Apple iOS 6 review: A worthwhile upgrade

iOS has now evolved into a robust and powerful mobile OS.

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If you chose to restore the iPhone and start from scratch, this is where you'll be thankful for the aforementioned backup: Just sign in and choose Restore from iCloud or iTunes.That brings back all of your data and settings as if nothing happened, right down to app placement. By the way, if you're restoring from an iCloud backup, you can initiate one over cellular data, such as LTE, but I highly recommend Wi-Fi; otherwise, you may use up your monthly data allowance in one shot.

As apps begin to download, if you need to use a specific app immediately, tap its icon to bring that app to the front of the download queue and it'll begin transferring in moments.

I should note a minor glitch I came across, in case you encounter it: At one point, I was given a warning that the Restore was incomplete, and that I should plug the phone back to iTunes to finish. After tapping OK, the iPhone continued to restore itself from my iCloud backup. I didn't have to connect to iTunes to install any apps.

If Wi-Fi syncing with iTunes is something you still want to do, you're going to have to plug in your iPhone/iPad at some point and enable Wi-Fi syncing under the summary tab. Once you've done that, your device's avatar will still show in the iTunes sidebar, even after you unplug it. Click on the avatar and use the different tabs to select which apps, movies, TV shows, songs, books and podcasts to copy. After making your changes, click Apply and Sync in the lower right-hand corner of the iTunes window. When you plug your iPhone in at night, it will automatically connect with the iTunes computer -- as long as both are on the same Wi-Fi network -- and sync up any changes. (This usually happens after the iCloud backup is complete.)

A better way to decline calls

Although the updated Phone app looks the same, save for the new Keypad, which gets a lighter color scheme, there are welcome changes. The biggest involves how you decline a phone call. In iOS 5, a swipe across the iPhone's lock screen answered a call, and a button located at the top of the screen dismissed it. For many, myself included, hitting that button made it easy to forgot a call ever took place.

In iOS 6, there's a new option to slide the on-screen phone icon vertically, revealing two actions: Remind Me Later and Reply With Message. Selecting either gives you even more options, such as location- and time-based reminders under the Remind Me Later button and a couple of quick responses available under Reply With Messages. You can edit the quick response messages under Settings> Phone> Reply with Message, or you can manually type a response.

It's amazing how much impact this simple change can make, allowing me to be much more diligent in returning phone calls.

There may be times when you don't want to answer your phone at all and Apple has you covered there, too. iOS 6 features a new system-wide Do No Disturb feature that can be manually turned on or set to activate during customizable hours.

Do Not Disturb in iOS 6
The new Do No Disturb option blocks all calls and notifications, stopping your iPhone from lighting up in the middle of the night with alerts and unwanted calls.

Do No Disturb does just that: blocks all calls and notifications, which effectively puts an end to your phone lighting up in the middle of the night for alerts and unwanted calls. You can also create a custom group of people whose calls are allowed to go through no matter what, even if Do Not Disturb is on. There's even a setting that allows a call to get through if the same phone number calls more than once within a three-minute time span. That's designed to help a caller connect in case of an emergency. Do Not Disturb can be activated through a toggle in the Settings app; specific preferences can be modified in Settings>Notifications>Do Not Disturb.

Siri enhanced, but it's still in beta

Last year, despite its beta status, Siri was the star of the show; this year, while the technology is still official in beta, she's up to new tricks.

To begin with, Siri is available on more devices. With iOS 6, it's available on the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 (of course) as well as this year's Retina display iPad and fifth-generation iPod touch.

Siri in iOS 6
Siri can give you quick access to restaurant information.
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