Updates, Updates, Updates! On September 16, Apple released their next major update iOS 9 for the iPhone and the iPad. I’ve compiled a list of major changes that Apple has included in iOS 9 (This is not a full list! Check out the full list on Apple’s website.).
- News App
With the recent update users will notice a new News app on their home screen. The News app provides current news from different content providers(like CNN, Fox News, etc.), as well as news based on a certain topic(like Video Games, Science, etc.). The app is personalized to the individual user, so everyone’s news feed is different. When you first start the app, it will ask you to select topics or content providers that you are interested in reading. From there it will provide news stories based on your interests, and will also suggest topics that it thinks will be interesting to you.
- Notes Improvements
The Notes app has undergone a full redesign and improvement. With the improved Notes app you can now organize your notes in folders, insert pictures into your notes, make checklists, and can even draw your notes. This is a huge improvement from the traditional notes app that only allowed you to type text into your notes.
- Low Power Mode
One of the most popular features, especially among older iPhone users, is the Lower Power Mode. Lower Power mode reduces the the amount of power the phone uses, thus making the charge last longer. However this does turn off some features in order to make the charge last longer. Features like automatic downloads, background app refresh, visual effects, and mail fetch are turned off or reduced. Low Power mode can extend your charge by as much as an hour. To access Low power Mode you need to open Settings and scroll down until you see the Battery category. Once turned on it will change the battery icon(in the upper right corner of your screen) to yellow, indicating that it is on.
- 6 Digit Passcode
Apple is trying to abolish the 4 digit passcode by implementing the 6 digit passcode. The 4 digit passcode has 10,000 different combinations (If you do the math, I have a 1/10,000 chance of guessing your passcode. 1/10^4 = 1/10,000) while the 6 digit passcode has 1,000,000 different combinations(10^6 = 1/1,000,000). The 6 digit passcode has 100 times more combinations that the four digit passcode, thus making it harder for intruders to crack. You can still set 4 digit passcodes, but beware that it’s not as secure as a 6 digit passcode.
Split Screen Multitasking (iPad Only)
This feature has been requested by iPad users for over a year. The ability to have two apps side-by-side on the same screen has finally been implemented! There are three different multitasking features: Slide Over, Split View(iPad Air 2 Only), and Picture in Picture. It’s important to note that Slide Over and Split View only support Apple’s apps.
- Slide Over
Slide over can be accessed from any app by swiping left from the right side of the iPad. This brings up a small menu that takes up ⅓ of the screen. From this menu you can choose what app you want open by swiping down from the menu. Once you have this menu open you can select an app you want to have open on the right side. It’s important to note that when you are using the menu, the app that you were originally in becomes inactive (that means in order to use it, you would need to close the menu. If you want to be able to use both apps at the same time the you need to use Split View.).
- Split View (iPad Air 2 Only)
Split view is almost exactly like Slide Over, except you can use both apps at once. In Split View, each app takes ½ of the screen. To activate Split view you would do the same as if you were to activate Slide Over, but instead drag the side of the menu to the center of the screen. This will allow you to use both apps at at once. This feature only works on the iPad Air 2 because it has a processor that can support having two apps open at once.
- Picture In Picture
Picture in Picture allows you to have an app open as well as a video or Facetime call. Currently, Picture in Picture only supports Quicktime videos(so no Netflix or Youtube…yet). To activate Picture in Picture tap the icon in the lower right corner of the video. While in Picture in Picture mode you can watch the video/Facetime call in any app. You can move the video around the screen by tapping and dragging the video to another corner.
With iOS 9, Apple has allowed developers to make apps that block ads in Safari (The iPhone’s web browser). While some users praise Apple for this feature, website owners have been protesting this new feature. Website owners claim that ad blocking will decrease their revenue from the ads on their site, thus making them find alternative ways for revenue. On the other hand, users have been enjoying faster web page load times, no more annoying ads, and more security. (NOTE: This is not, by default, included in iOS 9. You need to download an ad blocking app from the App Store in order to block ads).
Smarter Siri and Spotlight Search
Siri has just become even smarter! Siri has now become more aware of reminders and location. Siri can be told to “Remind me to call mom when I get home.” or “Call Bob when I get to work”. For those who worry about Siri knowing too much information can turn Siri off by going to the Settings app (Settings>General>Siri). Not only has Siri got smarter, but the Spotlight Search has also become smarter. To access the Spotlight Search, tap the home button and then swipe from left to right. The search now shows your recent contacts, recently used apps, places near you, and news stories from the News app.