From Proactive Assistant to multitasking apps, top 10 new features on iOS 9

Apple unveiled iOS 9 at WWDC in San Francisco last night. In line with earlier reports, the latest iteration of the mobile OS focuses more on security and performance improvements. That however doesn


Apple unveiled iOS 9 at WWDC in San Francisco last night. In line with earlier reports, the latest iteration of the mobile OS focuses more on security and performance improvements. That however doesn’t mean users won’t be getting any new features. Here are 10 new and improved features on the forthcoming operating system.

Proactive Assistant

apple-ios-9-proactive-assistantOne of the big features being introduced is the Proactive Assistant. It seems inspired by Google Now, and similarly will give you a heads up about your calendar entries and advise you when to leave to make an appointment. In essence, it will try and anticipate what you want based on location, time, the app you have opened, and so on. For example, if you run in the morning, your phone can learn that you like to listen to music. It can offer music when you plug in headphones.

Additionally, it also gets a feature that is fairly similar to what Truecaller does. In case you get a call from an unknown number, it will search phone numbers in your emails and try to identify the caller. Unlike the app though, Apple isn’t crowdsourcing the call information, nor does it upload your phonebook to its servers to improved caller ID for other users.

For those worried about their data, Apple allayed fears saying, all the information being accessed by Proactive is only stored on the device is anonymous. It is not associated with the Apple ID and is completely anonymous.


apple-ios-9-siri-updateApple is also bringing a host of improvements to Siri on iOS 9, and is essentially enabling a deeper integration of the personal assistant throughout iOS. The company claims that Siri serves over a billion requests a week and is 40 percent more accurate than last year. With Siri becoming more intelligent, Spotlight search too has become more powerful.

In addition to showing results like sports scores and schedules, weather forecasts, stock prices, conversions, the feature now also suggests you things to do or contacts you might want to reach out to depending on your calendar. With deep linking API, search will also be able to see data stored behind the apps that the user has installed on the iPhone and bring it up when the user searches for anything.

iPad Multitasking

Alongside rumors of a larger-screened iPad, there were several reports about multitasking and split-screen modes. While the tablet is still in the rumor mills, Apple announced new multitasking modes on iOS 9 last night.

apple-ios-9-slide-overThese multitasking modes include Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture. Slide Over essentially lets users open a second app without leaving the first. Swiping from the right edge of the screen will show you a list of apps that can be opened on the side. Choosing one will open it on a narrow window along the side. This feature will be available on the iPad Air and up, Mini 2 and up.

apple-ios-9-split-viewSplit View however is only available for iPad Air 2 users. It essentially takes the Slide Over feature a step further by letting users have two apps open and use them simultaneously. Both the apps will be live at the same time, so users can scroll as well as drag and drop content between them. You will also be able to resize the split screens choosing between 50:50 or 70:30.

apple-ios-9-picture-in-picture-modeAs for picture-in-picture mode, when using FaceTime or watching a video, pressing the Home button will shrink the video to a small window on one of the corners of your tablet. You can use another app, while the video keeps playing in the corner.

QuickType keyboard

apple-ios-9-quicktype-keyboardThe keyboard on the iPad too has been improved quite a bit, and makes it easier for users to access various formatting options.  After introducing word suggestions on a bar on top of the keyboard, iOS 9 brings shortcuts to cut-paste, and the ability to select text by simply moving two fingers anywhere on the screen.


While iOS users can choose from the more powerful Pages, Evernote or Microsoft Word, many end up using the simple Notes app. Apple has decided to update this app with new features like the ability to make checklists, add photos to any notes or even doodle with your finger. Your notes will now be stored on iCloud, so your lists are updated across all your iOS devices.

Longer Battery Life

As mentioned above, the focus this time is on the user experience and one such improvement boosts your phone’s battery. While Android smartphones have had this feature for quite some time now, iOS devices finally get low power mode. Apple claims that enabling this feature, will boost your device’s battery life by up to an hour before it needs to be charged.

Smaller update size

One of the major issues users had with iOS 8 was the sheer size of the update, which was also one of the primary reasons behind the slow uptake. This was specially a hindrance for people with 16GB variants. Apple seems to have heard all the feedback, and is trimming the size of the latest update. Where iOS 8 weighed somewhere close to 4.58GB, the forthcoming iOS 9 will only need about 1.3GB.


apple-ios-9-newsApple announced last night that it is killing the Newsstand app, and replace it with a new app called News. This Flipboard-like service curates news from different sources including ESPN, New York Times, and Conde Nast, to name a few. Depending upon the publications and topics, the app will curate a list of news stories for the user. The stories are laid out in a format akin to the print medium, alongside interactive photo galleries, videos and animation. The app is optimized to work on both iPhones and the iPads, and will start rolling out in the US, UK and Australia.

Apple Maps

apple-ios-9-maps-updateApple claims its Maps is used nearly 3.5 times more than the next leading mapping app, and is giving it a massive new feature to help it better compete with rivals. This new feature on Maps is called ‘transit direction’, which essentially lets users navigate bus, subways, or train routes. Apple says, “When you plan a route, every step of your trip is laid out from point A to point B. And with the Nearby feature, it’s easier to see what’s around you and decide on places to shop, eat, and more.”

The feature will only be available in select cities, with initial roll out in Baltimore, Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington DC among others.

Improved security

apple-ios-9-securityApple is beefing up its security, making it even more difficult for hackers. It is making two-factor authentication more mainstream, and every time you sign in from a new browser or on a new device, you’ll be prompted for a verification code. This code is automatically displayed on your other Apple devices or sent to your phone.

Additionally, it is replacing the four-digit passcodes with six-digits. It claims this will make it even more difficult for hackers to break your code, since they will have to choose one from among a million combinations, up from 10,000.

  • Published Date: June 9, 2015 1:22 PM IST
  • Updated Date: June 9, 2015 1:58 PM IST