The complete guide to iOS 5

Everything you need to know about iOS 5 in one post. Bookmark this page for future reference, and check back for updates as we further explore everything iOS 5 has to offer.

Sharon Profis Vice President of Content, CNET Studios
As the Vice President of CNET Studios, Sharon leads the video, social, editorial design, and branded content teams. Before this role, Sharon led content development and launched new verticals for CNET, including Wellness, Money, and How To. A tech expert herself, she's reviewed and covered countless products, hosted hundreds of videos, and appeared on shows like Good Morning America, CBS Mornings, and the Today Show. An industry expert, Sharon is a recurring Best of Beauty Awards judge for Allure. Sharon is an avid chef and hosts the cooking segment 'Farm to Fork' on PBS nationwide. She's developed and published hundreds of recipes.
  • Webby Award ("How To, Explainer, and DIY Video"); Folio Changemaker Award, 2020
Sharon Profis
4 min read
iOS 5
Apple Inc.

Anyone who carries his or her life on an iDevice will run to iOS 5, Apple's new mobile operating system (compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, and the third and fourth generation of the iPod Touch) that makes day-to-day tasks easier to complete on the go.

We're excited about it, too, so we dug our hands into iOS 5 and created dozens of tutorials to help you master the new apps (like iMessage and Reminders), customize the interface, control your privacy, and uncover some hidden features.

Bookmark this page for future reference, and check back for updates as we further explore everything iOS 5 has to offer.

App tutorials

    Curious how iMessage works? Want to know the ins and outs of the new messaging platform from Apple? Read our getting-started guide to find out.

    iOS 5 is full of new features, one of which is a Reminders app designed to help you stay better organized. Read on to find out more about the new Reminders app in iOS 5.

    Safari's Reader and Reading List
    Safari in iOS 5 includes an impressive new Reader tool, Twitter integration, and privacy options. Sharon Vaknin shows you how to use these new features.

    Apple's native Mail app gets a few useful upgrades. You can now flag mail items, format text, and more. Find out how with this quick guide.

    Newsstand might not be much more than a filter for the App Store and a permanent folder that groups magazine and newspaper apps, but it's still a welcome addition, particularly for the iPad.

    Notification Center
    Apple has redone the iOS' notification method, making alerts less of a hassle to deal with. Find out how to make the most of this new feature. Read the complete walk-through of Notification Center here.

    Twitter integration
    As the iOS 5 beta builds have progressed, new features and options have been implemented. With the most recent round of updates, a new option to control which apps have access to your Twitter account has been added.

    Maps' Alternate Routes for better directions
    Maps has been updated in iOS 5, and now lets you pick from multiple routes for driving and walking directions.

    Find My iPhone
    Remember last week when you thought you'd lost your iPhone? Wouldn't it have been easier if you could have made it play a sound while you tried to locate it? Well, you could have. Find My iPhone is your answer.

Customize app settings

    Set custom alert tones
    With iOS 5, you can customize more than just your ringtone and text tone.

    Turn off the weather and stock widgets
    Apple recently introduced a new Notification Center on iOS 5, fully equipped with weather and stock widgets. For some, these widgets may be nothing more than clutter. This simple guide will show you how to turn off one or both of the widgets.

    Set custom vibration alerts
    iOS 5 allows users to set custom vibration alerts for contacts in their address book. This video guide will show you how easy it is to create and set custom vibration alerts on your iPhone running iOS 5.

    Don't use Newsstand? Hide the app icon
    One of the annoyances of iOS 5 for some users is the fact that the Newsstand icon cannot be placed into a folder and banished to the last page of apps. As it turns out, there is a trick to placing it in a folder.

    Change the font in the Notes app
    iPhone 101: Changing the font for the iOS Notes app is fairly simple, yet something people can easily overlook if they don't realize the setting is there.

    How to use the iPad's split keyboard
    iOS 5 brings a new split keyboard to iPad users, allowing for easier typing on the touch-screen device. We demonstrate how to use it in a video.

Sync your iPhone

    Transfer your MobileMe account to iCloud
    iOS 5 and iCloud have now officially launched, giving MobileMe users the option to transfer their accounts over to iCloud. We walk you through the process and provide some tips along the way.

    How does iCloud work?
    iCloud provides users with 5GB of free storage, but for some this simply isn't enough. Watch this short video to see how to manage what data is stored in the cloud.

    Go wireless with Wi-Fi syncing
    With iOS 5, a USB connection is no longer needed to sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Find out how to set up Wi-Fi Sync in iTunes and the two ways you can sync via Wi-Fi.

Guard your privacy

Hidden features

    Customize AutoText shortcuts
    Shortcuts allows you to set AutoText shortcuts for common words and phrases. Follow along as we show you exactly what it is and how to add your own shortcuts!

    Create photo albums
    Separating photos into albums is a great way to organize your favorite, or perhaps least favorite, pictures. iOS 5 now allows you to create, organize, and edit albums right on your device! Watch our video showing you how it all works.

    Quickly edit photos
    Follow along as we show you how to quickly edit photos using your iPhone's built-in editing tools.

    View the hourly weather forecast
    iOS 5 adds the capability to view the hourly weather forecast to the native Weather app; this video shows you where to find it.

    Mirror iPad 2 on your TV with iOS 5, AirPlay
    Apple is bringing iPad 2 mirroring with iOS 5 via Apple TV and AirPlay; we took the liberty of making a video of how to use it!