iOS 5: The Top 10 New Features

The new iOS 5 is live, bringing with it revamped notifications and more than 200 new features for your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. These are the top 10, and then some more.

More: - The Complete Guide To Updating To iOS 5 - iCloud Is A Bigger Deal Than You Think: It’s The Future Of Computing - Apple’s iOS Update Server Appears A Little… Broken.

Some of these features you already had in your iPhone or iPad. They just came in third-party apps.

If you used apps like the must-have WhatsApp, which allows you to message in an extremely easy way with all kinds of phones for free, you already were enjoying something like iMessage (even while iMessage adds important services, like device-wide conversation synchronisation). If you had the awesome Instapaper, you already had some of the features of the new Safari. Or if you had something like Remember the Milk, you already had a great reminders service.

However, there are features that weren't available before; either because they are completely new or because they are system-wide. And there are real jewels too.

Things that may sound silly, like using the volume + button as a shutter in the Camera app. Or more important stuff, like well thought Notifications and the ability to run your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad without having a PC. Your iDevices are now completely autonomous.

All these features put iOS on par again with some of the features that you could already find in Android, Palm or Windows Phone 7. Some of their implementations, surpass those platforms. But even while none of these new features are extraordinary per se, all of them together are quite impressive.

1. Notifications

The first big feature is notifications. At last, Apple will get rid of the annoying popups that break your flow. And with "annoying popups" I really meant "stupid dumb boxes that makes me want to smash my f**king iPhone against the wall when I'm playing a game or chatting with strangers in the night".

They have replaced those with a new app called Notification centre. It's very similar to Mobile Notifier, the iOS notification app — which makes sense, since Apple hired its developer a while back. It not only includes app notification, but mini-widgets that show live information from apps like Weather and apps.

The notifications extend to the lock screen too, so you can see more stuff right away without unlocking your phone. Sliding your finger on it will automatically lead you to the app that generated that notification.

Notifications are clearly and by far the best part of iOS 5 — particularly coming from the stone age pop-up mess of previous versions. Everyone on staff who's used iOS 5 is in love, and the upgrade is the must have feature.

2. iMessage

Another new useful feature, which will hurt Blackberry and the telecommunications companies wanting to sell you stupid SMS and MMS contracts: Apple has implemented a new messaging system called iMessage.

It works between all iOS 5 devices, allowing you to leave conversations on your iPhone and continue them in your iPad (again, I will not be surprised to see this integrated into Lion at a later date). It comes with delivery notification as well. However, unlike WhatsApp, it doesn't work with other non-iOS devices. Maybe Apple thinks your Android and Blackberry friends are not worth talking to for free.

3. New Camera app and photos

The new Camera up gets two of the most-requested features in the history of iOS. The first is a shortcut in the lock screen to access the camera right away, so you don't have to unlock and then click on the Camera icon, which often makes you lose the moment.

The other one, which is something we have whined about endlessly, is using one of the volume button as the shutter button. Just press + and that's it: CLICK! This is a very welcome addition.

The new app also includes basic photo editing. It includes quick enhance — which basically sharpens your image, making shadows and highlights more detailed, and correct colour automagically. It also include red eye reduction and cropping, both welcome additions to those who don't have the Camera Plus already.

4. Newsstand

Apple has built a virtual newsstand right onto iOS 5, very similar to the iBooks app but exclusively for magazines and periodicals. It looks like a cross between iBooks and a folder view, actually.

5. Twitter integration everywhere

iOS 5 will have Twitter integration everywhere. Apps like camera will be able to directly post the image to Twitter. The YouTube App, Safari or even Maps will support direct sharing in Twitter. It also adds a new Twitter address field to your Contacts application.

6. A new Safari

Safari has been revamped with new features. Reader will allow you to reformat a site on the fly, taking out ads and reformatting text so it looks better on your iPad or iPhone screen.

This feature flows into Reading List, which is a way to save those pages for later offline viewing, keeping them synchronised between all your iOS devices and Lion. Presumably via iCloud.

Apple's web browser also adds tabs in this version. Your open pages will line up right below your address bar. According to Apple, switching between pages is "lightning fast", so perhaps they have made some magic with the memory management to reduce the reload of pages in older devices.

7. New Reminders app

The new Reminders app makes it easy to make to-do lists. The interface is very simple and it's synchronised between iOS 5 devices and your Mac OS X desktop or notebook.

The really cool thing about Reminders is that it's location aware. Imagine you add that you need to buy milk, but then you forget about it. When you pass by the grocery store, the app will tell you that you need to buy milk.

8. New Mail app

Mail includes a barrage of enhancements

• Rich Text Formatting, which will allow you to annoy the hell out of everyone bolding every sentence in your mails.

• Indentation control, which allows you to control the level of indentation of your quotes from other messages.

• Draggable email addresses, which allows to drag and drop email addresses into to, cc and bcc fields.

• Message flagging to call your attention over a particular mail later.

• Swipe to Inbox, which makes it very easy to access the list of message in portrait mode on the iPad, instead of clicking on a button for a weird pop-up dialog.

9. No PC required

At long last, the most important feature of them all: You will not need iTunes and PC anymore to use your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Apple has caught up with Android and Windows Phone 7. The new iOS 5 will allow you to set up your new device easily: Turn your new gadget on and a Welcome screen will appear. All software updates will happen over the air.

All the applications will now be completely autonomous. You will not have to go to iCal or some other desktop app to create a calendar, for example. There is no need for a desktop or laptop anymore, for anything.

10. New Game Center

The have enhanced Game Center too. Unfortunately, they have not renewed its awful casino interface, which looks as dated as always. But they have added much needed concepts from Xbox Live and other gaming systems:

• Achievement points. • Access friends of friends, so you can compare and play with a wider range of people. • Photos in your profile, so you can flirt with other nerds pretending to be women online. • Game discovery, to play with whoever wants to play with you at any given time. • Game downloads within Game Center. • Support for turn-based games like Words for Friends and Scrabble.

All the others

Cards: Lets you create digital cards directly from your iPod Touch or iPhone and send them to your contacts

Dictionary everywhere: This is something that many people have asked for because they like it in the iBooks app. Now, every application will have Dictionary built-in.

iTunes synchronisation over Wi-Fi

Advanced gestures: It will allow you to pass from app to app on the iPad by using a simple swipe gesture, without having to use the home button. This was a feature has been in testing for a long time and, trust me, once you try it you will not be able to live without it.

This post was originally published at Gizmodo on October 4.



    Error 3200, an internal error occurred.

    Apple's servers are getting SLAMMED.

      I was trying to update mine at around 7:30 and I had the same issue. Bloody hell. It failed to restore my iphone after the update. It then complained that the iphone needs to be restarted in safe mode will restore my phone to the factory settings. That didnt complete either. Left my phone at home to work on this later this evening. I just hope my data is still available. Damn!!!

    Woohoo! Only took 10mins to DL and update :D

      OMG, you must not be on Vodafone! Who are you with??

    After the contacts lost debarcle when iOS went from 3.X to 4.0 - You will excuse me if I wait a week or two before going from 4.X to 5.0.

    Awful casino interface? I thought I liked it! Beats the McShit out of Open Feint.

    Number 9 is the best one for me. It's brilliant to be able to organise my photos on the phone (which was my biggest issue with iOS 4 and earlier)

    Attempted to update and got a majority through the process then got Error 3200, now my phone is currently not working and will not restore in iTunes, Rather frigin annoyed especially since I'm waiting on work to call : /

    Yeah I got 3200 on my phone, though it worked on my iPad.

    But wow, being able to still use your device while it's syncing is absolutely fantastic.

    So that means the following tweaks are now redundant for me;
    WiFi Sync

    Still plenty that haven't been incorporated yet..

    Any word on if IOS5 can be jailbroken?

      just a tethered jailbreak at the moment

    I couldn't restore my iPhone either. One feature I noticed that's been taken out is the ability to close open folders by swiping up/down outside the folder. You've ot to use the home button to close the folder. Can someone else confirm this for me?

    October 13, 2011 at 7:32 AM
    After the contacts lost debarcle when iOS went from 3.X to 4.0 – You will excuse me if I wait a week or two before going from 4.X to 5.0."

    Who loses contacts anymore? Haha it's called cloud storage :P

    iCrap. Got 3200 error updating iPad and now won't restore. Glad I left my iPhone alone but WTF?!?

    iMessage has one problem - it's based on your apple account. Since we have 4 phones and an iPad on my account, anyone who sends a message to me also goes to my wife and kids - kinda useless! Also I can't talk to them since we share the account......... Oh well, maybe an update will allow something.

      You're doing it wrong. Have a read of this to learn how to use different IDs for iCloud and iTunes.

    Im using the iphone 4 16gb updated, all works but Cant see the quick camera launch button.. any ideas?

    locations feature is not available in my reminders app - has Australia missed out?

      not really its there..

      so u type in the reminder.. > click on it

      go in to remind me > turn on at location

      should work

        Possibly only on devices with a GPS chip. My iPhone 4 has the geofencing option but isn't there on my iPad 2 wifi.

      Location reminders is a bit of a weird one.
      If like me you are syncing to an Exchange server you have to turn on the iCloud one (at least taht is the one that worked for me) the reminder app starts in the default Task date view. Tap on List. Press the little menu in the top left corner and it shows the various Lists.
      I've got Tasks and Reminders creating a reminder in Reminders give you the Remind Me: Day and Location options.
      Hope that is clear enough.

    Acces quick camera button with 2x home click while in standby

    how do you use imessage? I can't find it anywhere

    What joke - spent half a day sorting out problems with restoring phone and ipad from backups - this never happened before.

    I had no idea you needed iTunes to set up an iPhone. I can't believe anyone ever put up with krap like that. The only thing I need Zune for is to load music and videos and I can do that wirelessly. iOS 5 seems like it is doing a lot of catching up and not a lot of overtaking.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now