Welcome to our iOS tips megaguide! In this roundup of handy tricks, essential tips and lesser-known features we walk you through the intricacies of iOS 8, 9 and 10 and help you get the most out of your updated iPad or iPhone.

iOS 10, the latest update to iOS, offers a raft of new features, and there are sure to be more features and tips that we haven't yet covered here. If you think you've spotted something worth a mention, let us know via the comments.

We've divided the article into 10 categories, running the gamut from socialising to travel, from privacy to health. 

To read more about iOS 10, turn to our iOS 10 review and our roundup of iOS 10 new features. Not to mention our tutorial showing how to install iOS 10 (and how to go back to iOS 9, just in case it doesn't work out).

Contributors: Serenity Caldwell, Dan Moren, Lewis Painter, Lucy Hattersley

Siri

How to set up Hey, Siri

For iOS 8 and later

Apple has introduced a new Siri feature that could come in handy, particularly while you're driving. If your iPhone is plugged in, you can now say "Hey, Siri," to activate the iOS voice assistant.

You'll need to turn on the feature if you want to use it, though. Go to Settings > General > Siri and then tap Allow "Hey Siri".

Contextual language

For iOS 9 and later

Siri got smarter with the launch of iOS 9, and better at understanding the context behind natural-language requests.

Did your friend invite you to an event on iMessage? Just keep the request on the screen of your device and say "Remind me about this tomorrow": Siri will understand what you meant by "this" and create an appropriate reminder. In the Reminders app, you'll find the event - and also the original conversation, just in case you forgot about the entire thing and need a reminder of the details.

Siri is also able to recognise times, places and other useful parameters. Do you need to find a picture you took in a cosy café by Hampstead Heath? Say "Show me my pictures taken at Hampstead Heath", and Siri will provide what you're looking for. This works for dates and album titles as well.

Read next: How to use Control Centre on iPhone and iPad

Siri is a lot politer (or quieter, at least)

For iOS 9 and later

Siri is famous for its wise-cracking answers to your questions, but as of iOS 9 it's been a little bit politer.

When you mute your iPhone, Siri will no longer speak replies. Instead, it'll be quiet and just listen to your requests (and display answers on the screen). Siri also vibrates your iPhone to indicate when it's ready, rather than making noise.

Don't worry. Siri is still as smart-mouthed as ever, and we're sure it's only going to get smarter as time goes on. And don't forget all the funny Siri responses you can enjoy.

Social & communication

How to get quick access to contacts

For iOS 8 and later

The multitasking screen can be accessed by double-clicking the home button.

You'll see a row of circular icons along the top. These represent the people you recently called or messaged, and tapping one will bring up a series of options: Call mobile, Call home, Message or FaceTime, for example, depending on which options apply.

If you would like to add favourites that will always appear on this screen, you can do so by going to the Phone app, tapping Favourites and then tapping the Plus icon to add contacts. Now, when you double-tap the home button, swipe right on the icons to reveal your Favourites.

Sketch in Messages

For iOS 10 and later

The ability to sketch out messages was first introduced on the App Watch. It's a fun feature, but bound to find many more fans now that Apple is bringing it to the iPad and iPhone.

Open Messages and tap the Sketch icon (shaped as a heart with two fingers). Sketch a drawing on the black rectangle and it'll be sent to the other person. It's sent as an animation, so they see your finger sketching it out as it goes.

Read more: How to use Messages in iOS 10

Read receipts

For iOS 10 and later

While we're on the subject of Messages, let's talk about read receipts - those notifications people receive when you've seen their messages. If this feature is turned on, they will see a little 'Read at 15:15' next to the message; if it's not, they'll just see 'Delivered', which might not mean anything.

Sometimes read receipts are a useful service - if a bunch of colleagues are co-ordinating work over iMessage, say, this could save you constantly having to text back 'yes ok, got that'; at others it's intrusive and could get you in trouble when you're planning to claim that sorry, you didn't see that message about the mother-in-law needing a lift so you went to the pub instead.

Which is why it's lucky that you can now choose whether the receipts are sent or not, on a per-conversation basis. Which in practice roughly translates into a per-contact basis.

First of all, decide whether you want read receipts to be sent by default. Open the Settings app, then scroll down to Messages. 'Send Read Receipts' is the fourth option down. If it's white, receipts won't be sent unless you specify otherwise on a given conversation; if it's green, they will.

Now open Messages and go into a conversation you want to have different settings to the default. Tap the little I at the top-right of the screen. In the next screen, tap the slider next to 'Send Read Receipts'. This will apply to this conversation only.

iOS tips: Read receipts

Filter unread emails in Mail

For iOS 10 and later

In iOS 10 it's easy to quickly filter your emails in Mail so you only see unread messages: tap the circular icon at the bottom left of the screen. It will become filled-blue (instead of just outline-blue) and you'll see a message reading 'Filtered by: Unread'. Tap the icon again to turn the filter off.<

Open up nested threads emails in Mail

For iOS 10 and later

While we're talking Mail, what do you think of the new way iOS 10 Mail organises email threads? Instead of showing each message individually, it groups linked emails together. Tap the email and you'll see all the linked messages organised in a thread.

This is better in some ways - if you've been getting a lot of emails from one particular threads, it stops those messages from filling the screen and obstructing your view of unrelated messages - but some people (such as Chris Phin, who pointed this issue and its solution out on Twitter) prefer the old system. To open up a thread within the Mail app you just need to tap the little blue right-pointing double-chevron next to the email in question - it will point down instead, and show the full thread. Tap it again to close the thread back up.

If iOS 10's Mail threading really does you head in, turn it off completely. Go to Settings > Mail and then tap the green slider next to 'Organise by Thread'.

iOS 9 improvements to Mail

For iOS 9 and later

As of iOS 9, you can access and send any type of attachment. When writing an email, tap and hold the screen until the menu appears, then select the option 'Add Attachment'. Attached files can be from iCloud Driver or other services like DropBox.

You can also save attached files that have been sent to you by email directly to your iCloud Drive; just tap the attachment until a bar menu appears on the screen.

Last but not least, you'll be able to send emails with as many photos as you want. Did you get annoyed when you had 50 pictures to send but could mail only five at a time? Make sure you've updated to iOS 9 or later then get crazy bothering your friend with thousands of pictures.

How to set up notifications for email replies

For iOS 8 and later

It's unlikely that you want to be notified every time you get an email, but there are always those important email threads that require immediate attention. Now, Apple lets you stay on top of emails by enabling reply notifications, which you can turn on for individual emails and email threads.

To do so, open the email you want to get notifications for, tap the flag icon in the bottom left corner, and then tap 'Notify Me…'. Now, click Notify Me to confirm you want to turn Notifications on. To stop notifications, tap the same icon and then tap 'Stop Notifying'.

How to minimise an email

For iOS 8 and later

Another really handy email feature introduced with iOS 8 is the ability to hide/minimise your New Message window. If you've started writing an email but want to check something from a separate email, you can do so by dragging down from the top of the window.

Tap the New Message bar at the bottom of the app to get that Message back and continue writing it.

Find out more about the new features in the Mail app here.

How to send audio messages in iOS 8

For iOS 8 and later

You can send short audio messages in the iOS 8 Messages app instead of typing. Touch and hold on the microphone icon beside the text box to record a message, and swipe up when you've finished to send it.

Alternatively, you can hold your device up to your ear and speak to record the message while in the messages app, and then when you lower the phone again it will send automatically.

You can listen to audio messages you've received by lifting your iPhone up to your ear. You can then immediately speak your reply into the iPhone once the original is finished.

How to exit group conversations in iOS 8

For iOS 8

Another really useful feature we've discovered in the iOS 8 Messages app is the ability to mute group conversations, or if they're getting really out of hand, leave them completely.

You can now go to the Message group, tap Details, scroll down and then tap 'Do Not Disturb to mute notifications or 'Leave This Conversation.'

More iOS 8 Messages tips

Next: Notifications & Control Centre >>

Our iOS tips megaguide continues. The next category is:

Notifications & Control Centre

How to install Widgets in Notification Centre

For iOS 8 and later

One of our favourite new features in iOS 8 is the ability to customise the Notification Centre, which is the screen you see if you pull down from the top of your iPhone's screen.

First, you'll want to make sure all of your apps are up to date. Most of the popular apps you've got will have been tweaked for iOS 8, so go to App Store, Updates and then tap Update All.

Not all of your apps will have implemented Widgets yet, but for those that have you'll be able to tap Edit at the bottom of the Notification Centre and then tap the plus icon to add them.

Now, when you go to the Notification Centre, you'll see those handy widgets.

Customise your widgets

The Widgets window displays app information on your Home screen without having to unlock your phone. By default it displays weather, time and information from Calendar, News, Music, Batteries and Reminders as well as Siri App Suggestions.

Tap any option to open the associated app. You may be asked to use Touch ID or Enter Passcode.

You can manage the widgets by tapping the Edit button. Here you can add or remove items, and on iPad you can move Widgets between the left and right columns. (The iPhone displays only one column of widgets.)

How to use interactive notifications

For iOS 8 and later

We love interactive notifications in iOS 8. If you see a notification while you're using an app (it could be an incoming email or a text message, for example), you can respond by dragging your finger down over it. You'll then get options depending on the type of notification - this could be a text field to allow you to enter a reply to a text message, or Decline/Accept buttons for Calendar meetings, perhaps.

Control Centre

For iOS 7 and later

Control Centre is a handy collection of frequently used settings and toggles. You can access it at any time by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen. (Occasionally you'll have to swipe upwards once to make a small icon appear, and then again to activate Control Centre.)

As of iOS 10, the Control Centre has been split into two windows, making it less baffling to the eyes. Slide up from the bottom of the screen and you'll see options, screen brightness, AirPlay and Airdrop (as well as shortcuts to Camera and Clock). Swipe to the left and you'll move over to media controls, volume controls, and an AirPlay list. We like this new look; it keeps things neatly organised.

Read more: How to access music controls in iOS 10's Control Centre

Keyboard & typing

How to use QuickType predictive typing

For iOS 8

Our next few tips relate to the new iOS system keyboard, QuickType, which sees Apple catch up on many of the keyboard innovations we've seen recently in the Android sphere. (To take things still further, you can download third-party system keyboards for iOS, such as Swype or SwiftKey.)

QuickType is the default keyboard setup, so you don't need to switch it on. Whenever you're typing - in any app that uses the standard system keyboard, from Mail, Messages and Pages to Twitter, Microsoft Word and other third-party apps, although not, interestingly, the typing-based game Blackbar - you'll see three words sitting in dark-grey boxes above the rest of the keys. These are QuickType's top three suggestions for what you're currently typing, or about to type, based on the context and your own personal style.

Simply tap on one of the options to insert that word or complete the one you're typing. You can write entire messages using suggested words only, if you're lucky and/or willing to sound like a fortune cookie.

For more on the new keyboard options in iOS 8, see How to use keyboards in iOS 8: Master the new QuickType & Swype keyboard options on your iPhone or iPad. And a golden oldie just in case you're still getting annoyed by those 'click' sound effects: How to turn off keyboard click sounds in iOS 8

Read next: Best iOS 8 keyboard apps for iPhone and iPad

How to minimise (hide) QuickType's predictive suggestions

For iOS 8

If you find QuickType's three grey boxes annoying, or aren't finding its suggestions helpful, you can minimise (or hide) them.

Swipe downwards on the dark grey boxes and they will collapse into a slender grey bar with a white pull-up handle in the middle.

Swipe upwards again to see what QuickType has to offer, and whether it's got any cleverer.

Find out how to make space on an iPhone when you need it

How to turn off QuickType predictive typing completely

For iOS 8 and later

If QuickType really isn't your cup of tea, you can switch the predictive feature off entirely. Go to Settings > General and then swipe down to the Keyboard option.

Swipe the green toggle next to 'Predictive' so that it turns white. From now on iOS will limit its predictive activities to the pop-up suggestions you'll remember from iOS 7.

Here are some alternatives to Apple's iOS 8 keyboard

Keyboard cursor

For iOS 9 and later; iPad only

Apple has given iOS's system keyboard the ability to move around a document with a virtual cursor - on iPads, anyway. Simply tap and hold anywhere on the screen with two fingers at once, and the keys will all grey out. From now on, moving the two fingers will move the virtual cursor, automatically selecting any text between the original point where you started and the new place you've moved the cursor to.

Read next: Best keyboard apps for iOS 8

The ambiguous Shift key

For iOS 9 and later

Before iOS 9, the Shift key in iOS was ambiguous, switching colour between the white of the normal keys (off) and the dull grey of the special keys (on) without most people being able to remember which was which.

Rather than adding colour to the On state, as some expected Apple to do, they've made the symbols depicted on all the keys change from upper to lower case so that you know exactly what's going on.

However, it seems that Apple can't win with some users now complaining about the use of a lower case keyboard, stating that it looks ‘ugly' and the capitalised keyboard was just fine. Instead of having to wait another year for Apple to address the issue, the company has instead included a toggle for those that want to disable the lower case keyboard.

To re-enable the upper case keyboard, simply head to Settings > General > Accessibility > Keyboard and switch off ‘Show Lowercase Keys'.

Shortcut bar

For iOS 9 and later

The last stop on our tour of the iOS 9 keyboard concerns those awesome new icons that sit either side of the QuickType suggestion bar. These are shortcuts for common commands.

Depending on the app you're in, the shortcuts will vary, but you'll always get Cut (scissors), Copy (a square and dotted square) and Paste (a solid square and clipboard). If space is tight, however (such as in Notes), these three may be hidden together under a single icon: the scissors. Tap it to reveal the full palette of options.

Notes adds shortcuts for formatting options (a capital A and a lower-case a), to-do lists (a tick in a circle) and sketches (a squiggle), both of which we'll discuss in later slides.

Other apps may offer a camera icon for adding pictures and videos; a paperclip for adding attachments; bold/italic/underlined letters for more formatting options; and so on. As you can see, most are pretty self-explanatory. Experiment if you see one you don't recognise: there's no 'delete document with no confirmation' icon, as far as we're aware.

Change keyboards

For iOS 8

One of the new features of iOS 8 is the ability to change your default keyboard and use third-party keyboards instead.

First, you'll need to download a new keyboard. You'll find then in Apple's iOS App Store (we've got a selection of the best keyboards here).

Once you've downloaded it, go to Settings > Keyboards > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard. You'll now see a section that says Third-Party Keyboards. Tap the keyboard you want to use (we've downloaded Swype, for example).

You'll now be able to access that keyboard by tapping the globe icon on the keyboard, but if you want it to be the default keyboard go to Settings > Keyboards > Keyboards > Edit and then move your preferred keyboard up to the top.

Privacy & security

Password-protect your Notes

For iOS 9.3 and later

Let's admit it: we all use the Notes app to store information that we sometimes wouldn't appreciate anybody else getting their hands on. This usually includes Wi-Fi passwords, website logins and even financial information - sensitive information that up until now anybody that can unlock your iPhone/iPad can have access to.

iOS 9.3 looks to combat this issue by offering users the ability to protect notes with sensitive information either by using a password or Touch ID. Simply tap the share icon within the note you want to protect, tap ‘Lock Note' and input your desired password. Note that this only has to be done once and all future notes will be protected using the same password. To lock the note, simply tap the padlock icon. It's as simple as that.

Read more: How to set up the best privacy settings in iOS 8 | What security apps do you need for iPad & iPhone?

6-digit passcode

For iOS 9 and later

As of iOS 9, instead of the 4-digit passcodes we've been used to in the past, you'll be asked during setup to create a 6-digit passcode to increase your security.

You can still opt for the classic passcode (we explain how to go back to 4 digits here: How to change an iPhone or iPad passcode from six digits back to four digits) but Apple recommends you use the new format: it opens up one million possible combinations instead of 10,000.

How to set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine

For iOS 8 and later

Privacy could be the next big issue that divided Apple and Google - and one of the ways Apple has set itself on the 'privacy-respecting' side of things is this small concession to iOS users: you can now set DuckDuckGo (a search engine that doesn't track your searches, doesn't profile its users, and shows the same search results to everyone) as the default search engine on your iPhone or iPad.

To enable DuckDuckGo, go to the Settings app and scroll down to Safari. Tap the top option (Search Engine) and put a tick next to the search engine you want to use as the default. As well as Google and the privacy-optimised DuckDuckGo you can go for Yahoo or Bing, which we can only assume were put in there to annoy Google. Read more about Safari in iOS 8 here.

(There are more privacy options in the dedicated Privacy section of Settings, by the way.) Read: Why Google is the world's biggest threat to user privacy, and only Apple can help

Unlock iOS 10 without pressing Home button

For iOS 10 and later

Here's a quick tip. If you're sick of having to press the Home button to unlock your iOS 10 device (the sheer physical labour of it!) and prefer to just lightly rest your fingertip there like you used to do in iOS 9, open the Settings app and go to General > Accessibility > Home Button and tap Rest Finger to Open.

Read more: How to unlock iPhone or iPad in iOS 10 without pressing Home button

Next: Internet & Safari tips >>

Our iOS tips megaguide continues. The next category is:

Internet & Safari tips

Wi-Fi Assist: Automatically ignore weak Wi-Fi networks

For iOS 9 and later

Switching automatically from cellular data to the nearest available Wi-Fi network is a useful tool, especially if you're constantly looking for hotspots to save your data tariff. The annoying situation comes when there's an available Wi-Fi network, but it's slow or weak - maybe significantly slower than 4G. This is precisely the context in which the new Wi-Fi Assist feature will prove its worth.

With iOS 8 you lost precious seconds of your life going to settings and switching off the Wi-Fi mode, but in iOS 9 the slow Wi-Fi network will be ignored automatically and you'll continue to use cellular data. If you want to save on mobile data even at the cost of slow web access, you can opt to turn off Wi-Fi Assist.

How to reopen recently closed tabs

For iOS 8 and later

In Safari in iOS 8, you can quickly reopen closed tabs by tapping the tabs button at the bottom right of your Safari window, and then tapping and holding the plus symbol. Then, simply tap the one you want to reopen to get it back.

How to quickly enter credit card numbers in Safari

For iOS 8 and later

This feature is pretty cool, too. You can now skip that annoying process of typing in that long card number when you're doing your internet shopping by tapping the button on the keyboard that says Scan Credit Card.

Line your card up with the box on the screen and hold it there for a second or two. Safari will read the number on the card and type it straight into the field on the web page.

How to request the desktop site in Safari

For iOS 8

Mobile sites are generally ideal for browsing the web on your iPhone, but if you've come across one that's less than impressive and you're finding it difficult to navigate, you can tap on the URL bar and swipe downwards to reveal the 'Request Desktop Site' option.

More Safari in iOS 8 tips

Create a shortcut to frequently visited websites

For iOS 8

If you visit a particular website often, you can create a shortcut that'll appear on your home screen and look just like any other app.

Simply go to the website you want to create a link to, then click the share button. Now, click 'Add to Home Screen' and you'll now see the shortcut among all of your other apps.

Accessibility

Magnify the screen

For iOS 8 and later

Hidden away in the Accessibility section of iOS is a useful little feature that turns your iPhone into a magnifying glass. It does this by using the camera and a software tweak that zooms in on everything you point it at.

To find it, simply navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility > Magnifier and then ensure that the Magnifier setting is switched on.

In older versions of iOS you'll need to go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom, and then tap Zoom Region, Full Screen Zoom. Now, you can activate Zoom by tapping the switch at the very top of the menu. If you find that you're zoomed in as soon as you turn Zoom on, you can double-tap with three fingers to zoom out. Use that gesture to zoom in at any time, dragging with those three fingers to move around.

Read more: How to use iPhone as a magnifying glass

Health & fitness

Reproductive health tracking (and other upgrades to Health)

For iOS 9 and later

The Health app gained lots of new options with the launch of iOS 9. With an eye on the aspects of women's health that have been neglected in previous updates, Health gained a new section, 'Reproductive Health', which includes six more sub-categories: Basal Body Temperature, Cervical Mucus Quality, Menstruation, Ovulation Test Result, Sexual Activity and Spotting. Here you can insert your data manually.

Tracking women's cycles may help those trying to get pregnant or avoid it, and can also help to discover health problems. The reproductive section might also help you to monitor risks of sexually transmitted diseases, since it lets you record any protected or unprotected activity.

Aside from sexual health, iOS 9 also added 'UV Exposure' and 'Water Intake' to the Health app's options.

Read more: How iOS 9 fixes HealthKit's woman problem

Add emergency medical info to lock screen

For iOS 8

Apple's Health app means you can create what's called a 'Medical ID', which lets you enter a list of your medical conditions, medication, blood type and allergies. Should something happen to you, it might be important for a doctor or paramedic to know this information, so Apple has made it possible for them to access it without needing to know your iPhone's passcode.

Go to the Health app and then tap Medical ID. From there, tap Create Medical ID, type in your information, and then make sure Show When Locked is turned on.

The information will then be access to anyone by tapping the Emergency button on the lock screen and then tapping Medical ID.

Night Shift mode - Helps you sleep at night

For iOS 9.3 and later

Night Shift mode is hands down our favourite feature of iOS 9.3, although (if you have the beta) it's fairly easy to miss. Studies have shown that exposure to blue light (emitted from displays) can affect your circadian rhythms and thus make it harder to fall asleep at night. As Macworld UK staff, you can imagine that we've been suffering from this issue for quite some time, and we can honestly say that Apple's Night Shift mode has dramatically improved the amount of time it takes for us to fall asleep at night.

The idea behind Night Shift mode is to use your iOS device's clock and geolocation to determine the sunset in your location, then automatically adjust the colours of the display to the warmer end of the spectrum which Apple claims is “easier on your eyes”. The mode can be accessed either via the Settings app or from the Control Centre, and can be toggled on or off with a single tap.

Next: Maps & travel-related tips >>

Our iOS tips megaguide continues. The next category is:

Maps & travel

Better Maps app

For iOS 10 and later

Maps had a refresh in iOS 10, as Apple continues to create an app that truly rivals Google Maps. It has a new, much cleaner, interface that makes options easier to access.

There's a lot of new features too. It now features traffic information on route, and displays alternative routes as you drive. A new Dynamic View mode shows what traffic conditions look like. There's also an option to find things along the way, like supermarkets or petrol stations.

One neat feature is that Apple Maps automatically remembers where you parked your car.

Another interesting touch is that Search now pulls in places you've looked for in Google and Google Maps. So it feels a lot more integrated with your search history. Cunning.

Public-transport directions in Maps

For iOS 9 and later

If you're planning a journey and don't own a car, Apple Maps was no help at all in iOS 8, lagging years behind its Google counterpart. But iOS 9 adds public-transport directions at last.

Search for a location, then tap Directions at the top left to bring up that section. Select the Transport tab.

Choose the route you wish to take from the options given, then tap Start at the foot of the page. Maps will guide you through your journey. (We've not tested this properly yet, so we're not sure if Maps will be clever enough to cache the journey so you don't lose directions when you go underground and lose signal.)

Alternatively, you can jump to directions from the pin that appears when you run the original search. Note that the pin has a time and a walking icon next to it; tap this and you'll open walking directions. Tap the Transport tab to revert to public-transport directions instead.

Bear in mind that, as far as the UK goes, public-transport directions will be limited to London. The list of supported cities is a bit surreal: six US cities, Toronto and some nearby cities in Canada, London, Berlin, Mexico City, and then more than 300 locations in China. A clue there to Apple's priorities.

For more on the updated Maps app, see Apple Maps in iOS 9 adds public transit, local business search. And to see how Apple Maps in iOS 9 compares to Google Maps, take a look at Apple Maps vs Google Maps comparison review.

Time savers & miscellaneous

3D Touch

For iPhone 6s and later (not iPhone SE)

In iOS 9.3, force-press the Settings icon on the home screen and you'll be greeted with new shortcuts to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Battery settings.

Prioritise downloads with 3D Touch

For iOS 10 and later

This is a handy tip if you're downloading a lot of apps at once - when setting up a new device, for example - but you'd like to use some of them before the rest have finished downloading.

Do a force-press on the icon of an app you'd like to be shunted to the front of the queue, then select Prioritise Download. Alternatively, you can select Pause Download on the apps that you don't care about so much.

We've tried using this feature on an iOS 10 iPad with a long-press, but sadly it's 3D Touch-only, and therefore (at present) iPhone-only.

Read next: Best 3D Touch shortcuts

Raise to Wake

For iOS 10 and later

Like the Apple Watch, iOS 10-equipped iPhones spring to life when you lift them up - handy if you'd just like to check the time or your recent notifications.

But bear in mind that Raise to Wake requires an M9 motion coprocessor or later, so only the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be able to use it.

Raise to Wake can occasionally be a pain: when out jogging in the dark we became anxious that the iPhone 7's unpredictably lit screen would be a mugger magnet. You can turn it off in Settings. Go to Display & Brightness and then tap the slider next to Raise to Wake.

Remove stock apps (and Stocks)

For iOS 10 and later

Apple has finally bowed to the wishes of its customers and is allowing you to remove its stock apps from the Home screen.

There are a few exceptions. Find iPhone, Safari, Phone, Messages, App Store, Settings and a few more apps cannot be removed. But you can get rid of Apple Maps, FaceTime, News, Tips, Stocks (hooray!) and even Contacts and Calendar if you want.

Apps you 'remove' are actually hidden and remain on the device with no icon, but to bring them back you still go through the process of 'downloading' them from the App Store. Open the App Store app and search for the app. When you click to download the app it'll simply reappear on your device.

Read more: How to delete Stocks and other preinstalled apps from iPhone & iPad

Power-saving mode

For iOS 9 and later; iPhone only

Whenever your iPhone drops below 20 percent power, a message will pop up to warn you of this fact and to offer Low Power Mode. Tap this to reduce animations throughout the system, decrease the time before the screen darkens, and generally make every effort to eke out your battery life for a little longer.

You can activate Low Power Mode at other times: look for the option in the new Battery section of Settings. (It's in the same grouping as the General section, and has a green icon.)

You can tell that Low Power Mode is in effect, by the way, by looking at the battery indicator at the top of the screen: whereas this is ordinarily green when above 20 percent and red below, it will be orange if in Low Power Mode.

Read next: 33 tips to help boost iPhone battery life

Multitasking - Have two apps onscreen at once

For iOS 9 and later; iPad only

This one is just for the iPad - and the more advanced part of it is just for the iPad Air 2, at least for the time being. (Mind you, it would suit the iPad Pro down to the ground, so maybe there's more to that rumour than we thought…) But it's such a long-awaited and cool-looking feature that those who can get it are in for a treat.

The simple form of multitasking on the iPad - and this one is for all the iPads that are compatible with iOS 9, which is to say the iPad 2 and later; see Which iPads and iPhones will be able to run iOS 9? - involves opening any app and then swiping inwards from the righthand side of the screen. You'll see a slim sidebar where you can pick another app, and have it open in that part of the screen while the first app remains visible in the rest.

Handy for various work scenarios: viewing an email and copy-and-pasting important elements into a Notes document open in the main window, for example, or viewing a journey in Maps while noting down directions.

If you've got an iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro, you can take iOS's multitasking chops to the next level, by having two apps running side by side and interacting with them both at the same time. As Apple puts it, "Work on a sketch with the reference photo beside it. Or write a paper while copying citations from a book in iBooks."

This function is called Split View. You can also change the screen space devoted to each of the two apps, although the default appears to be 50/50.

The third aspect of multitasking in iOS 9 is called Picture in Picture, and lets you watch video clips and television shows while working in other apps. On the Mac this sort of thing is easy: just run a video and place it in the corner while you work. On the iPad it's not been possible - until now.

Apple's new Picture in Picture mode moves the video into the bottom corner of the screen while you carry on using another app. Whenever you're watching a video, you just have to press the Home button to tell iOS 9 to shrink the video screen down to a corner of your display. You can then open another app normally, and the video will keep playing in its little window.

The video you're watching can be live FaceTime, and third-party video apps can use Apple's SDK to implement PIP mode in their app. We hope the BBC implements it for iPlayer, and Google does likewise for YouTube.

Swiping advice for iOS 10

For iOS 10 and later

When you first install iOS 10, you'll be presented with a new Home screen. We find this change the most jarring. Unlocking our iPhone and iPad has mostly remained the same process over the years: swipe right and enter your passcode.

With Touch ID now firmly entrenched on all new Apple devices, Apple has decided that the swipe to unlock gesture is no longer required. Instead, you can swipe right to access a Widgets window (similar to Notifications in iOS 9), and swipe left to access Camera. These gestures are more intuitive than the current ones, but it'll take a while it to become instinctive.

As for unlocking the iPhone, you now press the Home button in and keep your finger held on the button for Touch ID (or enter your passcode if requested).

Bigger app folders on the iPad

For iOS 9 and later

Here's a small but appealing general upgrade to iOS's folder system that takes advantage of the iPad's extra screen space.

As of iOS 9, iPad owners have been able to store 105 more apps per folder than in iOS 8.

You'll still be granted up to 15 pages in the folder, but on the iPad each page will be laid out in a 4x4 grid instead of 3x3, as it is in iOS 8 (and will continue to be on the iPhone). That's 16 apps per page instead of 9, for a total of 240 apps instead of 135.

Turn on Family Sharing

For iOS 8 and later

Family Sharing lets you share apps, movies and music that you buy from iTunes with other people. It means you won't need to buy items individually: one person buys an app, book or other content from the iTunes Store, and it's immediately available to all other members of the family to download for free.

Up to six people can use Family Sharing, and you all pay on the same credit card, so Family Sharing is ideal for families that want to combine their purchases. It's also possible to set limits for younger family members, so when a child asks to buy an app an alert will appear on the adult's phone asking for permission on behalf of the child.

Find out how to set up Family Sharing on your iPad or iPhone here.

Proactive - Teach iOS your routine

For iOS 9 and later

Yes, it's pretty much copied from Android's Google Now*. But Proactive remains one of the more pleasing new features in iOS 9, and the one with the greatest potential to be gently life-altering.

Proactive (that's what we're calling it; it appears to be Apple's codename rather than an official branding) tries to stay one step ahead, always doing its best to work out what you'll want to do next and then offer a shortcut to that behaviour.

Ring your mum at a certain time each week? iOS will start placing her contact icon in your Search screen when the appointed hour approaches, so you can make the call with a single swipe (left from the first Home screen/pane, or downwards from any Home screen) and tap. Like to hit the tunes at the gym? You'll get a Now Playing in the lock screen at the usual time, or when you plug in the headphones.

How do you get these conveniences? Just use iOS as much as you can: it'll soon learn. And look out for the shortcuts. Remember to browse the Search screen to see how much iOS has picked up about your habits.

If you want to read more on the subject of Apple's new Proactive personal assistant, take a look at iOS 9 makes Siri more 'proactive' and adds video search and Watch out Google Now, Siri may get 'Proactive' in iOS 9. Otherwise, turn to the next slide for more tips as we explore the new features of iOS 9.

* That said, we know which company we'd be happier to have monitoring our app usage and the people we email and call in certain locations and at particular times of day.

How to maximise your battery life

Battery life has long been one of the biggest complaints among iPhone owners, but Apple now lets you see which of your apps are using up the most battery on your device.

Go to Settings > General > Usage and then tap Battery Usage. You'll now see which apps are using up the most battery, and Apple will offer up some suggestions to help you save battery life (it suggested we enable auto-lock).

For more ways to increase your iPhone's battery life, visit our 33 tips to help boost iPhone battery life article.

How to get more out of Spotlight search in iOS 8

For iOS 8

The Spotlight search feature is a lot broader in scope in iOS 8. From any of your home screens, swipe downwards from anywhere on the screen except the top (which will summon the Notification Centre). Now start typing your search query, and iOS 8 will suggest options from your on-board apps, undownloaded apps from the App Store (together with a version number and rating, but not a price, oddly - tap the result to see more details), locations nearby, emails and Wikipedia entries, among other new features.

If you want to see more of the suggested search results, click the bottom-right keyboard key to send the keyboard away and free up more screen space.

Read next: How to find things quickly on your iPad or iPhone using Spotlight

Discover more iOS advice with the new Tips app

For iOS 8

Well, that's it for now. We're going to keep adding more tips to this feature; if there are specific areas of iOS you'd like us to cover, let us know in the comments field below, or get in touch on Twitter.

But there's another source of iOS advice you should be using. Apple's dedicated Tips app debuted in iOS 8 and will be updated periodically to add new information - straight from the horse's mouth, as it were. Look for the yellow lightbulb icon, which iOS will have dropped in the first available slot on your screen, open the app, and scroll through the available tips. (At time of writing there are just nine, but expect this to rise.)

Read next:

How to update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8

iOS 8 review

iOS 8 upgrade advice