Innovation

5 hidden iOS 9 features that will save you time and space

Cory Bohon shows often overlooked and hidden features of iOS 9 on the iPhone that will help you save some time and space.

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

The iPhone regularly gets software updates to add new features and change settings; however, many of these features go overlooked by users. Because of this, there are a lot of hidden features or features that are not so well known. In this article, we'll introduce you to five of these features that can make your iPhone workflow much easier, and even free up your device when it's sluggish. All of the tips in this article work with the latest versions of iOS 9, so continue reading to learn more.

Free up RAM

We've all been there: After using a bunch of apps, or perhaps leaving a lot of background downloads on, your device gets sluggish. And, sure, restarting the device will often fix this, but there's another way that doesn't involve interrupting your current workflow.

iOS devices running iOS 9 have the ability to free up memory by simply performing these steps:

  1. Navigate to the device Home Screen
  2. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on the device
  3. When the Power Off screen appears, release the Sleep/Wake button and press the Home button (Figure A)
  4. After a few seconds, the device will show the Home Screen again.

Figure A

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

By doing these steps, you can often speed up a sluggish device by removing all the caches from memory and freeing up resources.

Remove downloaded software updates

Whenever a new version of iOS is available, Apple automatically downloads it to your device in order to make the update faster from the point you click the Install button. Until you install, this download will take up space and keep nagging you to install. Fortunately, you can delete the update from your device, saving space and keeping iOS from prompting you to install the latest update.

To remove the update, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings | General | Storage & iCloud Usage
  2. Manage Storage under the "Storage" heading (Figure B)
  3. When an update has been stored on the device an item will appear called "iOS [Version Number]" tap it.
  4. In the view that appears, tap the "Delete Update" button, and then confirm by tapping "Delete Update" in the prompt again

Figure B

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

This will remove the update from your device, clearing the space that was taken up by those update files. Note that when you go to update your device, the files will need to be re-downloaded again, taking up valuable time.

Reset the store apps

Sometimes the App Store, iTunes Music Store, or iBook Store can get hung in a state that wasn't intended, or perhaps display incorrect information or images. In those cases, you can easily reset the App Store cache and reload the store pages.

To do this, open the store, then tap once and continue to tap on the first "Featured" tab in the tab bar of the store. You will notice the screen flash white after about 10 consecutive taps, and the store page will reload. When this flash occurs, the store has been reset and the cache emptied, possibly fixing any issues you were experiencing with the App Store.

Text-based Emoji Keyboard

The Emoji keyboard has long been enjoyed by iOS users and has become so popular that it is enabled by the majority of users as soon as they unbox their iOS devices. But, did you know there's another emoji keyboard that is completely text-based? It's true, and it is even more hidden than the standard Emoji keyboard.

To enable this keyboard:

  1. Open Settings | General | Keyboard | Keyboards
  2. Select "Add New Keyboard..."
  3. Select Japanese | Romaji

Whenever you want to enter a text-based emoji:

  1. Open iMessage, Notes, or any other app with text entry
  2. Select the Keyboard button and the Japanese keyboard
  3. Select the Number button for the number keys
  4. Select the face button that appears (Figure C)
  5. Select the up arrow on the small strip that appears above the keyboard (Figure D)
  6. Tap on a text-based emoji from the list that appears to enter it just like the standard emoji keyboard

Figure C

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

Figure D

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

Redial Last Used Phone Number

The iPhone is a great phone, but if you receive and make a lot of calls to the same number, then it may be a pain to redial a number that isn't in your contacts list. Fortunately, this hidden shortcut makes it easy to redial a number from your recent calls list without having to poke around in the Phone app.

Figure E

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic


To do this, open the Phone app, tap on the Dial tab, and then tap on the green Call button. After doing this, the last dialed number will appear in the dialer area and tapping the green Call button again will Initiate a call to the number.

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About Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...

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