15 Hidden New Features Tucked Away In iOS 9

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15 Hidden New Features Tucked Away In iOS 9

After months in beta, iOS 9 hits iPhones and iPads today! Hurrah!

Want to be the master of all things iOS 9? We’ve compiled a list of some of the neat but not-so-obvious features, many of which are tucked away enough that you might not otherwise stumble upon them on your own.

We’ll expand this list throughout the day as we poke out the new features. Let us know if you find any you like.


Searchable Settings

You need to find a toggle hiding away in Apple’s settings menu. You know it exists — you’ve seen it before. Now… where the hell was it?


At long last, you can find settings just by searching for them, thanks to a search box hiding away at the top of the settings screen. If you don’t see it by default when you open settings, just pull the screen down a bit.


Public Transit Returns!

Stripped from iOS when Apple moved away from Google Maps back in 2012, public transit support finally returns to the default Maps app in iOS 9. 


The Keyboard Doubles As A Trackpad (iPad only)

When you’re trying to edit a big ol’ wall of text, placing the cursor in just the right place can be a total pain — particularly for those who’ve spent years relying on the precision of a mouse or trackpad.


iOS 9 turns the keyboard into a trackpad, if you touch it just right. The trick? Place two fingers, side by side, on the keyboard and swipe around as if it were a trackpad; the keyboard will go blank, and you’ll gain a whole new method of input.


Alas, this only officially works on the iPad; while some of the iOS 9 betas had iPhone keyboardpad support, it hasn’t been announced whether or not it’ll make the cut in the final release.


Picture-in-Picture Video Mode (Newer iPads Only)

Ever been wanting to watch a video on your iPad while doing something else at the same time? You now can — and it’s relatively easy, assuming you have a newer iPad (iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2 or later)


Here’s how: start watching a video in Safari. Tap the video with one finger to bring up the control interface — look for the icon that looks like a box within a box. Tap that, and bam — it’ll float into a new, independent box that’ll stick around even as you switch around from app to app. You can drag the video to place it in any corner.


Third party developers are able to access this functionality in their video-enabled apps, so expect it to roll out to other apps soon.


Low Power Mode

When your battery is hovering around 20%, iOS will ask you if you want to enable “Low Power Mode”. Once toggled, it’ll disable mail fetch, background app refresh, automatic downloads, and a few other things that might help you squeeze some extra time out of your battery. 

Once you plug it back in and have charged it a bit, low power mode will disable itself.

You can also turn this setting on manually under Settings > Battery.


Selfie and Screenshot Folders

Most people use the front facing camera pretty much exclusively for selfies — why not make them easier to find without sifting through all of your other shots? YOU HAVE VANITY THAT NEEDS TENDING!

In iOS 9, both front-facing camera images and screenshots get their own categories, allowing you to find them in next to no time. Open up Photos, tap the “Albums” button in the bottom right, and the new folders should be waiting for you.


Back Between Apps

Sometimes Facebook shoves you into Messenger. Sometimes Safari shoves you into Twitter. Sometimes you just want to get back to what you were doing.


The status bar now has a one-tap arrow that’ll dump you back into whatever you were doing last any time one app tosses you into another.


The Keyboard Now Actually Changes When You Hit Shift

It’s long been on of iOS’ strangest quirks: it’s really tough to tell if the SHIFT key was hit or not. No matter its status, the letters on the keyboard were capitals.

With iOS 9, the letters will be upper or lower case depending on whether the shift key is active. If this bothers you, you can disable it.


Apple Pay Shortcut

Need to jump into the Wallet app to pick which card you’re using with Apple Pay, but dont want to unlock your device and find the app? Just double tap the home button while your device is locked. Apple Pay should pop right up.


Request Desktop Site

We’ve all been there: you’re using a site, and it’s …being weird. The problem seems to stem from the fact that you’re on a phone, and the developers did a bad job of building their mobile site. If only you could get it to load the desktop version of that page!

There’s a quick shortcut for just that in iOS 9: hold the refresh button in the URL bar. After a second or two, a prompt will allow you to request the desktop version of the current page.


Disable "Shake To Undo"

I’ve been using iOS on and off for years now. I think I’ve intentionally used shake to undo… maybe 5 times. I’ve accidentally brought up the shake to undo prompt probably 45,000 times. In iOS 9, you can finally disable this gesture. Find the option under Settings> General > Accessibility. 


Detailed Battery Usage

Sometimes the apps that eat your battery the most are the ones you actually see the least.

iOS has long been able to tell you how much battery each app was guilty of eating, but now it provides an extra bit of information: the amount of time you were actually looking at it, compared to how much time it spent just devouring juice in the background. To expose the new info, go to Settings > Battery, then tap the clock icon at the top of the app list.


Attach Any Type of File

You can now attach any type of file (as opposed to just images). By default, it’ll pull files from the iCloud Drive app — but you can also hook it into things like Dropbox and other third party apps by tapping the “Locations” button in the upper left.


Image Markup

Want to point directly at something in image you’re attaching? Just doodle it right on the photo.

Attach the photo to the email (hold your finger in the body of the email for a second, release, hit the right arrow button, then tap “Insert Photo or Video” and pick your image). Once it’s in place, do another long tap on the image itself, then release. An option labeled “Markup” should appear; tap that, and doodle away.


Convert Website to PDF in Safari

Need to save a website to a PDF for some reason? You can!


It’s a bit obfuscated, but there’s a button for it in iOS 9’s build of Safari. Bring up the share sheet, then scroll the middle section over a bit until you see “Save PDF to iBooks”. Tap that, and voila! You can then share this PDF via email via the iBooks app.


Math In the Search Bar

Bonus slide!

From your homescreen, pull down (or swipe to the left most screen) to bring up the search page. Tap the search bar. It can now do basic math! It’s not a fully featured graphing calculator or anything, but it’s an easy, app-free way to calculate tips or split bills in a pinch.