Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Little-known Usage Tips for iOS 9

With iOS 9 being released publicly next week, the Developers have been testing it all summer.  A lot of new features have been talked about on the blogs, but there are a couple that everyone seems to have missed, and I came upon either by accident, or by reporting it as a bug (and having Apple support say no, it's not a bug, here's how you do it).  So let's share!
  1. Searching Contacts for names not yet in your contact list
    • When you launch your Contacts app, you can search at the top of the screen by any data in the Contact card - name, title, company, e-mail, address, etc.  However, now, searches go through your messages and e-mails as well.
    • When you tap on the contact that you found, you can add it to your Contacts, or merge with an existing Contact.
  2. WiFi Calling - as I posted earlier, Apple has deployed iOS-wide (carrier-independent) WiFi Calling support.  This means, when you have a cell signal that is too weak for a good connection, but have a WiFi connection, the phone (and cellular system) will automatically route the call over WiFi, and back when the cell signal becomes good enough.
    • In my initial testing with AT&T, I did have an issue where incoming calls with this feature turned on, would not allow callers to hear me.  I called AT&T support (611), and they did a refresh of the device on the cellular network, that fixed the issue.
  3. Flight and Tracking recognition - you know how when you get text, say in a Test Message or in an E-mail, how some text gets underlined and you can click on it to see more info?  For example, an address is texted or e-mailed to you, and it shows up as a hyperlink.  Now, iOS recognizes flights and package tracking numbers.  You can simply tap the text to see the package or flight tracking right from the source.
  4. Adding Reminders - to an E-Mail.  When you are reading an e-mail, you can tap the Flag button at the bottom and pick Notify Me... - but this will alert you when there are replies to the thread.  What if you want to come back to the e-mail at a later time, and be reminded to do so?  While reading the e-mail, hold down the home button, and tell Siri "Remind me about this" and give it a location or time, and it will add a reminder that links back to the message.  Now, I asked they add a menu pick, because who wants to talk to Siri while in a meeting?  But perhaps you shouldn't be checking your e-mails while in a meeting... 
  5. Decline incoming call from Lock screen.  Although it is not obvious at all, when you receive an incoming call while your phone is locked, it seems the only thing you can do is answer it.  You may have noticed that tapping a volume button silences the ring.  Apparently, if you double-tap the power button, it will decline the call.  This is good to know, and hopefully Apple makes this more intuitive.

Earlier, I reported that iOS 9 had several important improvements, and these are a few more that make it really useful.

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