The Best Hidden Changes in iOS 9, in GIFs

By Chris Mills on at

The latest version of Apple’s mobile OS launched to much fanfare and showy new features. Side-by-side multitasking! A creepily efficient digital assistant! But the longer I use iOS 9, the more I’m noticing the tiny changes that make everything just a little bit better.

The Best Hidden Changes In iOS 9, in GIFs

The most noticeable change is to the fast app-changer. Double-tap the home button, and you used to get a side-by-side view of your most recently used apps. Now, the cards stack, with the most recent app at the front. It’s a little faster to change between apps now, since your last-used app falls right under your thumb once you double-tap. A small change for sure, but if you’re hopping-around power user, it could save you a few taps per day. The excitement!

The Best Hidden Changes In iOS 9, in GIFs

File this one under ‘changes that should have happened years ago’, but the keyboard actually now switches between upper and lower case letters, rather than just the shift key changing color. First-world problems, I know, but it’s actually something that has bugged me: I can never remember which colour the shift key is meant to be for caps. Now I’ll never need to know!

The Best Hidden Changes In iOS 9, in GIFs

Something else that’s been begging for a change: the Settings app now has a universal search. As iOS has added more settings and options over the years, the app has actually become a bit of a mess, with vital functions hidden under non-logical submenus. I still think the app needs a thorough overhaul, but in the meantime, a search is pretty good second-best.

The Best Hidden Changes In iOS 9, in GIFs

Another tweak to the Settings app is the addition of detailed battery use information. The Battery menu now lets you see which apps are guzzling your precious power (over the last day/last five days), and what proportion of that is background use versus on-screen activity.

The Best Hidden Changes In iOS 9, in GIFs

Search and Siri have had a thorough revamp (something we’ll look into in more detail in the future) but one standout feature is the addition of calling contacts straight from search. Almost always, searching for a contact means I’m trying to call them; adding the option into the search menu is logical and wonderful. If the contact has multiple phone numbers, you get a menu to select which one in particular you’d like to buzz.

The Best Hidden Changes In iOS 9, in GIFs

Finally, the Photos app now has a swipe-to-select option. If you’re in the habit of mass-deleting pictures from time to time (hi other owners of 16GB phones!), this is a godsend.