iPhone 4S WhiteiPhone 4S WhiteWith the release of the iPhone 4S and iOS 5, the exciting new features got a lot of attention. While most of the attention has deservedly gone to the major upgrades such as Siri and iCloud, many less flashy upgrades have fallen through the cracks unnoticed. Here are a five of my favorite iOS 5 upgrades:


Ok, the new notifications are actually pretty well publicized, but they’re so cool I couldn’t help including them in this list. It used to be that only one notification at a time could appear on the iPhone’s lock screen. This meant that important notifications such as phone calls and text messages were often replaced by less important notifications (I’m looking at you foursquare). Now the lock screen shows multiple notifications, so you never miss anything important.


After unlocking your phone, all of the notifications used to be displayed by a small red and white number on the top right corner of each icon. This meant that if you wanted to see all your notifications, you’d have to search through every icon on the phone. This new update to iOS 5 has a “notification center.” To access your notification center, all you have to do is swipe your finger down from the top of the screen, and you can see all of your notifications in one place. The notification center also includes cool widgets, such as weather and stock prices.

Flagging Emails

Flagging Emails

I’m so excited about this feature, I want to yell it from the rooftops. I get an impossibly large number of emails every day. In order to keep track of the important ones, I flag them on my email browser. When checking my email from my iPhone or iPad, however, there was no way to mark the important emails. Well not anymore! The Mail app now gives you the ability to flag emails. The app even syncs with the email client on your desktop, ensuring that you never miss an important email again. Apple also now allows you to bold, italicize or underline words.

Route Choices in Maps


Maps is one of the most important apps on my phone. I have a terrible sense of direction, so I have to use maps just to find my way around the house. While the iPhone always gets you where you’re going, it doesn’t always use the best route to get you there. I find that it often fails to calculate the effects of speed limits and sometimes takes you through weird back roads. Now Maps gives you multiple route options and lets you choose which one you want to take. Now if you end up on a sketchy back road, there’s no one to blame but yourself (and maybe your parents for passing on their faulty sense of directions).

Multitouch Gestures for the iPad 2


Prediction: The next iPad will not have a home button. With iOS 5, Apple has replaced every use of the home button on the iPad 2 with a gesture. The gestures are really intuitive and much easier to use than the home button. Want to return to the home screen? Simply place all five fingers on the screen and bring them together. Want to bring up the multitasking screen? Place four fingers on the screen and swipe up. Probably the coolest addition is that now you can go from one app to another without even opening up the multitask screen. Simply swipe four fingers horizontally across.

Camera Accessibility

Camera Shutter

Having your camera in your pocket at all times means you can always capture that Kodak moment (which ironically, isn’t a good thing for Kodak). With the iPhone, however, by the time you’ve unlocked your phone, found the camera app, and waited an eternity for the app to open, you’ve often missed the photo op. Now you can access your camera from your iPhone’s lock screen. Simply double tap the home button, and then hit the camera icon next to the slider. Another upgrade to the iPhone camera lets you use the volume+ button to take a photo, so you don’t have to hit the button on the screen, and risk shaking the picture in the process.

For a complete list of all of the iOS changes go to apple.com/ios/features.html.

A closer Look at My Favorite iOS 5 Features
January-February 2012
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