4 iOS 9 Features Worth Trying

Now that iOS 9 for the iPhone and iPad has been out for a month or more and has even had a few updates, I’d like to share my four favorite features and encourage you to start using them. They are listed in reverse order because I saved the best for last!

4. Wi-Fi Assist Mode

We’ve all been “taught” to get our iPhones onto Wi-Fi whenever possible to avoid using our cell phone data plan. It’s a great practice, except when your W-Fi signal is weak and the cell phone data signal is strong. Until iOS 9, your iPhone would stubbornly struggle to connect to an app or website over Wi-Fi, oblivious to the stronger and faster cellular data connection it had.

If you prefer speed and don’t mind using your data plan, there is a new setting that will automatically switch from using Wi-Fi to cellular data when your Wi-Fi connection gets spotty. To turn it on or off, touch Settings > Cellular and scroll all the way to the bottom and touch the toggle switch.

3. Multiple Photos Selection

Most people let their photos accumulate on their iPhones until they get the “Not Enough Storage … This iPhone cannot be backed up” message and panic. Until iOS 9, deleting photos from the Camera Roll or All Photos (if you have iCloud Photo Library turned on) was a painstakingly slow, one-by-one tap on each photo. Now, from the Photos app, after you touch Select, you can drag your finger across multiple pictures to choose them quickly.

2. The New Notes

For years I’ve been synchronizing my iPhone Notes through Gmail. (It’s a setting on an iPhone under Mail, Contacts, Calendars for most email providers and iCloud – not just Gmail.)

The reason I synched through Gmail rather than iCloud was that iCloud required you to create an icloud.com email address to sync Notes. For most of us, having yet another email address was not needed or wanted.

Now, Apple has upgraded Notes to include basic formatting, drawing, inserting photos and even organizing Notes into folders. The catch is that it only works if you synchronize your Notes through iCloud, but you no longer have to create an icloud.com email address!

If you use Notes frequently, you will especially appreciate the ability to create folders to organize and then find them.

1. Siri

Siri is so remarkably improved that she deserves this whole article to herself (or himself, depending on your settings). It really wasn’t that long ago when you tried to tell Siri to “Call John Smith” and she responded by calling your mother. And of course you replied with a few, choice words for Siri!

With iOS 9, Siri understands almost everything you say and can do so much more.

The ability to activate Siri with the command “Hey, Siri” has been around for awhile, but only when your iPhone was plugged into a power source. If you happen to own the new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you can ask Siri questions anywhere that your iPhone can hear you, without being plugged in.

Holding the home button down to activate Siri still works with all iPhone models 4s and later. For those of you who find that Siri can be a little impatient as you are asking a question, you can take as long as you want by holding down the home button the entire time you are speaking.

Here is a list of some of the ways you can begin using Siri to save time and make your iPhone more useful:

  • “Show my photos from Washington last June.” No more scrolling and scrolling through your photos!
  • “Get the Scannable app.” No more slow searching to find any app in the app store!
  • “When is the next game for the Tar Heels?”
  • “Remind me to turn on the oven when I get home.”
  • “What movies are playing near me tonight?”
  • “What is the best pizza restaurant in Chicago?”
  • “Find a table for four tonight in Washington, DC.”
  • “What is 20% of $63.75?” Or, something complicated like: “What is the square root of 325?”

Remember, go to Settings > General > Siri to turn it on, to allow “Hey Siri,” and to train Siri to your voice.

In addition, you can train Siri on other name pronunciations at any time or on contact relationships like “Learn to pronounce Shania Twain” or “John Smith is my husband.”

I highly recommend that you experiment and take a look at the list Apple has created at http://www.apple.com/ios/siri/.