Finally, the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone are on a level iOS field. Multitasking, folders, printing, all the big ticket items are there. But what about some of the smaller tweaks to the OS?
We jumped right in to the latest iOS update and have emerged with a list of tips, tricks and features that'll help you get the most out of your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
You need to update iTunes and OS X to update your iPhone, iPod or iPad to iOS 4.2. If you haven't already updated, go ahead, update. We'll wait.
Backup Your iPhone, iPod or iPad
Before you upgrade your device it's always a good idea to back up all of your data. This is especially important when you haven't synced your device in a while. While the chances of a error occurring and forcing you to go full restore are slim, it's always a good idea to backup your stuff.
Plug your device into iTunes, right click on your device in the left panel. Select Back Up from the drop down menu. It might take a while, but it's worth it if things going horribly wrong.
Multi-tasking for iPad
Run more than one app at a time with the multitasking feature. To see which applications are running and to quickly switch between them double tap on your iPhone's Home Button.
Apple may say that you shouldn't have to mess with quiting apps on your iOS device. That doesn't mean that you don't have the ability to actually quit apps.
Double-tap the home button to see the app drawer. Tap and hold on one of the ope apps and they'll get the jigglies. Tap on the red circle in the other left hand corner of the offending app and it'll quit.
Folders for iPad
The iPad now joins the iPhone and iPod touch with folder support.
Tap and hold on an app to start your apps jiggling. Drag two apps together to create a folder. Your iPhone will create a folder and automatically give the folder a name based on the category of the apps. You can can change the folder name to something more appropriate. You can then drag up to 20 apps into your folder.
To remove an app from a folder. Open the folder, tap and hold on the app you want to remove. Drag it out of the folder.
Find My iPhone
If you've lost an iPhone and you haven't signed up for MobileMe, you know the pain and misery of trying to track it down without Find My iPhone. with iOS 4.2 you get free, that's right free, Find My iPhone. There is a catch, you need to set it up with an iPhone 4, iPad, or 4th generation iPod touch. Once that's done, you can find all your iOS devices.
Before you fire up the email client and start printing all those emails from Steve Jobs, we got some bad news for you.
As of press time, only AirPrint-compatible printers will work with your iOS 4.2 device. The shared printing feature Apple showed off before, it's not in this release.
HP ePrint enabled printers are ready for AirPrint. So if you're in the market for a printer and you really want AirPrint, there ya go.
Hopefully, we'll see shared printers in AirPrint soon.
What can print and what can't
While Apple has asked app developers to add printing support to their apps, Apple hasn't flipped the printing switch on some of their own apps.
Here is a list of Apple apps that support and don't support printing. Some of the apps that don't support printing are just confusing.
You can print from Photos, Email, and Safari.
You can't print from Calendar, Notes, Messages, Maps, and Contacts.
If you navigate to a PDF or other document format, like ASHX, in Safari you can tap on the page and it'll give you the option to Open in…
Tap it and it gives you a list of apps that can handle the file type.
Double tap to show the app tray.
Swipe to the left once and you'll see:
iPad: The Orientation lock, the brightness, iPod controls and volume control.
iPhone: Orientation lock, iPod controls
Swipe again on the iPhone and you get:
iPhone: Swipe left again AirPlay and volume
Speaking of Orientation Lock
You've probably seen the hubbub abut the orientation lock button on the iPad turning into a mute button. Well it's true. To lock the orientation of your iPad you have to double tap the home button to enter the app tray and swipe left.
Controlling Ringers and Alerts
You can adjust what is controlled by the volume rocker button on the outside of the iPhone and iPad.
Navigate to Settings > Sounds Change with Buttons to turn the ability to adjust the ringer and alert sounds from the external buttons on or off.
Notice the new rectangle with arrow shooting out of it? Yeah, that's you new friend AirPlay. Airplay sends your pictures, audio, and video to the Apple TV, and audio to Airport Express and third-party speakers that support AirPlay.
In the iPod app the button to send your music via AirPlay. In other apps, the AirPlay icon is to the right of the volume control.
If you have the Apple TV, for video the button is to the right of the controller.
Once the video is playing, you'll see this screen on your iPad.
In AirPlay-compatible apps, the button is to the right controller.
Tap it and you can choose your AirPlay enabled base station or speakers.
For video, it's just like the iPad with the AirPlay button to the right of the controller.
And of course the dialog to remind you where your video is playing.
YouTube Thumbs Up
You can give YouTube videos the thumbs up, or down.
While watching a video on the iPad click on done, the video will get smaller and you'll see the information about the video. Tap the video and at the top of the video you can click on the thumbs.
While watching video on the iPhone or iPod touch, click on done and tap on Rate Comment or Flag. Click on Rate or Comment. There you can get all Siskel & Ebert on the video.
Launch FaceTime while Texting
If you're tired of tappa tappa tappa to talk to someone, you can launch FaceTime from the Messages app. Just scroll up to the top of your contacts messages and there it is between Call and Contact.
More TV shows
Got a TV show on your iPad, now you can get more episodes of your shows from within the Videos app. It'll launch the iTunes app and you can plunk down some $$$ for new episodes of your favorite show.
iOS 4.2 now supports CoreMIDI. All your favorite music apps can be upgraded to work with MIDI devices and with GarageBand and Logic. Really, any app on the Mac that supports MIDI should be able work. All you need is the always magical iPad Camera Connection Kit and a MIDI to USB cable.
If you have multiple email accounts, this will save you tons of frustration on the iPad. We're already in love with this feature on the iPhone and we're happy it's finally on the iPad.
Alpha Numeric Passcode
The iPad has a full keyboard, you might as well take full advantage of it with the new alphanumeric passcode feature.
Navigate to Settings > General > Passcode Lock. Turn off Simple Passcode. Go to Turn Passcode On to set your new super long alpha-numeric passcode.
Just don't forget it.
Search for Text on Web Pages
If you navigate to a site and you're looking for a certain word, you can utilize the search field in mobile Safari. Under Google suggestions on the iPad and iPhone/iPod touch, you'll see "On this Page" with the words you're looking for.
Awesome when you're looking through forums and long articles.
Notes Font Change
Hey you can change the fonts in the Notes app. Settings > Notes and tap next to the font you want.
That's pretty much it.
New Text Tones
If you're rocking the iPhone 4 you get new text tones. If you're not, you're stuck with the old tones. Why? Only Apple knows.
New SMS tones are here and you can finally assign SMS tones to your contacts. We wonder who will be get the blasted horn tone on our iPhones.
Go to Settings>Sounds> Text Tones to check out the new alerts. To assign a tone to a contact. Go to Contacts, select a contact and then select edit an you'll be able to assign a tone to that contact. You can assign a text tone contact on the iPhone 3G, 3GS and iPhone 4.
Got a cool tip? Drop us a comment below or send Robbie a tweet @strngwys.
Bonus Tips from the readers:
From Calob: Go to Apple.com/ios, and scroll down to the bottom. 2nd gen iPod touch gets wallpapers!!!
UPDATE!: Looks like the image above is an error on Apple's part. We can't get wallpaper to work correctly on out 2nd gen iPod touch. It's a lock-screen wallpaper only affair. There's a problem with the Canadian site too.
From texthetitan: No new text tones for iPhone 3G and 3Gs.
Follow this article's author, Roberto Baldwin, on Twitter.