Our iOS tips megaguide continues. The next category is:
Maps & travel
Better Maps app
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
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.
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.
iOS 12 and later
As part of the iOS 12 update, iPhone or iPad owners gain the ability to use custom Siri shortcuts. These can be created by third-party app developers (in the form of of an 'Add to Siri' button, which sets up a voice command for an in-app function), but the real power comes via the ability to create your own shortcuts - and these can be multi-step or even multi-app functions.
Here's how to use Siri shortcuts.
iOS 12 and later
With Screen Time - and a range of related features included in the iOS 12 update - it's possible to set limits on your use of specific apps or categories of apps. This isn't just about freeing up time that could be spent on more important things than scrolling endlessly through Twitter: it's also about combatting device addiction and improve mental and physical health.
Most usefully, parents can use these features to set limits - allowances, in Apple's parlance - on their kids' device use.
Here's how to use Screen Time.
iOS 11 and later
We love instant actions - being able to swipe left from the Lock screen to jump into Camera is brilliant. Apple's added another one to let you take notes suddenly for those "Quick! Grab a pencil!" moments.
Tap your Apple Pencil on the Lock screen and you'll jump into Notes, ready to scribble down whatever couldn't wait.
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.
In iOS 11 and later, you can hard-press on Control Centre toggles and sliders to open up additional options.
Read our guide to the Best 3D Touch shortcuts for more tips.
Prioritise downloads with 3D Touch
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.
Raise to Wake
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)
iOS 10 and later
Apple has finally bowed to the wishes of its customers and is allowing you to remove its preinstalled 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.
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.
Multitasking - Have two apps onscreen at once
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
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 (or Face 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
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
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.
Proactive - Teach iOS your routine
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.
* 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
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.
Discover more iOS advice with Tips
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.)