56 iOS 9 Tips, Tricks & Hidden Features
Use this list of iOS 9 tips, tricks and hidden features that will help you do more with your iPhone or iPad without spending money on apps and accessories.
We’ll show you what you can do with your iPhone or iPad and iOS 9, iOS 9.1 and iOS 9.2 to unlock the full potential of your device. This is updated with new tips and tricks, as well as a few iOS 9 hidden features even power users will have trouble finding.
For many users who are just getting used to iOS 9 and the iPhone, this is a in-depth look at the things you didn’t know the iPhone could do.
You don’t need to read the iOS 9 manual to become a master of iOS 9, but you will need to learn where to tap and how to use new iOS 9 features on your devices.
With supercharged search, new Siri features and upgraded options, there is a lot you can control to make your iPhone work for you on iOS 9.
Forget the iOS 9 manual and learn how to do more with secret iOS 9 tips, tricks and hidden features.
You’ll need to install the free update to use these iOS 9 tips and tricks on iPhone and iPad. Most of these work on all the iPhone and iPad models, but some require a newer device to work.
You’ll start to see some of these hidden iOS 9 tips and tricks in some of the Apple ads, but others are buried deep in the settings of your iPhone or iPad.
Call and Text Shortcuts
The new predictive iOS 9 search includes your current contacts. You can quickly call or message these contacts with two taps.
Quickly reach your contacts.
When on the new search page to the left of your home screen tap on a contact photo to see call and message options. If you search for a contact in spotlight you’ll also see the option to tap to call, text or video call.
Draw in iOS 9 Notes App
The new iOS 9 Notes app lets you draw on the screen to take notes on your iPhone or iPad. This is a handy way to sketch out something that would be tough to type.
Draw in Notes on iOS 9.
If you don’t immediately see it, tap on the + icon and then on the squiggly line to pull up your options including a marker, pen and pencil. You can use the ruler for straight lines or draw freehand. Tap the circle to change the color of your writing instruments.
Make a To Do List in Notes
You can now create To Do lists in Notes for iOS 9 that you can check off, and that sync to other devices on iOS 9 as well as OS X El Capitan.
Keep a to do list in Notes.
Create a new note and if you don’t see a check mark icon, tap on the + above the keyboard. Then tap on the checkmark icon right above the keyboard. Start typing your list, press enter to add a new item. Tap on the circle to mark it as complete.
Add Photos and Links to Notes
Another very handy new iOS 9 Notes feature is the option to add links and attachments to Notes. This makes it easy to keep links and photos related to your note all in one place.
Add photos and links to notes on iOS 9.
If you are in Safari or looking at a photo you can press the share icon and then choose Notes to make a new note or add to an existing Note. You can add a photo to Notes by tapping the camera icon in the Notes app.
Public Transportation Directions in Apple Maps
Apple Maps finally supports public transit directions in Apple Maps. This only works in larger cities, so you cannot use it in every location, but it works in many big cities. The directions include walking directions between the various transit options and it includes the schedules.
Get public transportation directions in iOS 9.
In Apple Maps, when you select directions you can now choose transit directions that will show you how to get from one place to the next using public transportation options.
Use iOS 9 Low Power Mode
When your iPhone battery is low the iPhone will prompt you to turn on Low Power Mode for longer battery life, but you can turn this on manually at any time.
Make your battery last longer with Low Power Mode on iOS 9.
Go to Settings -> Battery -> Low Power Mode -> On. You can manually turn this on and off as you need it.
Stream High Quality Apple Music on LTE
Apple Music now allows users to stream high quality music over LTE. Go to Settings -> Music -> High Quality on Cellular.
Add iCloud Drive to Your Home Screen
If you use iCloud Drive to sync files between your iPhone, iPad and Mac you can now add the iCloud app to your home screen for fast access to your files. If you did not add this to your home screen right after installing iOS 9 you need to go to Settings -> iCloud -> Show on Home Screen. Now you can move the app around like a normal app.
Have you ever been looking at a webpage, an email or a note on your iPhone and wished Siri could easily remind you to look at it later without the hassles of describing it or copying and pasting?
With iOS 9 you can open Siri and simply say, “Siri Remind me about this,” with a location or date and time and Siri will add that specific item to your reminders and pop up with a link to that item at the right time or place.
Select Multiple Photos Fast
Forget tapping on a dozen photos when you want to select multiple items. Instead go to Photos -> tap Select -> tap and drag to the right or left to start selecting multiple photos and then you can go up or down to include another row.
Hide Photos in iOS 9
You can now hide multiple photos at once in iOS 9. In your photo library simple select the photos you don’t want to show up there and then tap on the share icon and then hide.
Use WiFi Assist to Avoid Crappy WiFi
iOS 9 includes a new feature that will fall back to your LTE connection when you are on a poor WiFi connection that is too slow, unreliable or if the Internet connection for that WiFi signal drops out.
Go to Settings -> Cellular -> Scroll all the way to the bottom -> WiFi Assist -> On. When you have problems with WiFi it should fall back over to your LTE connection.
Set Default Video Modes for Camera
In iOS 9 you can now tell the iPhone to record at a specific resolution and framerate and what type of slo motion video to record.
Go to Settings -> Photos & Camera -> Record Video and Record Slo-mo -> Pick the option you want to use.
Make Siri Stop Talking
Go to Settings -> General -> Siri -> Voice Feedback -> Control with Ring Switch. With this setting turned on Siri will not speak results back to you when you have your phone ring switch set to silent. You will still get voice feedback when you use Hey Siri and when you are connected to Bluetooth or a car hands free system.
Hide Apps from New iPhone Search
The iPhone search tools in iOS 9 are more powerful, including the ability to deep search inside your apps. If you want to avoid information from some of these apps appearing in the main iPhone search results you can exclude the apps. Go to Settings -> General -> Spotlight Search -> Uncheck the apps you don’t want in Spotlight.
Use Two Apps at Once on the iPad Air 2
The iPad Air 2 iOS 9 update allows users to run two apps at the same time on the iPad screen. Apple calls this Split View, but most users simply call it multitasking or using two apps side-by-side on the iPad.
Open an app that supports this, swipe in from the right, choose the app you want then tap and drag the slider from the right window to the middle of the screen. Here are more detailed directions on how to use two apps at the same time on the iPad with iOS 9.
Use iPad Pop Out Video
With iOS 9 you can now pop out video from some apps to a small moveable window that lets you watch a video while working in another app. This currently works in Apple apps and Hulu, and we expect to see more apps support it soon.
To use it, open a video app and then use the small button in the lower right or just press the video button while the video is playing.
iPad Slide Out Multitasking
You don’t need the newest iPad to use a smaller, but still useful version of iPad multitasking. Instead of opening an app to full screen, you can use the Slide Out feature to get access to a variety of apps that allow you to control some items without leaving your main app. See this in action in the video above this section.
Select Text Faster in iOS 9
When you need to select text on the iPad with iOS 9, you can now use two fingers on the keyboard to turn it into a touchpad like experience that lets you select text easier.
When in a document, you can place two fingers on the keyboard and move them slightly to start the selection process. It takes a little practice, but once you get it mastered, you’ll be able to select text faster.
iPad Keyboard Shortcuts Amp Productivity
The new iOS 9 keyboard includes useful new features.
The new iOS 9 iPad keyboard includes shortcuts that make it easier to do more on your iPad with both an on-screen keyboard and with a Bluetooth keyboard.
When using the on-screen keyboard, you’ll see options to cut, copy and paste, as well as options for app specific shortcuts, like in Notes and other Apple apps.
If you connect a Bluetooth keyboard you can still enjoy some of these benefits with a small on screen toolbar of shortcuts that you can reach up to.
Faster Access to Apple Pay
If you use Apple Pay a lot, you can set up the iPhone to open Apple Wallet when locked with a double press of the home button. When you do this it will open your Apple Wallet with your default card active, but you still need to use Touch ID to activate it. It is a handy way to choose the card you want to use before you get to the register.
Go to Settings -> Wallet & Apple Pay -> Double Click Home Button -> On. To use it you have to double press, not just rest on the sensor and it only works when the phone is locked.
Ask Siri to Find Photos
Forget looking through your Photo Library manually. You can now ask Siri to find photos at a location, at a time or in a album you made. The first two options work without manually taking action since your iPhone knows when and where your photos were taken.
Just open Siri and say, “Show me photos from Hawaii” or “Show me photos from two weeks ago.” You can also say a specific date. If you have an album you can say that album name.
Use a Six-Digit Passcode
Apple now supports a six-digit Passcode instead of just a four-digit one. Adding two digits makes it much more secure. Go to Settings -> Touch ID & Passcode -> Enter your passcode -> Change Passcode -> Enter your old passcode -> Enter a new passcode twice
Get Customized News with Apple News
The new Apple News app lets you choose your favorite topics and publications to keep up to date on news.
You can set this up on one device and it will sync to your other Apple devices. You can search to add more News items and you can also sign up for email notifications of news stories.
Quickly Go Back to Your Last App
Quickly go back to the app you came from.
When you follow a link from one app to another, iOS 9 makes it easier to get back to your original app. Simply tap on Back to App Name in the upper left and you’ll go back. No more using a double press of the home button just to get back to where you started.
Change iOS 9 Notification Grouping
By default iOS 9 will show you your notifications in order by date, but you can choose to group your iPhone and iPad notifications by App if you prefer that option.
Go to Settings -> Notifications -> Group By App -> On. This will change back to what we saw in iOS 8.
Take Notes and Draw on Email Attachments
The iOS 9 Mail app includes support for marking up email attachments using sketching, a magnifying glass, notes and even your signature that syncs over from Preview on your Mac. This is the fastest way to leave change notes on an attachment or to sign a document on your iPhone or iPad.
In the Mail app open a message with an attachment, tap and hold on the attachment and then choose Markup and Reply. Now you can use the options at the bottom of the screen to make notes on the attachment.
Search iOS 9 Settings
If you have trouble finding what you want to change in Settings on your iPhone or iPad, iOS 9 now lets you search.
In the main Settings menu simply pull down until you see a search box. Type what you are trying to find and you’ll see possible suggestions start to fill in. Tap on one to go right to that setting.
Toggle Flash On and Off for Videos
With iOS 9 you can now turn the flash on and off as needed while shooting videos. Using flash isn’t new on iOS 9, but the ability to turn it on and off without stopping a video clip is. Just tap on the flash icon when you are recording a video to toggle off and on. Choose from On, Off or Auto.
Save Mail Attachments to iCloud Drive
It is easier to save email attachments to a place you can work with them in iOS 9. When you are in the Mail app, tap and hold on an attachment. When you let go after a second a menu should pop up with a Save Attachment option and an iCloud logo. Tap on it and then choose where to save it in iCloud.
Quickly Find a Place in Maps
The new Apple Maps app includes an option to tap on categories that pop up based on time of day and that will show you items nearby that you may want to go to. Simply tap on Breakfast, Coffee, Convenience, Gas and other options in Maps or on the new search page to quickly get directions to a nearby store or business.
Set Favorites and Locations in Apple Maps
In Apple Maps you can search for a location, tap to see the location page and then tap the heart to add to favorites. Now when you are on the Apple Maps search page it will show under favorites. If you’ve told your iPhone where home and work are you will also see these options on the search page. The new Apple Maps also brings in locations on your calendar today.
Turn off Shake to Undo
When you shake the iPhone or iPad it will ask if you want to undo your typing. It is an easy way to clear what you wrote, but if you have trouble accidentally activating this due to shaking or movement you can now turn it off. Go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Shake to Undo -> Off.
Customize Reading Webpages in Safari
In Safari you can tap on the small lines next to a web address to launch Reader View. This strips out the adds and other web elements so it is easier to read the article. You can also make the font bigger so it is easier to read.
Now in iOS 9 you can change the background color and font as well. Tap on the aA icon in the upper right to change these options.
Switch from Android Easier
If you want to switch from Android to iPhone you can now use Move to iOS to switch your photos, messages, contacts and more from iPhone to Android. Download the free Move to iOS app to your Android phone and during iPhone setup choose Move Data from Android.
Know Who an Unknown Caller Is
Even if you normally use the Gmail app or another app to read your email, you may want to link it to the default Apple Mail app in iOS 9. The new features include the ability to link an incoming call from an unknown number to an email message so that it can tell you who is likely calling you.
Ask Siri How Late a Store is Open
If you need to know how late a store is open, just ask Siri, “How late is Best Buy open?”, or whatever store you are looking for. If there is only one store it will show the results immediately, if not you will need to tap on the store you want to see the hours for. You can see when a store opens and when it closes.
Track Your Sex Life & Reproductive Health
The iOS 9 Health app now supports tracking reproductive health. You can track your sex life including protected and unprotected sex as well as reproductive health items like menstruation and ovulation.
Go to the Health App, Tap on Health Data then on Reproductive Health. You can choose six different items to track, and then you will need to manually enter the data.
See the Battery Life of Your Gadgets
When you have an Apple Watch or a Bluetooth device connected to your iPhone you can now use the new iOS 9 batteries widget to see all of your battery information in your Notification Center.
Pull down the Notification Center -> Scroll to the bottom -> Tap on Edit -> Tap + next to Batteries.
Add Discover Card to Apple Pay
You can now add the Discover Card to your iPhone with Apple Pay. Go to Settings -> Wallet & Apple Pay -> Add Credit or Debit Card. You will need to point your iPhone camera at the card, fill in some more details and then verify the card with Discover through email, phone call or text.
If you make Discover Card purchases with Apple Pay in Stores for the rest of 2015 you will get an additional 10% cash back.
Discover Real iPhone Battery Hogging Apps
You can now see more details about your iPhone battery use, including which apps are using the most battery and which apps are using power with the screen on and in the background. This makes it easier to identify a misbehaving app and put an end to it.
Go to Settings -> Batteries -> Scroll down and tap the small clock icon. Now you will see more detailed battery use.
Zoom in While Watching Videos
When you are watching a video you can now pinch to zoom in. You cannot zoom to crazy levels, but this is a handy new iOS 9 feature that allows you to get a closer look at a part of the video you shot on the iPhone. Zoom back out by un-pinching.
Use iOS 9 Smart Albums
iOS 9 adds more smart albums that automatically keep your screenshots and selfies organized. In Photos, tap on Albums and then scroll up or down to see the new options you can choose.
Get Faster Apple Maps Routes
If you use Apple Maps to get from one place to the next, you will enjoy this new feature that can identify a faster route and offer it to you while you are driving. When on a route, Apple Maps may pop up and tell you that there is a Faster Route Available. Tap on Go to shave time off your commute.
Quick Access to Music Apps
With iOS 9 your iPhone will start to know when you are planning to listen to music, and when you plug headphones in the iPhone will show your most used music app in the lower left corner of the lock screen. You can then flick up from that icon and open the app.
Share or Save Voicemail
In iOS 9 you can now save or share a voicemail right form the Phone app. Tap on a voicemail and then tap on the share icon. You can send it as a message, save to voice memos, share in Facebook Messenger and more. You can even AirDrop it to a Mac.
Turn Off Frequently Visited Sites
When you open a new tab in Safari it will list your frequently visited websites in the background. If you don’t want others to see this data you can now turn it off.
Go to Settings -> Safari ->Frequently Visited Websites -> Off.
Quick Disconnect Bluetooth Devices
If you need to stop using a Bluetooth device, but you can’t get up to go turn it off you can now simply disconnect it from your iPhone. This will not unpair it, only disconnect it. This way you stop using it now, but it is easy to use later. Go to Settings -> Bluetooth -> tap on i next to the device -> Disconnect.
Fast Access to Handoff
One of the most useful features from iOS 8 is easier to use on the iPhone and iPad with iOS 9.
Double click your home button in iOS 9 and you will now see more than just the recent apps in use on your iPhone or iPad. The update adds a small tab at the bottom of the screen with a Handoff app. This will show an app you have used recently on a Mac or iPad so you can open it on your iPhone without going to the lock screen.
Better Touch Options
iOS 9 adds a new touch control setting that will help users who frequently tap the screen too much or have other issues using the touch screen.
Go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Touch Accommodations. Here you can turn this feature on and customize the settings to make it easier to use your iPhone.
Turn on AT&T WiFi Calling
Apple and AT&T now allow you to use AT&T WiFi calling on the iPhone. This will let you make phone calls when you have no signal or a poor signal, but still have a WiFi connection.
Go to Settings -> Phone -> WiFi Calling -> WiFi Calling on This Phone -> On. This will start the setup process. It is not yet available in all areas, so you may have to wait to turn it on.
Use the New iPhone Emoji
The iOS 9.1 update added a lot of new emoji to the iPhone and iPad. You need to install the latest update to get on iOS 9.1 or newer to make use of these new emoji.
Use this guide to make sure you have the stock iPhone emoji keyboard installed and then you can use these new emojis in all iPhone apps.
Use Live Photos
You need the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus to record a Live Photo, but with recent upgrades to iOS 9.1 you can see the Live Photo movement and hear the sound on older iPhones running iOS 9.1 or higher.
Simply long press on a Live Photo and you will see and hear the motion and sound that comes with a Live Photo, even on an older iPhone or iPad.
Hide Contact Photos
The iOS 9.1 update added the option to turn off contact photos in Messages. If you don’t like seeing pictures next to your conversations in the iPhone Messages app this is what you need to change.
Go to Settings -> Messages -> Show Contact Photos -> Off. And this will turn it off so that you can customize messages.
Use Sprint WiFi Calling
Sprint supports Wifi Calling which allows you to make calls even when there is not a good signal.
- Go to Settings -> Phone -> WiFi Calling -> On.
- On other devices, go to Settings -> FaceTime -> Calls from iPhone -> On.
This will let you answer calls on your other devices and make calls over WiFi. Here’s moreinfo from Sprint.
Use SD Lightning Adapter With iPhone
When you upgrade to iOS 9.2 you can now use the SD to Lightning adapter and the USB to Lightning adapter with the iPhone. This lets you connect the iPhone to your camera or SD card so that you can import photos.
Make sure you upgrade to iOS 9.2 and then purchase the Lightning to SD card or Lightning to USB adapters from Apple or another retailer.