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Apple iOS 9.3 review – all the new features

iOS 9 Beta Hero Shot
Our Rating :

Slicker, easier to use and with a ton of new features, iOS 9 is an excellent upgrade to an already powerful operating system


A better mail client

Although there was nothing particularly wrong with the default mail client, it made it hard to attach pictures (you had to copy and paste them out of the Photos app) and you couldn’t send file attachments. Now, a long-press on an email lets you tap an option to add a photo/video directly, and a second option lets you attach any file that’s stored in your iCloud Drive. 

You can search Settings

Remember opening up the Settings app and then desparately trying to remember where that setting is that you want to change? No more will you have to do that, as Settings now has its own search bar on its main screen. Just type what you’re looking for, as you would in OS X’s Control Centre, and you’ll see a filtered list of options.

Move to iOS

Once people are locked into a phone’s ecosystem, it’s hard for them to change. Apple wants to get Android users to make the switch, though, so it’s created the Move to iOS app, which is not yet available. It will transfer all of your settings, files and data from an Android phone to iOS, even adding your paid apps to an iTunes Wish List. It’s a bold move from the company, although I’ll have to wait until the app is available to try it out.

iOS 9 beta move to iOS App


Apple’s new operating system is compatible with the same range of devices as iOS 8. This means any iPhone from the iPhone 4S onwards, all iPads from the iPad 2 and iPad Mini onwards, and the iPod Touch 5th Generation. Performance testing my iPhone 6 Plus, the benchmarks returned similar scores for iOS 8.4 and iOS 9, which shows that there’s no particularly overhead running the new OS. In otherwords, if you’re happy with iOS 8.4 on your device, iOS 9 will run as well. People with an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 will find performance on iOS 9 to be similar to on iOS 8, but a little slower than on iOS 7. Given that the latter OS is now two years old and won’t be supported by newer apps, my advice is for everyone that can upgrade should upgrade.

What isn’t so good?

The one part of iOS 9 that still doesn’t work quite as well as it should do is AirDrop, Apple’s technology for sharing links, files and photos wirelessly between iOS and/or OS X devices. It’s always been a little bit flaky with my devices often refusing to see each other. I was hoping that Apple would have fixed some of the issues for iOS 9, but I’m still having the same problems. It’s a shame, as, when it works, AirDrop is a powerful and simple tool for sharing.

See, how to fix AirDrop


Although I wasn’t expecting iOS 9 to be such a big change from iOS 8, Apple has made some big improvements to the OS. It’s now quicker to search, smarter and some of the niggles have been ironed out, such as introducing the back button to take you back to the previous app. I’m not completely sold on the new task switcher, but having used iOS 9 for some time now, it’s a feature that I’ve got used to. Overall, the improvements are really quite impressive and this is an upgrade for everyone.

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Key specs
Supported devicesiPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Mini with Retina Display, iPod Touch 5th Generation

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