30 of the Best iOS 5 Features (list)


Tomorrow, Apple will unveil the next iPhone, presumably the iPhone 4GS or iPhone 5.  Not only will it be faster and have an upgraded camera, but it will be powered by iOS 5.  Here are the top 30 new and improved features that users are going to love.

1. Wireless Sync and activation

Literally right out of the box, new iOS devices will be able to activate without a PC with wireless activation.  That’s something that Apple customers have been screaming for as some don’t want a computer, they just want an iPad.  This new feature fills that need.  And iOS devices don’t have to sync through a USB connection to iTunes.  Using a WiFi connection, users can backup to iCloud, as well as sync to iTunes on their PC.  And with new over the air (OTA) updating, users won’t have to sync to iTunes to get the latest iOS updates, something Android users have enjoyed since day one.  And any time you plug your iPhone into an AC outlet to charge, the iPhone will automatically sync to the Cloud via WiFi and look for a software upgrade.

2. Notification Center

The next new feature is another that isn’t really new to Android users, but that iOS 5 does quite elegantly … it’s the new Notification Center.  When users receive a message, whether text or email, iOS 5 will drop down a notification bar in the upper edge of the screen without kicking users out of the app they’re using at the moment.  Users can then swipe down to pull down the bar for more details. If there’s multiple messages, users can simply swipe to reply to messages.  For messages that come in when the iOS device isn’t being used, the Notification Center has lock screen notification, and a simple swipe will reveal and swipe to reply.

3. Greater Accessibility

This is so high on the list because Apple has always made accessibility to iOS a priority.  And these tweaks really help those who are hard of hearing or blind to further use their devices.  Features include LED Flash and vibration activation for incoming calls, improved voiceover support, a hearing aid mode for altering voice and voiceover, and custom gestures to perform key tasks.  Other improvements include a  larger text option, New speak selection, New assistive touch settings, and the ability to Set Mono Audio left or right.

4. Twitter Integration

With iOS 5, Twitter comes built in.  All users need to do is go into settings, select to install the official Twitter app and sign in.  New users can register within iOS 5 without having to launch the browser and go to Twitter to sign up. Once installed and activated, users will find Tweet options in several places from the Safari browser, the camera app, maps, and contact information where Twitter handles can be added.  Additionally, the keyboard has been redesigned for more prominent #(hash-tag) and @ (mention) keys.  Location services can also be added to any Tweet, making Tweet ups easier to create.

5. Greater phone support

You remember that the iPhone is actually a PHONE right?  It can make and receive calls!  That’s what my wife likes to joke about.  Well with iOS 5, users have greater phone support including deleting of individual phone calls with a wipe, unsecured call warnings, location notifications for calls not in contacts, and users can now edit their phone number in settings.

6. Enhanced email features

With iOS 5, users can now add a little more flair to their emails with rich text editing of italics, bold, underline, and even indenting.  And to make addressing an email even easier, users can now drag email addresses to address fields.  Email also will have the ability to organize messages easier with the addition of custom folders. And users can now select & mark multiple emails as read.

7. Enhanced contact features

iOS 5 brings a few extra fields for contact management.  Users can now add family relations, as well as social media links

8. iMessage between iOS devices

Users can also send unlimited messages directly to users of other iOS devices with iMessage.  iMessage allows you to send pictures, video, text messages, group messages, and contacts to any other iOS device – iPhones, iPads, and the iPod Touch.  Users can set up to receive delivery notification and receipts.  iMessage works on both 3G and WiFi, and messages are encrypted.  And just for fun, users can now use animated GIF images in iMessage (only).

9. Airplay wireless mirroring

Airplay mirroring comes to iOS 5, allowing users to use their iOS device through AppleTV on their TV set.  Suddenly, that iPhone or iPad screen is 50″, making it ideal for meetings or even game play.  And the image will also rotate on the TV as it does on the iOS device as you alter it.

10. Enhanced camera control

Users have been screaming for this feature and now they have it.  In iOS 5, users will be able to take capture those instant moments with a Lockscreen camera control, meaning that they don’t have to go into the camera app to snap a picture.  Additionally, users can use the up volume button to snap photo.  And users have greater control over what the iPhone focuses on with one tap auto focus.  In camera editing features are also added including with red eye reduction, rotating, and cropping.   Users can also organize their photos in camera roll with the addition of albums. And here’s a great additional option – users can use their iPhone earbuds as a remote trigger by using the Volume UP button.

11. Photostream

Through Photostream, users can now automatically upload images and videos to the Cloud and directly to all iOS devices and their Desktop PCs.   Additionally, iCloud stores every photo for 30 days and every iOS device will store the last 1000 snapshots.  Your Desktop, however, can store them all.

12. Improved Facetime features

Apple has also finally freed Facetime from the confines of WiFi.  Users can now video conference over 3G.  And they don’t need a SIM to initiate a call either as calls can be made via phone number or email address.  And what could be better?  How about airplay support?  Facetime now enjoys airplay mirroring for video conferencing over your TV set through AppleTV.  And video quality is improved.

13. iCloud

Here’s the biggie.  Users can take advantage of the Cloud with wireless backup and restore.  Users can also schedule daily over the air backup or disable iCloud syn via 3G to save bandwidth.   As previously mentioned, iOS 5 will also automatically sync and backup to iCloud every time users plug in their phone to recharge and look for updates.   Images, videos and files are also backed up to the Cloud and synced down to other iOS devices as well as your PC via iTunes.  And speaking of iTunes, users have the option of a free 256kb upgrade of songs if backing up to iCloud, with any apps or music purchased not counting towards their monthly cap.  Users get 5GB free, with additional storage options ranging from $20-100 annually.  And  Find My iPhone is also available as a part of iCloud integration with an option to disable it.

14. Calendar enhancements

Calendars become more useful with a tap to add event option, tap and drag to adjust time and duration of an event, swipe left or right to view a different day, and viewing of event attachments.

15. Location based Task manager

iOS 5 makes people more productive now with the Reminder Task Manager.   Tasks can be created and checked off, as well as syncd w/ iCal and Outlook.  Reminders can also be location based, meaning when your iOS device sees where you’re in the vicinity of a task, it’ll remind you to do it. reminders. Reminders — Instead of taking notes on your iPhone’s notepad app or putting a reminder in your calendar, you can now use Reminders in iOS to create a digital to-do list right on your iPhone. The geo-location abilities will trigger surrounding events for you to choose from.

16. Storage usage and clean-up

Here’s a nice feature for housekeeping of your iOS device.  iOS 5 brings Storage Usage Clean Up so that we not only see what files have taken up space but also the option to empty that space of Apps, Game saved data, Music, Videos etc. with single wipe.

17. The Assistant

iOS 5 brings a Voice activated assistant feature.   With a long press of the home button, your iOS device will interact and respond to voice commands. Users will be able to drive hands free and tell the phone to send email, texts, get maps, tweet, and even make phone calls.  Based on the popular Siri app, which Apple recently purchased.

18. Split keyboard for iPad

If you’ve ever used an iPad, you know how hard it is to thumb type.  So iOS 5 adds a split keyboard option to make it easier to type in portrait mode.

19. Video and music now separate apps

With iOS 5, the iPod app is retired in exchange for separate video and music apps.  Seems kind of odd, but it was actually done with the iPod Touch, so this change makes it consistent across all iOS platforms.  Users can also move between tracks with a swipe to the left or right (iPad only) and a slide will delete a song right away.

20. Custom Tones

To make the iOS experience more personal, users can now add custom tones for Calendar events, send/receive mail, voice mail, week view on calendar, year view on calendar (iPad) and more.  And of course, that means a new TONES App store!

21. Dictionary

Not an earth shattering feature, but it’s nice that dictionary has been added and is available in every app.

22. News stand subscriptions

Available through iBooks, users can now subscribe to magazines and newspapers.  Searching by popularity of subscriptions is also a plus.

23. Cellular Network for App Store

If users want to be stingy with their bandwidth and only download apps over WiFi, they now have the option to Enable or Disable App Store downloads via GPRS and 3G.

24. Faster Safari

Safari has become streamlined and is faster to load.  Users can also save web pages in reader mode which eliminates all ads to make them easier to read.  They can also be saved off line to read later.  And in the iPad, Safari also offers Tabbed Browsing support.

25. Alternate Routes in Google Maps

Ever frustrated when Maps gives you a route that’s longer or goes out of the way?  In iOS 5, users can choose alternate routes that are more to their liking.  For those who prefer things old school, users can now print directions from their iOS device.

26. HD YouTube

Users now have the option to stream HD/HQ videos through YouTube over 3G.  For those concerned about bandwidth, the ability to disable HQ video playback is also available in settings.  Nice.

27. Disable In-app Purchases

As a dad, I really appreciate this option.  With iOS 5, users now have the option of disabling in-app purchases.  No longer will I have to pay for things I didn’t want to buy because the purchase was done in-app without our knowledge or consent.

28. Game Center Enhancements

By contrast, Game Center now allows in app purchases of games.  Users can also further personalize their account with photos, and decide if your profile is private or public.

29. Weather updates

The iOS weather app becomes more useful with hourly updates, local weather, and the ability to swipe the weather widget in Notification Center to see a 5 day forecast.

30. MultiTasking

Users can now do gesture based multi tasking (iPad only).  With a swipe of 4 fingers, the app switcher appears.  Pinch will return to home screen.  And a swipe left and right to switch between  any actve apps

There are over 200 new features to iOS, and depending on which iOS device you use, some or all are available to enjoy.  But it’s certainly a well thought out and welcome update which will only get better with the addition of the new iPhone!


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28 Comments to 30 of the Best iOS 5 Features (list)

  1. Anonymous

    I have problem on 1080p vids mirroring Airplay, as I think via the mirroring then maybe I don’t need to do so much converting with iFunia media converter and could make the Apple TV to be a HTV centre on the go. That’s so great!

  2. Ljkyle94

    great and easy to read article! it was actually enjoyable to read, and thats coming from a teen! great job and thanks!

  3. Setphaser

    where can you disable in-app purchases? it used to be under Restrictions in the Settings app in 3.1.2 but I can’t see it anywhere now.

    • Anonymous

      Setphaser, head to Settings>General>Restrictions

      Then enable restrictions, scroll down and you’ll see a switch for turning “in app purchases” on/off.

      Let us know if that works.

  4. Tolitzamaes06

    I have iOS 5 but there was no SIRI

    • Anonymous

      SIRI is only available to iPhone 4s owners.  That might change in the future, but don’t hold your breath.

    • JMB

      maybe because you got a iPhone 3GS or 4… make sure you look up the latest on apple products and software before you start complaining about features that aren’t available to you iPhone. Twat. 

    • Subramanyaprakash

      siri is a part of iPhone 4s not iOS 5

  5. Tangnick56

    Point 10 only appears on my iPhone occasionally.  Maybe 1 – 2 times daily and I don’t know how to set it so that it can come up whenever the “Locked” screen is on.

    • jackfera

      You have to double tap the home screen button to activate the camera icon when the screen is locked. Simples!

  6. Shanegalang

    Facetime doesnt work very well with 3G!

    • Anonymous

      Facetime is only available on a WiFi connection.

  7. Jeremy

    21. DictionaryNot an earth shattering feature, but it’s nice that dictionary has been added and is available in every app.”Not sure you are strictly right to say the dictionary has been added as i think it is the one which was in iBooks, but having it available in all apps is nice. (and it is a good dictionary) 

  8. ishan deep

    I have a question for number  17. The Assistant
    Its called SIRI , and its still in beta version for iPhone 4S and how can you be so sure that it comes with iOS 5 ???

    • Anonymous

      Ishan, you’re partially right.  It only available with the iPhone 4s as of now.

    • SuperDuperComputer

      iOS 5 does have voice activated assistance, but it’s not SIRI and it’s not as capable as SIRI

  9. Fateofthejedi21

    I have an iPod touch, so the 3G doesn’t apply, but the addition I’m excited about is imessage, free texting between iOS devices

    • Anonymous

      Of note, you can turn off iMessage if need be in the settings menu.

  10. Guest

    Custom SMS tones? Come on, surely.

    • JMS17

      I have the iOS 5 GM… there are custom SMS tones!!!!!!!!! and for many other things also

  11. Z123

    Does the iPhone5 have a built in chip to receive Sirius XM Radio?

      • Davidurface

        You don’t need it because you can get the app and it will stream through you data connection which is better because you don’t lose your
        Station in tunnels or under awnings lol

  12. Aj

    these are just new to iphone, not to anyone else

    • TechGeek

      It is the very first anything to actually use cloud and the Siri is far more complex than just voice commands this post doesn’t give enough information. Siri is artificial intelligence it learns and speaks back and fourth with you. You should read read on apples website if you want accurate information :)

      • Amitpattel

        I can’t find YouTube hd or hq option in my fone

  13. Thanks. 
    Complete list of 200+ features is available here http://techzoom.org/ios-5-complete-list-of-200-new-features/ 

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