This article is simply about iOS 5 specific enhancements. Later this week we will cover Siri and and how you can use it to increase your productivity.
Check out the list below and click on the thumbnails to see a more detailed view of the screenshots. If you have a tip that you love about iOS 5 that isn’t covered here, add it to the comments!
Quick access – To get to your camera quickly just double tap your home button when your iPhone is locked or asleep. You will see a small camera button on the bottom left of the lock screen. Touching it will take you to your camera app. Snap away.
Slide to album / camera – When you are on your camera screen you can flick the camera to the right to go straight to your album. Then you can flick left to get back to your camera.
No need for too many camera apps – The iPhone’s camera app now has built in cropping, red-eye removal, and auto-enhancements. So for quick and simple editing you can stick with the built in app.
Hardware snap – You can now snap a picture by clicking your volume up button while in the Camera app.
Notification Center is a much needed addition to iOS as the very modal popups have gotten quite annoying over the years. Notifications are now on par with Android and could be even better by some aspects.
Organize your notifications – It’s easy to organize what notifications you want to see and in what order you want to see them. Going to Settings > Notifications you have access to all the apps that support the new Notification Center. Tap the Edit button in the top right and you can organize the order as well as move some apps’ notifications to “Not in Notification Center”. Also, you can skip organizing notifications by order and choose to view them by time.
Adjust your notifications – By tapping on each app in Notification Center you can adjust the alert’s style (None, Banners, and (old school) Alerts). You can also control the app’s badges and if the notifications show up in the lock screen.
Weather widget – Just a quick one. The weather widget in Notification Center can be swiped to see the five day forecast.
iCloud is a huge advancement in iOS 5. Here are some of the things that you will love to know about it.
iCloud Backup – When you are setting up iOS 5 for the first time, you are asked whether-or-not you want to backup to iCloud. Regardless if you answered yes or now you can always go to Setting > iCloud > Storage and Backup and turn on iCloud Backup. Your iPhone will now backup automatically when you are connected to power and WiFi and with your screen locked. You can backup manually by pressing the Backup Now button. You have to be connected to WiFi to backup.
Managing iCloud storage – If you are running low on iCloud storage, which you can check by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage and Backup > Manage Storage, you can easily delete backups of iOS or even documents that you have put “in the cloud”. That is if you have any iWork apps on your device.
General sync items – Of course, you can turn off any iCloud sync items from Settings > iCloud.
Multiple route choices – The biggest addition to maps is the ability to choose among multiple routes when getting directions. To choose a different route after getting directions, simply click on the alternate route’s blue line.
Mobile Safari is probably one of the apps that I am in most of the time. There are some small enhancements that make it even better.
Reading List – Oh, no! Is it an Instapaper killer!? Not really at all. But it is easy to use and a great feature to have integrated into the OS. When you are on an article that you want to read later, click the middle bookmark button and choose “Add to Reading List”. Then to get to your Reading List click the little Open Book Button (the second from the right) and choose Reading List. There you will see a list of all the articles that you added.
Reader – Reading List doesn’t inherently do much of anything other than give you a simple list of stuff you want to read later. The real magic is in the Reader function of Safari. This strips down the page and lets you see just the content of the article in a nicely formatted way. On any article in Safari, just tap the Reader button in the address bar.
iOS 5 comes with “deep” Twitter integration. It’s a shame that no other apps can hook into iOS this way, but it’s cool to see Twitter get the “rock star” treatment.
System-wide sign in – Go to Settings > Twitter. You can sign in with your Twitter credentials as well as install the official Twitter app. You don’t “need” to install the official Twitter app to take advantage of using Twitter in mobile Safari. After signing in you can update your iOS contacts with information from your Twitter contacts.
Tweeting from Safari – On any page in mobile Safari tap the middle Bookmark button. In the list choose Tweet. Fill in your Tweet. Couldn’t be easier and more convenient! You can also add your location by tapping the Add location label at the bottom of the Tweet prompt.
The calendar on iOS is pretty mature but there were a few tweaks that iOS 5 brought to it.
Adjust appointments – To adjust the time-span or time of an appointment long tap on the appointment and then drag it wherever you want to move it to. After long tapping you can let go and then adjust the span of the appointment by dragging the small top and bottom handles.
Year view – On iPad you can go to year view by rotating the device to landscape.
I was super excited about reminders when they were announced at WWDC. The idea of having a nice, simple task and reminder manager built directly into iOS is compelling. Personally, I am an OmniFocus user, but to set up a quick reminder, Reminders is perfect.
Navigate and using lists – You can navigate all of your lists by swiping left and right or by tapping the list button in the top left and then tapping which list you want to go to. Adding tasks is simple. Just hit the plus button on the list and type the name of the task.
You can rapidly type in tasks by typing and tapping return and typing more. Tapping Done on the top right will get you out of “task adding mode.” To edit a task, tap the task and edit the task’s details. You can add a reminder for the task at your current location, or set a specific due date. You will then be notified through Notification Center (as long as you set up the notification).
I don’t like to use any email application more than I have to and with the new iOS 5 enhancements to the stock mail app, Apple has made it easier and faster to use.
Searching mailboxes – To search any “mailbox” (that is any label for you Gmail peeps or any folder for you regular mail guys) tap which one you want to search then scroll up all the way and start typing. When you start typing four buttons show up below your query allowing you to search the fields From, To, Subject, or All. All searches every aspect of your email messages.
Notifications – This goes with any app that allows notifications. You can turn on lock screen previews of your incoming mail, choose how many messages you want to see, choose the way you want to be interrupted (I mean notified) by the message, and also turn off the mail unread count badge completely.
Rich Text – You can now add some rich text formatting to your messages. Long hold on any word, select the text you want to format, tap the small right arrow, then tap ‘BIU’ to choose either bold, italics or underline. You can also change the quote level of the sentence you are working on.
Move recipients – You can quickly move mail recipients from the To, CC, and BCC fields by long holding their little blue name labels and dragging them to the desired field.
Using iMessage – My experience with iMessage has been limited to my wife. As far as I can tell iOS simply recognizes that my wife has an iPhone with iOS 5 and we can instantly start iMessaging each other with nothing more to set up. Pretty simple.
Apple has always made strides to make their iDevices accessible to those that need it. iOS devices seem to be some of the only devices that make it easy for people with special needs to use.
LED notifications – There is no small multi-colored LED on the iPhone to notify you that something is happening with your phone, but you can now turn on LED notifications (they use the LED flash on the back of the iPhone) to make the iPhone alert you. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and switch on the LED Flash for Alerts. When an app alerts you, the LED will flash.
Custom vibration settings – You can create custom vibration patterns for any contact. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and switch on Custom Vibrations under the Hearing subheading. Then go to a contact and tap Edit in the top right. Right under where you can set up their custom ringtone you will now see vibration. Choose that and you can then select one of the built in vibration settings or choose Create New Vibration. On this screen you can tap your vibration and then play it back. Ingenious.
iOS 5 is all about increasing overall features and functionality. Here are some of the great little tweaks across the entire system.
Keyboard shortcuts – Go to Settings > Keyboard and down at the bottom of the screen you will see the Shortcuts section. You can add custom keyboard shortcuts that can be used in any iOS app. This is great for small signatures, email addresses, and just about anything else you type a lot of that is a pain in the ass to type.
Split keyboard – On iPad you can split the landscape and portrait keyboards so you can thumb type. To do it, tap and hold each side of the keyboard with your thumbs and slide to the outside of the iPad. To put the keyboard back together slide your thumbs together to push both sides of the split together. This is a much needed and much appreciated feature.
Emoji – For all you smiley and little cute graphic lovers out there, an Emoji keyboard now comes standard in iOS 5. Go to Settings > Keyboard > International Keyboards > Add New Keyboard… and tap Emoji. You can then access your pretty pictures from anywhere you can type by tapping the small globe icon by your spacebar. As far as I know, only iOS devices can see these little icons.
There are so many enhancements to iOS 5 that we are still uncovering to this day. What’s your favorite tip or trick in iOS 5? Share it in the comments below!