The 11 best new features you can get on your iPhone right now

Apple just released its new software update for iPhones and iPads called iOS 9.

It brings a few small but useful new additions to the iPhone that are bound to save you some time and make your phone run more smoothly.

Installing software updates is really important — not only does it bring some new features to the iPhone, but it fixes bugs you may have experienced on your iPhone and ensures your device is as secure as possible.

Here’s a look at some of the best new features that are now available for the iPhone. It’s not a complete list, but it’s a compilation of the features we feel will be the most useful.

If you want to get a peek at every single feature, check out our lists here and here.

Siri suggestions

Lisa Eadicicco

One of the biggest new features to launch with iOS 9 is Siri suggestions.

This is where Siri offers up her own suggestions for places you might want to visit, apps you may want to use, and more.

It's handy if you want a quick way to access your frequently used apps. Siri Suggestions gets to know you better the more you use it, so it's bound to get more accurate over time. It's too soon to say if it's as helpful as Google Now, but it's a start.

Public transit directions in Apple Maps

Lisa Eadicicco

Apple Maps is finally getting a much needed addition -- public transit directions.

Apple is playing catch up in that sense -- other transit apps like Google Maps have had this for years -- but what makes Apple's tech a little different is that it can also tell you precisely which exit to take when you're leaving the train or subway station.

If it works well, this could be a really useful feature in cities where large subway stations with multiple exits are common.

Better battery life

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iOS 9 comes with a new low power mode that supposedly extends your iPhone's battery life by three hours. Since most of us are basically glued to our phones throughout the day, any battery life improvement is always welcome.

It's too early to tell exactly how well this works, but early reviews of iOS 9 suggest it certainly does make your iPhone's battery last longer.

Predicting which apps you want to use

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A lesser publicized feature debuting on the iPhone today is what Apple calls 'triggers.' This, similar to Siri Suggestions, is a predictive technology meant to make it easier to access the apps you use the most.

Triggers essentially allows your iPhone to anticipate which apps you want to use based on a particular action.

So, for instance, if you plug in your headphones during the same time block in the morning every day, your iPhone may start to assume that you want to listen to music and will launch Apple Music or Spotify automatically.

Unknown caller suggestions

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Another small but useful feature launching with iOS 9 is the ability to suggest callers you don't have in your contacts.

This won't work if a complete stranger is calling you, but if it's someone that you've emailed with, it will pull up that person's name.

For instance, if someone has a specific phone number tied to their email address, and that person calls you, his or her name will appear on the caller ID even if you don't have that person in your contacts.

Siri can search for photos based on location and time

Siri is a lot smarter with iOS 9, and that goes beyond its new capabilities to suggest apps you may want to use, people you may want to contact, and places you may want to go.

You can now also use Siri to search for photos based on time or location.

So, if you say something like, 'Show me photos from my vacation in Jamaica from 2013,' it should pull up those photos on command. It will save you the time of digging through your photo library.

The new search bar in the Settings menu

Lisa Eadicicco

Say goodbye to digging through your iPhone's settings menu to find what you need.

There's a new search bar that makes it quick and easy to jump to certain commands in the settings menu.

If you don't know where to set up something like Family Sharing, for instance, you can just type 'Family Sharing' in the search box rather than noodling through all of the submenus.

A better Notes app that lets you add checklists, photos, and sketching

Lisa Eadicicco

Apple's Notes app is already useful for jotting down quick thoughts, but it's lagged behind third-party apps like Evernote that let you store voice memos, drop photos into your notes, and more.

Now, Apple has added a handful of new features to Notes that make it a more worthy competitor to Evernote. For instance, you can add photos from your camera roll to a note, draw sketches in notes, and add links to pages in Safari.

Plus, there are new formatting options that make it easier to organise your notes in bulleted lists.

A more powerful search

Lisa Eadicicco

The new search tool makes it easier to find information at a glance. The search bar doesn't just find things on your phone anymore or perform a search on Bing -- it will actually pull up information right away.

So, if you type in your favourite football team, it will pull up the score from a recent game. You can also call or message contacts directly from search.

And, one of the coolest new search features is the ability to search within apps. For instance, if you want to find that recipe you saw the other day but can't remember which app you saw it in, you could type it in the search bar to find it. This only works with certain apps, however.

You can send more than 5 photos at a time via email

Lisa Eadicicco

This is another small but useful feature that can help you get things done faster. You're no longer limited to sending just five photos at a time via email in Apple's Mail app.

So, if you want to share a larger set of photos, you won't need to break them up into multiple emails anymore.

New shift key makes it easier to tell if caps lock is on

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It's a subtle yet common problem among iPhone owners -- it's hard to tell whether or not you've pressed the shift key or not. In iOS 8, when you tap the shift key, the key itself just turns a different colour.

In iOS 9, however, the whole keyboard will change to show capital letters so that you know you're typing in caps.

BONUS: iPad multitasking

Lisa Eadicicco

It's not an iPhone feature, but it's still useful if you own an iPad Air 2. If you have the Air 2, you'll be able to view more than one app side-by-side in a split screen mode.

So, if you want to take notes while reading your email or browse Facebook while finishing your current email, you'll be able to do that without having to return to the home screen to switch between apps.

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