25 Great Features of the iOS 9 Update
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25 Great Features of the iOS 9 Update

Updated Sept. 26, 2015
Save Your Battery by Switching off WiFi Assist
This is helpful when you are in a WiFi connected space for long periods of time. Turning this feature off does come at the detriment of a reliable internet connection when using Wi-Fi. To switch it off, go to Settings > Mobile Data and scroll all the way to the bottom where “WiFi Assist” is located and toggle it off. If you’re in the U.S., go to Settings > Cellular and follow the same steps.

iOS 9 is here and has great new features. But also inside every major Apple software release are hidden gems that separate the power users from the masses. It’s time to spill those secrets…

To make all these features easier to navigate I’ve grouped them by category:iOS9

Camera And Video

1. Zoom In Videos – Yes, with iOS 9 pinch to zoom not only works for photos but videos as well. Just perform the pinch gestures while a video is playing.

2. Hide Photos – You probably don’t want every photo you take to be easily viewable to anyone who picks up your phone and helpfully iOS 9 fixes this. In camera roll tap ‘Select’ and select all the photos you want to be hidden away then tap the bottom left corner button to open a Share Sheet and select ‘Hide’.


3. Fast Photo Selection – with iOS 9 you no longer need to tap individual photos for multiple selections. Just keep your finger on the screen after selecting the first photo and drag it to select as many as you want in a single action.

4. Fast Photo Scanning – you’re likely to build up a substantial photo library over time (unless you have the 16GB model) so once you open a photo in iOS 9 look for the strip of image thumbnails below. Drag this left or right to race through your snaps.


5. Easy Close Photo Shortcut – as iPhones get bigger it isn’t so easy to reach the top left ‘Back’ button, but iOS 9 eases this frustration by allowing you to swipe down on any open photo to return to the Camera Roll.

Battery Secrets

6. Hidden Battery Widget – iOS 9 lets you add a new battery widget to the bottom of the ‘Today’ view in the Notification Center. Tap ‘edit’ at the bottom of the Today column to reveal the option to add it. You will notice it also shows a connected Apple Watch. Edit: this widget only works when a Bluetooth device is connected

7. Detailed Battery Usage – ever wondered which apps are killing your battery? Now you can get a detailed breakdown in iOS 9 by going to Settings > Battery then ‘Battery Usage’. These can also be broken down by the time using the Clock button.

8. Manually Enable Low Power Mode – Sometimes you may want to conserve power long before your iPhone or iPad is about to die. Turn the new Low Power Mode on manually by going to Settings > General > Battery > Low Power Mode and toggle it to On.

Messaging Convenience

9. Quick calls and Messages – open Spotlight (swipe right on your homescreen, or swipe down over the homescreen icons) and you’ll find iOS 9 gives you quick access to call or message contacts.

10. Quick Reply – this feature was partially introduced in iOS 8, but now all messaging apps in iOS 9 allow quick replies to be sent by dragging down on a new message notification.

Grouping notifications by App - Image credit Gordon Kelly

11. Group Notifications – prefer your notifications grouped by app rather than time? Easy in iOS 9! Settings > Notifications > Group By App and switch the toggle to On.

12. New Voices – iOS 9 has more voice options if you head to Settings > General > Accessibility > Voices.

13. Messages: Easy Close Attachments – As with photos, you can avoid using the hard-to-reach back button by swiping down on any open attachment to return to the message.

Safari Shortcuts

14. Smart Safari Search – paste a URL into the Safari address bar and it triggers the button ‘Paste and Go’, saving an extra tap. Similarly, paste any text into the Safari address bar and it gives you a single tap ‘Paste and Search’ button.

15. Desktop Mode Shortcut – Safari has long had a ‘request desktop site’ mode but now you can quickly access it in iOS 9 but tapping and holding your finger on the address bar to bring up the ‘Request Desktop Site’ option.

Desktop shortcut mode in Safari - Image credit Gordon Kelly

16. Enhanced Reader Mode – Reader Mode in Safari existed in iOS 8, but now you can also change the font, background and other options simply but tapping the ‘Aa’ button.

17. Save Website As PDF – while the likes of Pocket and Instapaper have become the defacto offline reading tools for millions, it can also be useful to save a website as a simple PDF. Open the Safari Share Sheet menu and you’ll now find ‘Save PDF to iBooks’.

18. AdBlock Shortcut – In iOS 9 if you long press the refresh icon in Safari it gives you the option to reload the page with ad blocking enabled.

Easier Input

19. Change keyboard caps – with iOS 9 Apple’s virtual keyboard keys adapt automatically to show upper and lower case fonts. This can be disabled by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Keyboard and toggle ‘Show Lowercase Keys’ to off. I’d suggest this is more useful for pranks, than anything else.

20. Quick Calculator and Currency Conversions – like the Chrome browser, the Spotlight in iOS 9 now gives you answers to calculations and currency questions as you type.

Spotlight in IOS 9 delivers real time answers to common searches - Image credit Gordon Kelly

21. Mutating Mute Switch – prefer to use the mute switch on your iPhone for something else? Go to Settings > General and you can instead set it to enable/disable screen rotation. This was an iPad only feature before iOS 9.

Pro Productivity

22. Markup Mail – Apple’s unloved Mail app finally has a useful new feature: after attaching a photo to an email simply tap and hold it to get the ‘Markup’ option, which lets you draw on it.

23. Wallet Privacy – Apple Pay automatically appears when you need it so there’s little point to Wallet’s annoying habit in iOS 9 of appearing on your lock screen if you double tap the home button. Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and toggle Wallet to Off.

WiFi Assist in iOS 9 - Image credit Gordon Kelly

24. Beat Slow WiFi – if your WiFi network is letting you down navigate to Settings > Cellular > Wi-Fi Assist to allow your iPhone or cellular iPad to boost performance by using carrier data in addition to WiFi.

25. Hidden iCloud – Strangely iOS 9 hides Apple’s new iCloud app by default. Reveal it by going to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Drive and toggle ‘Show on Home Screen’ to on for access to this useful service.


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