Apple recently updated the operating system for its iPhone and iPad devices. The new version, iOS 5, comes with a lot of neat new features – but with no operating manual. Chances are you don’t even know what’s new in iOS 5.
Okay, then. It’s time to find out about your iPhone or iPad’s new features, and how to use them. There’s some really cool and useful stuff here.
Let’s start with all those little text messages you send and receive on your iPhone. You’re familiar with text messaging, and how every text you send counts against your monthly total from your mobile phone carrier.
Well, they used to, anyway.
That’s because iOS 5 introduces a new feature called iMessage. This feature integrates traditional mobile phone text messaging with Internet-based messaging. In a nutshell, this means that you can now send text messages to other iPhone users over the Internet, instead of via your mobile carrier. That’ll cut down on your cell phone bills, as well as add some useful new functionality to your messaging.
Now, don’t go looking for an iMessage icon on your phone; you won’t find it. That’s because iMessage is fully integrated into your iPhone’s existing Messages app.
When you update your iPhone to iOS 5 and you’re connected to the Internet via either Wi-Fi or 3G, any text you send to a fellow iPhone user will bypass your mobile network and be sent over the Internet, instead. You and your recipient won’t notice much of a difference; the text message looks pretty much the same, except that the little text bubble you see onscreen is blue instead of green (see Figure 1). (Texts sent via traditional SMS messaging remain green.)
Figure 1 Blue iMessage texts in iOS 5.
Because iMessage is part of the operating system, rather than part of your mobile service, all the iMessage texts you send and receive are visible on all your devices running iOS 5. That means you can view and respond to all your phone messages from your iPad or iPod Touch, and vice versa.
And that points out one final benefit of iMessage – it adds messaging functionality to all your non-phone devices. That means you can now use your iPod Touch or iPad to send and receive text messages, as long as it’s connected to the Internet.