Apple’s iOS 9 is out now as a free download for iPhone and iPad. We explain what that will mean for you in our complete guide to the iOS 9 release date and new features.
iOS 8 was released last September, bringing new features such as interactive notifications, widgets, design tweaks and third-party access to parts of the software that were previously closed off to developers, but now, iOS 9 will make the iPhone and particularly the iPad even better.
iOS 9 release date: When is iOS 9.1 coming out?
iOS 9 launched officially alongside the new iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, new Apple TV and iPad Pro on 9 September. You can now get the latest version iOS 9.1, which includes the brand-new News app in the UK.
Updating is easy, but follow our step-by-step guide to ensure you have a fallback plan in case something goes wrong. Make sure you don’t lose photos, videos and other precious data.
Apple released the first Public Beta of iOS 9.2 last week, so expect the release version to arrvive at some point over the next few months.
Can my iPhone and iPad run iOS 9?
The good news is that the list of supported iPads and iPhones is the same as for iOS 8, so none have been left behind for this update. The full list of iOS 9 supported devices:
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 5c
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 4s
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPad 4
- iPad 3
- iPad 2
- iPad mini 3
- iPad mini 2
- iPad mini
- iPod touch 5th gen
The bad news is that older devices won’t necessarily support some of the great new features. In fact, it’s a little strange that the iPad 2 is even included this time around. It already lacks many top-level features such as Siri and Airdrop, but in iOS 9 you won’t find Slide Over, Picture-in-picture, the new Spotlight view, nor the Apple Health app.
iOS 9 design: What does iOS 9 look like?
We weren’t expecting the design of iOS 9 to be much different to that of iOS 8. Apple gave the design a major overhaul in iOS 7, so in terms of look and feel, iOS 9 is really just small tweaks and improvements until the next big redesign in a few year’s time. The improvements centre on security, battery life and giving the user experience more “intelligence”.
To this end there are some new features for iPad and iPhone users.
iOS 9 new features: How to stop iOS 9 eating your mobile data
A new feature in iOS 9 is Wi-Fi Assist, which prevents your iPhone (or cellular iPad) from latching on to poor Wi-Fi connections when your mobile data connection will provide a better service. This should mean an end to those times when you’re trying load a web page or use any app which requires an internet connection and you find it’s unresponsive because your device has switched from 3G or 4G to a known hotspot that’s barely in range and the signal is too poor to transmit data.
However, Wi-Fi Assist could also be to blame if you suddenly find yourself getting through much more data running iOS 9. To turn it off, go to Settings, Cellular, and toggle off Wi-Fi Assist.
There are other ways to minimise data usage in iOS 9, too.
iOS 9 new features: Siri the proactive personal assistant
Apple says Siri is 40 percent more accurate at recognising what you say and 40 percent faster in responding in iOS 9. It also has a new interface.
Siri is now more proactive, and more like Google Now. It will learn your habits, too. For example, if you go running and listen to music, Siri will display Now Playing on the lock screen because it’s both context and time sensitive.
Another nifty new feature is that Siri can check your email for phone numbers if an unknown person calls (someone not in your address book) and display a name if the number is found.
Siri’s also better at taking reminders. In iOS 9 you can say “remind me about this when I get home” when you’re looking at a web page or a particular message and Siri will display it on the lock screen when you get to that location, or at a certain time if that’s what you said.
When you get meeting invites via email, the details can automatically be added to your calendar before you’ve even opened it.
You’ll also get ‘time to leave’ reminders for calendar events, depending on traffic conditions, just as you do with Google Now.
This new proactivity also covers search, which is now to the left of the first home screen (another similarity with Google Now). You can still swipe down from any home screen to bring up search, too.
Spotlight search will display information such as imminent events from the Calendar app, locations nearby that might interest you, boarding passes for flights you’ll be boarding that day and more.
When you search Siri will now offer suggestions – people based on upcoming meetings or apps based on what you just bought in the app store.
Video is now supported in search and you can play videos directly from the search results in Spotlight. It can also access data within apps, with deep linking so you can get right to the information you need, with the ability to go back to the list of search results.
iOS 9 will also be able to learn your habits. It’ll learn which apps you use when and offer to open them for you as a shortcut.
Suggestions can also include nearby places, and there are now Google-style widgets for converting weights, measurements and more.
For those worried about privacy, Apple says all of the searches and lookups are done on-device, and not shared with third parties. When it comes to functions which have to call back to Apple’s servers, it’s all anonymous and not tied to your Apple ID.
iOS 9: new and improved apps
Notes is a popular app and has seen a big update in iOS 9. There’s now a toolbar with formatting options (for headings, bullet lists and more) and you can now draw with your finger to sketch. Also, you can share links from Safari straight into Notes.
There’s a new attachments view, shown below on the far right, so you can see all the photos, links and more: tapping on them takes you straight to the associated note.
There’s a new map – Transport – which emphasises all the public transport links, stations and more. London is the only UK location included for now, and directions cover only buses and underground lines in the current beta. Although National Rail lines are shown, they’re not yet included in routing suggestions.
There’s a new News app, although it isn’t included in the iOS 9.0 beta.
It will let you personalise the news you see from all the popular news sources around the world. You’ll also get breaking news notifications as you’re probably already used to from apps including BBC and CNN.
Apple says it’s “the best mobile reading experience ever” with animations, photo galleries and videos.
The more you read, the better the app learns about what you like. You can bookmark stories to read later and if you want to see new things, there’s an Explore link at the bottom.
News will be available on both iPhone and iPad.
iOS 9 features: Split-screen multitasking
Split-screen multitasking on the iPad was a strong rumour ahead of the release of iOS 8, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be true. The good news is that it’s here now in iOS 9 and will make the iPad Air 2 a much more powerful productivity tool.
Better still, there’s a picture-in-picture mode that lets you watch videos while you do other things:
iOS 9 features: low-power mode
Lots of Apple’s competitors offer software-based battery-saving modes for their devices, and Apple will do the same when it launches iOS 9. It’s a wonder that it’s taken this long, but Apple says “we know you all turn things off to try and make your devices last longer. The new low-power mode will switch levers you didn’t even know existed”. It should give up to three hours of extra use, on top of the extra hour or so you’ll get simply from updating to iOS 9, which is more power efficient than iOS 8.
iOS 9 feature rumour: Multiple user accounts
One of the most wished-for features in iOS 9 is the ability to have multiple user accounts, combined with proper parental controls.
At the moment, there are parental controls present in iOS 8 that let you set restrictions about the content that can be consumed on the device, but you’ll need to turn them on and off constantly if you want to use the iPad or iPhone once your child has finished using it.
The introduction of the Family Sharing feature in iOS 8 suggests that Apple might be open to the idea of multiple user accounts in the future, but there was no mention of it during the iOS keynote.
iOS 9 feature rumour: Control Centre customisation
We love the Control Centre, which was introduced with iOS 7 to give users quick access to toggles for Bluetooth, WiFi and more, as well as other settings. We’d like Apple to take this a step further, allowing us to customise the Control Centre to give access to settings that we find ourselves needing regularly.
Unfortunately, as with multiple user accounts, there was no word of it during the keynote.
WHAT DO YOU MOST WANT FROM IOS 9? (UPDATED)
Public-transport directions in Maps : 12%
App to manage HomeKit devices : 5%
‘Proactive’ assistant (like Google Now) : 15%
Apple music-streaming service : 11%
Ability to see your contacts’ availability : 15%
Improved speed : 42%
There are even more iOS 9 features that we were keeping our fingers crossed for.
iOS 9 features: Impossible to jailbreak
Other reports said that Apple has found a way to prevent people from jailbreaking their iOS devices, with a new system called ‘Rootless’. It’s a feature that many users won’t be pleased to see, and it’s unlikely that Apple will talk about it during WWDC.