Apple claims that iOS 5, its new mobile device operating system, has over 200 new features. However, in its press conference unveiling, the company really only talked about the 10 biggest ones. Things like iMessages, new Notifications, Wi-Fi Sync, and iCloud are all awesome, but there are tons of small tweaks and features added under the hood that definitely make the iOS experience better. Here are five features that will make your iOS experience better that you might not know about.
You’ve been able to set custom ringtones for people for a long time in iOS, but a lot of people I know have their phones on silent most of the day. In iOS 5’s Accessibility options (Settings -> Accessibility), you can turn on custom vibration patterns and then assign them per contact.
To create a vibration pattern you just tap on your phone’s screen in the pattern to which you’d like the vibrate to correspond (press = on, non-press = off). You can set a unique pattern per contact, so you can know whether or not it’s your boss or your girlfriend calling even if your phone is on silent.
2. iPhone 4 LED Flash on Alert
The iPhone 4 has a super bright LED on the back that it uses for camera flash but not a lot else. In iOS 5 you can set the LED to blink a couple of times when a new alert comes in. This setting is also located in General -> Accessibility, and it works exactly as advertised. When a new notification comes in, your phone’s LED will blink on, off, on, off, and do it brightly. This is a great feature for the hearing impaired, and also great if you accidentally leave your phone on the other side of the room on silent. You’ll definitely know that you get a notification when that LED starts flashing; it’s almost impossible to miss.
In iOS 4 and earlier, adding words to the dictionary was a chore. Some apps added words when you typed them in, some didn’t, and in general people with autocorrect on were sending a lot of messages with “he’ll” instead of hell, “shit” instead of “shot,” and the list goes on.
iOS 5 finally has come up with a better solution. In the Keyboard Settings page there’s a place to enter “Text Shortcuts” which serve two purposes. First, you can finally add words to the dictionary by just typing them into the “Phrase” box and tapping Save–they will instantly become a part of your autocorrect vocabulary. Secondly, you can use the feature to have your iPhone automatically expand a short chunk of text into a longer one. Type the long phrase (like Oh My God) into the “Phrase” box, and then whatever you’d like your shortcut to be in the “Shortcut” box (like OMG). I can see this being very useful for things like your email address, phone number, address, and anything that takes too long to type out but you end up having to type frequently.
With the addition of iCloud, you’ll be able to download new songs from the cloud and add them to your phone much easier than ever before. But what if your phone is full? What if you want to download a different album from the cloud to listen to but you don’t have space? Luckily, iOS 5 will let you delete tracks from your library inside the Music app. The process for deleting them is the same as an email, just swipe to the right over the track name, and a “Delete” button will appear. Tap it and the song is gone — easy as that.
5. See How Much Space Individual Apps Use
Back into the Settings app, in the “General” settings area there is a new option called “Usage.” Usage will allow you to see exactly how much space an individual app is taking up on your iOS 5 device. Want to see which games that you don’t play are taking up the most crucial space? Head over there and you’ll be able to sort your apps by how much space they are taking up , and delete accordingly. Anything an app stores is counted, not just the app itself, so you’ll be able to get a good overview of what is taking up how much space on your device.