20 Must-know features hidden in iOS 9

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iOS 9 is faster, more stable and includes an abundance of new features and apps. Among the ‘big players’ there are plenty of smaller, yet undeniably useful features scattered throughout the OS.

There’s nothing complicated about these tiny improvements, but many of them don’t stand out either. Even for a heavy iOS user it could some time to discover them all, so we curated the ones we found most useful for your convenience. And if you didn’t make the jump to iOS 9 yet, perhaps you’ll change your mind after you see more of what it can do for you.

Low Power Mode

Low Power mode

The new Low Power Mode can be enabled from Settings -> Battery whenever you need to squeeze a bit more juice from your phone, until you can get to charge it. It disables visual effects, automatic downloads and background app refreshes, as well as changes push emails to fetch to lower battery usage.

Settings built-in search

Settings built-in search function

Ok, this one is easy to notice, but it makes things so much more convenient, it cannot be ignored. Now you can quickly search for a specific setting in the Settings app, instead of wasting time to scroll through all of them to locate it.

Apple Pay lockscreen shortcut

Apple Pay - Lockscreen shortcut

Apple Pay is supposed to be more than a safe and easy way to pay for your purchases, it’s almost useless if you’re have to frantically tap and swipe on your phone to launch it with the pressure of a long queue of other customers breathing down your neck. For this reason, you can launch the service by double-clicking the home button from the lock screen.

Note: The same action opens up multitasking if performed from the home screen or an open app, but from the lockscreen it goes straight to Apple Pay.

Flip the ringer switch to silence Siri

Flip ringer switch to silence Siri

You can now silence Siri by flipping the mute button (ringer switch), altough this feature is turned off by default. To enable it, go to Settings -> General -> Siri  and tap on the Voice Feedback option. Then, select “Control with Ring Switch” instead of “Always”.

Batch hide photos

Batch hide photos

Hiding photos is the compromise between keeping and deleting them, now with batch support. Select multiple images and you’ll find a Hide option available after you tap on the share icon.

Comprehensive battery usage stats

Battery usage stats

iOS 9 lets you see battery usage stats for each of your installed apps so you can quickly spot the culprits. This certainly makes for a good way to decide which of those not-so-useful apps should be purged first.

A faster way to call and text contacts

New shortcut for calling and texting contacts

The Universal search bar lets you search contacts among other things. You can open it by scrolling down from any place in the home panel. Each contact shown in the list of results has shortcuts for calling and texting.

Transit directions in the Maps app lets you know if a bus is running late

Maps app Transit directions

The Apple Maps app received an important overhaul in iOS 9 as it can now offer transit directions (you can even ask Siri for them). The feature is available for just a few cities right now, but it sure works well. It can even notify you when a bus is running late, once you’ve selected a route. At the very least you’ll have more time to panic, if you’re unable to find another means of transportation fast enough.

A new Battery widget shows the charge level of your Apple Watch

Apple Watch charge level Battery widget
Apple Watch owners can now see the remaining charge of their wearable in a new Battery widget located in the Notifications dropdown.

An optional iCloud Drive app

iCloud Drive app
This new app lets you easily access your iCloud Drive files but it’s optional. You can make it show on the home screen by heading over to Settings -> iCloud ->iCloud Drive, then enable the toggle for the Show on Home Screen option. Also, you can disable the app from the same Settings location whenever you want.

Quick Reply feature for all apps

Quick Reply for all apps
The Quick Reply feature is now available for all apps with messaging capabilities, not just the stock messenger. Just pull on a received notification and you’ll be able to reply directly from there.

Zoom in/out on playing videos

Pinch to zoom in on playing video
iOS 9 users can zoom in/out on a video that’s currently playing by pinching in and out – simple as that.

Attach any kind of file to an email

Support for various types of files for email attachments
Email attachments can be any type of file in iOS 9, not just photos and videos. Open a New Message window to compose a new mail, then long press in the text field. Navigate the options by tapping on the right-pointing arrow twice and you’ll see the Add Attachment option. Tap on it and then you can choose any type of file from the iCloud Drive app.

Draw on email attachments

Draw on email attachments
While this feature is not groundbreaking (almost any image editor lets you hand draw), you can now draw on images you add as email attachments without having to open them in another app thanks to the new markup feature.

Return to the album/camera from the currently open photo

Back shortcut in Gallery

As you’re browsing photos and videos in your phone’s gallery, you can go back to the album using a swipe down gesture. The same gesture takes you back to the camera if you do it on an image opened from the camera preview.

Quick suggestions in Maps

Quick suggestions in Maps

After you search for a location in the Maps app, if you type once more in the search filed you get an option to show nearby points of interest like bars, restaurants, gas stations, hospitals and others, neatly organized in categories.

Multiple narration voices

Change narration voice

The collection of narration voices in iOS 9 is impressive. Under Settings -> General ->Accesibility -> Voice Over -> Speech you’ll find a wealth of voices and English dialects such as Irish, UK, Australian, South African and so on.

Swipe photos to select multiple items

Swipe to select multiple photos

I find this new feature very convenient as it significantly speeds up the image selection process, especially when I end up marking a large number of photos. For this to work you must first tap on select, select one photo and then you can swipe other pics you want to add to your selection.

Batch editing in the Mail app

Mail app bulk editing

No instructions are needed to use this particular feature – you’ll get the hang of it as soon as you select multiple entries in the Mail app!

Change the background color for Safari’s Reading mode

Safari Reading mode - change background

Safari’s Reading mode can now better accommodate your preferences. Whether you’d like a colorful background, one that goes easier on the eyes or a different font at the size of your choice, you can do all of this in iOS 9.

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