By Paula Bostrom updated on 12/10/2013
Our iPhones and iPads are capable of amazing things, but most of us only use a small percentage of their abilities. In this weekly column I share tips and tricks for beginners, or anyone who wants to harness the full power of their iDevice. This week, I'm going to give you some tips for Notifications, Passcodes, and Restrictions.
1. Turn Off Certain Notifications
If you are getting annoyed with all the notification messages you get at the locked screen from apps you've downloaded, there is a way to turn them off.
Go to Settings > Notification Center. There you will see a list of all of your apps. You can turn off all of them, or only the ones that are bothering you.
2. Turn Off Passcode
When you downloaded iOS 7 and you didn't already have a passcode set on your phone, the upgrade automatically turned it on. I know it's more secure to have a passcode set on your phone, since if you lose it no one can access your information, but I get impatient having to go through the extra step of entering a passcode to use my phone. (Guess that's where the new fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s will come in handy whenever I get one.)
A friend of mine feels the same way. "If I lose my phone, I'll just lock it with Find My iPhone," she said.
If you don't have any classified secrets on your phone here's how to turn off the passcode lock. Go to Settings > General > scroll down to Passcode Lock. Select this and then tap on Turn Passcode Off.
3. Turn Off App Access For Little Ones
Have you ever handed your iPhone or iPad over to a toddler to keep them busy with a game or video only to have them open other apps and start pushing buttons? There is a way to disable all apps but the one you want him or her to play with. First, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Tap to turn on and then tap on Set Passcode. Think of a 4-digit code that you can use to disable this feature when it's not in use.
To put it to use, either open the app you want them to play with or start a video, then press the Home button three times and tap on Guided Access. You then must press start to enable it. Now the screen is locked to only that particular app or video.
To get your Home Screen back, press the Home Button three times again and enter your passcode and choose Turn Off Guided Access. Now your iPhone/iPad will function normally again.
4. Set Restrictions
Following the same theme with young ones who are using your iDevice, you can set restrictions that limit what they can see, view, or hear. To do this go to Settings > General > Restrictions. Enter a 4-Digit Passcode you will remember and then tap on Enable Restrictions. From here you can restrict explicit music and podcasts and any R-rated movies or shows on your device, for example, or restrict any apps that are rated 17+. You also have choices to restrict PG-13 movies or any app age limit suggestions. Same goes for certain Websites, Facebook, or Twitter. There are many options in Restrictions to choose from depending on what you want others to view or not view.