Along with the new smaller iPad Pro, smaller iPhone and new Apple Watch goodies – Apple has just released a slew of software updates for iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS. In this post we’ll focus on iOS 9.3, separate posts will be released containing information about the other updates.
After a few months in beta testing, Apple have now released the final version of iOS 9.3 for the public. Usually when Apple releases a beta update for iOS there isn’t many new features, usually minor enhancements and bug fixes but with iOS 9.3 Apple added loads of new features that no one was expecting and so many in fact that a mini website was created to highlight what was coming.
Night Shift Mode
Now this feature may have a weird name, but it is actually very interesting and has some health benefits. Enabling Night Shift reduces the amount of blue light that is emitted by your iPhone or iPad, thus allowing your eyes to relax easier in the evening which makes falling asleep easier. It can be enabled by going to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift. The real genius behind this is the way it can be enabled.
Night Shift can be enabled in three different ways, either manually which lets you choose when to switch it on and off. Or based on when the sun sets in your area, automatically making the screen a warmer colour and reducing the blue light. The third way is a predefined schedule based on timing rather than location.
A lot of research has been done lately into the effect of screens being used in the evening and reducing the amount of blue light helps users eyes relax easier and makes falling asleep better.
- When enabled, Night Shift uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location, then it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum and may even help you get a better night’s sleep.
Password protected Notes
Apple have also added a much requested feature as of late, the ability to password protect your Notes on iOS and also on OS X. Before iOS 9 the stock Notes app didn’t have that many features and people just used it to store passwords mainly, which isn’t secure. iOS 9 added the ability to store photos, sketch, use 3D Touch and make lists. As people still use Notes to store password, users can now secure various Notes with Touch ID and a password.
Notes can also be organised by date, time and also alphabetically.
- Protect notes that contain your most personal data with Touch ID or a passcode
- Sort notes alphabetically, by date created, or by date edited
- When sketching, quickly bring up a fresh canvas with a two finger swipe, or by tapping the New Sketch button
- A new checklist button at the bottom of every note makes it easier to create lists
- Show thumbnails instead of large images and attachments by long-pressing on any image or attachment in a note
- Choose whether photos and videos taken within Notes are stored only in Notes, or also added to Photos
- Long-press on an Evernote Export file to import its contents into Notes
Apple’s mission to provide the best in car system is still going strong and as CarPlay is based on iOS some new features have been added with iOS 9.3. Apple Maps now has the ability to find nearby places of interest, similar to the dashboard on iOS, which lets you find petrol stations, parking, cafes or shops near to your location. Apple Music has also had some improvements, now letting you view the ‘New’ feed and the ‘For You’ sections.
- Apple Music members now have access to their For You and New content in CarPlay
- New Nearby screen in Maps to quickly find Gas, Parking, Restaurants, Coffee, and other driving essentials
- Siri speaks more concisely when reading back and composing messages in CarPlay
- Equalized sound levels between different audio sources in CarPlay
Availability and compatibility
iOS 9.3 is available now for all the devices which run iOS 9. Personally I would hold off downloading it as the servers are being strained right now and it is taking a while. You can download it by going to Settings > General > Software Update.