New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots

Of tremendous interest to iPad users in particular, Apple debuted the beta version of iOS 4.2 today after a teaser revelation of the update at a media event in San Francisco earlier this month. Based on photos and details submitted by an anonymous source, we’ve compiled a collection of changes and improvements that have been made to the iPad version of iOS. Here’s what’s new and notable.

New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 2

Home Screen and Game Center. Game Center has been added to the iPad home screen for multiplayer game matchmaking and tracking of achievements within supported iOS 4.1 and later games. No other icons have been added to the Home Screen.

 

New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 3

The Game Center application preserves the general look and feel of the iPhone/iPod touch app that was in testing with iOS 4.0 and released to the public in iOS 4.1, with the same four tabs at the bottom of the screen.

 

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Multitasking and Folders. iOS 4.0 features have been brought over to the iPad for the first time, with a double-click on the Home Button calling up a scrollable dock at the bottom of the screen for multitasking—now up to seven icons at once rather than four (iPhone/iPod touch)—and with play/track controls, whatever music application you’re using, and screen orientation lock buttons found off to the left of the multitasking dock. What looks like a volume slider is actually a brightness adjustment tool for the screen, now accessible without going all the way back into the device’s settings.

 

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Notably, at least in this version of the iOS 4.2 beta, the iPad’s side orientation lock switch has regressed to the feature Apple originally said it would have: turning the audio on and off. The orientation lock button in the multitasking dock works to lock the iPad in either landscape or portrait orientation, whereas the iPhone and iPod touch can only be locked into portrait orientation. It’s odd that Apple shows the repurposed icon, which has been freshly redrawn for the iPad, as a crossed out bell—the same “turn off the ringer” icon used for the iPhone, rather than a muted speaker. Why the switch was changed to this purpose at this point, and the concept of the ringer, may point to disabling ringing within VoIP or future FaceTime-capable iPads.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 7

Folder support works almost exactly as it does on the iPhone and iPod touch running iOS 4.0; drag one icon atop another to create a folder, then tap on the folder to open it, splitting the screen into panes to reveal its contents. Folder names are automatically generated and easy to change with the on-screen keyboard as you prefer. One surprise: you can have up to 20 icons in a folder on the iPad, up from 12 on the iPhone and iPod touch.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 9

AirPlay and iTunes. Apple’s new wireless audio/video/photo streaming and driverless printing features are just beginning to see the light of day in the iOS 4.2 release.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 11

AirPlay lets you stream audio from your iPad to AirPlay-capable devices, including the AirPort Express and new Apple TVs. Support for old Apple TVs is apparently not included, at least in this version of the beta, and possibly not forthcoming. Accessing AirPlay is handled through the iPod application using the new AirPlay button at the top of the screen.

 

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The icon remains regardless of whether you’re in the Now Playing screen or within the browsing screen of the iPod app.

 

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Notably, the iPad version of iTunes does not yet support Ping, Apple’s music social network, but the feature could easily be pushed into the application at any time as it was with the iPhone and iPod touch.

AirPrint, Mail and Safari. Mail has gained the unified mailbox and threaded view features found in iOS 4.0 for iPhone and iPod touch.

 

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It has also gained a print feature, which Apple now refers to as “AirPrint,” though the word Print is used within iOS 4.2 for the time being.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 16

The options are dead simple: select a printer and the number of copies, then hit print. You’ll need an AirPlay compatible printer or a printer on an existing wireless network to make it work.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 18
New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 19

Safari gets the print feature, too, along with an updated icon that lets you know how many Safari pages are open (or, at least, being semi-cached) at once.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 21

Print jobs are managed through “Print Center,” an application that runs in the background to provide status on each queued printing task, a delete option, and a small preview of what’s being printed.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 23

Safari also includes a new “On This Page” search feature, which is initially implemented using the top-of-screen Google search bar, providing both Google search results and in-page search results. If you bring up the keyboard, you can hit a “next” button to move through the yellow-highlighted search terms, and enter a new search term.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 25

Notes. Hate Marker Felt? So do we. So we were excited when the screenshots arrived showing support for two more fonts: Helvetica and Chalkboard. Apple sure seems set on making the selection of fonts look weak here by comparison with Pages, but Helvetica will do nicely for the time being.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 27

You choose the font under Settings, not within the Notes application itself.

Settings. There are lots and lots of subtle changes here. We’ll just briefly mention what the screenshots show.

 

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Events have been added as another option for Picture Frame. You can also set the number of seconds before photos change.

 

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There’s now a way to disable 3G in favor of EDGE, reducing battery drain and data speeds.

 

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A proper location services menu now provides iOS 4-standard control over notifications and permissions for the location hardware in iPads.

 

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Large text has been added to the Accessibility settings to make the iPad’s screen easier for visually disabled users to read.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 33
New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 34
New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 35

A bunch of new keyboards have been added.

 

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The new spellchecker has been added to the iPad.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 38

Parental restrictions have been expanded to add controls over deleting applications and changes to e-mail accounts, as well as disabling multiplayer games over Game Center.

 

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Content ratings have been added for additional countries.

 

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Controls over the types of content searched by Spotlight have been added.

 

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And calendar display options to use either the Buddhist or Japanese (imperial) date systems have been added to the prior Gregorian calendar as options, as well.

iPhone/iPod touch Games on iPad. At least for now, games with high-definition Retina Display support do not appear to be capable of running in Retina Display mode on the iPad. They still display with 1X/2X buttons at lower 480×320 resolution.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 43

iPhone + iPod touch Changes. Though iOS 4.2 will be of greatest interest to iPad owners because of the major changes it makes to folder, multitasking, and other features of the previously restricted device, this release of iOS is designed to more or less unify features across all of Apple’s portable iOS devices, so features such as AirPlay and AirPrint are coming to the iPhone and iPod touch, as well. The screenshots above show AirPlay devices available for audio streaming in iPod video playback mode, while the ones below demonstrate how the AirPlay button is available in photo playback mode, enabling you to stream photos from these devices to an AirPlay-compatible video device such as the second-generation Apple TV, as well as the AirPrint feature that lets you print photos to a wireless printer.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 45

Multi-photo selections can be printed simultaneously using the printing interface, which consumes the entire iPhone/iPod touch screen.

 

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New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots 47

As on the iPad, Print Center is available to manage the queued print jobs and provide status updates. Multiple discovered wireless printers can be selected individually for print jobs.

 

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FaceTime is now accessible from within the Messages application, via a new button that appears between the prior “Call” and “Contact Info” (now “Add Contact”) buttons at the top of a messaging window. Notes gains the new Chalkboard and Helvetica font options, as it did on the iPad.

 

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Settings for applications are mostly the same between the devices, now, save for a new “Ringer and Alerts Change with Buttons” feature, which lets you determine whether you want the physical volume buttons on the device to be able to control the ringer and alert volumes, or have the ringer and alerts stay at a software-adjusted level without button modifications. iOS 4.2 for the iPhone and iPod touch also brings other settings tweaks found in the iPad screens above.

 

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Surprisingly, the Voice Memos application icon has been changed to look identical to the simpler blue icon introduced on the sixth-generation iPod nano, and away from the photorealistic black and red image of an old-fashioned microphone that has previously appeared in iPhone OS/iOS releases.

We’ll update this article with additional details as we receive them. iOS 4.2 is expected to be released for general consumption in November. Thanks to our source for the screenshots and details.

27 thoughts on “New in iOS 4.2: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots”

  1. Have there been any indications iOS 4.2 enables simple file transfer within a wireless network. eg transfer pictures from a NAS to iPad and back without using Apps like FileBrowser?

    Reply
  2. @Mike11 (#4): I expect this would apply to all apps. Bear in mind that most non-game apps, however, are designed to be resolution independent. They may provide Retina Display elements such as higher-res icons, but the general UI doesn’t have to be Retina Display specific — standard IOS UI elements (fonts, buttons, etc) are simply rendered in higher resolution on a Retina Display device like the iPhone 4.

    Apple could have theoretically done the same thing with the iPad from day one, but my guess is that they wanted developers to redesign their UIs to make better use of the larger screen rather than just copping out and letting it blow everything completely out of proportion like one of those big-button telephones. 🙂

    Reply
  3. With iOS 4.2 it makes it easier than pulling the switch. Double click the home button, a swipe to the right followed by a tap = orientation lock. Much cooler IMO

    Reply
  4. “iPhone/iPod touch Games on iPad. At least for now, games with high-definition Retina Display support do not appear to be capable of running in Retina Display mode on the iPad. They still display with 1X/2X buttons at lower 480×320 resolution.”

    So Apps with retina resolution but that are not games get displayed in their native 960×640 resolution on the iPad?

    Reply
  5. What I have been waiting for forever is the ability to adjust the screen brightness on the iPhone while playing back movies/TV shows without having to stop the video and go to the settings page.

    This used to be an option on my 5G iPod video and it worked great.

    Reply
  6. has anyone else noticed that you can no longer “view account” under cellular data to track your 3G usage and change plans with 4.2? Where did they move this to?

    Reply
  7. @Jim (#8): It seems that this will now be possible, at least on the iPad — the multitasking dock/widget has brightness controls. Be interesting to see if this shows up on the iPhone and iPod touch with 4.2, although I’m not sure there’s room for it unless they redesign the layout.

    @Adam (#9): I think it may just be a beta thing. I’m seeing reports that users outside of the U.S. have actually lost 3G connectivity with this beta altogether.

    Reply
  8. @Jesse David Hollington:
    If the iPad with 4.2 shows retina display enhanced apps at 100% in 1x mode, then they would be as big as old non-retina apps in 2x mode. Which would mean that everything would not be super blocky because it got blown up with primitive pixel doubling. Yes, apps would still look huge, but they would look sharp.

    Reply
  9. This isn’t what is happening, however. As the article points out, Retina Display enhanced apps are shown in 1X mode at 480×320 — the resolution of pre-Retina Display screens. Retina Display enhanced apps still include graphical elements for older iOS devices, and it seems that these are what the iPad is using.

    Any standard UI elements such as buttons and fonts are resolution-independent anyway. The original iPad, running iOS 3.2 was perfectly capable of rendering most non-game iPhone 480×320 apps in the full iPad resolution — Apple merely chose not to do so for whatever reason. The 2X “iPhone Compatibility Mode” even renders the on-screen keyboard in the 480×320 resolution, making it look blocky when doubled.

    To me it’s pretty clear that Apple wants to “encourage” developers to built proper iPad-native apps and not just rely on the compatibility mode as a cheat.

    Reply
  10. @Jake:

    IMO means In My Opinion. I would rather do everything on the front of the device than feeling around for a switch. Its personal preference.

    Reply
  11. Any idea if Airprint allows to set Print options? Can I select a paper tray/ paper type, or does it simply print with the default Printer settings?

    Reply
  12. From what information I’ve seen available thus far, it looks like some basic options such as two-sided printing will be available on printers that support it, but it’s unclear whether anything more than that is available.

    Reply
  13. Well I’m extremely happy about the new notes font, but i hate the new voice memos icon. It looks too android-y, doesn’t it?

    Reply
  14. I’d LOVE to see iOS 4’s version of Safari get the ability to support the Mac’s Safari 5 Extensions!!!!

    AdBlocker, please!

    Reply
  15. Thanks very much for this very thorough background on the iOS 4.2 update.

    One question. Is battery life significantly affected at all on iPads (3G or Wi Fi) after performing the update?

    Reply
  16. Thanks for a good summary. One question – with multitasking, how do I terminate an app? As in make sure it’s gone; stopped; no longer consuming resources. I am thinking here particularly of Skype.

    Any answers will be much appreciated.

    Reply
  17. i have the ipod touch 1st or 2nd gen i can’t remember but will this update do anything for me? it seems to be all about the ipad

    Reply
  18. I found an imperfection in iOS 4.2. For my iPod Touch 4th generation, if i search music in portrait and then turn the iPod to landscape then the iPod will not detect the rotation to show the coverflow.

    Reply

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