Last night it came as a surprise to hear that Apple had cancelled the watchOS2 update a mere few hours away from when it was due to be released ‘due to a bug.’ However the good news is that iOS 9 did release as planned. The update process was not the usual slug that it normally tends to be from Apple, there were issues trying to update OTA (over the air) when it released as the servers were crammed however users were reporting that directly plugging into iTunes downloaded the software straight away.
So now that you have had a chance to explore the new version of iOS, here are the top 9 new features to look out for, plus a little trick to gain one feature that is not currently available in Ireland at the moment.
1 – Low Power Mode.
Lets start things off with what could be one of the most important new features, especially if you are using a device such as the iPhone 5, 5s or iPhone 6: Low Power Mode.
The larger iPhones, the 6 Plus and 6 Plus S, are capable of getting through a normal day of usage without requiring battery packs and without the need for you to carry a charger around just in case. However if you are on a device such as the iPhone 5, we know that the battery simply does not cut it.
The battery on these phones can get you through a large portion of the day but more often than not they tend to fall short. Low power mode will disable things such as background app refresh, automatic downloads and fetch mail which will extend your battery life when you really need it.
When your battery is low a pop-up will provide access to the Low Power Mode which can also be enabled at any time in Settings > Battery.
2 – A New Notes App.
This is one that I am really excited about, a new notes app. Personally I am not a fan of Evernote or any third party note app to be honest but at the same time I have always wanted the Apple Notes app to do more.
Apple has completely overhauled the Notes app in iOS 9 and also in El Capitan which launches later this month. There is a ton of new functionality present, you can create checklists, you can embed links, maps and more in Notes using the iOS share sheet.
You can add photos, use a ruler for straight lines and you can even sketch using your finger in the Notes app. As mentioned, the new Notes app is also coming to El Capitan so with the benefit of iCloud, all your notes will be available at all times across all Apple devices.
3 – True Multitasking (iPad only).
For the past number of years we have heard the expression “true multitasking” and Apple’s lack of it to be specific. Well now iPad users will be treated to new multitasking tools and they look pretty impressive too.
Slide Over – This feature will allow you to open a second app without leaving the one you are in, that means while browsing the web you can quickly respond to a message, check Twitter or jot down a note and then slide the app away to return to what you were doing beforehand.
Split View – This feature will allow you to run two apps open and active side by side at the same time. So you can browse your favourite websites while having a Twitter feed open at the same time to see what people are talking about.
Picture In Picture – This will allow you to watch a video and then switch to another app, such as your email while keeping the video in the bottom corner of the screen.
4 – Quicktype.
Apple’s keyboard has been painful at times. The typing and responsiveness of the keyboard has always been fantastic however we all know about the pains of autocorrect. Updates have been made to the keyboard to improve accuracy, however as well as that the keyboard has been updated to reflect what case you are typing in.
So if the shift key is disabled then the keys appear lowercase and if the shift key becomes enabled then the keys appear higher case. Finally! A feature we have been crying out for some time now arrives! On iPad there has been some improvements to the keyboard with a new built in shortcut bar next to the suggested words, easy text selection and the ability to pair wireless keyboards.
5 – A Back Button.
Well, sort of.
This is not like the universal back button that Android phones have, however there is now a back button which appears top left when you jump from one app to another. So if you click a link in your email and it takes you to Safari, you will see a button in the top left which will allow you to return right back to where you left off in Mail, pretty neat!
6 – Improved Security.
Features that tend to get overlooked however are crucial none the less is security. iOS 9 beefs up security with the introduction of six digit passcodes. Now if you use Touch ID then this is not a change you may notice as much. However for those who do use passcodes it means that the possible number of combinations is now one million instead of 10,000.
You can continue to use 4 digit passcodes instead if you wish. As well as that, two-factor authentication is now built in which means there is significantly more protection for your photos, messages and documents which you keep on your phone.
7 – Transit Directions.
Sadly this feature is not available in Ireland at launch, however it is a significant one and is worth a mention. Hopefully we will see it arrive at some point in the future.
iOS 9 adds transit directions to the Maps app, however unlike any other mapping software Apple will tell you more than just which bus or train to get on. You will also get walking directions on how to get to that bus or train which will make finding it impossibly easy.
Transit view in Maps will show you train lines and stations, when you plan a route every single step from start to finish is outlined in the Map and the new Nearby feature will also let you see what is around you location wise.
8 – News.
iOS 9 adds News to your home screen and ditches the old News Stand app that many of us chucked into a folder and ignored anyway.
Articles are pulled from a wide range of websites and sources from top news outlets to blogs which you enjoy reading and then presented to you in a feed. Stories are then chosen based on what you like to read and the more times you use the News app the better it will get at picking out new stories for you.
The content is beautifully presented on whatever device you are using and publishers can craft fantastic editorial layouts using galleries, audio, video, interactive tools and custom typography. You can find more information on the News app at the following link.
Now, for some odd reason the News app is only available in the UK, US and Australia at launch. I don’t know why but that is just the way it is. However not to worry, you can actually get your hands on it pretty easily by doing the following on your device.
Settings > General > Language & Region > United States > Done
When you do this the region will switch, don’t worry nothing changes in your device, you won’t lose any data at all. The phone will reboot the home screen and the News app will appear when it was not present before.
It is a handy workaround to get the News app before it is officially made available in Ireland.
So we have saved the most significant feature update to last, Siri. In iOS 9 Siri has become proactive and is finally getting some of those tools which make Google Now so great. It is long overdue but the idea is that Siri will start doing things before you even ask it to.
For example, when I wake up in the morning I listen to some music on my iPhone before I start the day. Siri now prompts me to open the music app first thing in the morning by displaying the music app icon in the bottom right of the lock screen.
Or, when I leave my house to go to work Siri will now tell me how long it will take and if there are any traffic issues around, without having to ask anything. You can also ask Siri to do more things than ever before, one of my new favourites is creating a reminder. If you see something on a website or in a text message you want to be reminded about later you simply need to say, “Remind me about this later” and just like that it is done. No need for specifics of any kind, Siri understands what you want to be reminded about and creates it in the app.
Swiping to the left on the home screen will bring up a new search screen with more content than ever before. You will have access to contacts you talk the most with, suggested apps you have recently used, news based on location and what is trending at that location, and also nearby places.
Now it is interesting to note that nearby places seem to have vanished at present for many countries. It was present at the start of the beta programme however it seems to have disappeared for a lot of users and we are not sure why as it was working very well. However, that aside you can see all the things you can now do with Siri at the link below.
A solid improvement to the iOS system.
Last year iOS 8 came under intense fire as it was very unstable at the start and took some time for Apple to get it right. However, this year the new version of iOS that is being released feels a lot more polished than last year and will only grow over the coming year before iOS 10 is released next fall. However there are some fantastic additions to iOS to enjoy here so if you haven’t picked up the new update I would suggest grabbing it asap!