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10 things iOS 9 can do that you can’t do in iOS 8

Published Sep 17th, 2015 3:47PM EDT
iOS 9 Vs iOS 8
Image: Apple

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After the typical multi-month beta period that began this past summer at WWDC 2015, Apple released iOS 9 to the general public on Wednesday. Millions upon millions of people around the world have already updated, but there are probably some stragglers who are holding out because they still have a bad taste in their mouths from the early days of iOS 8.

There’s nothing wrong with waiting if that’s what you want, but let’s take a look at what you’re missing.

DON’T MISS: 10 more hidden features in iOS 9

A back button: When you click a link in one app that opens something in another app — a link in Mail that opens Safari, for example — you’ll now see a back button appear in the top-left corner that will take you back to the previous app. It’s long overdue and greatly appreciated.

Low Power Mode: Seriously, it’s difficult to believe iPhone users ever survived without this feature. Enable Low Power Mode in Settings > Battery and your phone will cut back on unnecessary background functions that use up your charge in order to make the battery last longer. It’s not quite as effective as Samsung’s ultra power saving mode, but it definitely helps.

Markup images in Mail: iOS 9 has a great new feature that lets you draw on images when you attach them to an email in the Mail app. Simply tap and hold on a photo after you’ve inserted it and tap the “Markup” button.

Split View on iPad: If you have an iPad Air 2, you seriously need to update to iOS 9 right now. Two apps, one screen. Do it.

Public transit directions: There are plenty of third-party apps that will give you public transit directions, but none of them will look anywhere near as refined as Apple’s Maps app, and none of them will actually give you turn-by-turn indoor walking directions to get you from A to B as quickly as possible. Sadly, public transit is only available in 10 locations for the time being.

Search Settings: iOS has grown more and more capable over the years. In the process, dozens upon dozens of new settings have been added to the Settings app. Stop digging around for that setting you can’t find — iOS 9 includes a search bar at that top of the Settings app.

Hide photos: Select a bunch of images in your Photos app, bring up the share sheet, and tap “Hide.” Voila! You can hide as many photos as you want at one time.

Make your mute switch control rotation lock: Swiping up on your screen and toggling rotation lock in the Control Panel is so last year. You’ll now see an option in Settings > General to configure your iPhone’s hardware switch so that it controls screen rotation instead of muting.

Zoom in videos: Seriously, it’s great. Just use the standard pinch gestures to zoom in or out in any video.

Quick calls and messages: In iOS 9, you’ll see new buttons next to contacts in spotlight searches. Tap the one that looks like a phone to call the contact, or tap the one that looks like a chat bubble to message the contact.

Want to check out more great new features in iOS 9? Head here to see iOS 9’s best new features, and you’ll find 15 great hidden iOS 9 features in this post.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.