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Top 7 iOS 9 Features: What’s New and Cool?

Here’s an overview of our personal top 7 new features and changes in iOS 9.0, which was released a few hours ago. Apple made sure to include plenty of interesting iOS 9 features for you to try out and enjoy on your iPhone. We suggest you give the update a go and try all of them on your own device, there is certainly a lot to explore in the latest version of iOS. A lot of it happens under the hood, but there are plenty of new settings and apps for you to check out.

Longer battery life

As with every new iteration of iOS, you can expect better battery life. Even on the older devices such as the iPad 2 or the iPhone 5! A great new feature extends your battery life gains by throttling performance and cutting down on power-hungry features, it’s called Low Power Mode and you can read about it here. Using the new feature, you can get up to two additional hours on a single charge. Your iPhone now also recognizes when it is resting face down and won’t turn on the display for incoming notifications, which extends the battery runtime.

Siri just got smarter and more capable

Your personal virtual assistant, Siri, has learned a few new tricks that are available in iOS 9 and made her quite a bit smarter. She recognizes contextual clues such as the place you checked out on a map and will give you directions accordingly, or remind you to pick up a specific email to read at a later point in time. While reading email, you can have Siri create a reminder or appointment, which will take you back to that specific mail, when due. You can even give her a date, place or album title to have Siri find one of your videos and photos. A more contextual Siri equals a more productive and helpful assistant.

Overall default app overhaul

Apple’s native apps received quite a bit of love as well: Your “Notes” app is now comparable to Evernote in that it allows you to add rich media in the form of photos, links and sketches to your notes. The drawings can be created with a multitude of virtual pens and tools.

The “Mail” app benefits from the new 3D Touch input and allows you to peek inside of mails listed in your inbox without actually opening them. And the 5-photo-limit is now gone, you can attach as many pictures as you like. By the way, attachments are now connected to your iCloud and can be added from there, while MailDrop allows you to add up to 5 GB of files to an email.

And your “Settings” app has a new search bar at the very top, which reduces the time spent looking for individual settings that are buried inside the cascading menus. Don’t forget to take the new “iCloud Drive” file management app for a spin, too.

Predictive search and proactive assistant

The Spotlight search feature was also beefed up in terms of context and intelligence. Instead of having to actually conduct a search, your iPhone will suggest a number apps or contacts based on your usage patterns. This is also called the “Proactive Assistant” feature, as it learns about your routine and provides you with information that is relevant to the exact moment you are experiencing right now. It lives to the far left of your Home Screen. Expect nifty things such as restaurant recommendations based on your current location, a list of breaking news and your boarding pass – right when you need it, without having to look for it. Android users may know of such conveniences in the shape of “Google Now”.

Smaller iOS update size

Owners of smaller devices rejoice! Your 16 GB iPhone (and other devices) will only require around 1.0 to 1.3 GB of free storage space to install the upgrade to iOS 9.0, which is a huge improvement considering that iOS 8 took a hefty 4.6 GB toll on your storage, at least initially. What is also pretty cool about iOS 9.0 and apps is how they will update themselves in the near future. Developers have access to a feature called “App Thinning”, which keeps the updates and apps as small as possible while offering the full range of features. This results in faster downloads and more space for your own content.

The new “Back to” button

Going back to your last used app used to require acrobatic finger maneuvers, such as double-pressing the Home Button and switching through your apps in the Multitasking View. While there is certainly nothing wrong with the updated version of this view, iPhone users have craved a simpler and easier way to deal with notifications and messages, while being able to return to their current main preoccupation on their phones. This is exactly what this new feature enables you to do, check it out in our dedicated article on the topic.

Keyboard displays correct case

The devil is in the details, once you know this one you won’t be able to bear the sight of the iOS keyboard without it:

The old iOS keyboard used to display every single key as a capital letter, regardless of whether the Shift Key was pressed or not. In iOS 9.0 and above, you can expect an accurate depiction of the current state of the keyboard with lower-case and upper-case letters.