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iOS 4: Essential Early Reading

As with most major Apple releases, iOS 4 has unleashed an avalanche of reviews, discussions, and analysis, not to mention piles of news coverage. With so little time in the day, how does one manage to sift through all the coverage to find the most useful bits? Luckily for you, we here at TidBITS have already done plenty of sifting. Below you’ll find links to practical articles covering everything from a basic introduction to advanced user tips.

Overviews — Why should I upgrade to iOS 4? How do I even do that? Is it going to cost me anything? If you’re asking basic questions like these, check out Macworld’s piece “iOS 4: What You Need to Know.” It covers all the essentials about Apple’s latest operating system: the major features, compatibility issues, and the nuts and bolts of downloading and installing the update.

If, however, you’re looking to go beyond the basics and want an in-depth review of iOS 4, Jacqui Cheng’s tome at Ars Technica covers all the major changes, and many of the minor ones. Jacqui’s review is a great place to sink your teeth into the details.

Focused Features — While overviews are helpful, sometimes you want to zero in on a specific feature and read about its finer points, much as we did with iBooks (“iBooks 1.1 Adds PDF Support, Runs on All iOS Devices,” 23 June 2010) and fast app switching (“What is Fast App Switching?,” 23 June 2010). At Macworld, Dan Frakes has penned two great articles: one on using folders and another on changes in Mail.

In a similar vein, Ted Landau has a piece on multitasking in iOS 4 (or rather, the technical lack thereof) at The Mac Observer. While he takes a few swipes at Apple’s implementation of the much-requested feature, his review is not entirely without praise (or helpful pointers).

Another feature you’ve probably been hearing a lot about is FaceTime, Apple’s video conferencing app that works only on the iPhone 4. Dan Moren’s article at Macworld takes you through the ins and outs of the feature, from basic controls to privacy features.

Finally, The Mac Observer’s list of quick tips – recently dominated by iOS 4 material – contains helpful morsels of information. The latest ones have covered everything from resuming an interrupted upgrade to finding and using the Digital Zoom feature in iOS 4’s Camera app.

Direct From Apple — Users and journalists aren’t the only ones participating in the conversation about iOS 4. Apple has gotten involved too, recently adding a new “Awesome iOS 4 Apps” section to the App Store that highlights apps that have been optimized and improved for iOS 4.

Apple has also now published the iOS 4 User Guide (PDF link) on its Web site. It contains over 200 pages worth of step-by-step instruction and overview for the latest features and functions of iOS 4, straight from the source. You can also find a portable version already on your phone: open Safari, tap the Bookmarks button, and locate the iPhone User Guide at the bottom of the Bookmarks list. Safari may request that it use 5 MB of the phone’s storage space to store the data; tap the Allow button.

Just don’t look for it to help you with iOS features that are confusing or don’t work as advertised or are better implemented in third-party apps – that’s the sort of thing our Take Control ebooks and other independent works aim to do.

Share With Us — While the listings above are but a fraction of the current coverage of iOS 4, we hope they help you get started unlocking the potential of iOS 4. Be sure to let us know in the comments section if you’ve found any other helpful or interesting articles.

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