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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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Swipe Camera to view Photo Roll

When is open, and you want to quickly view your previously taken photos instead, don't hit the photo button in the bottom left, simply swipe the screen from left-to-right and you will go in descending date-taken order through your Camera Roll.

Note that you cannot do this if your phone is locked and you used the 'quick camera' method, except for photos taken in that session.

This screenshot was taken mid-swipe (which is rather difficult to do). Note the interface on the right half, and a familiar partial screenshot on the left.

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@VxJasonxV probably a good idea to change the screenshot to something that doesn't look like an app switching swipe... :) – Slomojo Mar 24 '12 at 0:16

12 Hour, Hour-by-Hour forecast

When viewing, simply tapping on the screen/6 day forecast will slide the days downward, and reveal a 12 hour, hour-by-hour forecast!

Note also that "Hourly" illuminates underneath the city name when in this mode.

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6 day forecast in Weather Widget for Notification Center

When in the Notification Center drawer, you can swipe the Current Weather widget in either direction to switch between Current Local Conditions, to the same 6 day forecast you would see in Saves a ton of time!

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There is no reason for Hanging with Friends to be abbreviated in such a manner... thanks Zynga :/. – Jason Salaz Oct 15 '11 at 7:42

Ringtones (can) Serve Double Duty as Notification Tones

Ringtones that are less than 15 seconds will also show up in the the various other notification types.

New (SMS) Message, Calendar Alerts, Tweet Sent, etc. They can even be defined as the SMS tone for a specific contact in your Address Book.

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It was about time! :) – Martín Marconcini Oct 15 '11 at 19:46 now features alternate routes

When getting directions that encompass a long distance that may have multiple highway routes, you will be able to choose 'Route 1' or 'Route 2' after searching the addresses, and before hitting start. Tapping on the 'Route 1'/'Route 2' tooltips will change the color for that route (light blue/dark blue) and also update the estimated distance and time in the header bar.

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Emoji for everybody!

Emoji is now a keyboard that can be used by anybody, where prior to iOS 5 it would only be enabled by the use of a Softbank (Japanese Cell Phone Carrier) SIM card in your device, or via special tricks that certain applications would perform.

Enable it by going into Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> International Keyboards -> Add New Keyboard, then scroll about 1/3rd of the way down and tap 'Emoji'.

Emoji are cute little detailed picture icons. These icons can only generally be seen on Apple computers, iPhone users, or most Japanese Cell Phones (albeit they will look quite a bit different on those).


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There's a special easter egg for users viewing this answer in Safari, or on an iOS device, only. Chrome users (like myself, unfortunately) cannot see it. – Jason Salaz Oct 15 '11 at 7:42
Perhaps you meant Safari users on Lion. On Safari on SL, I see only the boxes (as with Chrome) – Nivas Oct 15 '11 at 12:59
@GEdgar why would you want to email a Windows user anyway?! :P – abby hairboat Oct 15 '11 at 21:58
E-mailing you at Stack Exchange would mean e-mailing a Windows user :(. – Jason Salaz Oct 16 '11 at 5:07
This is 100% true, but the fact that you can input them easily on an iPhone is relatively special :). I mean, I've been entering Unicode on a phone since my Sidekick 2, but this method is 1098530974298712x easier. – Jason Salaz Oct 17 '11 at 22:51

Additional "Clear Skies at Night" Icons in

When in 12 hour forecast mode, or when it is the night time, there are new icons in the forecast area that resemble a starry sky, as opposed to a daytime sun, indicating clear weather.

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You can send and receive iPhone FaceTime calls via email addresses

This is nothing new to iPod touch or iPad users, but up until iOS 5 iPhone users could only send or receive FaceTime calls with their phone number. Now you can add one or more email addresses to the FaceTime section in Settings to enable people to FaceTime you at those addresses. You can also configure the Caller ID to be either the phone number or any of the email addresses - useful to prevent people you FaceTime with from getting your phone number.

You also have the same flexibility with iMessage as well, the ability to send and receive messages from either your phone number of any number of email addresses.

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This is now feature-equal with OS X's, and that helps, a lot. – Jason Salaz Oct 15 '11 at 7:34

Third Party Audio Apps Can Publish Song Data to Lock Screen / Multitasking Bar

In previous versions of iOS, the lock screen and multitasking bar would simply show the app name that's playing music. But now, if supported in the app/implemented by the developer, full Artist, Album, and Title information can be shown instead.

Note the icon in the multitasking bar.

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+1 because (a) I wish my Android phone had a better OEM lock screen and (b) Skrillex – Matt Ball Oct 15 '11 at 19:23
I'm looking forward to Spotify implementing this :) – Espen Herseth Halvorsen Oct 15 '11 at 22:35
Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. The icon of the currently playing application is not new, that's been around since the multitasking bar existed (iOS 4); the name of the song is the part that is new. – Jason Salaz Oct 19 '11 at 16:35

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

Siri can be activated at the lock screen without a passcode

You can use Siri to call, text, and email from the lock screen without a passcode.

Didn't make me smile, but caught me off guard.

Luckily, you can disable Siri at the lock screen by going to Settings-> General-> Passcode Lock turning the Siri switch to Off.

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But aint siri an iphone 4S feature rather than ios 5 ? – Viraj Oct 16 '11 at 8:50
Yes, but do we really need an additional thread called "What tiny thing in iPhone 4S makes you smile, or has caught you off guard?" :) – Dan J Oct 16 '11 at 11:58
@VxJasonxV Siri is new to iPhone 4S. It's not an iOS 5 feature, otherwise it would be available e.g. for iPhone 4's. There just is no iPhone 4s with iOS 4. – Daniel Beck Oct 16 '11 at 18:38

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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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

Swiping right when reading e-mail displays message list in portrait mode on iPad

You no longer have to reach for the top left button to show that list.

If you do not wind up selecting a message, a simple swipe left in the message content pane, not in the folder/message list, will retract it.

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More convenient "Find On Page" searching

I just noticed that when you're in Safari, and you click in the Search box at the top-right, the keyboard has a new "Find on Page" box, that is much more convenient than the old iOS 4 way of searching.

enter image description here

Edit: 20/10/2011

The Pad Gadget page iPad Quick Tip – Find Text and Keywords in Mobile Safari shows a screenshot from the iOS 4 days. Notice how the "On this page" bit appears after it's searched the Web. My point is that the iOS 5 way is more obvious, and more convenient.

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iPad-only, unfortunately. – jwaddell Oct 17 '11 at 3:46
This isn't iPad-only; you have to start typing text before "Find in Page (n matches)" will show in the bottom of the results. – Steve Shaner Oct 19 '11 at 22:02

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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Split keyboard on the iPad

Just pull the keyboard apart with your thumbs. The Hide Keyboard button (bottom right) can now be used to reposition the split keyboard on the screen. It takes some getting used to but it can be handy for typing whilst holding the iPad in your hands.

enter image description here

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It also "undocks", press and hold the keyboard button. – Slomojo Oct 17 '11 at 2:59
Huh. I never even thought to pull apart the keyboard, I always just used the retraction icon and the "grips" that were added to it. But need that you can just expand it apart! – Jason Salaz Oct 17 '11 at 5:49

Multi-touch gestures on iPad

  1. Pinch to close app
  2. Swipe up with four fingers to show the app switcher
  3. Swipe left/right with four fingers to switch between running apps

I'm finding number 3 less useful so far but 1 and 2 are becoming second nature.

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It kinda sucks but this feature existed for iPad 1 in iOS 4.3. They pulled this out in iOS 5. – Enrico Susatyo Oct 17 '11 at 0:14
Gestures are returning to the first iPad in iOS 5.0.1. – Matt Peterson Nov 5 '11 at 18:46
iOS 5.0.1 makes this appear on iPad 1 :) – Enrico Susatyo Nov 23 '11 at 4:53
I love this feature. I never use the home button anymore. ;-) – daviesgeek Feb 21 '12 at 18:24


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

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

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

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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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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Mass Mark as Read/Unread/Flag

You can now mark multiple emails as Read/Unread from the edit mode in Mail without having to open each message.

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Alternative Shutter Button

I love that you can use the volume up button to take a photo. This is great in landscape mode.

Also if you are using Apple's headphone or any headphone that compatible with iOS, using the volume + button from the headphone also can take a photo for you, this is great for remote shutter !

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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

protected by Community Oct 19 '11 at 10:08

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