Apple’s latest iOS 9 software update includes thoughtful features, functional and performance boosting enhancements to make iOS devices faster, intuitive and simple to use.
Apple wants its devices to interact and connect with your day to day life, instead of merely being another phone or a tablet in your possession. Hence, the biggest feature of iOS 9 is called ‘Proactive’, designed to integrate Apple devices with your lifestyle.
The current iOS 9 update empowers Apple devices with increased ability to learn from user habits, make intelligent and proactive suggestions based on your day to day life and behavior patterns.
Proactive suggestions work system wide in iOS 9, offering you the most appropriate apps, relevant information and suggestions, just when you are thinking of looking for them.
Waking up: Let us say that you are in the habit of checking the weather report as soon as the alarm wakes you up and switching on your favorite song. You might soon find your iPhone opening the weather app as soon as the alarm goes off, and playing your favorite music the moment you plug in your headphones into iPhone.
Travelling to Work: As you are heading to place of work, you can expect your iOS 9 powered iPhone to open a map, provide traffic info and tell you the time you are likely to reach your office.
In the Office: At work, if you receive a call from an unknown number, iOS 9 tries to identify the caller by searching through your emails to see if the person who’s calling might have emailed you in the past.
During work: iOS 9 boosts your productivity and helps you get things done faster by suggesting people that you typically include whenever you are composing an email, sending an iMessage or an invite.
Suppose at 10:30 AM you get an email with a flight reservation and another email at 10:32 AM with a confirmation of booking at your favorite restaurant. iOS 9 can immediately create a calendar event & set reminders for your lunch with a colleague at 11:45 AM and another one to catch your flight at 7:05 AM Tuesday next week.
Back from lunch: Proactive feature in iOS 9 will alert you about your upcoming meeting at 2:30 PM, and notify you about when to leave from office and the best way to get to the place of meeting, based on current traffic conditions.
Getting Back Home: While heading back home from work don’t be surprised if your iPhone connects to the car via Bluetooth and starts playing your favorite music.
Smarter Siri in iOS 9
After updating to iOS 9, you can direct Siri to complete specific tasks like showing you the photographs from your vacation back in July last year, play hit songs from 1992 or play the Rocky 1 theme song.
In case you are not impressed yet, try asking Siri to remind you to read ‘this’ (you are referring to an article) before going to bed, while you are in the process of quickly browsing a website on Safari.
Siri perfectly understands what you mean by ‘this‘ and it exactly knows the article and the website you are referring to. This way you can quickly create your reading list for the day, week or month and also get reminded by Siri to complete your reading list.
Swiping left from the home screen brings up a new screen dedicated to “Siri Suggestions”. This new screen brings up your favorite apps, contacts and news customized to suit your reading interest.
Just to make this clear, the new screen housing Siri Suggestions is contextually aware; it offers different content at different times of the day, based on your habits. You may find nearby restaurant information right around your lunch time, gas station locations when you get into the car and Netflix app itching to be launched, just when you feel like watching a movie at night.
iOS 9 Update Size Optimizations
In case you haven’t updated to iOS 9 yet, Apple has drastically reduced the size of its latest update. Apple’s latest software update is size optimized to take up only about 1.3GB of space on your iPhone, compared to 4.58GB taken by the iOS 8 update.
In case you are still struggling, Apple’s new auto app delete/reinstall feature can help you. Just try installing iOS 9; you will get a pop-up offering to temporarily delete some apps on your phone, in order to make room for the update. Deleted Apps will be reinstalled and replaced after the operating system update is completed.
The new “News” app in iOS 9 is designed to learn from your interests and deliver relevant content that you are most likely to read.
The interface is more or less like a pretty and enhanced version of Flipboard, with articles pulled from a variety of sources including New York Times and other content providers, neatly displayed in a mobile optimized format.
Setting up the News app is simple, it asks you to choose topics and sources you’re interested in when you open it the first time.
Based on your input, the app is able to learn more about your preferences and suggest reading material that you are likely to find interesting and read on.
iOS 9 brings outstanding improvement to the Notes app, which can be best described by a practical illustration.
Imagine that you are planning your upcoming trip to Manila. You are most likely to start by typing the hotel address, note down some shops/places to eat nearby, and save your dull looking note to your phone.
With iOS 9, you will be able make your boring note come to life by adding relevant pictures, maps of your hotel location with nearby shops on it, incorporating live web links, using colors, formatting text, and using a selection of drawing tools to sketch out your travel plans.
Coming to Maps, Apple Maps are now getting comparable to Google Maps, featuring bus, rail and metro public transport information and directions.
However, at this point of time mass transit directions are only available for limited places like New York, Toronto, London, Beijing, Berlin, Chicago and a few other places.
Maps in iOS 9 also have the “Nearby” feature, displaying restaurants and shops that are near to your location. Whenever you search in Maps, you’ll see a list of categories like Food, Drinks, Shopping, and Fun, each of which will display places located around your current location.
iOS 9 Multi Tasking Features
iOS 9 includes features like Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture designed to help you in multi-tasking.
To illustrate these features, imagine being busy with an app on your iPad. Once you are well set with whatever you were doing on iPad, you may feel like activating the Slide over feature by swiping left from right side of the iPad.
You will immediately see a side pane occupying 1/3 of the screen space, allowing you to choose a new app from the side pane by swiping downwards from top of the screen within the 1/3 pane.
Next, you can split the screen in two halves using the Split View feature to display two apps side-by-side. Each app will be taking up half of the screen and work independently of each other, allowing you interact with both apps at the same time.
Now get ready to make a FaceTime Video call or just start watching a video on your iPad. Tapping on the home button will shrink the video and send it to a corner of your iPad’s display, allowing you to use other apps while the video is still playing in the corner.
You can flick the video around to other corners of the screen and it will not go away, unless you want it gone.
Picture in Picture and Slide Over features are available for iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3. Split View is only available for iPad Air 2, which has the processing power to handle two apps at once.
Improvements to Battery Life
According to Apple, it has made refinements across the entire operating system, apps and key technologies to trim battery usage wherever possible. For example, after iOS 9 update your iPhone knows that it is laying face down on a table and won’t light up the screen even when a notification is received.
With update to iOS 9, you should experience an overall improvement in battery life by 1 hour, during general use and a further extension of battery life of up to 3 hours, when the new Low Power Mode in iOS 9 is activated.
iOS 9 makes it really easy to scroll through photos and select them. Once you open a photo you will see other photos scrolling at the bottom, ready to zoom back and forth between all your pictures.
Selecting a bunch of consecutive photos is super easy. No need to tap on each one of them, just select one photo and swipe over to the rest of the photos you want to select.
iOS 9 has made a very thoughtful tweak to the Photos app, allowing it to differentiate selfies from regular photos and screen shots.
Photos taken with the front-facing camera get automatically placed in a “Selfies” folder, while screenshots taken by pressing the Home and power button get placed in another dedicated folder.
Shop with a Locked Screen
In iOS 9, you will be able to use Apple Pay and launch the Wallet app directly from the Home screen, even when the screen in locked.
This makes it really easy to make everyday purchases using Wallet or Apple Pay wherever it is accepted.
iCloud Drive App
The iCloud Drive app allows you to access any file saved to your iCloud account right from your Home screen. You’ll be able to browse all your files on iCloud by date, name, category or tag attached to the photo.
You can also preview and organize your files without leaving the app.
The onscreen keyboard in iOS 9 can quickly double up as a track pad. You can turn the keyboard into a track pad any time by placing two fingers anywhere inside the keyboard. The keys will turn dark grey, losing all numbers and letters to serve as a dedicated track pad.
While you are using the keyboard, it offers valuable shortcuts to commands such as copy, paste, undo, text formatting and more.
iOS 9 Security Features
iOS 9 prompts users to create a 6-digit pass code instead of the regular 4-digit password that you have been using.
While it is still possible to use a 4-digit password, Switching to 6 digit password is recommended to make it difficult for anyone to get unauthorized access to your Apple ID account.
According to Apple, a 6 digit password offers a million combinations, making it harder to crack, compared to a 4 digit password with 10,000 combinations. For further security, iOS 9 features built-in support for Two-factor authentication.
Ready to Switch
With such impressive iOS 9 features, Apple is teasing Android smartphone users to switch to iPhone. Apple’s new “Move to iOS app” transfers everything from contacts and email accounts, to music and photos, it even tells you to dump your old Android phone at an Apple Store for free recycling.
Here is how Apple describes Android Migration:
Just download the Move to iOS app to wirelessly switch from your Android device to your new iOS device. It securely transfers your contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books. And it will help you rebuild your app library, too. Any free apps you used — like Facebook and Twitter — are suggested for download from the App Store. And your paid apps are added to your iTunes Wish List.