After months of speculation, rumors and testing, Apple’s iOS 9 became available for download on September 16, 2015. With every fall comes a new Apple operating system that promises updated and better experiences for those who own devices such as the iPhone, iPad and the iPod Touch. Every new iOS also leads to feelings of frustration among customers who, for one reason or another, are unable to download or use the new iOS, and iOS 9 was not immune to such problems. Those who have been able to play around with iOS 9 for even a small amount of time have probably already noticed some much-needed improvements to their Apple devices, as well as little things that could make a big difference.
The first thing you may immediately notice upon having just the option of downloading iOS 9 is that you may not have to completely reformat your device due to the size of the download. Download sizes of updated operating systems have, in the past, infuriated Apple users for years. Customers have found themselves struggling to determine which apps were worthy of being kept on a device and which were expendable, all because the latest iOS file was larger than the size of a game save found on consoles such as the Xbox 360. That should not be as big a problem for Apple users with iOS 9.
Another nice feature is that iOS 9 is available to Apple devices that were first compatible with iOS 8, so those of you who have not yet purchased a current generation iPhone or iPad may find that you are still in luck. Have you yearned for picture-in-picture mode? You may get your wish depending on which iPad you own. Apple users who have considered making the switch over to another brand because of the battery lives of their current products should also be happy with what they find in iOS 9, especially those of you who carry a portable charger around for your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.
10. iOS 9 Has a Smaller Installation Size
You do not have to even dive all the way into iOS 9 to find what you may deem to be the best part about the updated operating system. The iOS 9 update requires only 1.3 GB, while the iOS 8 update ate up over 4.5 GB. But wait. There’s more. According to Gordon Kelly of Forbes, iOS 9 will even temporarily delete and then reinstall apps for users that don’t have the necessary space for the new operation system. You may still find yourself moving or deleting some photos and music, but the days of having to completely reconfigure your device all for an iOS update seem to be in the past.
9. iOS 9 Brings Improved Battery Life
Those who find themselves glued to the screen of an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus for hours had better be near a charging device, charging station or portable charger during their workdays. Otherwise, there is no way they are making it home with a working device; or at least that was the case before iOS 9. Apple claims that iOS 9 make apps and other portions of devices more efficient, so much so that users should have an additional hour before it comes time to charge the device. Add in the “Low Power” mode that comes with iOS 9, and you may find that your portable charger is no longer necessary.
8. iOS 9 Includes Picture-in-Picture
Apple users have been taunted by other brands who have flaunted the fact that their tablets include a picture-in-picture mode not found on an iPad. That has somewhat been fixed with iOS 9. It is true that iOS 9 gives you the option of watching a video on one screen while you complete another task at the same time, but there is a catch. This option is only available with the following products: iPad Air or later, iPad Pro, and the iPad mini 2 and new editions. Those of you who have been holding onto an older iPad until that thing no longer powers on will have to wait for picture-in-picture.
7. iOS 9 Improves the Health App
Some may consider this to be nothing more than a minor update, but users who have shunned devices such as a Fitbit and other activity trackers will find that the Health app in iOS 9 is better than ever. Chris Smith of BGR Media gave users an early look at the new landscape mode of the Health app back in June of 2015, and it was fantastic. Health actually looks like a completely different app when put into landscape mode, offering new and improved overviews of for fitness, active energy, and even sleep analysis. Those who have never before messed around with the Health app should give it a look in landscape mode.
6. iOS 9 Has a Selfie Folder!
We are all friends here in the Apple community, and so none of us should be ashamed to admit that we have used the front-facing camera on an iPhone for a “selfie” shot. Heck, you probably even own a “Selfie Stick.” All of your selfies will now be placed inside of a single category which are located in the “Albums” folder along with your other pictures. You will also notice, in iOS 9, that any screenshots that you take with that device will be placed inside of a new folder. Users do not have to do anything other than upgrade to iOS 9 for those folders to appear.
5. iOS 9 Organizes Notifications in Chronological Order
Want to change the way that notifications appear on your iPhone in iOS 9? Open the “Settings” app on your device, and then choose “Notifications.” Rather than seeing the “Sort Manually” and “Sort by Time” options that were found in iOS 8, iOS 9 users will see two options underneath “Notification View.” Select the “Sort Order” option to view your notifications per your references. Those who upgrade to iOS 9 will also be able to group the notifications that pop up on your screen by app. As with older operating systems, you can change notifications per app on the “Notifications” screen.
4. iOS 9 Makes Siri Smarter
Siri has, since she first arrived on the scene, been more of a disappointment than a revolutionary concept. The hope moving forward is that iOS 9 will be Apple’s first step toward changing that perception. Oscar Raymando of MacWorld wrote about Siri “Spotlight,” which will provide hints on how you should use your iPhone or similar device based upon your prior habits. You can also, in iOS 9, use the “Hey Siri” request when the device is locked. Perhaps best of all is that the Siri will recognize your voice, so you don’t have to worry about your friends having some fun with you while you are searching for a restaurant on your iPhone.
3. iOS 9 Tries to Save Apple Maps
You may have the patience of a saint if you did not download Google Maps or a similar app to replace the failed Apple Maps that was an absolute disaster in its early days of existence. Don’t look now, but Apple Maps could experience a revolution thanks to iOS 9. What could be the game-changer for Apple Maps is the “Transit” option that shows different transit departures in your area. Tourists in New York City won’t have to struggle to learn to read Subway maps anymore! Apple Maps in iOS 9 also have internal maps for malls, airports and other similar locations, although those will have to be updated and tweaked over time.
2. iOS 9 Makes Switching Back to Previous Apps Easier
You are scrolling through a social media app such as Facebook or Twitter when you accidentally or purposely press a link. A new screen for a different app then appears on the screen. Previous Apple operating systems forced you to either close or minimize the new screen in order to return to what you were previously doing. That is no longer the case with iOS 9. The status bar that is at the top of the device screen now has a one-tap return option in the top-left corner. Press that option, which will include the name of the app that you were using, to swiftly and smoothly return to that app. Easy breezy.
1. iOS 9 Has a New “News” App
The newspaper industry dies more and more with each year and with each advancement that allows us to get updated news every hour in the palms of our hands. Jefferson Graham of USA Today wrote about a new experience with iOS 9 that will make physical newspapers even more obsolete than ever. The “News” app blows away the “Newstand” app found on older operating systems, providing users with stories and videos that are promised to not drastically slow your device. Best of all is that websites that are blocked by a paywall still offer free content in the “News” app that’s not available via “Newstand.”