Blog Post

iOS 5: The best of the rest

Amazingly, there are more things to discover with the iOS 5 (s aapl) than we can reasonably cover here in individual posts. The following is a list of ten such features that, while relatively small, add a lot of value and warrant a closer look.

Multitasking gestures

Multitasking Gestures

Back in Apri, we came up with a list of lesser know features on the iPad.  It just so happened that enabling multitasking gestures was one of them.  With a little development know how, and access to Xcode in the Mac App Store, this feature could be turned on in iOS 4.  Now, it’s now available to the masses with a touch of a virtual switch in preferences.

Split keyboard on iPad

Split Keyboard

You may have seen this one in the WWDC 2011 keynote, but actually using it with the iPad in landscape mode really shows how handy it is. What you do is press and hold on the keyboard key that typically hides the keyboard.  You will then be presented with an option to split the keyboard.  This will basically cuts it in half and anchor both parts to each side of the iPad.  A nice-to-have feature for those who’ve grown accustomed to thumb typing on iPhones.

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts

If you’re a fan of TextExpander’s ability to take abbreviations and expand them into full words, sentences or phrases, then you’re going to love the new built-in ability to create your own such abbreviations everywhere.  One of the key limitations of TextExpander was that it is only available in certain apps.  With iOS 5, you can create your own abbreviations that are accessible throughout all applications.  To create one, simple goto to the Keyboard section of the Settings app, and add a new shortcut.

The iPod app is gone!

Music App and iTunes

Rather than managing your music and videos in one iPod App, you now have consistency across all iOS devices in the form of a more standard yet separate set of Music and Video apps.They are both still served by the same singular iTunes app, however. You can even access that Store from either app directly.

Sync exchange tasks with Reminders

Sync Exchange TasksI prefer to sync only my Exchange Calendar and Tasks with my iOS devices.  Now with iOS 5, you can finally sync exchange tasks with your handheld device natively.

Create new albums in Photos app

Photos New Album Names

Apple has certainly taken photos on the iPhone to a whole new level, putting some serious thought behind not only how you take photos on iOS devices, but also how you edit and manage photos. In the Photos app, you can now create and edit new Albums, bringing photo management on iOS devices closer to how it works in iPhoto on the desktop.

Rich Text in new messages

Rich Text in New Messages

You can now bold, italicize, or underline your text in any new mail message you compose.  Simply select the text you want to change, tap on the right pointing arrow, and select the BIU to display the Bold, Italicize and Underline options in the editor. You also now have the ability to control the indentation of the selected text by increasing or decreasing the Quote Level.

Use the camera flash as an alert

Accessibility Alerts

The next two are exclusive to the iPhone. While meant for those that need to take full advantage of iOS’s various award-winning accessibility options, these features are cool for anyone. You can now set up the LED flash to notify you whenever your device need to alert you.  I have found that this works mostly with text messages.

Custom vibrations for contacts

Custom Vibrations for Contacts

Enable custom vibrations and create a unique vibration for anyone in your contact list.  This is similar to creating a custom ringtone for each contact.  Once Custom Vibrations has been enabled in the Accessibility section of the Settings > General, you simply need to edit the contact you want to create a custom vibration for and add one to that user.  If you don’t like the list of vibration options available, you can tap out your own unique vibration for that user.

Built-in dictionary


You may have noticed that you can now elect to “Define” the word you have selected.  By tapping on “Define,” the built-in dictionary will pop up and let you know the meaning and often the origin of the word you just selected.

What are your favorite new features in iOS 5?

7 Responses to “iOS 5: The best of the rest”

  1. Wizardgold

    I too am disappointed about the multi gestures not being on the iPad 1. I certainly will not be upgrading until iPad 3 is on the menu so I will be doing without the missing features until then.
    The marketing push by Apple is not going to work.

  2. Murphy Mac

    Photo albums created on iOS don’t seem to sync back to the Mac – do they?

    I like pulling the keyboard apart by sliding outward on it. Very Apple-y.

    Was hoping for true keyboard shortcuts beyond copy and paste with external kb. Haven’t tried yet.

  3. I like the feature to switch between languages or to Emoji icons very fast by holding the globe symbol for 0.5 seconds.

    Secondly it is faster to switch between the camera app and the camera roll just by wiping in the preview of the camera to the right. Then you are in the camera roll. Wipe left to get back to the camera app.