It may have come to your attention that there’s a fresh version of iOS in town. But aside from a font change, what’s different about this new edition of Apple’s mobile OS? To help you navigate around iOS 9, we’ve listed all the tricks that it can do that were beyond the capabilities of iOS 8.
1. Get public transit directions
Unlike Google, Apple updates all its stock apps with iOS, so there are some new goodies to be found: Apple Maps now includes bus, train and subway schedule information for a handful of cities worldwide (like New York and London). You can also see right on the map if your ride is currently delayed.
2. Read the news
While you could get the news in iOS 8, you couldn’t get the new news-reading News app Apple has bundled in with iOS 9. It features some carefully curated content from a group of partner publishers, with articles specially formatted for iOS devices in an easy-to-follow layout.
3. Access iCloud more easily
iCloud has never been the easiest cloud storage service to actually get at (most of what it does happens behind the scenes) but iOS 9 makes it a little more visible: Go to Settings, iCloud then iCloud Drive and toggle the switch marked Show on Home Screen to enable the icon shortcut.
4. Split the screen
Attention iPad owners! You can all take advantage of the Slide Over feature in iOS 9 that brings in a second app as a sidebar — just slide your finger in from the right. iPad Air 2 (and iPad Pro) users can also activate the more advanced Split View by tapping and dragging the Slide Over border line.
5. Go back quickly
Were Android users right all along? If you look up in the top-left corner of the iOS 9 interface you’ll often see a Back button there for those times you’re jumping between apps to check maps or links. It can be a quicker way of navigating around than double-tapping on the Home button.
6. Run smarter searches
As Spotlight in iOS 9 learns more about you, it will make smarter search recommendations — swipe left from the main home screen to test it out. Your most frequently used contacts, apps, locations and more will be shown first, but you can keep scrolling down to see further options.
7. Write on email attachments
If you’ve always wanted to doodle on the attachments your friends and colleagues send you, then now’s your chance: Look for the Markup button when you open or press and hold on a particular attachment (where it appears depends on the file format of the attachment you’re opening).
8. Take better Notes
Notes is another stock app with a lot of new stuff to show off with iOS 9. The revamped app lets you add web links, photos, checklists and drawings to your notes now, and everything can be synced via iCloud. There are now more formatting options to play around with, so watch out Evernote.
9. Abandon poor wifi connections
The new Wi-Fi Assist feature in iOS 9 lets you hop onto a speedy LTE connection if the wifi connection you’re using isn’t up to scratch (quite likely if you’re out and about). Head to Settings then Cellular and tap on the Wi-Fi Assist toggle switch at the bottom to make use of the feature.
10. Zoom in on your videos
You can now pinch and zoom on your video clips as well as your photos — go ahead and try it. There’s also a different way of choosing video and slo-mo recording modes, as long as your device supports them (open up Settings, tap on Photos & Camera and look under the Camera heading).
11. Get listening faster
Try plugging your headphones into your newly updated iOS 9 device — notice anything different? Your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad should show a small icon depicting the music player app you most recently used, which you launch with a tap (or a slide upwards if the screen is locked).
12. Add events from your emails
Part of Apple’s new, smarter, more proactive Siri and iOS strategy involves spotting events in your email messages and automatically adding them to your calendar (very Google Now-esque). Prompts should appear in both the Mail and Calendar apps when potential events are spotted.
13. Search through Settings
Finding what you need in the iOS Settings app has never really been a walk in the park, but help has arrived with iOS 9. You’ll notice a new search box at the top of the front screen in Settings: Enter your query here (e.g. “Bluetooth” and all of the matching options appear in a list underneath.
14. Block out the ads
Controversially, Safari on iOS now supports mobile ad blockers, so you can browse the internet at large free from memory-hogging, attention-grabbing promotions. If you go into the Safari section of Settings, you’ll see a new Content Blockers option, though you need to install one (or more) first.
15. Select multiple photos
Forget split views, forget new apps, forget a more proactive Siri, because iOS 9 lets you select multiple pictures more easily than before. After you’ve tapped Select in the Photos app, you can tap and drag to pick the images you want to work with, rather than having to tap on them individually.
16. Hide photos
While we’re on the topic of pictures, iOS 9 lets you hide more sensitive material from view as well (just in case your friends grab your iPhone). On the Share menu you’ll find a handy new Hide option, though images are still visible (and can be unhidden) through the Albums view inside the app.
17. Manage battery life
iOS 9 wants to ease your battery life woes with a new low power mode that you can activate from the Battery menu inside Settings (it switches off a few background processes and can add up to an hour of life). Your battery icon turns yellow and you get a percentage view of the juice that’s left.
18. Add a Find my Friends widget
Find My Friends isn’t a new app but it’s now a stock app that appears on your iOS device whether you like it or not. It also gains a Notification Center widget with iOS 9, so you can see where all your pals are right from the Today page (drag down from the Home screen and tap Edit to set this up).
19. Call up Siri from anywhere
“Hey Siri!” is the new “OK Google!” now iOS 9 is here. Previously the voice shortcut only worked when your iPhone was charging, but you can enable it anywhere via Siri under General in the Settings app. It only works on the latest iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus handsets though, unfortunately.
20. Turn the keyboard into a trackpad
One of the iOS 9 keyboard changes is the switch to lower case letters when you’re actually in lower case, which makes sense. What’s more, if you’re on an iPad, you can turn your touchscreen keyboard into a handy trackpad simply by pressing and holding two fingers on any of the keys.
21. Find your selfies more easily
Good news for selfie lovers (just about all of us then): Pictures taken with the front-facing camera get their own folder in the Photos app, enabling you to find them more easily. For the tech journalists out there, screenshots get their own folder too, which should save a substantial amount of time.
22. Use picture-in-picture
Assuming you’re running iOS 9 on an iPad, and you’re using a supported app (they should all be, given time), then you can take advantage of the picture-in-picture technology embedded in the new software: When viewing a video full-screen, tap the icon in the lower right-hand corner to shrink it.
23. Attach any kind of file to an email
In the bad old days of earlier this week, the Mail app only let you attach images to outgoing messages. Now, any kind of file is allowed — you’ll first be taken to iCloud Drive when you long press on an email and choose Add Attachment, but the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive are supported too.