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Complete guide to iPhone and iPad settings

Updated on February 29, 2016

This is a complete guide about settings of iOS 9 which is the latest iOS update by Apple for iPhone and iPad. Learn how to configure control panel, set wifi and cellular data, figure out how to deal with notifications and lots of other new stuff.

Settings of your iPhone or iPad offer lots of new things and tactics in latest update of Apple for iPhone and iPad. Besides the typical settings of Setting up wifi, cellular data, Bluetooth and other stuff, there are many things which you still need to know about iOS 9. In this guide we have covered most of the new settings applied by Apple in their latest update.

However, I will keep on updating you in my next hubs on similar topic with new tips and tricks and settings so be sure to check it again to master yourself. In this article we are going to begin with basic settings of General, Notifications, Privacy, iCloud, iTunes and many others. Let’s check them out:

What's new in iOS 9 - Overview

IOS Settings
IOS Settings

How to change different settings in iOS 9?

If you are a new user of iOS 9, you may not be aware of many settings and adjustments you can do with your iPhone. In this article we are going to unveil the brand new settings changes made by Apple and teach you how to fix small issues on your iPhone in just few seconds. In order to start learning this simple process, just tap on settings icon on your iPhone home screen and enter into settings.

By default the settings iCon is placed at the end of your iPhone home screen and you can access it easily. Recently Apple has recognized that settings of iPhone and iPad are getting complex and that is why they introduced a new feature named as “Control Panel”- a quick settings controlling place for most occasionally used stuff. We will begin our guide with discussing control panel.

Control Panel:

You can access control by just tapping over the lower border of your iPhone screen and then sliding it upwards screen. This will slide up a control panel tray in front of you which has different quick On/Off buttons of different settings.

These simple and easy to access settings allow you to access controls of brightness & volume, switch ON/OFF for Airplane mode, Wifi, Bluetooth, Do not disturb Mode. You can also open camera from here and Light up Torch of your iPhone/Ipad. Moreover, you can access calculator and Air Drop from this control panel by just one single tap.

Best thing about control panel is that it is available anytime. You can even access it on locked screen and make quick actions with your main functions of iPhone.

Airplane mod
Airplane mod

AirPlane Mode:

As we know that only a few options are available in control panel for settings and that is why we have decided to quickly move towards our Main Settings menu. As we enter the main menu, we can see different groups of settings available in this menu. The very first one in the list is Airplane mode which enables us to change our general mode to airplane mode. We are too busy and keep on taking flights from one city to another, country to another and during those flights we are only concerned with music. Airplane mode quickly stops using any kind of cellular data, switches off all wifi ports and other mainstream settings. Airplane mode is also a good source of saving batter especially when we are running over the last 10% of battery life. It instantly closes different functions which can drink up our last 10% in few minutes.

Wifi, Bluetooth
Wifi, Bluetooth

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Data Roaming on the iPhone:

The next setting in the list is the most important and frequently used ones that are Wifi, Bluetooth and Data roaming. You can turn on/off Bluetooth and Wifi by going into their folder and toggling the action bar to green or plain. The most important one here is cellular data usage which cannot be accessed from control panel. This is kind of service which uses your cellular networks internet and for which you are often charged by your cellular service providing company. By default this function is turned on and your company will keep on charging you for internet until and unless you come here and switch it off. Keep data roaming and it will restrict your internet usage only to Wifi. This way you will save yourself from huge cellular bills at the end of month.


Notifications on iPhone:

Next option in the list is of notifications. You can customize the way notifications may appear on your iPhone screen in locked condition and unlocked condition. In this option of settings you can easily switch off and on the control panel on locked screen. You can also customize the “Do not disturb” option in this menu. We have already discussed that we can access do not disturb option in control panel as well but we can schedule time here in this option. You can set time when your iPhone must go on do not disturb mode and you do not get disturbed by any calls or texts from mates.

But most important function is this area is of notifications itself. There are many apps and games in your iPhone which keep on sending you pop up notifications when your iPhone is locked. It can be facebook, or any other social media app or some news app like BBC. All mail apps also keep on sending notifications that you have just received a new mail from someone. Although it’s important to keep yourself upto date about latest emails but some notifications are just annoying. Yes, the useless games notifications asking you to come back to the game are often annoying for you during your work hours. The notification panel displays you a complete list of apps which are going to send you notifications. You can turn ON/OFF notifications by toggling switch available on each app. This way you will be able to save yourself from non-serious notifications.

Software Update
Software Update

General Settings on the iPhone: Software Update, Auto-Lock & Usage

General panel although does not look as important but it holds some of the most important and major settings into it. You can access “Software update” feature in general folder and download and update weekly bugs and fixes updates from here. You can also access Auto Lock Security function in this folder and set up your lock mode and passcode. Besides previously discussed features, you can also access the most important “Usage” function in this folder. Usage folder enables you to view which apps and games are drinking up most of your iPhones battery and whether you should keep them or delete them. You can easily check battery usage by different apps in this function.

Auto Refresh
Auto Refresh

Background app refresh:

Background app refresh is a valuable option available in your settings panel. You can access this option from settings. This setting is mainly concerned with the auto update of most of the apps. Apps like news apps or social media apps keep on providing you with notifications even when you are not actually using them. This is because they are using background app refresh feature by which they automatically fetch new updates or data. This may keep you up to date with latest news and stock market rates, these apps can also help in draining your iPhone’s battery quickly. So it is up to you to keep this feature on for some apps or turn it off simply.



This feature is also available in general settings and you can easily access it by dropping down in general settings. Handoff is a new feature that allows you to start documents or emails in your iPhone and complete them in Mac or iPad. Although we have not yet made best use of this feature but still it exists. You can access handoff settings by going into general and accessing your target folder.

The general settings panel is followed by some settings which are mainly related to the hardware of your iPhone. This is often followed by settings like Sounds, Brightness and Display but most important among all of these are Privacy settings.

There are lots of security and privacy functions available in iOS 9 but most importantly in privacy settings we see that what third party apps are trying to access our personal information. Most of the third party apps try to access our photos, location and health info and we can control this access by allowing them whether to access it or not. We can switch on or off this by going into privacy settings where a long list of third party apps is given. We can allow or disable each app for accessing our personal information in this option.

iTunes settings
iTunes settings

iTunes settings on iPhone:

iOS 9 is full of useful settings and controls which allow users to make best use of their device. The next settings after privacy setting are iTunes settings. iTunes options are very simple and straight however some options are very dangerous especially those which use background cellular data to download different data from your other iOS devices. So it is better to turn off cellular data for iTunes otherwise in the end of the month you are going to curse yourself for not doing it.

iCloud settings
iCloud settings

iCloud settings on the iPhone:

The iCould setting panel is a bit too long for us to cover here and I am looking forward to write down a separate hub on iCloud settings and its functions. However, I've tried to cover the most essential parts of this settings folder so that you may get a basic know how of it.

iCloud is the best app or tool to share images, videos, audios, emails, contacts and files created in different apps. One great feature of iCloud is of Find My iPhone. This feature enables you to locate any of your iOS running device which is logged into iCloud account. It also sends your final location to Apple server before your battery runs out or your iPhone goes off. This will help in increasing the security of your iPhone and in future there will be less chances when you ll lose your device in your home. Find my iPhone feature also works with iMacs and iPads and you can use it to find your devices if they get lost or stolen.

After iCloud there are different standard app setting options listed in your settings menu. All you have to do is to select each app and check its settings and adjust them according to your requirements. The standard apps which are listed in settings include mail, contacts and there are also other apps which are purchased or installed by the user itself. In other words we can say that iCloud settings are followed by app settings which includes various different apps you have on your iPhone.


Getting personal on your iPhone:

The first section of settings is pretty simple and straightforward however the upcoming section is quite technical and full of new features. I often leave my desk and go out with my MacBook pro but due to lack of Wifi hotspots on different locations out there I often find it difficult to use internet on my Macbook. At this point my iPhone comes into play as now we can use it as a Wifi Hotspot and enjoy mobile broadband on our Mac, iPhone or iPad. All you have to do is to enter this option and turn on personal wifi hotspot for viral internet sharing.

This is a best way to connect and use internet on your different wifi enabled devices for free and fully secure. All you have to do is to turn on the personal wifi hotspot and turn on your wifi and Bluetooth. This way your laptop will be able to search and locate your personal hotspot. Your personal hotspot is often protected with a password for your security. You can check the password of your wifi hotspot in this folder and then enter it on your laptop. You can also use mobile broadband on your laptop by using data cable of your iPhone as well. This will help you in saving battery of your iPhone as well.

If you are running the latest Yosemite on your Mac then you can easily connect to personal wifi hotspot without even unlocking your iPhone.


Hey “Siri” on the iPhone:

Siri is more better, intelligent and responsive in iOS 9. As we have discussed earlier the our settings folder is mainly stuffed with simple and tough stuff altogether but if we have to learn each and everything then we must take a closer look at everything listed here. One amazing feature that is available in your iOS 9 is of Siri which now can be used without even pressing your home button for a specific period of time. All you have to do is to say “Hey Siri” and it will respond to your queries right away. In IOS 9 you can ask siri different things like "Hey Siri, can you show me pictures I took at Jimi’s wedding?

Now siri can also remind you different tasks to do on specific times. For example you can tell siri to remind you to call your wife when you are in car to go home from your office and siri will do. I am not sure how siri do this but it is amazing feature. You can turn this option on and when your iPhone or iPad is connected with a power source, you can communicate or give commands to siri and enjoy hands free communication with your device. However, keeping this feature turned on all the time may drain your battery quickly. I think this is the only reason why Apple thinks that you must connect your iPhone to power source while using this amazing siri feature. There are also other Siri features and settings available in this section such as changing language of siri and switching between male and female voice of Siri.


Spotlight on your iPhone:

After Siri in general settings, we have Spotlight settings panel in there which allows us to control how Spotlight works in our iPhone. On the contrary spotlight is a feature which can be used by sliding down one finger downwards on any Home screen page on iPhone. This is basically a search feature which searches and finds stuff from the apps and icons available on your iPhones Home screen. However, you can customize spotlight’s working by going into its settings and turning on or off different extra settings i.e. do not show all songs in search. Here is another feature named as “Spotlight Suggestions” which allows you to search not only in your Home screen but also around internet and bring useful results for you.

HandOff feature settings:

After spotlight, we have Handoff feature in the pipeline. This is the feature that is available in iOS 9 and on iPhone and Mac. This feature allows you to start writing a note or email on your iPhone and then complete it on your Mac. This feature is amazing which makes it easy for you to operate your iPhone from your Mac. You can even pick calls or make calls from your Mac while your iPhone is locked and resting beside you. To be honest, handoff is an amazing feature to its best and we make best use of it in different situations. All we have to do is to turn this feature on in settings and then wait for it to display the apps that are working with handoff feature. This feature is quite difficult and hectic to set up however once it goes on, it is not going to stop without fun.


Setting restrictions on iPhone:

iPhone with iOS 9 is certainly loaded with plenty of new hidden feature which make your user experience with iPhone simply amazing. Now your iPhone enables you to set restrictions on different apps and online purchases and keep your kids restricted from ruining your monthly budget. All you have to do is to enter this settings panel and go to allow panel. All apps are by default on disable mode and now it is up to you to change whatever apps settings you want. You can disable use of apps like safari and others and also restrict other users from making online purchases in iTunes store and iBooks store. Once you will disable an app, that app will no longer be available at Home screen of your iPhone making it strange for your kids to find where it actually went. Although only iBooks app remains where it is and readers or users can read the books that you have purchased. However, they do not have access to making any kind of purchases online.

In-App Purchases
In-App Purchases

How to control in-app purchases on iPhone:

In app purchases are very common in third party apps and even in App store products. These are basically to pump users in buying more stuff to enhance their user experience. However this new feature often turns out to be a major money waster as your kids make unlimited purchases while playing different games on your iPad or iPhone. Apple has done wonderful job by allowing users to control the in app purchases from settings panel. You can control it by going into Restrictions panel and scrolling down to access allowed content. From here you can access the complete list of apps which support in-app purchases and toggle their button to either on or off for in app purchases. This way you will save yourself from damaging your pocket at the end of month from unexpected in-app purchases made by your kids or crazy friends while playing different games on your iPhone.

I've done with most common settings guide about iPhone settings. However, there is too much which is still left behind and I will continue it next article. I will research and find new ways of exploring the settings of your iPhone.

Now in below video you can check some interesting hidden features of iOS 9.

iOS 9 Top 50 Hidden Features

Are you using IOS 9?

See results

If you did not update your iOS version so check video below that how to update your iOS.


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