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iOS 5 is here! Geofencing, new Voices in Voice Command/Siri, and Notification Center for all!

We all know how heartfelt iOS makes you seem (Cards), how much control it gives you for managing your network (Airport Utility), and how it will easily turn you into a stalker (Find Your Friends), but what about all the day-in and day-out things that truely make the upgrade process worth it?

Please post only one tip per answer, and check to see if your answer has already been posted - duplicate answers will be deleted. To search answers for this question use inquestion:27761 (or inquestion:this, while viewing this question specifically) in addition to your search terms in the search box in the upper right hand corner of this page.

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Isn't this a subjective question? – Pitto Oct 15 '11 at 12:28
-1 this is not a question that has an answer. It's more of a promotion stunt. – Philippe Oct 15 '11 at 16:06
@Philippe the occasional fun question/promotional stunt is OK. this question is for all those little things you'd never know even to ask about in iOS 5 – Kyle Cronin Oct 15 '11 at 16:30
+1, useful question! And just what CW is for, in my opinion. – Jonik Oct 15 '11 at 17:30
I find these "threads" extremely useful! Most of the time I pick up at least a couple of new things. – user10355 Oct 15 '11 at 21:35

57 Answers 57

up vote 83 down vote accepted

Usage shows how much space each app is using

Settings -> General -> Usage

iOS 5 now collects the space used by apps and the data in the app - sorted by the largest size. If you need to free up some space quickly, this is a great way to easily identify and remove the largest burdens on your storage space.

Of specific tiny note, the edit button in the top right allows you to delete selective content from apps like Music.

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Landscape Orientation Lock on the iPhone

On the iPhone you can lock the orientation into Landscape by doing this once:

  • Going to → General → Accessibility
  • Setting Triple Click Home (the bottom setting) to AssistiveTouch

Then when you want to set orientation lock:

  • Enable Portrait Orientation Lock from the multitasking/app-switcher bar
  • Triple press the home button
  • Press the white circle that appears
  • Press Device
  • Rotate Screen
  • Choose which orientation to lock to.
  • Press the home button 3 times again to get rid of the white circle/overview.

An annoyingly overlong but sometimes useful ability, that should have implemented by default.

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Double tap screen in camera video mode to change aspect ratio to widescreen. I have yet to confirm, but this may only work on the iPhone 4S.

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Music fades in volume but continues to play when a phone call is received — this appears to be added in iOS 5.1.

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You can actually backspace on the numbers you enter in Calculator, instead of having to clear them all.

Just swipe horizontally on the numbers on the display: it will remove the last entered number.

Pretty nifty.

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I was going to command and say "surely you mean right to left" as would be expected with any another app, but after opening I realized that the numbers do come out FROM the right. However, I will note that swiping in either direction (left to right OR right to left) will remove a number. Awesome! – Jason Salaz May 16 '12 at 22:04

In iOS 5.1 you can swipe up on the camera icon in the lock screen to take a photo - most people know that. However you can also swipe down to re-lock the phone once done with the camera.


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This feature was new in iOS 5.1, changed from the behaviour in 5.0. – Hand-E-Food Mar 21 '12 at 21:58

Quickly access most recent draft email

Hold the compose button to bring up the most recent draft email


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Ghost Buttons on the iPad's Split Keyboard

Many have complained about the split keyboard not matching their natural finger choice for the middle letters (TY / GH / VB), but as it turns out, those keys all exist on the both sides of the keyboard. Want to hit Y with your left finger? Do it, it's there, and it's really wide too, easily 3 buttons wide. Want to hit V with your right finger? Do it, same rules apply. It's really amazingly well done.

Hat tip to Finer Things in iOS:

enter image description here

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iMessage supports animated gifs!

But unfortunately as of iOS 5.0.1 only animated within the message bubble - it is not animated when you tap/select the image to view full screen.

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View third-party app art at Lock Screen exclusively

When using an app that publishes song information/cover art to the lock screen (e.g., Spotify), you can tap anywhere on the Lock Screen except an actual lock screen element (bars, unlock slider, etc.) to hide all of the lock screen's bars and other information in order to have a clean picture of nothing but the cover art, taking the place of your lock screen wallpaper.

While playing music via Spotify, the lock screen normally:

Lock screen with Spotify playing music

After tapping the background (tapping any of the bar areas will not work):

Lock screen with interface chrome removed


  • This appears to be an iPad-only feature.
  • You cannot do this when your normal lock screen wallpaper is shown.
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MobileSafari, Mobile Reader

The Reader button in Mobile Safari address bar.

It displays a page not entirely suited for mobile in an easy to read, black-and-white format. It removes all of the extraneous information and focuses on the body text.

EDIT: Something new I noticed recently, if the article has a link such as "Continued on page 2...", the Reader will automatically load the additional pages, allowing you to scroll through the entire article without leaving the Reader.

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@jessegavin, I have an iPhone 4. It seems to only appear on certain pages, usually those with a single article. It doesn't appear if you have a string of blog entries (multiple articles) or a forum listing. Also you have to wait for the whole page to load first. Try a news site so you can see it in action. – Hand-E-Food Oct 19 '11 at 22:08

Long track titles, artist names, album names scroll to display the full title

In the example below, the full title of the song is "One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfriend".

Long track title scrolling example

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Photo Edit Rotation

In the Photos app, you can rotate by any degree, not just at specific intervals, by pressing crop and then using two fingers to rotate the image.

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Bluetooth Volume Control, and Bluetooth Text Display

Simply that the volume control on my stereo bluetooth headphones now actually controls the volume of my iPod Touch - AND the currently playing track is displayed on the Bluetooth module. Looks like they've sorted that one good and proper!

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Rename Your iOS Device

I can change my iPod's name without using a computer.

Silly I know, but I can. > General > About > Name

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PC-Free is the way to be. Cut the Cord! – Jason Salaz Oct 15 '11 at 16:31

Pause a Timer

I really like the pause button for timers in A tiny little thing, but so much nicer than having to change the timer to the nearest minute, and restart.

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Ability to edit the colours of Exchange calendars

Finally, I can make the colours of each Exchange calendar consistent, without needing to buy a Mac, to use iCal!

To change the colours:

  1. Click on the Calendars button
  2. Click on Edit
  3. Click on the ">" button next to a calendar
  4. Pick the Colour of your choice...

iPad calendar colour-selection dialog

A nice extra touch is that if you use a 3rd-party calendar app, such as Informant HD, the same colours are used there too.

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Good Vibrations

Custom vibration patterns! (Turn them on in Accessibility; tap them out in Sounds; set them by contact in Contacts).

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Word definitions from text selections.

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Just tap the right arrow on the copy | cut selected text menu, and there's the define option, or tap left to go back. – Slomojo Oct 21 '11 at 1:20

LED Flash on Alerts

I use this in combination with vibrate to wake myself and not the other half.

Settings > General > Accessibility > LED Flash for Alerts

Works best with a transparent or semi transparent cover, ie. they glow with the phone lying flat on a table.

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Undo Close Tab

In Safari on the iPad, tap and hold the [+] button to display a list of recently closed tabs instead of creating a new empty tab.

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You just made my day. – Steven Fisher Feb 4 '12 at 20:21

Find My Friends

For parents of a teenager, this is a great way to track where the kids are.

The ability to remove the app or remove 'friends' can be restricted with parental restrictions. This combo alone is worth getting the kid an iPhone.

"I see you're 1 mile from Home Depot. Please get me a box of 2" drywall screws." Creepy. I know. But we got used to caller ID quick enough.

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More dash types

Tap and hold the dash on the keyboard now gives an en–dash (in addition to the -hyphen, em—dash and bullet •). Not very useful but it made me smile :–)

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No, it wasn't. Before it was only the hyphen and em-dash. The en-dash is new. – 75th Trombone Oct 20 '11 at 4:32

Read those long song titles and artist/album names

You can tap and hold on a song/podcast title to get a pop-up of the entire description.

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@cksum: Well kind of. You can see the title of the song was truncated so the popup shows all the song info. – styfle Oct 18 '11 at 6:20
Moreover, it now also shows the full title when displaying the currently playing song's cover art using a marquee. It used to chop it off if it was too long before, making it especially useless for podcasts and audiobook with numbers at the end of the title. Have been complaining about that since iPhoneOS 1.0 – Daniel Schneller Oct 18 '11 at 6:38
Now if this could only be implemented in the iTunes app. So many podcasts prefix the title of the episode with the podcast name and you can't ever tell what the contents of that episode is. – jessegavin Oct 19 '11 at 16:23

Draggable Recipients

You can drag and drop recipients between To, Cc and Bcc in Mail app.

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I appreciate the hand contortion or outside assistance it must have required for you to be able to take this screenshot. – 75th Trombone Oct 20 '11 at 4:26

Keyboard shortcuts

I wanted this for a long time.

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I wonder if \n works ;) (I'll save you 2 mins, it doesn't) – Slomojo Oct 18 '11 at 0:11
I have a shortcut that is my e-mail address. This makes logging in to websites a lot easier, particularly since I have underscores in my e-mail address. – Hand-E-Food Nov 23 '11 at 4:21

Speak to me (not related to Siri)

One new feature I haven't seen mentioned much is that you can now add a 'Speak' option to every text selection popup, so you can read SMSes or web pages. You can turn it on in the Settings -> General -> Accessibility.

Works on all devices on all selectable text.

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Note that this does not require a 4S and has nothing to do with Siri. – Jason Salaz Oct 17 '11 at 23:17
There are a lot of good Accessibility features that no one knows about. – styfle Oct 18 '11 at 6:27
@Styfle - "a lot of good Accessibility features that no one knows about" ... ironic that accessibility to the accessibility features is so poor. – Slomojo Oct 20 '11 at 3:17

Retractable Keyboard in

The neat way that you can scroll down on iMessages and it pulls the keyboard down with your finger.

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This. As small as it seems, I desperately wanted this feature. Big help when your best friend sends you 1500-word rants via text message. :) – Dan J Oct 16 '11 at 11:57

Current Volume Reminder

Switching the phone from Silent mode back to normal now displays the current ringer volume.

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Private Browsing Mode for MobileSafari

MobileSafari now has a private browsing mode, turn it on and off under Settings -> Safari. Additionally, it's chrome turns black when Private Browsing is on.

Useful so you can buy your wife presents without her finding out.

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Right, presents for the wife... ;-) Just teasing! – FCTW Oct 29 '11 at 21:08

protected by Community Oct 19 '11 at 10:08

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