iOS 9: An unordered list of my favorite big and small features so far

iOS 9 has some pretty great new features and tweaks all over the place. Here are some of my favorites so far.

iPad: Swap out your main app in Split View

When using Split Views on iPad in landscape, you can set them so that your app on the right stays constant, but you can switch out the main app on the left. Naturally, all apps involved must be properly updated for iOS 9, such as Safari, Slack, Twitter, and Instapaper:

  1. Swipe from the right to get a Slide Over, a right column, with a second app
  2. (optional) Pull down from the top in the Slide Over and pick the app you want to use there
  3. Tap the dividing bar between the apps to switch from a Slide Over to a Split View, which lets you see both apps
  4. Trigger the iOS app switcher and pick a new app

Notice how the new app takes the place of your left app, but your right column app stays in place. This is going to be useful in all sorts of ways, from keeping Twitter open while bouncing between Safari and a writing app, to price shopping travel arrangements.

An unordered list of a bunch more

  • iPad folders now show 16 apps on each page (previously: 9). It’s a good thing.
  • You can search Settings (just pull down a little, like in Mail).
  • On your lock screen, double-click the Home button to display Apple Pay Wallet cards and all passes.
  • Spotlight can search inside third-party apps now (if the app updates to support it), and you can customize the order of those results alongside stuff from Apple’s apps (or disable them entirely) in Settings > General > Spotlight.
  • Find my Friends gained a Notification Center widget (it’s also an irremovable part of iOS, but I don’t know if that’s something to celebrate. Here’s hoping Cook wasn’t just pulling our legs).
  • iPad in landscape now displays two columns of widgets in Notification Center, allowing more space to quickly access important info and app actions.
  • There’s a new, dedicated Settings > Battery section to monitor usage and trigger the new battery saving mode.
  • Safari Reader View and iBooks have new options for customizing how content is displayed, including a new gray background and an expanded font selection.
  • Mail and Contacts will offer to update contacts with info it sniffs from messages, such as new phone numbers and email addresses you do not have saved for them.
  • If you want to sync Apple News between multiple devices, make sure sync is enabled in Settings > iCloud.
  • Speaking of Apple News: you can apparently add just about any site to it from the share sheet in Safari. Just visit the site, tap the share sheet, and check the bottom row for an “Add to Apple News” option.
  • Speaking of Safari: if you have a content blocker installed, you can reload any page with all content enabled by long-pressing the reload button.
  • The suggestion bar above the keyboard on iPad now has dedicated buttons for copy, paste, and other operations (to toggle this bar, swipe up and down near the top of the keyboard). Even better, it seems like these buttons are customizable. Apple’s Notes has different buttons for text style, creating checklists, and adding sketches, while Drafts has custom buttons for writing in Markdown.
  • You can enable a dedicated iCloud Drive app in Settings > iCloud. It might be useful if you use iCloud Drive a lot, but it’s a terribly weak app compared to the competition Apple seems to kinda want to take on, but isn’t really trying to take on. No, I don’t have a bone to pick with Eddie Cue and iCloud management, why do you ask.
  • If you report issues in Apple Maps, you can opt into allowing Apple to email you with follow-up questions in Settings > Maps.
  • You can now upload files from third-party apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Quip (my favorite replacement for Google Drive). Just make sure you have the app installed and you’re logged in. It’s just great.

[Thanks to Michele Campeotto for a tip to simplify switching from a Slide Over to a Split View]