Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0 | iLounge Article


Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0

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iPad Multitasking Features

iOS 9 adds some interesting new iPad only-enhancements to take advantage of the larger screen, which should be even more useful with the introduction of the large-screen iPad Pro.

Split View (iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4)

The newest iPad models get a new Split View that allows two apps to be open and running side-by-side at the same time, making it easy to reference or copy material between apps.

Slide Over (iPad Pro, iPad Air/Air 2, iPad mini 2/3/4)

Similar to Split View, but available on older iPads as well, the Slide Over feature lets you bring in a second app from the side to quickly take short actions, such as responding to texts or jotting down notes. It’s not quite the same as Split View, as the main app will pause while you’re working on the secondary app, but it’s a handy way to quickly bring up information without leaving your current view.

Picture-in-Picture (iPad Pro, iPad Air/Air 2, iPad mini 2/3/4)

A new Picture-in-Picture feature also comes to recent iPad models in iOS 9, allowing you to carry on a FaceTime call or watch a video while navigating through your iPad and using other apps.

Battery Management and Low Power Mode

One of the major foundational improvements Apple has promised in iOS 9 is improved battery life — up to one hour more, the company claims. This is accomplished with a few under-the-hood improvements that use power more efficiently, such as leaving the screen off if a notification comes in while the iPhone is face down on a table. A new “Low Power Mode” can also now be engaged to preserve your battery even longer, at the expense of background activity and CPU performance.

A new dedicated Battery section has been added to the Settings app, which provides direct access to enable “Low Power Mode,” as well as more details on battery usage over the last 24 hours or last several days, presented as percentages and optionally showing how much time each app has been used — both on screen and in the background — since the last charge.

The new Low Power Mode claims to provide up to three more hours of battery life in a pinch, by effectively disabling all background app activity and slowing down the CPU. Users of modern iPhone 6 models probably won’t notice the speed difference in anything except for the most demanding games, and in fact this mode can be used whenever you know you’re going to be out for a while as long as you don’t need to rely on apps running in the background to do things like fetch email or upload photos; you’ll still be notified of incoming calls and messages.

You can identify when your device is in Low Power Mode by a yellow battery icon. When charging your device, Low Power Mode will automatically be disengaged at an 80 percent charge level, with a lock screen notification advising you of this. If necessary, you can re-enable Low Power Mode right from the lock screen by swiping right to left and choosing the option to do so.

News (U.S., U.K., Australia)

iOS 9 has retired its Newsstand app in favor of a News app that aims to bring users a curated and focused selection of the news headlines and stories that interest them. Magazines that were previously grouped into the Newsstand pseudo-app will now simply appear as standard apps — you can organize them into your own folder in the same manner as any other app.

The News app is currently only available in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, presumably due to Apple’s desire to work out content agreements with major news providers. Users in other countries who want to take a look at it, however, can simply change their region to one of the supported countries in the iOS Settings app, although the news will be relevant to that selected country.

News is grouped into five sections: For You, Favorites, Explore, Search, and Saved. As the name implies, “For You” delivers headlines based on your likes and interests, with the app attempting to figure out what to present here based on what you’ve read previously. Favorites allows you to identify your favorite news sources and even add your own sources, either from Apple’s list or from any RSS feed, while Explore provides suggested channels, topics, and articles. Any article can be saved for later, where it will appear in the “Saved” section, and of course, the standard iOS sharing features are available from any article.

Apple has clearly leveraged a number of partnerships here to present news articles in an optimized viewing format for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, which may explain the company’s reluctance to simply release the news app in every country right away. News providers that are included in the app present beautifully readable content, while providers that you add yourself via RSS will simply show you a view that’s about the same as what you would get in Safari. The News app is cleanly and elegantly designed, but from a functionality point of view it’s not particularly novel considering the number of third-party apps like Flipboard that have been doing variations on news aggregation for years now. That said, we suspect many users will prefer the News app’s much simpler and cleaner design.


The Notes app has been a staple since the original iPhone was debuted in 2007, yet it’s seen very few enhancements beyond a departure from the original Marker Felt font back in 2011. With iOS 9, Apple has taken the Notes app and made some pretty serious enhancements to it — possibly among the most significant that any of the original core iOS apps have seen in terms of capabilities.

In iOS 9, Notes can now include checklists for your to-dos, sketches, photos, maps, and web links. This is accompanied by back-end iCloud improvements that allow for these much richer notes to be synced between devices, and organized into folders. If you’re syncing notes to another IMAP server, you’ll be left with the less advanced note system found in iOS 8, so you’ll need to enable iCloud Notes to sync and upgrade your notes to take advantage of these newer features — however, this will limit you to syncing Notes only with other iOS 9 or OS X El Capitan devices. Users with OS X El Capitan will also be able to view and edit Notes in the corresponding app on their Macs.

Notes has also been added to the iOS Share Sheet, so you can more easily create notes from other apps, such as saving a web link from Safari, a location from Maps, or even a document from Pages. A new Attachments Browser in the Notes app has also been added that lets you quickly see a view of all of the attachments contained in your notes. While it’s not the digital elephant that is Evernote, the new Notes app definitely strikes a much better balance between functionality and simplicity.


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