iOS 5 was released with the iPhone 4S in October 2011, and was available as a free upgrade to iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS owners. Apple added more than 200 new features in this iPhone software. I will discuss 15 of my most powerful features in this new release.
Some of the new features are only available on iPhone 4S owners due to additional speed requirements in CPU and graphics which is available only in the A5 chip on iPhone 4S and iPad 2.
This is one of the most exciting features of iOS5. It allows you to display photos and videos from your iPhone to your HD TV wirelessely. With a tap of a button, all your contents from pictures and videos can easily be displayed on your TV.
To display a video on your HDTV that is connected to an Apple TV, simply tap the AirPlay button shown above while playing your video, and your video will start streaming to your TV.
To display your iPhone photos, simply go to the photo app in your iPhone, and as you are watching your pictures, tap the AirPlay button shown below to stream your photos to your Apple TV.
It allows your iPhone 4S to mirror its screen to any HD TV connected to an Apple TV unit. There is no need for an iPhone HDMI adapter or any iPhone cable to display video out to the TV. It is all done wirelessely. To access the AirPlay Mirror button on iPhone 4S, simply double press the home button while in your home screen. When the task manager shows up at the bottom, slide all the way to the left. You will see the volume slider, and the AirPlay button next to it as shown in the picture below.
Select the Apple TV, and then tap the "ON" button to enable AirPlay Mirror. Your iPhone 4S screen will be mirrored to your HD TV. Any thing you open on your iPhone will now be mirrored to the TV.
2- Faster Camera Capture:
iOS 5 has much improved camera capture speed in general, but the capture really rocks on iPhone 4S due to the faster processor. If you turn on your iPhone, you can easily access the camera by double pressing the home button while still in lock screen. Moreover, you can now press the volume button to snap a picture besides touching the screen.
This is one of the most highlighted iPhone 4S features which comes with iOS 5 but only available on iPhone 4S. Siri is a speech recognition technology that was adopted by Apple on the iPhone 4S. It is the most intelligent voice command available on portable devices. You simply speak what you want to Siri, and even with an accent, she will understand what you mean.
You can ask her to look for things for you. You can ask about almost any subject whether it is history, math, science, etc. She will connect to the Apple server to translate what you said quickly, and then she goes online to look for answers.
Siri hacks are also available in Cydia that add more exciting functions to Siri such as opening apps, changing iPhone settings, powering down your iPhone and much more.
iOS 5 has a nice dictation feature that is also available on iPhone 4S. If you tap any iPhone application and tap on any text entry field, the iPhone keyboard will open to allow you to type what you want.
If you look to the left of the space bar in the iPhone keyboard, you will see a new microphone button.
This microphone button allows you to speak what you want instead of typing. Your speech will be converted to texts in the field you selected.
5- Wireless Sync to iTunes:
A nice feature of iOS 5 is the wireless sync which allows you to get rid of the wires completely. If you have the latest iTunes running on your Mac or PC, you can Sync your iPhone to your computer without wires. You can start a sync either from your computer, or from you iPhone itself.
You must enable wireless sync in iTunes first. Open iTunes, and connect your iPhone with iOS5 to your computer. Once the iPhone is mounted in iTunes, select it, and make sure you are in the Summary tab. If you scroll down in iTunes, you will see under Options a check box to enable Sync over Wi-Fi. Check the box, and click apply.
Once you click apply, the iPhone will connect to your wifi network, and you will be able to sync wirelessely. You can disconnect your iPhone from your computer and still see your iPhone mounted in iTunes. That means that you have wireless sync enabled. Whereever you are within your wifi network, you will always be connected to iTunes.
You can then start a sync either by clicking Sync in iTunes as normal, or by starting the sync from your your iPhone. Open your iPhone Settings, and then General --> "iTunes Wi-Fi Sync". Then tap "Sync Now" to start the sync process with iTunes wirelessely from your iPhone.
The iPhone could go to sleep while syncing, so don't panic. If you go to iTunes on your computer, you will see that the sync process is still active which means that your iPhone is still syncing while it is in sleep mode.
Also, on your iPhone you will see the progress bar, and also in steps. For example step 1 of 4, or step 4 of 4. You can also see what iPhone application or settings is being synced or installed. If you want to cancel sync at anytime, just tap the "Cancel Sync" button.
6- Push Apps for Downloads:
Another cool iOS feature is the ability to sync your purchased Music, Apps, and books with all your iDevices running iOS5. For example, suppose you downloaded an app on your iPhone 4S, if you have an iPad 2 running iOS 5 and has the "Automatic Downloads" feature turned on. Then, the iPad 2 will also get the same app you downloaded on the iPhone 4S automatically. The app will be pushed to the iPad. You can enable the push of Music, Apps, or iBooks buttons by going to Settings --> Store.
iCloud is a great feature of iOS 5 that took a lot of investment from Apple. If you have an Apple ID already, you automatically get 5 GB of free storage on the Apple servers over the cloud. You get 5GB free storage per Apple ID and you can always buy more storage. You can backup any information you have on your iPhone to iCloud. Then you can sync and restore your iPhone with iCloud from anywhere in the world.
There is no need to connect to your computer anymore. You can choose what information you want to Sync or backup to the cloud from your iPhone by going to Settings --> iCloud. Any iOS device you have with the same Apple ID will immediately have access to the information on iCloud no matter where you are.
Photo stream is another great feature of iOS 5 which is part of iCloud. If you take a picture on Your iPhone running iOS5. Then, the picture will be sent to the cloud, and then pushed to all your iOS devices with the same Apple ID.
For example, an iPad that is running iOS 5, and has Photo stream turned on with the same Apple ID, will automatically get this picture.
To enable photo stream, simply go to Settings --> Photos, and then turn Photo Stream ON. Any iDevice running iOS 5 including the Apple TV will have Photo Stream. The latest version of iPhoto on the Mac also has Photo Stream.
All the devices that have Photo Stream enabled will automatically share any picture on Photo Stream.
Photo Stream is a great feature for a family with multiple iOS devices such as an iPad, iPod Touch or Apple TV.
Apple improved notifications dramatically in iOS 5. You can customise notifications so that they don't interrupt what you are doing as it was before iOS 5.
You can access the Notifications options from Settings --> Notifications which will show you a list of all iPhone application installed on your iPhone that have notification feature.
You can select between a banner notification or an alert and you can access all your notification at anytime by accessing the notification center pull down menu.
Simply slide your finger from the top of the screen at the status bar and then down. A screen will smoothly pull down with your finger. You will never miss any notification with the new iOS 5 notification center.
10- Speak Selection:
This is one of my favorite features of iOS 5. Speak Selection allows you to highlight any article you want in a Safari page, an e-mail, or a PDF file, and give you the option to speak the selection. This is really amazing if you are driving, and want to listen to an article being read to you.
To enable Speak Selection, you need to go to Settings --> General --> Accessibility and then turn the "Speak Selection" button ON.
You can also control the speed of the speaker by adjusting the speaking rate slider. The more you move the slider to the right, the faster the reader speaks.
To start speaking a selection, simply select the article you want by tapping on a paragraph and holding until you get the selection window. Drag with your finger to select all the text you want, and then tap "Speak".
The beauty of the iPhone is that it support almost every language in the world. For Arabs for example, Apple supported Arabic browsing and Arabic language in the core of the iOS.
Another great support for Arabic language by Apple in iOS 5 is shown in the Speak selection.
It is really amazing to hear your iPhone speaking an Arabic article using Speak Selection.
You can go to any Arabic site, and select an Arabic article the same way you do for an English article, and then tap on the Speak button for the iPhone to read the article in clear and clean Arabic language.
11- Assistive Touch:
Assistive touch is one of the iOS5 new features that is available in Accessibility. It allows you to use a touch button on your screen to mimic hardware buttons.
I like to use this feature when I am driving as I don't have to press with pressure on the home button. I could just touch the screen to close an iPhone application or go to the home screen.
To enable Assistive touch, go to Settings --> Accessibility --> AssistiveTouch. Then you can tap the ON button to turn it on. Once it is enabled, you will see a big white circle at the top right corner of your screen.
You can tap and move the circle anywhere on the screen and then you can tap it to expand it.
The Assistive touch has several buttons when it is expanded. There are two very useful buttons that I use a lot, but you can experiment with the other ones.
The Home button replicate the physical home button. Therefore, tapping this button will close apps and will switch from one screen to another just like using the physical home button.
You can also use it to extend the life of your physical home button, or if you don't want to press for any reason.
The other useful button is the Device button. Tapping the device button will reveal several other buttons that allow you to eliminate the use of any physical button on your iPhone.
For example, you can use the volume up or volume down buttons to control your volume instead of accessing the physical buttons.
You can also tap lock your iPhone, Rotate your screen, mute, or even apply a shake without physically shaking the iPhone.
This is specially useful if for any reason, you can't access the hardware buttons on your iPhone.
12- Custom Vibration & Ringtones:
Beside the ability to customise your iPhone ringtones in iOS 5, you can also customise your vibration for each contact you have.
You can select from some standard vibrations available already, or you can create your own custom vibrations. This is one of the coolest features of iOS 5.
To enable custom vibration, simply go to Settings --> General --> Accessibility --> Custom Vibration and turn it on.
Now you can open any contact from your list to add a custom vibration to it. Choose one of your contacts, and then tap the Edit button at the top right. Then, tap the "vibration" button.
You will see the Default vibration, Standard vibration, and Custom vibration. The standard vibrations are some pre defined vibrations that come with iOS 5. The most exciting feature of custom vibration is the ability to create your own. Under Custom, tap the "Create New Vibration" button.
A blank screen with a Play and a Record button will be displayed. It looks similar to a voice recorder but this time it is a touch recorder. Try to touch the screen, and you will feel the iPhone vibrate when you touch it. If you touch longer, you get a longer vibration. Once you are satisfied with your vibration, you can play it again, or save it by tapping the "Save" button at the top right. A new window will pop up asking you to name your new custom vibration.
You will see this new created custom vibration under the custom vibration list, and you can assign it to any of your contacts.
13- Black on White:
This feature is useful if you want to read something at night, and you don't want to lower the iPhone brightness. It flips the colors so that the white become black, and the text becomes white. You will notice that it is more comfortable to the eyes at night. White on Black can be activated by going to Settings --> General --> Accessibility --> White on Black, and then turn it on.
It is best to assign this feature to a triple click home to quickly enable it and disable it as needed.
14- Triple Click Home Button:
With the many added features of iOS 5, the iPhone is in need of more gestures and buttons.
To overcome this issue, Apple introduced the option to assign some Accessibility features to a triple click on the home button.
In the accessibility screen, you can see a button called "Triple-click Home" at the bottom. When you tap this button, you will see some accessibility features that can be assigned to this triple click action.
You can assign Triple-click Home to Assistive touch for example, or the Black on White feature to quickly enable and disable those features.
Once a feature is assigned to the triple click, you can simply press the the home button three times to enable or disable the assigned feature.
15- Reading List:
Reading list is a pretty nice iOS 5 feature that allows you to convert any article in a web page to an easy to read in mobile style page. You can also bookmark those reading list, and sync them with iTunes and other iOS devices.
Reading list is automatically enabled in iPhone safari, and can be seen at the url address bar called "Reader". If you tap on "Reader" while you are in any article, it will be converted to a reading list. You can see the difference between normal web page and a reading list format below.
Once you are in the reading list window, you can tap the options button to add the article to your reading list, home screen, email it, tweet it, or print it. Moreover, if you tap the "A" button, you can enlarge the text for more convenient reading.