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Advanced iOS 9 tips for iPhone and iPad

Headline updates are all well and good but we’ve dug deep to find the smaller yet nonetheless invaluable tricks buried within iOS 9... iOS 9 Tips


  • scrub Scrub through photos 1
  • zoom Zoom into movies 2
  • scrubmovies Scrub through home movies 3
  • facedown Facedown for battery savings 4
  • battery Set in-depth app battery usage 5
  • tabswitch Switch apps via a keyboard on iPad 6
  • pdf Turn web pages into eBooks 7
  • swipedown Swipe down to return to the camera roll 8
  • attachments Attachments in the cloud 9
  • transit View details about stations 10
  • select Select mulitple photographs 11
  • sirivoice Turn Siri into an Aussie or American 12
  • markup Markup mail messages 13
  • wikipedia Wikipedia in Maps 14
  • autolock Time-out quicker 15
  • applepay Quick access to Apple Pay 16
  • printpreview Print preview 17
  • facetimemessage Leave a message in FaceTime 18
  • iclouddrive Copying files out of iCloud Drive 19
  • vibrate Vibrate no more 20
  • wificallsipad Wi-Fi phone calls on iPad 21
  • trackpad Move the cursor on the iPad 22
  • maths Do quick maths 23
  • blocking Turn of blocking - temporarily 24
  • passwords Search your iCloud Keychain 25
  • checkboxes Create reminders - in Notes! 26
  • paysymbol Do they take Apple Pay? 27
  • readerview More comfortable Reader View 28
  • search Swipe down to search 29
  • recording Send audio quickly 30
  • More stories
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Step 1 of 30: Scrub through photos

When using your iPhone or iPad to view a photo within an album (or viewing a photo from a Moments collection), you’ll see a thin timeline beneath the main image showing other photos in that album or collection. This is there for more than just information purposes.

Tap and drag on it and you’ll rapidly “scrub” through the photos, allowing you to switch to another quickly and easily. Give it a try! Alternatively, you can just tap one of the photos within the timeline to switch to it immediately.

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Next Prev scrub

When using your iPhone or iPad to view a photo within an album (or viewing a photo from a Moments collection), you’ll see a thin timeline beneath the main image showing other photos in that album or collection. This is there for more than just information purposes.

Tap and drag on it and you’ll rapidly “scrub” through the photos, allowing you to switch to another quickly and easily. Give it a try! Alternatively, you can just tap one of the photos within the timeline to switch to it immediately.


Step 2 of 30: Zoom into movies

It’s always been possible to zoom into a movie while you’re watching it on the iPhone or iPad by double-tapping the screen.

In iOS 9 you can also use the pinch-expand gesture while viewing a movie to zoom in and out to any degree you desire. Once zoomed in you can drag around the zoomed-in movie to pan to different parts of it.

Note that this only works with videos you’ve recorded or been sent by others, and that are accessed through the Photos app. It doesn’t work for TV programmes or movies watched via the Videos app. 


Step 3 of 30: Scrub through home movies

Following on from the previous tip, when you’re watching a movie you’ve recorded or been sent, the photos thumbnail listing at the bottom of the screen expands into a scrubber bar for that video file.

Tap and drag here to quickly advance backwards and forwards within the movie file. (If you can’t see the scrubber bar, just tap the screen once.)

Read: When to record 4K instead of 1080p on the iPhone 6s


Step 4 of 30: Facedown for battery savings

Train yourself to leave your iPhone on your desk or bedside table so that it’s screen-down. This helps avoid liquid damage should you spill something but, more importantly, it tells the iPhone to not wake in order to show notification messages. Therefore your battery will last longer.

Putting the phone face down also deactivates Hey Siri, so that it no longer listens for the magic words that will cause it to respond (Hey Siri is always-on with the iPhone 6S - unless you turned it off in settings - but only responds if the Lightning cable is connected on the iPhone 5 and 6; putting the phone face down deactivates it regardless of model).


Step 5 of 30: Set in-depth app battery usage

New to iOS 9 is a Battery entry within the Settings app, which not only lets you activate (and deactivate!) the useful new Low Power Mode, but also lets you see which apps are gobbling up the most battery life according to 24-hour and 7-day surveys – just select between the two headings.

What you might not know is that tapping the list switches it to showing details of how much screen-time each app has had, and how much time it’s been active in the background.

Screen time is just another way of saying how much time you’ve been actively using the app. You can also switch to and from this detailed view by clicking the clock icon at the top right of the list.

Read: Tips to help boost iPhone battery life


Step 6 of 30: Switch apps via a keyboard on iPad

It’s always been possible to use a Bluetooth keyboard with your iPad, of course, but in iOS 9 using an external keyboard is a radically improved experience. For example, lots of new keyboard shortcuts are available and you can view them within apps by placing the cursor in a text editing area, then holding down the Control key.

A pop-up should explain what’s available. However, one key combo in particular is very useful – by pressing Cmd+Tab, you can cycle through recently used apps, in a similar way to the Mac, or on Windows via Alt+Tab. This will work regardless of whether you’re in an app, or viewing your app icons on the launcher screen.

Read: Best keyboard apps for your iPad & iPhone


Step 7 of 30: Turn web pages into eBooks

iOS already offers the Reading List feature within Safari that lets you save web pages for viewing later, even if you’ve not got an Internet connection. However, iOS 9 provides another and much cooler way to store a web page for reading at your leisure – you can turn it into a PDF, which will then be added to iBooks.

To make this happen, click the Share button when viewing a web page and tap the Save PDF to iBooks icon at the right of the upper row of icons. The web page will even be formatted into individual pages within the PDF, like a genuine book!

Indeed, if you visit an eBooks site like Gutenberg, and view the novels there as HTML, then this is a quick and easy way of generating your own bonefide eBooks for reading later!

Read: Complete guide to audiobooks on the iPhone/iPad


Step 8 of 30: Swipe down to return to the camera roll

How’s this for a quick and easy tip: if you’re viewing an image full-screen, just swipe down to return to the album you were viewing, or to return to the camera roll.

You can already swipe left or right to move forward or back in the list of photos, of course.


Step 9 of 30: Attachments in the cloud

Because iCloud Drive is now properly integrated into iOS 9, you can insert items from it into your Mail messages. Just tap and hold the message area while composing, and then select Add Attachment from the menu that pops-up (if you don’t see the option, tap the right-facing arrow on the menu).

However, as the TV adverts say – that’s not all! By tapping the Locations link at the top left of the iCloud Drive file listing, and then the More link, you can opt to connect to any other cloud storage service that you might have installed (and that has a sharing extension), such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.

Some apps like the Quip collaborative word processor will also let you add files from their cloud-based file store using this technique. Notably, if an incoming message contains an attachment then you can also save it to your cloud services too – just tap and hold, then select the Save Attachment icon, and select your cloud service of choice in the way described previously.


Step 10 of 30: View details about stations

Transit directions within the Maps app is a headline feature of iOS 9, of course, and while they presently only cover Greater London for those in the UK, it’s quite surprising how much information Apple has packed in.

For example, the precise location of entrances and exits to stations are shown on the map when you zoom into any station. Additionally, tap on a particular tube line’s identifier within a London station and you’ll see bang-up-to-the-minute schedule information too.

There’s loads more to explore but don’t forget that all of this will be invisible unless you tap the (i) button at the bottom left of the Maps screen and select the Transport option.

Read: How to use public transport directions in iOS 9


Step 11 of 30: Select multiple photographs

Ever wanted to send 5 or 10 photographs to somebody as an iMessage or email? If so you’ll know that it’s always been a pain, because each had to be tapped individually after you tap the Select button at the top right of the Photos interface.

Now for the great news: in iOS 9 you can just tap and hold, then swipe your finger over neighbouring photographs to add them to the selection (you’ll see a tick appear within each to indicate they're selected). In fact, you can lift your finger, and tap another photograph to then swipe to select even more images – without cancelling your first selection!

To remove a photo from any selection, just tap that particular photograph.

Read: Guide to photo editing in iOS


Step 12 of 30: Turn Siri into an Aussie or American

It’s always been possible to change Siri’s accent within the Settings app but that would also switch it to listening for that particular accent too – and that could lead to voice recognition errors.

However, in iOS 9 the control for Siri’s voice has been split from the recognition components, so you can have an Aussie Siri talk to you while it still listens for the British voice.

Just open the Settings app, click General > Siri > Siri Voice, and then make your choice. You might have to download the voice, however, and this will happen automatically when you next connect to Wi-Fi.

Read: Funny things to say to Siri  and Complete Guide to Siri in iOS 9


Step 13 of 30: Markup mail messages

The Mail app within iOS 9 gains the same image markup abilities introduced with OS X Yosemite.

Start by inserting a picture when composing a mail message in the usual way – tap and hold the composition area, then select Insert Photo or Video (tap the right arrow if you don’t see this).

Then, when you’ve inserted the photo, tap and hold it and select the Markup option.

The image will then be opened full-screen for you to add shapes, lines or text. It’s pretty obvious how it works if you’ve ever used any image editing app!


Step 14 of 30: Wikipedia in Maps

In iOS 9 pretty much any location of note that has a label within the Maps app also has a summary and link to the relevant Wikipedia article. Just tap the label and then expand the pop-out comment balloon by tapping the right arrow within it. Then scroll down.

Read: Google Maps versus Apple Maps


Step 15 of 30: Time-out quicker

On the iPhone iOS 9 now lets you set an auto-lock time-out of a speedy 30 seconds, in addition to the usual 1-5 minute options that were in older releases of iOS.

Just open the Settings app, then tap General > Auto-Lock, and make the selection.

Sadly, the iPad hasn’t received this love, and retains the 2, 5, 10 and 15 minute options of iOS 8 and earlier.


Step 16 of 30: Quick access to Apple Pay

If you’ve added a debit or credit card to Apple Pay (and if not, why not?), you can quickly prepare for a transaction at a checkout by pulling your phone from your pocket and double-clicking the Home button, then leaving your thumb on the Touch ID sensor in order to complete the purchase.

Note that this only works if the iPhone is in sleep mode when you double-click, or if the lock screen is visible. This double-click can be hard to pull-off on the new iPhone 6S, which has much faster Touch ID recognition, so some rehearsal might be necessary!

Read: How to set up and use Apple Pay in the UK


Step 17 of 30: Print preview

If you’ve an AirPrint-compatible printer there’s an exciting new feature in iOS 9 that you’re sure to like: Print Preview.

Whenever you chose to print something (tap the Share button, and then Print), you’ll see a graphical preview of the output beneath the page/printer selection options.

If what you’re printing goes over more than one page then you’ll see each page listed. Even better, however, is the fact that you can tap and hold on one of the page preview thumbnails to see a pop-up menu that will let you skip that page, end the printing on that page, or start printing at that page.

Read: How to install AirPrint on any printer and How to print from iPad, iPhone to a wireless printer: Wi-Fi printing from iOS with or without AirPrint


Step 18 of 30: Leave a message in FaceTime

If you call somebody using FaceTime and they don’t answer (or decline the call, for whatever reason), a new button appears in iOS 9 offering to let you leave a message.

It’s not a mystery how this new feature works – if you tap the button then you’re simply booted over to the Messages app, where you can type an iMessage.

Still, the option is there should you want to use it – even if we find ourselves wishing there was a way of leaving a video message instead. Maybe in iOS 10?


Step 19 of 30: Copying files out of iCloud Drive

The iCloud Drive app is a headline new feature within iOS 9 and allows access to the same iCloud Drive you see within Finder on the Mac.

If you can’t see the iCloud Drive app in your launcher, open the Settings app, then tap iCloud > iCloud Drive, and tap the switch alongside Show On Home Screen.

While the file listing within the app is easy to navigate, what’s less obvious is that it lets you copy files to rival cloud storage services – provided you have the app for that service installed, of course. Just tap the (i) button alongside the file, then tap the Share button at the bottom left and select the service you require.

Read: How to use iCloud Drive for Mac, iPhone & iPad


Step 20 of 30: Vibrate no more

If you don’t like the fact your iPhone vibrates – and on the iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus the vibration is very powerful and even noisy! – then iOS9 lets you turn it off systemwide in one fell swoop.

Just open the Settings app, then tap General > Accessibility. Scroll down to the bottom to the Vibration heading, and tap to turn it of. Doing so will turn of all vibrations for every system tool, even though elsewhere in the Settings app vibrations will still show as being activated.


Step 21 of 30: Wi-Fi phone calls on iPad

iOS 9 lets you use Wi-Fi calling on your iPad or iPod touch if your iPhone is out of Bluetooth/Wi-Fi signal range, or even if the iPhone switched off. Setup is automatic once Wi-Fi calling has been enabled, so all you subsequently have to do is open FaceTime on the iPad/iPod Touch, tap the Audio tab, type the number in the usual way and tap the phone symbol (or tap one of the contacts listed instead of typing the number).

Of course, you’ll need to be signed-up to a mobile provider that’s activated Wi-Fi calling and, alas, according to Apple the iPhone-free calling feature only works with T-Mobile in the US at the present time. However, it’s certain mobile vendors in the UK will start to use it as time goes on.


Step 22 of 30: Move the cursor on the iPad

A frequent criticism of iOS has been that you can’t attach a mouse and use your iPad or iPhone like a traditional computer.

This is by design, of course, because Apple focussed solely on a touch-based interface for iOS. However, believe it or not iOS 9 on the iPad comes close to scratching this itch.

When typing via the on-screen keyboard, bunch two fingers together and then place them on any letter on the keyboard (although not on the spacebar). The keyboard will turn into a touchpad that you can use to rapidly reposition the text cursor. The keys will be blanked to indicate you’ve temporarily switched modes although lift your fingers and the keyboard will return. Sadly, this trick doesn’t work on the iPhone – even on the larger screen of the iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus.

Read: Complete guide to iOS 9 Multitasking on the iPad | Plus: Will my iPad get multitasking, improved QuickType and split screen in iOS 9?


Step 23 of 30: Do quick maths

Although iOS already offers quick access to the Calculator app from the pull-up Control Center, and you can do maths by simply asking Siri, in iOS 9 there’s an even easier way to do sums – just drag on the home screen to bring down the search field and then type.

You’ll need to use the standard “computer” maths symbols – an asterisk for multiply, for example, a forward slash for divide and ^ for powers (e.g. 9^2). For square roots type sqrt(x), with x being the number – sqrt(81), for example. You can create some reasonably complicated formulas involving brackets, and constants like pi and e are understood too – just type them!


Step 24 of 30: Turn off blocking - temporarily

Another headline feature of iOS 9 is ad-blocking within Safari. For this to work you’ll need to download an ad blocker app, then enable it in the Safari section within the Settings app – click the Content Blocker heading, and then put a check alongside the one you installed.

But what if you’re viewing a website and, for whatever reason, you actually want to view the ads? Just tap and hold the refresh icon at the address field. Then select Reload Without Content Blockers from the pop-up menu that appears. This can be useful if you find a site simply doesn't work once you've enabled an ad-blocker.

Read: How to use ad-blockers in iOS 9 (and why you shouldn't)


Step 25 of 30: Search your iCloud Keychain

Few people realise that iOS allows you to view passwords and usernames contained in your iCloud Keychain. Just open the Settings app, tap the Safari entry in the list, then select the Passwords option.

Subsequently tap the entry for a site to have iCloud spill the beans. New to iOS 9, however, is a search field at the top of the list of websites, by which you can find the site you’re interested in quickly. No more searching through the entire list – which is now sorted alphabetically, but wasn’t in earlier releases of iOS!


Step 26 of 30: Create reminders - in Notes!

In a sure sign that the Notes app will soon replace the Reminders app by swallowing up its feature set, Notes in iOS 9 lets you create check boxes (a.k.a. tick boxes in British English). On an iPad just tap the checkbox symbol above the keyboard when typing a new Note.

On the iPhone you’ll need to first tap the plus symbol above the keyboard to make the toolbar visible. The checkboxes work like any other in that you can tap them to check them, and tap again to remove the check.

Notably compared to Reminders, they’re rather more primitive – Siri can’t work with them, for example, and each entry in the list doesn’t disappear once it’s been checked. Still, for making quick reminder lists it’s a pretty useful addition.

Read: How to use Notes in iOS 9


Step 27 of 30: Do they take Apple Pay?

Want to know if a shop or restaurant you’re about to visit accepts Apple Pay?

Use the Maps app to locate it, then view its info by tapping on the pop-out balloon. Beneath the address details might be an Apple Pay symbol – a feature entirely new to iOS 9. Super simple!

Read our Guide to Apple Pay


Step 28 of 30: More comfortable Reader View

One of iOS’ lesser known functions, Reader View, receives a welcome update in iOS9. Reader View turns any webpage into plain text, formatting it elegantly so it’s ultra-readable.

Only some pages are compatible, however, and you’ll know which because when you access that web page Safari will show a Reader View Available message in the URL field. Just tap the paragraph symbol to the left of this to activate Reader View.

New to iOS 9, however, are iBooks-like controls to alter the page colour and switch the font. Just tap the aA symbol at the top right. Notably, Reader View now offers a “night mode” for use when it goes dark and you don't want to be dazzled by the white screen – tap the black circle at the right of the colour options.

Read: iOS Safari Tips


Step 29 of 30: Swipe down to search

iOS 9 lets you swipe down to search instantly if you’re viewing your app icons.

As an alternative you can also swipe right, of course, and this time you’ll see Siri’s various contact, app and news suggestions. However, there’s no need to tap the Search field at the top of this screen to place the cursor there – just swipe down here too. This will clear away all of Siri’s suggestions, and switch the screen to a standard search.

Read: How to search in iOS 9


Step 30 of 30: Send audio quickly

iOS 8 introduced the ability to send recorded audio snippets via iMessage but the interface was confusing.

Well, in iOS 9 it’s been simplified. Just tap and hold the microphone symbol alongside the text entry field in iMessage to begin recording.

If you want to review or delete the recording before sending then just lift your finger. Tap the arrow symbol when you’re happy.

However, if you’re content to immediately send the recording then simply slide your finger up to the arrow symbol without lifting.

Read Next:

What's new in the iOS 9.1 update plus iOS 9 bugs

9 hidden iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus tips

Apple iOS 9 review: our first impressions of iOS 9

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