10 essential iPhone 6S features

Lynn Wright / 09 October 2015

Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus might seem a minor upgrade on the surface, but delve deeper and you’ll find a range of innovative new features in Apple’s latest smartphone.

Apple’s iPhone releases are like clockwork. Every other year, it releases a new model such as the iPhone 6. In the intervening years, it releases a refined model with its ‘s’ suffix. 

Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus may look virtually identical to the iPhone 6 but beneath the iconic exterior, the latest model is packed with new features.

1.) 3D Touch

The iPhone 6s adds a pressure-sensitive screen technology called 3D Touch. It detects how firmly you press on the phone’s screen, and then responds in different ways according to the level of pressure.

3D Touch introduces two new ways of using a touchscreen, which Apple calls ‘Peek’ and ‘Pop’. Peek is a light press that lets you preview content. For example, press lightly on a weblink in an email to preview the webpage. Press harder to pop open the content in the app – in this example, the webpage will open in Safari.

3D Touch also turns the iPhone’s keyboard into a trackpad, making it easier to navigate and select text. You can also press on an app on the homescreen to pull up a list of quick commands. For example, press the Clock app icon to quickly set an alarm.

2.) 12MP camera

The iPhone 6s camera has been upgraded in resolution to 12-megapixel – four megapixels higher than the iPhone 6. 

It’s powered by a new sensor resulting in sharper, detailed photos. It also takes 4K video ­– up to four times the resolution of 1080p HD video.

Selfie fans will be delighted with the new 5-megapixel front-facing camera – upgraded from the iPhone 6’s measly 1.2-megapixels – and true-tone flash which helps avoid washed-out self-portraits.

3.) Live Photos

Live Photos works a bit like the moving photos from the Harry Potter films. When you take a photo, the iPhone 6s captures a second and a half of video right before and after you take the shot. When you view the photos on the phone, a firm press brings them to life.

4.) Faster apps

The new iPhone has a faster A9 64-bit processor and twice as much RAM – 2GB – as the iPhone 6, so you can zip through any task with ease. 

Apps launch quicker and you can open more pages in Safari.

5.) Touch ID security

Apple’s security sensor, baked into the home button, has been given the once over. It’s now twice as quick at detecting your fingerprint, providing speedy access to the iPhone.

6.) Keep images stable

Banish blurred photos and shaky video with new optical image stablisation –available as a software version on the iPhone 6s, and a much better hardware version on the iPhone 6s Plus. 

Switch it on in camera mode, and it will intelligently reduce camera shake and wobble, resulting in crisp photos and smooth video.

7.) Wi-fi offloading

The iPhone 6s is smarter when handling the switch between wi-fi networks and mobile broadband such as 4G. Older iPhones cling onto a weak wi-fi signal, resulting in slow loading webpages. The iPhone 6s, however, will quickly drop a bad wi-fi signal and switch to 3G or 4G to deliver better web speeds.

8.) iOS 9 – a new operating system

While not limited to the iPhone 6s, Apple’s new mobile operating system flies on the latest iPhone. Siri – Apple’s virtual assistant – understands spoken questions with context, while iOS 9 includes better security including longer passcodes, and maps now feature local public transport information.

9.) Hey Siri

Apple’s virtual assistant is always listening on the iPhone 6s. Unlike older iPhones, you can speak to an unplugged iPhone 6s and say ‘Hey Siri’ before asking a question such ‘what’s the weather forecast’ and Siri will speak the answer – all without you having to touch the phone.

10.) Low power mode

Struggling to find a power socket to charge up your iPhone 6s? Switch to the new low power mode under Settings > Battery. It switches off energy-guzzling features such as animated backgrounds and the ‘Hey Siri’ function. You can also see what apps are using the most power from the Battery screen.

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