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iOS 4: An Early Look


iOS 4 On My iPhone 3Gs - Home Screen

Thanks to a buddy at AT&T, I’m now running the new Apple iOS 4 on my iPhone 3Gs ahead of the release date to the rest of the world (Apple will formally release iOS 4 on June 21st).  I’ve actually had the Gold Master of iOS 4 for over a week, but had to wait for Apple to release iTunes 9.2 for the PC in order to install it.  Having iOS 4  will certainly make waiting for my pre-ordered iPhone 4 to ship a bit easier.  Especially given the fact that I was among the many who was unable to get a pre-order processed in time to get my shipped on launch day (June 24th) – I’ll be waiting until July…sometime…

While a few of the features of iOS 4 are designed to specifically function with the new iPhone 4, most will function on the iPhone 3Gs and iPhone 3G.  These features include:

  • Multi-Tasking
  • Unified inbox
  • Spell Check
  • Folders
  • Bluetooth Keyboard Support (this has me interested…)
  • Persistent WiFi (WiFi stays on even when the phone is in sleep mode)
  • Orientation Lock

There are several more tweaks and enhancements, but these are the main areas of new and improved functionality which iOS 4 brings.


Double tap the home screen button, and you’ll see a horizontal icon list of aps currently running in the background:

Multi-Tasking: Double Tap the Home Screen

You can “swipe” this list left and right to see more aps which might be running in the background.  If you want to “kill” an app running in the background, simply touch and hold an icon to put them in “jiggly mode” (like you would move an app icon to another screen in previous iOS versions) and you’ll see minus signs appear next to each app icon on the multi-task bar:

Jiggly Mode in the Multi-Task Interface

Simple touch the app you wish to kill, and it gets removed from the icon list, signifying it is no longer running in the background.  Sweet!


Folders should help us power users really “clean up” and organize our apps.  To create a folder, you have to move one app (by touching and holding to go into “jiggly mode”) on top of another, which will bring up the new folder icon.  iOS 4 will intuitively suggest a name for the new folder – in this case, I’m grouping  a couple of photo editing aps together, and iOS 4 suggests the name “Photography” for the new folder:

Creating a Folder for my Photography Related Aps

In the next example, I wanted to create a folder to group my wrist watch related applications together.  iOS 4 suggested the name “Books” but I changed the name to “Watch Apps.”

Creating a Folder For My Watch Apps

Pretty slick eh?

Of course, you’ve probably noticed some cosmetic changes in the above screen shots from my iPhone – iOS 4 does have some new wallpapers which are carry overs from the recently released iPad.  Hopefully, we’ll soon see some more interesting ones coming out of the development community.

I’m still playing with many of the new features and determining when and how I’ll use them.  Please comment here with any tips and tricks you learn from iOS 4 once you receive your copy!


About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.


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