WHILE IOS 9.3 isn’t a radical departure from what came before it, Apple has added useful features to the iPhone and iPad’s lifeblood. The iOS update, which will be available in its finalized form today after seven beta iterations, extends the reach of 3D Touch, protects your Notes app with Touch ID, and makes reading in bed easier on the eyes, among other things.
For all your peekin’ and poppin’ needs, the iPhone 6S and beyond now support 3D Touch navigation for more core iOS apps. Settings is likely to be the most frequently used: A medium-press of the Settings icon now brings up a quick menu of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and battery settings without having to launch the app. Likewise, there are new 3D Touch-accessible menus for the App Store (including search and update-all), Weather, Health, and… the compass? Sure, the compass.
You can now use the Touch ID fingerprint reader to lock access to your Notes app, as well. If you can’t get the fingerprint sensor to work, it’ll act just like the iOS lock screen: You type in a numerical code instead.
With iOS 9.3, fans of the Commodores have another reason to love the phrase Night Shift. A new feature mimicking the functionality of the F.lux app that was pulled from the App Store late last year, Night Shift adjusts display brightness and color temperature automatically depending on what time of day it is. After sunset, it shifts the color temperatureof the screen from cooler (blue) hues to warmer (orange) hues.
The idea is that these color schemes jibe a lot better with your circadian rhythms, and you might sleep better as a result. That’s not the only health-related addition to the new OS. In the Health app, you get recommendations for apps to help you hone your workout routine, lose weight, and sleep better.
Other new goodies include location-based recommendations in Apple’s CarPlay infotainment system, as well as deeper integration with Apple Music’s recommendation and new-release features. Apple also devoted a good chunk of time to the new iOS Education features in version 9.3, which will streamline iPad-sharing between students, allow teachers to create interactive lessons on the iPad, and include device-management tools for schools.
The new iPhone SE and iPad Air will come with iOS 9.3 preinstalled. Owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, and 6S Plus should get a System Update alert to install the new OS on today.