Much has been said about the lack of new features in iOS 9. Many refer to Apple’s latest software update as more of an under the hood refinement. iOS can definitely benefit from a tune-up, with a greater concentration made in making the the OS run more efficiently. Too often with each new iteration, consumers, and especially tech writers, get caught up in the bullet list of new features and capabilities. We tend to forget that none of that really matters if the OS is slow, buggy and uncooperative. Having said that, there is no way that Apple would miss an opportunity to introduce at least a handful of new attributes for iOS. After digging around I made a wanted to share (5) of my favorites.
Keyboard as a Track Pad
This has got to be one of my favorite improvements in all of iOS 9 on the iPad. It’s a small, simple feature, but it tackles one of my biggest pet peeves with text input in iOS. Whenever you made a mistake, or changed your mind when entering text in iOS 9, your only solution to go back and correct the mistake, providing it wasn’t just a misspelled word, was to hold your finger on the screen in the general area of the text you needed to correct, and wait for that pesky magnifying glass to appear so that you could fine-tune your cursor placement. This was a great idea when it first was introduced in iOS, but I have grown intolerant of this solution as it was tedious and hard to master. Thankfully, all we have to do now to move the cursor exactly where we want is to hold two fingers anywhere on the on-screen keyboard–essentially using it as a trackpad to move the cursor with much greater speed and precision. iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users can now replicate the same process by using 3D Touch on the keyboard instead of using two fingers. This is a great solution for one-handed use cases.
Search in Settings
This is one of those features that I didn’t realize I would appreciate until after I had it at my disposal the next few times it came in handy. You know the scenario–you are looking for a particular setting you changed last week, and now you can’t find it. Either it’s buried within multiple layers of menus, or you simply can’t remember how to get back to it. Even the most tech savvy of users can sometimes forget where to find a particular setting when they need it the most. Finally, now all you have to do is launch the Settings App and pull down on the screen to expose the search box a the top of the screen. As you begin typing, predictive text will suggest search results.
Here’s another feature that I never realized how often I might want/need to use until I became aware of its value. This “short-cut” of sorts has numerous use-case scenarios from work collaboration, to friendly emails between friends, to customer service reps your are trying to point out something specific you are wanting to share about an image. To markup an image in an email you need first need to attach your photo to the email. Then hold your finger down in the body of the email. Select “insert image” to choose an image from your photo library. Now hold your finger down on the inserted image and select “markup” from the options.
Now you are free to add text, free draw, or even magnify a specific area. Definitely worth a try if you haven’t used it before. Here I magnified a part of the image, added an arrow to draw attention to it, and added text. You can change fonts, color and sizes, too.
Convert a website into a PDF
If you ever have a need to share or save content on a website for viewing at a later date, you can now convert part of a website in to a PDF. This is accomplished via the share button next to the URL bar in Safari. When you convert a website to a PDF it will take all the content that is on the main page, and create a PDF in iBooks. Here you can now share it with someone else over email or save it for your own reading pleasure. When I converted the home page from iPad Insight it created a 15 page PDF that included all the posts that appeared on the page.
Request Desktop Site
Now-a-days developers generally do a really good job when creating mobile versions of websites–especially on the larger screen iPad. However, some mobile sites don’t give you some of the same features you enjoy on a desktop version, nor do they always look the same. This can cause issues with content discovery, or even the overall usability of a site. Now, with iOS 9, you can request the desktop version of the site to load on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch simply by holding your finger down on the reload arrow in the upper right corner of your Safari URL bar.