Apple iOS 5 arrives, ushering in multitude of mobile changes

iOS 5 promises users more than 200 new features and enhancements

Apple has released iOS 5, its hotly anticipated upgrade to the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

First previewed at June's Worldwide Developers Conference, iOS 5 arrives promising users more than 200 new features and enhancements. The update's most exciting features probably depend upon which iOS user you talk to, but long-time iPhone and iPad owners are likely looking forward to the significantly revamped notifications system that iOS 5 promises.

Under iOS 5, alerts no longer pop up the familiar, interruptive blue box; now, they float across the top of the screen as fleeting banners instead. And Notification Center--accessible with a single swipe straight down from the top of your iOS device--gathers all the alerts you receive so that you needn't fear missing one. The lock screen shows alerts since you last locked your device, too.

As for new features, iOS 5 introduces iMessage, an SMS/MMS alternative. Built into the existing Messages app, iMessage lets you send text, image, and video messages to other iOS device owners. Messages sent via iMessage won't count against your texting plan; as a result, iPad and iPod touch owners can get in on the messaging action.

A new app, Reminders, brings a built-in to-do list manager to iOS devices. Reminders triggers time- and location-based alerts to remind you of tasks you need to complete. iOS 5's Newsstand feature promises to assemble all your digital magazine and newspaper subscriptions in a single folder permanently installed on your home screen; apps that take advantage of Newsstand will be able to update themselves in the background, delivering new issues to your iPhone or iPad. iOS 5 also integrates the Twitter microblogging service throughout the system, making it easier to do things like post a picture you've shot with your iPhone's camera directly from the Camera app.

Existing apps see significant upgrades in iOS 5, too. The mobile version of Safari adopts the Reading List and Reader features found in the OS X version of the Web browser; iPad users will get to enjoy tabbed browsing as well. Assorted Mail improvements include rich-text editing and full-text search. The Camera app adds the ability to launch the camera from the lock screen, built-in photo editing features, and the option to use the Volume Up button as a shutter control. Even Game Center undergoes a modest face lift aimed at making it easier to find new friends and games and compare your scores to those of your buddies.

This version of iOS also has its head in the clouds. The update introduces a number of changes aimed at cutting the cord between your iOS device and your computer. You can now set up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch on the device itself without any intervention from a Mac or PC, while Wi-Fi syncing will let you connect to iTunes without a USB cable. Once iOS 5 is installed, you've even be able to wirelessly download future operating system updates. iOS 5 also adds support for iCloud, Apple's rebranded sync and backup service that also launches Wednesday.

Upgrading to iOS 5

The update requires iTunes 10.5, which Apple released on Tuesday.

iOS 5 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S; the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch; and any iPad. To install it, you'll just connect your iOS device to iTunes and - if not prompted to upgrade straight away - click on the Check For Updates button.

You'll find a complete guide to upgrading to iOS 5 elsewhere on Macworld.com. We'll also take a deeper look at many of the top changes to the operating system throughout the rest of this week.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileAppleiossoftwareapplicationstelecommunicationMobile OSes

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lex Friedman

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?