Apple’s new iOS 5 operating system boasts hundreds of new features, but only a select few get highlighted on Apple’s website.
We tracked down all the rest of the great features, and chose the 25 coolest ones to share with you.
Create custom vibrations for different contacts.
Creating custom vibrations for specific contacts is a fun and useful way to figure out who’s calling, without even taking your iPhone out of your pocket.
A native Dictionary app is hiding in iOS 5.
While there’s no Dictionary “app” in iOS 5, tap and hold any word to see a new “Define” button.
Tap it to view the word’s definition in a neat drop-down screen.
Take a quick snapshot using this trick.
Need to take a picture as quickly as possible?
Double tap the Home button from the iPhone lock screen to pop up a new camera button.
Send tweets and update your Facebook using Siri
TNW has a great how-to for sending tweets and Facebook updates using Siri. It’s technically a work around, and not some elaborate hack.
Really, all it is is telling Siri to send a text message to Facebook mobile or Twitter’s mobile phone number.
So in the end, by saying “Send Twitter a message that says hello world,” you’ll update your Twitter account with “hello world.”
Week view calendar is finally here.
Turn your iPhone sideways inside the Calendar app to view your week at a glance.
All-day events remain stationary, while you can scroll through the hours of the day vertically.
Make your LED flash when you’re receiving an incoming call.
If you’re driving at night with the music on and your iPhone on the seat next to you, odds are you’re going to miss a phone call if your phone’s on vibrate.
To turn on LED blinking when somebody calls you, go to Settings, then General, then Accessibility, then “LED flash for alerts.”
Even if you don’t often find yourself in the scenario we previously mentioned, it’s a cool feature.
Notifications Center has a bunch of useful settings
Battery life killing you?
Drag Weather Widget and Stock Widget out of Notifications Center.
Don’t like the order of your notifications?
Drag around apps to designate which ones come first.
Head to Settings, then Notifications, and then tap Edit in the top right corner. Drag the three lines to the right of each app.
Set up keyboard shortcuts and abbreviations for commonly used phrases
Remember how cool it was when you first typed mypin into a Blackberry and your phone’s PIN came up?
iOS 5 provides the same functionality for abbreviations like ttyl or things like “myemail.”
Go to your Settings app, then General, then Keyboard, then Shortcuts to add text “shortcuts.”
For example, you could make a shortcut like this “myemail” = “email@example.com”
Now any time I type myemail and press the space bar, my email address comes up.
Here’s a trick for iPad-users who want to type with their thumbs.
iOS 5 for iPad includes a cool new “split keyboard” that makes it easier to type in certain situations.
In order to enable the split keyboard, place two fingers on the keyboard and then spread them apart. The keyboard should split right under your fingers.
Get a quick look at the picture you just took.
Any time you’re in the camera app, drag your finger from left to right onscreen to see the the most recent picture you’ve taken.
It’s a quick and easy way to check out a picture you just took.
Turn on Read receipts in iMessage to let others know you’ve read a message.
When you’re chatting with someone via iMessage, you can see when your messages have been delivered to your friends’ iPhone.
But did you know that you can turn on “read receipts” (a la Blackberry Messenger) so people can see when you’ve read a message?
Apple has “read receipts” turned off by default to avoid confusion, but you can turn it on inside iMessage settings.
iOS 5 lets you snap pictures using the volume up button and remote.
Finally, Apple lets you take pictures by pressing the volume-up button on the iPhone’s left side.
This makes it a lot easier to take stable pictures and avoid motion blur. Plus, you can even take pictures using the volume-up button on any iPhone-enabled remotes attached to many headphones.
You can finally customize alert tones and not just ringtones.
iOS 5 allows you to set up full ringtones for text messages, calendar alerts, and more.
Plus, there’s a convenient Ringtone Store to buy them from.
Go to Settings, then Sounds, then pick an alert, then pick Buy More Tones.
Having “Siri can’t connect” troubles? Here’s how to fix it.
For some iPhone 4S users, Siri seems to be “unable to connect” pretty frequently.
Fortunately, we have a fix for the problem, via iDownloadBlog.
The procedure is simple, harmless, and won’t take too much time.
Here’s how to do it:
- Turn off Siri by going to Settings, then General, then Siri. Wait a few seconds.
- Reset your network settings by going to Settings, then General, then Reset, then Reset Network Settings. Your phone will reboot.
- Turn Siri back on. Wait a few seconds.
- Hopefully, Siri will now successfully be able to connect to Apple’s servers. If it doesn’t work, try the process again.
Emoji emoticons come standard in iOS 5.
Love Emoji emoticons? iOS 5 comes with an Emoji keyboard built in, but you’ll have to activate it before you can use it.
Go to your Settings app, then General, then Keyboard, then International Keyboards.
Tap “Add New Keyboard” and tap “Emoji.”
Now, whenever you’re typing, you can tap the Globe icon to the left of your space bar to use Emoji emoticons
Maps gets alternate routes
We’ve been waiting for this one for a long time.
Now, when you ask for driving directions inside the Maps app, alternate routes appear. Tap one to use that route instead.
Have a few iOS devices? Enable auto-download.
If you have more than one iOS device (or if your family has several devices using one Apple ID), it’s easy to turn on auto-downloads for music, apps, and iBooks.
On each device, go to Settings, then Store, and then enable music, apps, or books.
When you download something on one device (or even your Mac), it will automatically download on all the other devices.
Mark and flag messages inside the Mail app
Here’s another that’s been a long time coming.
In the Mail app, it’s now easy to mark multiple emails as read, and flag/star any emails you need to address later.
Tap the Edit button, pick some emails (or just one), then tape “Mark” in the bottom bar. Pick “Flag” or “Read.”
Use this new gesture to flip between apps on your iPad 2.
iOS 5 brings the iPad 2 some fancy new gestures for switching between apps.
Pinch in with your entire hand to return to your home screen, swipe to the left or right to switch apps, and push up with four fingers to see your multitasking tray.
Sorry! This trick won’t work on the original iPad.
Turn on Private Browsing, just like in Safari for Mac.
iOS 5 includes a new “Private Browsing” mode inside Safari.
Go to your Settings app, then Safari, then scroll down to Private Browsing to turn on the feature.
Here’s how to create photo albums.
Scrolling through hundreds of pictures in an iPhone’s camera roll can be a drag, so iOS 5 lets you create photo albums on the fly.
Tap the action button (arrow) in your Photos app, pick some photos, then tap “Add To.” Pick a name for your album, and you’re done.
Here’s how to turn on AirPlay mirroring so what’s on your iPhone screen shows up on your TV
If you have an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 and a second generation AppleTV, you can take advantage of an awesome new feature called AirPlay mirroring.
First, go to Settings on your AppleTV and make sure AirPlay is switched on. Then, double tap your home button on your iPad 2/iPhone 4S to open up the multitasking tray, and swipe over to the AirPlay icon (an arrow pointing up inside a box).
Tap it, pick your AppleTV, then switch Mirroring “On” inside the drop-down menu.
Set up default alert times for events you need to remember.
When you set up alerts for “all day” events like birthdays, it can be confusing when that alert will go off?
Will it go off at midnight when that day begins, or at 8AM?
Now, you can customize exactly when all-day alerts go off. Go to Settings, then Mail, Contacts, Calendars, then “Default Alert Times.”
Apple gives you 5GB of free storage in iCloud. Here’s how to see what you’re storing.
The genius of iCloud is that it’s not storing all your apps—it’s only storing the preferences, settings, and data within those apps.
So, 5GB is going to last you a long while. Want to check what’s using up space?
You don’t even need a computer to do it. Go to Settings, then iCloud, then Storage & Backup, then Manage Storage, then tap your iPhone. Here you’ll find exactly what’s taking up space in your iCloud.