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iOS 9: Pleasantly Surprised

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iOS 7 was the most comprehensive (and beautiful) update of Apple’s iOS. I can remember eagerly awaiting the Keynote at WWD13. I was SO excited to see the redesign and to hear the new ringtones - Night Owl is my favourite, for those of you who are wondering. 

Every year, iPhone users eagerly await the new iOs update. Most of the time, the updates take forever to download and install, especially if you live in Australia where it’s generally 3 am for the new software release. Sometimes there are bugs, like the disaster that was iOs 8.1.1 last year that caused thousands of people to lose cellular reception…Oops.

Occasionally, the updates are pleasantly surprising and so far, that sums up my time spent playing with iOs 9.

The first question of everyone’s lips are, what’s new? 

The wallpaper:

 I don’t know about you, but I highly anticipate the new wallpapers each year. I’m very particular about how I like my iPhone to look - stock background, default apps on the first page in the same order Apple displays them on their website, other apps listed alphabetically. 

Although I’ve tried using other images for my wallpapers in the past, they just never look as good as the stock wallpapers. 

So far, we only have one wallpaper that comes with iOS 9. However, I’m sure that when the public release of iOS 9 hits our devices, there will be many more on offer. Fingers crossed that they’re better than those backgrounds from iOS 8!

 My favourite part of this year’s default wallpaper is that it is slightly blurred up the top. One huge aspect of the iOS 7 redesign was the focus on transparency when using the phone, and the idea of layers when opening and closing apps, the control centre and spotlight search. The new wallpaper pays homage to that and the colours look really nice when swiping up for the control centre or for spotlight search.

 

iCloud Drive:

 If you also use a Mac at home, you’re probably screaming Alleluia! to the sky right now for this feature. 

Previously, you couldn’t access documents stored in your iCloud on your iOS device. I mean, you could access them, but it wasn’t very intuitive, and really not worth your time. With the inclusion of this application, you can now edit your documents stored in the cloud on your iOS devices - as long as you also have Pages, Numbers or Keynote installed. You can now send documents on the cloud via email, text message, iMessage, and you can even save your documents to other cloud storage websites such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

Oh look, this blog post in my iCloud Drive. So meta.

Multitasking:

 The new multitasking layout was one thing I wasn’t expecting when I updated to the iOS 9 Beta. Not only has Apple changed the side of the screen multitasking appears on, it has also drastically changed the user experience of swiping to close the apps.

In fact, the previous way to close applications now seems so odd to me, I question why they didn’t structure multitasking like this to begin with. It’s much more intuitive and easier to close and scroll through your open apps.

Siri:

 Continuing on with my theme of pleasantly surprising, Siri has had a few upgrades that actually make a difference to how I use my iPhone.

The first, and most important, is that now Siri can make app and contact suggestions in spotlight search. Naturally, this just tells me that I access Instagram way more than I probably should, but hey, it’s quicker than scrolling to the I section of my alphabetised application drawer to find and access the app.

Secondly, Siri has had a very small makeover, most notably with the new voice wave bar at the bottom. Rather than a single line, the bar is now a multitude of pretty colours.

Other pleasantly surprising changes:

Battery Life:

The iPhone now has a power saving mode! 

You can either turn this feature on manually or the phone will prompt you to turn this feature on when you receive the 20% battery notification.

Settings:

 Speaking of settings, you can now search within the settings app - which is really handy considering that the iOS Settings list is getting out of control!! 

 

Back button:

 Now when you open a link in an email, you can simply go back to the Mail app by clicking the back to mail button in the top left-hand corner. Whilst this feature isn’t super intuitive, it’s better than not having a back button at all. Warning: you may need to use reachability if you have a 6 plus.

 

Passcodes:

The passcode on your iPhone is now six digits by default. If you use touch ID, you probably won’t notice this change. Don’t fret, however, you can still use a four digit code by just pressing passcode options.

Other features

There are, of course, many more features that aren’t available yet in the Beta version of iOS 9. Split screens, slide over and picture in picture views are now coming to iPads. At the moment, it’s uncertain whether the iPad Mini will be getting this feature.

Apple will be launching its own News app to compete with other flagship devices that offer similar news-like services. 

Notes are going to be getting a significant upgrade. Similar to features found in Evernote Premium, you will be able to attach, scribble and write to your heart’s content.

CarPlay integration, which is really only useful if you have enough money to buy a corresponding car.

 

iOS 9 will be available in September after the impending iPhone 6s launch. So expect to see some more details regarding iOS 9 during the September Keynote!