5 Favorite “Hidden” iOS 5 iPhone Features

iOS 5 MissingWhen it comes to iOS 5, Siri and iCloud have certainly been hogging the spotlight. Beyond that, users en masse are also hot to get their hands on the new Notifications handling, Twitter integration, Safari optimizations and Reader, iMessage, Reminders, and Wi-Fi sync. But let’s not forget there are other tweaks designed to make life easier for iPhone users.

Apple said there are more than 200 new features buried in this software. Here are five of my faves for the iPhone so far:

Custom Vibrations: First enable this feature on the Accessibility page (in Settings, then General), under the “Hearing” subhead. Then go to Sounds (also in Settings), tap on “Vibration” (under “Vibration Patterns”) and tap on “Create New Vibration.” You’ll get a screen on which you can tap to create a new rhythm or vibration pattern. When you’re finished, you can assign your new custom vibration to a contact when editing it inside the Phone app.

Delete Individual Items in the Call History: Inside the Phone app, tap on Recents and then swipe left on an entry for the red “Delete” button to pop up. Tap on it, to remove that one item from the list.

Local Hourly Weather: Launch the Weather app, then tap on the day to see estimates of hourly forecasts

Text Expansion: Type “omw,” and the snippet will auto-expand into “On my way!” Settings will also allow you to set your own, for commonly used sentences or phrases. Super handy when writing messages on the go. Ninja tip: Hate that iOS always corrects a particular word you use often? Set it as both the shorthand and the expanded text, so it doesn’t trigger the auto-correct.

Landscape Calendar: Open the Calendar app and put the handset in landscape mode, to see a graphical, color coded week view of your appointments. (A year view is also available.)

Other awesome iOS 5 additions:

Swipe to Reveal Camera Roll Pics: When the Camera app is launched to snap a photo, swipe right to access your recently taken pics

Dictionary, Built-in Emoji, User Settings for Auto-Correct and Spellcheck: Think this will help with the collective spanking that the English language has taken in modern society? Well, at least it couldn’t hurt. The OS separates auto-correct and spellcheck, so you’ll know if there’s a typo without the handset jumping in to fix it. There’s also a handy new Define feature (activate by tapping on and holding a word), and an Emoji keyboard.

Custom Tones for Alerts and Messages: Like setting custom vibrations, you can also create custom audio tones for message alerts, calendar notifications, tweets, reminders and ringtones.

Time Capsule/Airport Base Station Configuration Tool: Ever wanted to set up a Wi-Fi base station from your mobile device? You can now, if you have an AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule. iOS 5 lets you create a network and connect to it, join an existing Wi-Fi network, or even replace a router.

Private Browsing: Users can now cruise around the internet without the device saving browsing histories, cookies or logs. Just go to Settings and choose Safari, then hit the relevant switch.

Dedicated Ringtone Store: Settings, Sounds, Text Tone, select “Buy More Tones.” Each is 30 seconds and costs up to $1.29.

Of course, iOS 5 for the iPad offers some super nifty features as well. There has been much ado about Safari tabbed browsing, the new split keyboard and the four- and five-finger gestures, among other things. For me, I was pretty thrilled with Assistive Touch (enabled under Settings, General, Accessibility), with its easy onscreen access to favorites, homescreen, gestures, and other device rotation or volume settings.

TechZoom maintains an exhaustive list of 200+ features (started from the very moment they snapped up the first beta), so for a line-by-line list, you can hit them up here.

Have you snagged the iOS 5 download yet? What are your favorite features so far?

 



Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...