iPhone OS4

I can’t afford a new iPhone 4 just yet (still 12 months on my 3GS contract), so I did the next best thing – upgraded the OS to 4.0. So far it has worked fine except that the phone no longer connects to the bluetooth on my car GPS. I guess I’ll have to wait for the GPS to do an update now.

What’s so great about OS4? Well, let me tell you about some of its little secrets.

The best new feature has got to be the multi-tasking ability! Everyone has been asking for it, and now it is here! To access the multitasking menu, double tap the Home button. You’ll see a list of currently running applications that you can scroll through using a sideways finger swipe. You then open an application by tapping its icon. Multi-tasking, however, only works with apps that are designed for OS4, so you will have to upgrade your apps ASAP. Multitasking is limited to audio streaming, VoIP and GPS apps, as well as a few other allowances: they can finish specific, important tasks in the background, for example. As far as non-music/nav/VoIP apps, those can be suspended in the background, but not left running. To close a running application, first use a long press on the related icon. You’ll then see a tiny delete icon in the top left corner.

The second (useful) upgrade is home screen folders. For an app addict like myself, this is a blessing! To create a folder, just drag icons on top of each other. The folder will then appear as a square with tiny icons of the included app inside. You can change the default folder name if you wish. Simply tap the folder to open it. To remove apps from a folder, just drag the related icon back to the home screen.

The third useful new feature is the ability to change your home screen background. This has been a long-time favourite with jailbroken iPhones and now you can do it too! You can also choose whether you want a picture as your lock screen background or your home screen background or both. One problem – you can’t go back to the original black once you have changed it!

Unified email is another feature worth having. Instead of having to switch between your various email accounts, you can now read all your messages in one place. Don’t want to? You don’t have to! You can still open them separately if you don’t want to work on the weekend!

One of my favourites is Geolocation of photos. This allows you to view where you took your latest shots on a map and sort your images by location.

Some of the lesser known (and not always useful) updates that came with OS4: SMS character count, SMS search, 5x digital camera zoom, touch to focus in video, borderless document view, search web or Wikipedia direct from global search screen, spellchecker, resize photos while sending, add playlists to your phone without needing a computer, contact avatar in emails, failed SMS alert, new calculator icon, bluetooth keyboard pairing, Game Centre and iBooks.

There are many more upgrades that came with this OS update and if you Google iPhone OS4, you’re sure to find them. Don’t forget to check out the Apple website.

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