Ready for Apple iOS 9 and Watch OS 2?

Joanna Tatum
September 16, 2015

Apple releases two new operating systems today for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. But what’s new?

Operating system updates are a reasonably ordinary occurrence, so what makes this so different from simply downloading a new version of iOS 8?

iOS 9 for iPhone

iPhone 6
On the surface, it’s a bunch of updates for Apple’s own in-built apps. News is smarter, Notes are now multimedia and all-encompassing, and Apple Maps have finally caught up with Google and added public transport options when you ask for directions. The iCloud can now be accessed directly via a new app, and Siri is smarter.

Otherwise, it’s the hidden things that really make a difference. Apple’s paid attention to the battery drain fiasco of iOS 8, and iOS 9 promises improved battery life along with faster updates, better security, and improved performance thanks to increased efficiency in how the system uses the hardware.

The most obvious aspect of the security update is that passcodes are now six digits long by default. From 1234 to 123456, it’ll move the number of combinations from around 10,000 to over a million. Your Apple account will also require an authentication code whenever you sign in on a new device or browser, just to make it harder to hack.

iOS 9 for iPad

The big deal here is that Apple have finally caught up to Samsung and Microsoft and given the iPad multi-tasking abilities. Split screen access means that you can view your pictures and your email simultaneously – no more swapping back and forth between the two apps as you decide which photo to send to your friends or family.

They’ve also added a shortcut bar that includes more icons, and pictures imply that the bar can hover over open apps rather than simply being a main-screen feature. The software keyboard has also been updated with some minor additions, including a sorely needed back button.

Watch OS 2 for Apple Watch

Watch OS2
Apps and appearance are the keywords for Watch OS 2. Apple promises faster apps that run entirely on the Apple Watch rather than from the iCloud, and smoother running.

They’re also releasing more time-lapse videos designed as watch backgrounds, set in dramatic locations, but if that isn’t your thing? Set one of your own pictures, or set the whole gallery to pop up at random if you just can’t decide.

You can also make what they call compilations, fragments of information which pop up on your watch face and let you track anything from your flight times to whether you switched off your living room lights. ‘Time Travel’, which lets you scroll back and forth along your timeline, is a glorified diary planner with added weather and news options.

For those who use their phones as their alarm clock, it’s now possible to put the Apple Watch into Nightstand mode – a built-in alarm clock showing date and time, with the Crown being the snooze button and the main one switching it off. Nightstand mode occurs automatically when the Watch is plugged in and placed on its side.

For more on Apple, visit What Mobile’s dedicated Apple page.

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