Ah, update time, that time of year when you look at your device and you know that there could be a better way, but yet you hesitate. Is it really better? What if I can’t find my files? What if I don’t like how the screen looks? What if it’s just another Windows 10 all over again?!
Never fear… Apple has released the latest relative in its iOS for iPhone and iPad family, and the results are hardly noticeable unless you go looking for them. That is to say, your basic functionality and familiarity shouldn’t be altered in a major way, but if you go looking for the changes you’re sure to be impressed. Siri got smarter, the keyboard became more user friendly, the font went to that of the Apple Watch in order to fit more text on the screen without making you squint, and the whole thing works on devices from the iPhone 4 and up.
Right off the bat, in keeping with the theme of yesterday’s news item, Apple has included a battery-saving feature that will cut off the “background noise” that drains your battery once you put it in power-saving mode. (It’s a nice feature if you know you’ll be sitting at your kid’s soccer tournament for the next twelve hours.) This will stop the device from searching for new emails unless you tell it to, keep certain apps from running in the background, and other similar less-than-mission-critical processes.
The aforementioned keyboard now drops to lowercase to save space and make the buttons slightly more user friendly, but the best part is that certain apps will display the keyboard with the cut, copy, and paste buttons on the keyboard itself instead of trying to poke your finger somewhere on the screen and force them to pop up while not accidentally selecting the object you’re pointing to.
The developers threw in a few other smaller upgrades that are unobtrusive enough to not bother users while still making the OS even more user-friendly. Apple News has gotten a handy boost directly from the content publishers, meaning you can stream news stories directly in the app in real time, purportedly while selecting the region and publishers you care about. One feature that productivity geeks will love is the new function in Notes that lets you add drawings and photos. Be warned though, Notes can’t grab your photos unless it’s synced to your iCloud, and not just able to pull them directly from the camera roll. Switching from one app to another and back again is even more seamless and direct than ever before. Videos can now be swiped up while in progress in order to do something in another app, without having to pause, get out of it, use the app, close the app, and return to the video.
iOS 9 will be available for free on Wednesday.