A few weeks ago I installed the iOS 9 Public Beta on my iPhone 6 Plus. If you didn’t know, Apple made the next version of it’s mobile operating system available to the public prior to it’s official launch date this year. Normally this is a privilege reserved for app developers so that they can make sure their apps will run as smoothly as possible when people begin using the next version of iOS.
Of course I couldn’t wait to test drive iOS 9 (not only as a tech reviewer, but as a salivating Apple fan). Yes, I was eager to test the new intelligent search/Siri functionality and experience the new built-in apps (like the News and Notes apps) and to see if the whole shebang was truly faster/better as Apple claimed. But in testing out iOS 9, there were a few new things I noticed that, while relatively small updates, have really put a smile on my face as an iPhone user.
Since I haven’t seen a couple of these features mentioned elsewhere around the web, I thought I’d include them here!
I use Siri to create reminders all the time. All day long. It’s more convenient than using a to-do list app like Wunderlist (which I love and use frequently by the way) simply because it’s so fast thanks to Siri. But in iOS 8 these reminders only appeared on my lock screen one time and then disappeared. So if I didn’t act on that item right then — the entire thing I was wanted to take care of might have slipped past me forever. But not so in iOS 9! Now reminders are sticky meaning they stay on the lock screen until you mark them as complete. So now reminders nag you a bit more which I actually think is pretty awesome. I also appreciate that reminders are now easier to edit as they are being created using Siri. Much better than having to delete them and start all over.
Longer Battery Life
I’m a heavy iPhone user. With iOS 8 it was rare to not see my phone get under 10% during a typical business day. But thanks to the new Low Power mode in iOS 9 I’m getting a much more usable amount of battery life (out of the exact same iPhone 6 Plus!). The first time I encountered this was the day I installed the iOS 9 Beta and my phone’s battery reached 20%. I was presented with an option to enter Low Power mode or to continue as is. I declined the initial invitation to see what would happen and, thankfully, when my phone hit 10% battery life I saw the same option again. Actually, you can turn Low Power mode on anytime you’d like in settings (by going to Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode) which is great if you’re going to be traveling all day, for instance.
Back to Previous App
Here’s one small change that really makes the iOS 9 experience quite a bit smoother in terms of workflow. Now, in iOS 9, when you click on a link in one app which opens in another (like clicking a link in Mail which opens in Safari) you’ll see a little link in the top left of the screen that says “Back to Mail” or something similar depending on the app your came from. So, instead of having to double click and scroll through the open apps (which is now more Android-like and takes some getting used to, honestly) or relaunching the app you were just in you can now simply tap to go back. It’s a nice little touch.
Smart Directions (Without Any Prompting)
So here’s where the smarter Siri comes into play. I recently visited the Apple store (which was about 45 minutes away from my house) to get my cracked iPhone screen repaired. When I got back to my car and stuck my iPhone in it’s Kenu holder on my dash, directions to my house automatically popped up on the lock screen. I swiped to open them up in Maps and off I went. Man that was slick! I didn’t even have to ask for directions — they just appeared! At the exact moment I would’ve wanted them to!
Have you played around with iOS 9 yet? What have you found?