Apple is all about making their operating systems and software easier to use and better over time, and that’s exactly what the new iOS 9 update is all about. It doesn’t add much flair, but it refines a lot of things and adds a few new exciting features. Let’s take a look at three new features in iOS 9 that, once learned, will change the way you use your iOS device forever.

Apple Pay double-click

Apple Pay has a new UI in iOS 9, and it also has a shortcut in order to access your cards and passes right from the home screen, without the need to open the newly rebranded Wallet app.

To do this, simply double-click the home button when your device is asleep. Almost immediately, the screen will wake up, and your Apple Pay cards and Wallet-based passes will be displayed (Figure A).

Figure A

Apple Pay cards can now be visible from the lock screen without being near a reader by double-clicking the home button.

Whenever you select a card in this view, you can use Touch ID to authenticate, then wait a few minutes (or even hand off your device to someone else) in order to make the payment. This is great when you’re at a drive-in window and can’t quite reach the payment reader.

Navigation back links

Have you ever tapped a link in an email that took you to Safari, but then you had to go all the way back into Mail using the app switcher? It can be a bit of a pain if you’re in a hurry. Fortunately, Apple has made this workflow much easier with the advent of back links in iOS 9.

Whenever you open an app and tap something that subsequently causes another app to open, the cellular signal and identification area will be replace with a back link labeled “< Back to [app name here],” as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

The back link takes the place of the connection status area of the status bar.

Tapping this back link will cause the app switcher to immediately return you to the app that sent you to the current app. So, if you were in Mail and sent to Safari, then tapping this back link in Safari will take you back to where you left off in Mail.

Pretty simple, yet this change is huge time-saver.

Searching Settings

How many times have you been looking through the Settings app to find a particular setting, only to get lost in the myriad of options without any instructions as to where you can find the setting that you need? Well, Apple hopes to have solved this issue in iOS 9.

You can now search for settings right from within the Settings app. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Settings app
  2. Swipe down to reveal the Search text field
  3. Enter a search term (such as “Safari”)

When you do this, all of the related settings will appear in the search results list, allowing you to tap the search result to immediately jump to that particular setting (Figure C).

Figure C

Tap the Cancel button to close out of the search results and go back to all of the settings.

What other shortcuts have you discovered in iOS 9? Let us know in the discussion thread below.