The Beginning Guide to iOS: Settings (Part 3)

This is the Part 3 of our “iOS Beginner Guide” series.

Part 1: Setting your iOS device up
Part 2: Navigating around in your iOS device.
Part 3: Mastering the Settings in your iOS device.

The Settings should be your central “Go to” location for setting everything up just the way you want it in iOS. This is true for setting up your device itself, as well as the native apps that are included with iOS, and many times third-party apps as well. Occasionally these are controlled in the app itself, but any time it’s not, it’s being done right there in the Settings app.

Most of the pictures included below are screencaps from the iPad, but the information is the same on the iPhone and iPod Touch; it’s just done in two panes instead of one side-by-side pane. In fact, to write this up, I’m writing on my iPad, but referring back to my iPhone as an example.



The basic settings are controlled and shown in the General tab. This could actually be a whole post just of itself, but many of these options are ones you won’t ever need for basic use and understanding of iOS. Explained here is the basic information you need to help set up your device. Tapping “Software Update” will let you know if there is an update available or not. Usage will show you how much memory your different apps are using, useful for when you’re running out and want to know where to save space. The Siri tab allows you to turn Siri off and on. More information about Siri will be provided later in the series. In the lock section, you can set a 4-digit Passcode for turning on your device and determine which apps can be shown while it’s locked. Under Reset you can Reset different parts of your device, and even erase the device to start over from scratch.

WiFi and Bluetooth


These two tabs in the Settings App control your connectivity, such as the network you’re connected to, as well as which devices are connected through your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. If you tap on Wi-Fi, you can toggle the WiFi OFF/ON and can also switch back and forth between whatever networks are available to you. Airplane Mode provides you with a Toggle button for for being able to be on an airplane, yet leave your phone on and not disrupt anything, that is as long as they say it’s okay to use electronic devices. On flights with WiFi, you can remain in Airplane Mode, yet still get WiFi. The Bluetooth tab is used to set up bluetooth devices,, and the ones already synced with your device will be shown. Individual Bluetooth devices should give you instructions on how to set them up.

Do Not Disturb


Do Not Disturb is a new feature in iOS 6 and available on the iPhone. It allows you to control who can bother you and when. There is a Toggle button to turn it off and on in the Settings Menu. To set it up, tap on Notifications, then on Do Not Disturb. This will give you a chance to set a Schedule for when you want the feature turned on. I have mine set for midnight until just before my alarm goes off at 5 AM. You can allow a particular Contact group to circumvent this feature and have their calls be put through, and can also allow phone calls through if it’s someone repeatedly trying to get in contact with you. More information is provided in an earlier article on Make Tech Easier. More information will be provided on Notifications later in this series.



The Sounds tab allows you to set ringtones, alert tones, and vibrations for different functions. The vibrations and ringtones are just for iPhone. A different sound or vibration can be programmed for each different function or contact so that you know what notification you’re getting or who is calling or texting you. Additionally with vibrations, you can choose to have it only work when it’s on mute or all the time, Vibrations can now be customized as well on the iPhone by clicking the arrow next to Vibration in the Ringtones and Vibrations panel, then clicking “Create New Vibration.” New Ringtones and Alerts can be purchased in iTunes. By going to the Contacts app you can set individual ringtones, text alerts, and vibrations for different people.

Brightness & Wallpaper


In Brightness & Wallpaper, you can set not only the brightness of your display, but also set custom wallpaper for the Home Screen and the Lock Screen. By clicking on the arrow following the pictures underneath the word Wallpaper, it takes you to an additional screen where you can either choose one of the included photos, or choose one from your Camera Roll or Photo Stream. On the iPad, choose a photo, then select whether you want it for the Home Screen, Lock Screen, or both. On the iPhone, Move and Scale the photo the way you wish, click Set, then choose Home Screen, Lock Screen, or both. The Picture Frame Setting allows you to set albums, duration, and style for a slideshow. This slideshow can be accessed in the bottom right corner of the Lock Screen.

The remaining settings will be handled in later discussions in this series. In the next article, we will go through the Installing and Uninstalling Apps in iOS. Stay tuned.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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