3 Important Improvements in iOS 9 That Are Less Than Obvious
Much of what’s great about the iOS 9 update (ok, now technically iOS 9.0.1) is not blazingly obvious to the average iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch user. That’s intentional, as Apple put a lot of emphasis on under-the-hood improvements this time around, and iOS 9 offers some great enhancements that, unless pointed out, are fairly subtle.
In no particular order, here are three of the more important subtle improvements offered in iOS 9…
Better Battery Management… Yes Really
Every iPhone or iPad user has been there… their device has 20% battery or less remaining, but they won’t be near a charger anytime remotely soon. This is where the new Low Power Mode feature steps in, designed specifically for these type of situations. When enabled, Lower Power Mode temporarily disables some battery hungry features, including email fetch, background app refresh, automatic app downloads, and many visual effects. It also reduces the CPU speed of the iPhone temporarily so that it consumes less power overall.
The result of enabling Lower Power Mode is a notable improvement in battery life, particularly in those situations where you need to preserve what remaining battery life is left on an iPhone. You’ll be prompted to enable the feature when battery life hits 20% or less, but you can also choose to enable it anytime yourself by going into Settings > Battery > Lower Power Mode and turning it on.
iOS 9 offers notable improvements to security for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users, some of which are obvious to the user, and some which are just under the hood. First up, and fairly obvious when a user first updates to iOS 9, is the inclusion of a new six-digit passcode option, which is the new default. A six digit passcode means that it becomes incredibly difficult for someone to guess your passcode, with over a million possible combinations available, making the passcode locked screen considerably more secure than it was before. If you skipped the setup of a 6 digit passcode, you can set one at anytime by going into Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Change Passcode and picking the option.
Aside from the improved passcode protection options, iOS 9 directly patched over 100 potential security vulnerabilities with the update, making it the most secure version of iOS out there.
There’s a User Facing File System! Kind Of…
iOS 9 includes a user accessible file system of sorts… well, ok maybe not a file system like the Finder, but in the form of an app called iCloud Drive. If that sounds familiar, it’s because iCloud Drive exists in OS X too, but with a native app in iOS 9 it becomes much easier to use files between your iPhones, iPads, and Macs. For example, if you save a file into iCloud, you’ll be able to access it from the any device signed into the same Apple ID through iCloud Drive. Additionally, if you copy files to iCloud Drive on the Mac, they’ll now be visible in the iCloud Drive app on the iPhone and iPad, where you can open, edit, and save them, all easily and seamlessly.
When configuring iOS 9 you’ll see an option to enable iCloud Drive, but if you missed it or skipped it, just go to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Drive to turn it on and make it visible on the device home screen.
Have you updated to iOS 9 yet? (Yes, now it’s technically iOS 9.0.1 and there is an iOS 9.1 beta under way). For many users, it’s a worthwhile update, even if many of the changes and features are more subtle than usual. And if you decide you hate it, you can revert back to iOS 8.4.1 if you really want to.