iOS 9 Review: A Powerful iPad Experience And Many Refinements Make iOS Flow Better
Apple has been releasing major iOS updates every year for the past eight years, and it doesn’t look like the company is going to slow down any time soon. iOS 9 once again brings many improvements, both small and large, including many subtle refinements that make your iPhone and iPad feel better and get things done faster. I’ve been playing with the update for more than a month now; here’s what you should be looking for.
Until now, the company has very rarely added “smart” features to its mobile operating system other than Siri.
Now, it seems like Apple is going all in when it comes to making your smartphone smarter. And it starts with Spotlight. You can now call up the search screen by pulling down on the home screen or by swiping to the left of your first home screen.
You can now search for sports scores, weather conditions and stock prices without having to say anything. You can also use Spotlight as a ubiquitous calculator. Finally, when you search for a contact name, you don’t need to jump to the address book as you can initiate a call or a message directly from the search results
Apple wants to differentiate the iPad as much as possible from the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus. So there are three iPad-exclusive multitasking features in iOS 9:
Slide Over lets you open a second app in a drawer-like interface. It’s great to send a quick message, or check your emails while you are doing something else. You just need to swipe your finger from the right edge of the screen to launch a second app on top of the existing app. This feature is available on the iPad Air, Air 2, Mini 2, Mini 3, and the recently announced Mini 4 and iPad Pro.
Split View is a different beast. Instead of running an app on top of your existing app, you can run two apps side by side. You can copy and paste things from one app to the other, scroll through your emails and browse the web at the same time, and more. You decide if you want to split your screen in two halves or if you want a smaller one third app. Due to the memory requirements, Split View is only available on the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 and iPad Pro.
Apple has also added picture in picture video playback. It’s a great way to watch a baseball game and do something else on your iPad. Picture in picture also supports FaceTime calls.
Whether publishers like it or not, ad blockers are already hugely popular on OS X. People are using ad blockers in Safari and in other browsers, and it makes sense to bring this feature to iOS. When you install a content blocker on iOS, you don’t see any ad in Safari.
I’ve played with a few ad blockers already, and it dramatically changes Safari. Things are much snappier, websites load nearly instantly on a good connection, you use less data. There’s no way anyone is going to try an ad blocker and remove it later. As an added benefit, ad blocking also improves your privacy
The News app is Apple’s second take on news reading. The Newsstand is gone, now it’s all about optimizing your content for the News app. When you first launch this app, you have to pick a few topics and news sources to create a collection of stories tailored to your interests.
You then get a feed of articles in the News app and in Spotlight. When you open an article, you can like it or save it for later. The reading views are clean and change based on the publication.
In the Notes app, you can now make checklists, embed photos and draw sketches in the Notes app. You can also add links. In other words, Notes is no longer a text-only app, it’s a rich-text editor
After acquiring Embark and Hopstop, Maps is rolling out transit systems, starting with New York City and London. When you plan an itinerary, Maps takes into account trains, subways, buses and walking.
iOS 9 also brings a couple of new features: you can now store your rewards cards in the Passbook app, which is now called Wallet.
This is an interesting feature as these loyalty cards can help you build a habit, and you might end up using Apple Pay every time you need to pay for your coffee
Apple has taken a few measures to improve security. By default, iOS now asks you to set up a 6-digit passcode. By moving away from 4-digit passcodes, the company has increased the number of possibilities from around a 10,000 to a million.