The 7 Best Secret Features of iOS 5

Just installed the new iOS 5 on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch? There's a lot of great features to check out and play around with. After messing around with it on my iPhone 4 for a few minutes, these seven additions caught my attention. Check them out below—and tell us what your favorite new features are in the comments below.

1.  Have Your iPhone Read to You

It may not be as cutting edge as Siri, but no matter what iOS 5 device you have, you can make use of the new text-to-speech capabilities, meaning you can have it speak any text you select. So, you can have your iPhone read a paragraph from a book, a text message, or an email.

Settings > General > Accessibility > Speak Selection > On

You can also change the speaking rate, which is how fast or slow your iPhone's voice talks to you. Test it out on a selection of text from anywhere to see if the voice speed is to your liking.

2.  Swipe from the Camera to Your Pictures

No longer do you have to press that annoying little button in the corner of the Camera app to get to your Camera Roll. Now whenever you take a picture with your camera, just swipe to see your last photo. Keep swiping to view the rest. To get back to the camera app, swipe in the opposite direction.

3.  Reorder Your Notifications (+ Hide the Stocks Widget)

New to iOS is the Notification Center, which is very similar to Android's notification center. No matter what page you're on, to see the Notification Center just swipe down from the top of the screen. Don't like how it looks? Reorder it with the updated menu options.

Settings > Notifications > Edit

When in edit mode, you can drag and drop apps in any order you want, as well as take them out of the pull-down Notification Center altogether. That means you can get rid of that annoying Stock widget ticker located at the bottom of the pull-down list.

4.  Revert Back to Old-Style Popup Alerts

If you're not into the new banner notifications alerts, you can revert back to the old style of popup notifications for individual applications.

Settings > Notifications > Choose App < Choose Alert Style

5.  Receive Texts via Email (Not Just Your Phone Number)

Apple's new iMessage feature is great for eliminating the cost of SMS. The best thing—you can receive iMessages not just on your iPhone, but on your iPad and iPod touch, too. You just have to make sure iMessage is turned on (Apple ID required for syncing) and that you have your phone number (iPhone) and email addresses (iPad, iPod touch) linked to iMessage. This way you'll never miss the conversation!

Settings > Messages > Turn ON Send As SMS / Receive At

6.  Turn on LED Flash Alerts

Tired of hearing beeps and feeling vibrations whenever you get a text? Maybe you'd prefer a flash. You can now enable the LED flash in the Alerts menu, which will give you a great big bright flash whenever your phone is on silent and is placed face-down on your desk.

7.  Set Custom Vibrations for Contacts

Now you can enable custom vibrations on your iPhone or other Apple device, which means you can assign a unique vibration pattern to individuals in your contacts. First, you need to enable it.

Settings > General > Accessibility > Enable Custom Vibrations

Then customize by going to your contacts (for setting individual customizes alerts) or sound settings (for general settings).

Settings > Sounds > Vibration > Create New Vibration

These are some great improvements, and there's plenty more to discover!

Do you have questions, comments, or suggestions? Feel free to post a comment! 

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