iOS9 on the iPhone: Hands On

While iOS9 isn’t released officially until Autumn (predicted September 2015 release), beta versions are available for developers to use. More features are expected to be added to subsequent beta’s as they are on the lead up to the completed iOS9’s release. It’s early days, but the iOS9 beta shows off a clean, vibrant and useful system, packed with plenty of innovative features that will no doubt prove to be useful once the download lands in the Autumn.

Here are the new features found on the iOS 9, beta 2:

Updated Icons

The podcasts app icon is now bolder and more simpler looking, to coincide with the phones cleaner, more refined look. The Apple Watch app retains the same icon, but has been renamed “Watch”.

Improved Siri

siri

Whilst the look of Siri has changed slightly, it has also become more accurate. Siri now offers maps and suggestions that are more closely matched to the question you asked it. It also seems to pick up on your voice commands much easier than it has in previous versions.

siri2

Notes

apple notes

Drawing and photos can now be added to notes. This allows for much easier to remember notes. For instance, store a photo of a product you saw in a shop, add some text or draw a note underneath it, and you’ll remember to pick that up at a later date. The new version of the Notes app is still in development, so a more improved version of these features will be coming along soon.

Improved Search

search

The search feature on the iPhone has been refined, offering more accurate results. Search suggests facilities and places nearby your location, contacts you regularly get in touch with, relevant news, apps, maps and internet searches. Wider results are provided for each search query, making it a much more useful tool than it has been in the past.

Search can be customised too, by toggling the selection of apps on or off in Settings so that they do or do not show up in your search results. An option to toggle the News app is also provided here, although this App is currently not released on the iOS9 beta, due to still being in development.

Keyboard Changes

On the iPhone, the keyboard style and font have been subtly tweaked to fall in line with iOS9’s clean aesthetics. The iPad’s version adds an undo, redo, past, cut and copy icon for quick and easy editing whilst typing.

Automatic App Deletion

This is one of the handiest parts of the iOS9 beta. Automatic App Deletion deletes apps for software downloads, allowing some freeing up of space, enough for the update. Once it has completed installation, apps are downloaded automatically again, returning your phone back to normal.  

App Switching Animation Changed

It was briefly shown at WWDC, but the switching animation between windows has changed on iOS9. It now looks more fluid, switching in between each app quickly. Some windows also display a button allowing you to return to the previous app; for example “return to Whatsapp” when directed through to a website page via a link in the chat, or “return to Facebook” when talking to friends on Facebook Messenger. This quick switching between apps proves to be immensely useful, especially when you have a lot of apps open at the same time. It allows you to avoid sliding through each one until you get to the desired tab.

Radio

Beats1Radio

Apple Music has launched now, but iOS9’s latest beta introduced the “Radio” portion of the app. On here, Beats 1 Radio is found, a 24/7 radio station that was launched on the 30th June 2015, along with a selection of other radio stations. A the time of writing this, most of them were unresponsive, but now that Apple Music was released, things seem to be working smoothly.

The iOS9 beta was tested on the iPhone 5s.