully there will be a software fix very soon.

Posted by PeteJ in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 10:17 AM (CDT)


as mentioned in article that 3g users wont be d by lack of features in update because they will be updating to a faster model. ive only just bought my 3g and im made to feel as though my iphone is slow and outdated. to put this right my iphone is so much faster with n ew update im happy with what ive been given thanks. why would i want to spend another £400 on a new phone.

Posted by tracey cross in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 2:15 PM (CDT)


Hey i did the update and noticed that i cannot change the background of my wallpaper ( home menue) and or LOCK SCREEN seperately… just still works the same as before i did it… what do i do?

Posted by Matt in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 4:17 PM (CDT)


So I found a change of my own with Bluetooth audio.  Pre-iOS4, the volume level out of the iPod was locked so that you can only change the volume using the Bluetooth headset/headphone’s controls.  Now that audio output is variable which is great for Jabra Halo owners like myself.  The Jabra Halo’s lowest volume level is still too high for most people.  I can now listen to my podcasts at night without blowing my eardrums out.

Posted by DustoMan in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 5:01 PM (CDT)


re Spotlight Search

To see Search Web or see Search Wikipedia is hidden

Pressing the space key brings this up. to re hide press search and then the x on the search box.

People may know this but I searched and couldn’t find this peice of info. :-)

Posted by kev in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 5:40 PM (CDT)


#4 Walter: I had the same problem with Smart Playlists. Turning off “Live updating” solved the problem. I’m glad to hear this is no longer necessary.

Posted by JP in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 7:14 PM (CDT)


The ipod touch doesn’t support multi-tasking or the home page wallpaper. Just so everyone knows. They skimped on the Ipod.

Posted by Kevin in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 7:51 PM (CDT)


Actually, home wallpapers and multitasking are supported on the third-generation iPod touch—the 32GB and 64GB models released in the fall of 2009.  The 8GB, 16GB and 32GB iPod touch models released in the fall of 2008 are secone-generation iPod models and in the same category as the iPhone 3G in terms of lacking support for multitasking, home screen wallpapers, and Bluetooth keyboards. 

Keep in mind that as noted in the article, the 8GB iPod touch currently being sold by Apple is actually a second-generation iPod touch—the same model first released in the fall of 2008.  Last fall Apple merely updated the OS to 3.x and re-released it at a lower price, but the hardware is identical to the earlier model.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 7:59 PM (CDT)


Originally a little miffed at Apple for not allowing Home screen wallpaper on the 3G but after a day of use, I’m beginning to think Apple should have added the iPhone 3G to the incompatible list alongside the original iPhone and iPod Touch. This thing is painfully slow now. Were it not for the combined Inbox feature I’d have already attempted a downgrade back to 3.1.3.

Posted by Paul in Toronto on June 22, 2010 at 11:03 PM (CDT)


I just download it IOS 4 on my Iphone 3G. Thought that I could change my App home screen wallpaper but it does not support it. Not FAIR!! This phone is still on SALE and it should support it, It is not descontinued yet. To be honest, The only change I really need and like is the 5x Zoom for my cam. Thanks.

Posted by David in Toronto on June 23, 2010 at 12:09 AM (CDT)


can you get an alert / reminder pop up for birthdays in the birthday calendar? Its no use if you cant get a reminder!

Posted by shaz in Toronto on June 23, 2010 at 8:23 AM (CDT)


@David (#16): To be fair, the release notes did indicate which features were not compatible with older iPhone and iPod touch models.  Of course, who actually reads those ;)

@shaz (#17): Sadly, no. The BIrthdays calendar is read-only in the same way that iCal subscribed calendars are, so you can’t edit the events even to add a notification.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on June 23, 2010 at 8:42 AM (CDT)


I updated to 4.0 on my iPod touch 3rd gen and everything that uses the Internet is extremely slow. I have rarely have had these problems before the update. I can’t be my Internet connection because my other wireless devices are working fine.

Posted by Henderson in Toronto on June 23, 2010 at 9:25 AM (CDT)


Most of the “power” smartlist users on the forums are reporting that they’re as broken as ever. Perhaps they’ve got the code up to the “standards” of the 5G nano (which is still utterly borked), but actual, full smartlist support is still MIA.

I realize that this is of no consequence to most readers, but the continued silence on this issue in these reviews is troublesome. For people who manage their libraries and iPod family devices via smartlists, the fact that Apple hasn’t had them working properly on a single new device since the 4G nano should not be blithely glossed over.

Posted by Code Monkey in Toronto on June 23, 2010 at 9:39 AM (CDT)

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