iOS 9.2 fixes bugs and enhances Apple Music, Mail, iBooks and Siri
The latest iteration of Apple’s mobile OS is almost upon us. It promises new features, faster performance, and improved battery life – but when can you get your hands on it? Read on to find out everything we know about iOS 9.
iOS 9 at-a-glance:
- General release was on 16 September
- Introduced split-screen for iPads, new keyboard shortcuts, and Siri upgrades
- iOS 9.2 was released on 8 December, containing general enhancements and bug fixes
iOS 9 latest news
09/12/2015: iOS 9.2 has come out of beta and is available to download for iPhone and iPad users.
As part of a slew of updates from Apple, including OS X, WatchOS, and tvOS, iOS 9.2 now improves Apple Music, iBooks and iOS Mail apps and bug fixes.
Improvements to Apple Music makes it easier to harmonise your iCloud Music Library with the streaming service, meaning users can now see whether or not any song has been downloaded, and then download whole albums or playlists.
iBooks now supports 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
Mail now supports Mail Drop for large attachments as well as a number of bug fixes for the mail client. There is also Siri support for Arabic and a new Top Stories section in the News app.
There are also stability improvements for Safari and Podcasts.
30/10/2015: iOS 9.2 is now available to public beta testers, three days after it was opened up to developers. The release, which is available as a 1.6GB over-the-air update to those already enrolled in the beta program, has several bug fixes and update to the Safari View Controller that introduces support for third-party extensions, such as password managers.
In tandem with the beta release of iOS 9.2, Apple has decommissioned iOS 9.0.2, meaning it is no longer possible to downgrade to any version of the OS earlier than iOS 9.1, which was released on 21 October.
27/10/2015: A lawsuit has been filed against Apple by a couple in Florida, claiming that a feature present in iOS 9 caused them to exceed their wireless data cap, reports ComputerWorld.
The problem occurred, the couple claim, because of the Wi-Fi Assist feature – which switches the phone to a cellular connection if Wi-Fi signal is weak – automatically enabled with iOS 9.
They claim that users were not notified of this change until a document was posted online on 2 October, and are hoping the case will be made a class action lawsuit, and that others who have experienced a similar problem will be able to join them.
The lawsuit reads: “Defendant failed to disclose to consumers that this automatic switch to cellular data caused by an activated Wi-Fi Assist (the default setting) may result in exceeding the data capacity allowed under their phone plans. This is especially true as there is no warning or disclosure when the phone switches from Wi-Fi to cellular data.”
23/10/2015: After investigating claims that their app for iOS was draining users’ battery life, Facebook has released an update to assuage the issue.
Rather than offer details on the new changes, the App Store release notes remain vague, promising a better experience and updates every two weeks. However, Facebook’s Engineering Manager Ari Grant provided more information on the fixes in a public post.
The first issue identified was a CPU spin—a loop that doesn’t perform a useful task—in the app’s network code which drained battery life because of the repeated processing.
The second problem had to do with the way audio sessions were managed. In some instances, audio sessions remained open after viewing videos—as though the audio was playing silently in the background—after exiting the app. Although the app isn’t doing anything, battery life was drained because the app remained active in the background.
Changes have been made to the app and the update is available for download today, but Grant’s statement seems to imply that additional fixes are in the works. In relation to the CPU spin, he said, “the version released today has some improvements that should start making this better.” The issue with audio sessions has been fixed, though, and background audio has been removed completely.
Grant made a point of mentioning that the issues addressed were not caused by any location features and reiterated that Facebook does not access device location without permission within the app.
Update the iOS Facebook app as soon as possible to eliminate unintended battery drain.
With the announcement of bi-monthly updates and Grant’s allusions to other potential issues, it seems reasonable to look forward to future battery life improvements.
22/10/2015: Apple News has arrived in the UK with Apple’s latest iOS 9 update.
The news services was previously only available in the US, where it launched last month, but the release of iOS 9.1 introduces it to British iPhone and iPad users, along with a raft of new emojis and feature updates.
Apple News lets people pick topics they are interested in and publishers they like in order to receive personalised news subscriptions, and the service boasts 14 partners currently, including Mirror publisher Trinity Mirror, Vanity Fair publisher Condé Nast, and Radio Times owner Immediate Media.
Other features in the latest update include a range of new emojis, such as a sick face, a lion, and a controversial hand emoji swearing with its middle finger.
A fix for the iPhone 6s’s Live Photos is also available, enabling users to take small 1.5-second videos either side of a photo, in order to turn them into GIFs.
16/10/2015: The first jailbreak for iOS 9 has been created, allowing you to download apps not available on the App Store and make system changes not approved by Apple.
Pangu 9, the latest tool from techie group Pangu, is an untethered jailbreak, meaning your device does not need to be plugged into a computer in order for the hack to work.
Instead, the application connects to your Apple smartphone or tablet to bypass Apple’s built-in security software designed to prevent jailbreaks, before letting you download the Cydia framework to get apps that do not exist on the App Store.
However, users have warned the jailbreak can create what they call “boot loops of death”.
These are reboots that continue on forever, warned a developer on Reddit, which can only be stopped by restoring and jailbreaking the device again.
In other news, Facebook is investigating complaints that its iOS 9 app is causing excessive battery drain, according to TechCrunch.
It comes after Circa co-founder Matt Galligan found the app was responsible for 15 per cent of battery drain over seven days.
01/10/2015: iOS 9.0.2 has now been made available for public download.
The new iteration is available for all Apple devices running iOS 9 as an over-the-air update.
The update contains general tweaks and bug patches, including fixes for Podcasts stability, problems with iMessage activation and iCloud backup issues.
25/09/2015: A move to slim down iOS apps on iPhones, iPads, and iPods to give the devices more storage space has been delayed by Apple.
The feature, called App Slicing, was due to feature in iOS 9, but Cupertino has said that the feature is now on hold due to problems with iCloud backups.
“App slicing is currently unavailable for iOS 9 apps due to an issue affecting iCloud backups created from iOS 9 where some apps from the App Store would only restore to the same model of iOS device,” Apple said.
“When a customer downloads your iOS 9 app, they will get the Universal version of your app, rather than the variant specific for their device type. TestFlight will continue to deliver variants for your internal testers. App slicing will be reenabled with a future software update. No action is needed by you at this time.”
24/09/2015: Despite a hugely successful debut, iOS 9 has already encountered a security flaw, allowing hackers to access personal information on a locked device with the help of Siri.
The exploit, first documented by YouTube user videosdebarraquito, involves leveraging Siri’s increased capabilities, and can be seen below.
“I hope this video will get Apple aware of this dangerous flaw so that they work soon and seriously to patch it,” the video’s creator said.
Luckily, users can easily plug the security hole themselves, by simply disabling the setting that allows Siri to be used from the lock screen.
An update was rolled out last night – iOS 9.0.1 – and while it hasn’t rectified this problem, it has addressed a previous glitch that bricked iPhones during the update process.
Another raft of videos has also surfaced which claims that iOS 9 slows down older iPhones. According to iAppleBytes, the problem exists on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S.
21/09/2015: Apple has touted the fastest rollout of its iOS software ever. According to reports from Neowin, iOS 9 is now installed on 50 per cent of devices capable of running the operating system.
The figure was reached in the three days following the launch date on 16 September.
21/09/2015: iPhone and iPad users were warned to update to iOS 9 in order to prevent malware-infected apps from downloading onto devices.
A bug in previous versions allows hackers to install malware through the Airdrop file sharing feature. The problem was discovered by Azimuth Security’s researcher Mark Dowd. He told Forbes that the vulnerability enabled anyone within range of an AirDrop user to install malware on a target device and change iOS settings.
This comes as malware has managed to find its way onto several apps within Apple’s App Store in China. Developers in that country downloaded a counterfeit version of Apple’s official Xcode development tool instead of the official one. The counterfeit version contained the XcodeGhost malware.
18/09/2015: A glitch in the iOS 9 update has caused some iPhones to brick.
The problem happens when the update is downloaded to iTunes on a desktop computer. Users who connect their iPhones to their PC then see a pop-up window on their devices that says ‘Verifying Update’, before they are prompted to ‘Slide to Upgrade’.
But the slider does not move across and the phone appears to be frozen, according to users who reported the issue to the Apple Support forum.
Others claim that pressing the power button a few times fixes the problem eventually. This then results in a black screen with the update starting a few seconds later.
A full fix has been detailed on Apple’s website.
17/09/2015: Ad-blocking apps for iPhone and iPad have stormed the App Store charts in the wake of yesterday’s iOS 9 launch.
The new software update is the first of Apple’s mobile operating systems to allow ad blocking software, and consumers have made their feelings about the decision clear.
Peace, an ad blocker from the maker of Instapaper, has shot up to number two in the App Store’s ‘top paid’ chart based on its philosophy of “peace, quiet… and speed”.
The surge in mobile ad blocking has proved extremely worrying for digital publishers, many of whom have expressed concerns over its potential impact on their primarily ad-driven revenue.
Ad Monsters’ Gavin Dunaway said in a blog post that “for most digital publishers, ad blocking is a looming storm cloud”, and stated that the new features of iOS 9 “could prove a serious threat to mobile web revenue”.
In other news, many enthusiasts have been left disappointed as Apple’s servers once again failed to cope with the demand of a new update.
iPhone and iPad owners worldwide were greeted with “Software Update Failed”, as Apple’s datacentres buckled under the weight of users trying to simultaneously download the update.
There have also been various reports of bugs in the software, such as Wi-Fi mysteriously dropping in and out.
16/09/2015: Apple’s iOS 9 is available to download today, with millions expected to try out its new features on their iPhones and iPads.
The free update brings with it a host of new features, including a cleverer version of Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, who can now warn you about upcoming traffic jams as well as calendar appointments.
“Siri can remind you about things you’re looking at in your apps — like Safari, Mail, and Notes — and want to follow up on later,” added Apple. “Now Siri can search a wider range of topics for a wider range of answers. It understands what you say more accurately and delivers your results faster.”
Other updates include a News app, which collects all the news stories you may be interested in to save you browsing various websites to find them, and the more you use it the better it gets to know your tastes. Additionally, a multitasking view is available on iPads, while Apple Maps now features public transport directions. Currently, the News app appears to be limited to the US, despite reports it would launch with the OS here.
The newest version of the operating system will be available to download at 6 pm UK time (16/09/2015) from the software update menu.
10/09/2015: Ahead of the public launch on 16 September, Apple has released the golden master of iOS 9 to developers, according to Mac Rumors. This version will be the final version that the general public will get their hands on next week. The update will be available to developers through Apple’s over-the-air update mechanism or downloaded from Apple’s Developer Center website.
Microsoft has also announced that it is to release updates for Office 365 to take advantage of new features on iOS 9, according to Microsoft’s Office blog. The productivity suite will be much easier to work with in multitasking, split-screen mode. This will allow users to slide over a second screen to access another app and use two Office apps at once, side-by-side.
07/09/2015: Apple mistakenly told some users they could download and install the full version of iOS 9 for iPhone and iPad, reportedly due to a bug.
9to5Mac tweeted about the error, saying many of its readers had reported a false update on iOS 9 beta, calling it a glitch. It appeared on people’s iPhones and iPads as an iOS update notification.
The mistake may signify that Apple is readying an iOS 9 announcement at its 9 September device launch event.
28/08/2015: Invites went out for Apple’s latest event that was held on 9 September.
Apple Special Event invitation, courtesy of Wired/Apple
The event, held in the 7,000-seat Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, is widely expected to herald the release – or, at least, confirmation of the date of general availability – of iOS 9, along with two new iPhone variants.
The invitations are emblazoned with the tagline “Hey Siri, give us a hint”, implying that the forthcoming iOS update – which features quite a few updates to Apple’s digital assistant – will be a prominent feature.
26/08/2015: Ad-blocking on iOS 9 could be good news for consumers, but bad news for publishers.
The forthcoming update to Apple’s mobile software is set to feature ‘content blockers’, which will allow users to block adverts at the system-level for the first time.
The feature has the ability to block not only ads but cookies and third-party tracking tools used by websites for marketing and analytics, which some claim can significantly speed up page loading in Safari.
Tests carried out using third-party content blocking app Crystal showed load times across ten example websites were decreased by at least a few seconds, and by up to 12 seconds in extreme cases.
However, it could also spell disaster for brands. As demonstrated in Google’s recent restructure, web advertising in all its various forms still makes up a vast amount of revenue for many online companies.
iOS’s newfound ability to block ads on a system-wide level – which is already becoming a problem on desktop browsers – may lead to some businesses taking serious financial hits.
19/08/2015: Apple hopes that iOS 9 will boost flagging iPad sales, with Tim Cook mentioning the new operating system’s various improved features as part of the company’s quarterly results report.
“We’re very excited about the advances in the iPad experience coming in iOS 9 in the fall, including the slide over and split view features for retail multitasking, picture-in-picture for FaceTime and video and enhanced QuickType for composing text even faster,” said Cook.
“[In enterprise] for instance, riding on the success of iPad use by its pilots, United Airlines has not only renewed its iPad programme with more than 10,000 iPad Air 2s but has also made a strategic decision to provide iPhones to over 20,000 flight attendants.”
Apple launched a public beta version of iOS 9, the next generation of its iPhone and iPad operating system, earlier this month, bringing with it a host of new features for developers and end users to try out.
The new OS was confirmed at Apple’s WWDC 2015 opening keynote, which took place on 8 June.
The public beta has been released in an effort to get feedback from end users of Apple products, rather than simply from app developers, the first time the company has taken such an approach.
The operating system will build on the popularity of iOS 8, which has seen rapid and widespread adoption. Indeed, the majority (some 83 per cent) of currently active iOS users are running iOS 8, according to Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
iOS 9 release date
Apple launched new versions of its operating system in tandem with its newest phones – in this case, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. It also launched the iPad Pro.
During a special Apple event on 9 September – where new versions of the iPhone and iPad were unveiled among other things – the tech giant confirmed iOS 9 would be generally available on 16 September.
Apple’s vice president of engineering, Craig Federighi,also confirmed at WWDC 2015 that iOS 9 would be made available to the same broad range of devices as iOS 8 was – much to the delight of the assembled crowd. “We want everyone to get iOS 9,” he enthused.
Developers can access iOS 9 to play with now, with a public beta also available. To install the public beta (bearing in mind that beta is always more prone to bugs) head over to the Apple website and sign up to take part in the program.
Sign in with your Apple ID and read through the terms and conditions, and click on accept. You should then get an email confirmation along with further instructions for installing the beta. As always, make a backup of your device before installing any new operating system.
iOS 9 features
Updates and News
iPhone users have previously complained about the amount of free space required when moving from one version of iOS to another. Apple has remedied this with iOS 9, meaning just 1.3GB of available space is required, compared with the 4.6GB needed to upgrade to iOS 8.
One of the features updated for iOS 9 is Siri, with anonymous search, a far lower word error rate, and a universal search screen. Siri will now be context sensitive, much like Android Marshmallow‘s Now on Tap.
Asking Siri to ‘remind me about this’ while reading a web page or iMessage conversation will fill in the reminder description with details culled from that web page or the conversation and provide a link back to the relevant app.
Other apps being given a lick of paint include Notes – adding sketches, to-do lists and more. Apple’s maligned Maps will now have built-in public transport directions in cities around the world although London will be the only UK city included at launch.
iOS 9 features a brand new ‘News’ app, which will act as an aggregator similar to Flipboard or News Republic. The app will pull content from various online sources based on the user’s preselected reading preferences, with embedded content like images, sound, and video.
Apple News will be available in the US, UK, and Australia before being rolled out more widely.
Split-screen for iPad
For iPad, iOS 9 will enhance the experience for enterprise users, with an improved keyboard multitasking – all designed for using the device at work.
“The iPad is a transformational device,” Federighi said.
Using the Slide Over feature, swiping your finger in from the edge of the screen will allow you to quickly see a second app without having to leave the app you’re currently using. Expanding upon this is Split-Screen, users will be able to use two apps onscreen at the same time, rather than having to switch between them.
Holding two fingers down on the keyboard will allow you to move the cursor without having to use the fiddly text caret as with current versions of iOS.
A feature that will be familiar to Samsung Galaxy users is the ability to play a video on top of another app in a small resizable and moveable window.
All of the multitasking features will be available on the iPad Air, iPad Mini 2 and newer, except for Split-screen, which can only be used on iPad Air 2.
Apple’s onscreen keyboard will have new shortcuts in the Quick Type predictions bar for copying, cutting and pasting as well as formatting text. Users of Lightning and Bluetooth keyboards will also get new shortcuts such as an OS X-style Cmd-Tab app switcher. These keyboard-related features will apparently be exclusive to iPad and not coming to the iPhone.
iOS 9 battery life
Power users will be particularly pleased to hear that Apple has focused a great deal of efforts on battery life with iOS 9. From the get go, this will give users an extra one hour of typical use, based on a full charge, according to Federighi.
But the battery life good news doesn’t stop there. There is a new low power mode in iOS 9 that “pulls levers you didn’t even know existed” to provide an additional three hours of juice on top of the bonus hour already delivered.
The back story
The new iOS was previously codenamed Monarch. It was expected prior to the event that the new iOS would improve stability and optimisation for Apple devices, sporting various new features but focusing primarily on eradicating some of the bugs and performance issues present in iOS 8.
Back in January, Apple was rumoured to be beta testing iOS 9, despite the previous iteration of its mobile operating system having only been released the previous September.
Previous to this, MacWorld reported that various analytics software was displaying searches and clicks that appeared to have originated from an operating system called ‘9.0’. This activity signaled that a prototype of the software was being used on Apple devices, possibly by employees.
The iOS 8 release was plagued with issues and bugs, and some users even took to legal action against Apple due to the update taking up too much space (19 per cent) on the 16GB iPhone 6.