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The Most Important iOS 9 Features That You Didn't Know

Apple put the major new features of iOS 9 front and center in its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote yesterday (June 8), as the company previewed the next major update to its mobile operating system. But at its heart, WWDC is still a developers conference with many of the changes in future versions of iOS aimed squarely at people building apps.

But just because a forthcoming iOS 9 feature is largely of interest to developers right now, that doesn't mean it won't impact you down the road. Here are a handful of iOS 9-related announcements that may have flown under the radar but could have a big effect on the ways you use your mobile device later this year and beyond.


Apple will expand its developer tools for controlling connected home devices via your iPhone or iPad  to include more smart gadgets. Among those mentioned by Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi were smart window shades, carbon monoxide detectors and motion sensor support.

HomeKit in iOS 9 would also let you control devices remotely via iCloud, which would seem to remove the requirement of an Apple TV to act as a HomeKit hub for when you want to control devices from outside of your home. We're clarifying this with Apple.


HealthKit expands the number of health metrics tracked in iOS 9. New categories include hydration, UV exposure, and menstrual cycles -- the latter of which will be welcome news to women with iPhones who can use that data to detect health issues.

MORE: What's New in iOS 9


iOS 9's connected car tools will add support for automakers' apps, which will let you control parts of the car from your phone such as the air conditioning. More significantly, Federighi said that CarPlay will add wireless support, meaning you'll be able to get into a car and take advantage of CarPlay without ever having to hook up your phone to an in-car infotainment system or even remove your phone from your pocket. However, Federighi said such a feature would be available in "future cars" meaning auto makers would have to introduce new models capable of such wireless support.

ApplePay and Square

Jennifer Bailey, Apple's vice president of Apple Pay, spent a fair of amount of time outlining expansion plans for Apple's mobile payment system as well as new features slated for iOS 9, such as support for store credit and loyalty cards. Amid that talk, it may have been easy to overlook plans to expand its service with Square, the mobile payments service. Square says it will come out with a pocket-sized contactless chip reader later this fall that will support Apple Pay. The reader will ship with a Square magstripe reader to serve retail customers who still use good old-fashioned plastic to conduct their transactions.

Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.