iOS 9.3 new features: Where to find 'em, how to use 'em

21 March 2016, 15:02

iOS 9.3 is now officially available and you can update your iPhone or iPad by opening the Settings app, then tapping the General heading, and tapping Software Update. Alternatively, attach your device to your computer via USB and sync using iTunes. You’ll be prompted to install the update.

There’s numerous new features in iOS 9.3 and below we tell you how to get started with them.

Night Shift
Open the Settings app, then tap the Display & Brightness heading. Then tap the Night Shift entry and tap either Scheduled, to set start and end times for Night Shift, or the switch alongside Manually Enable Until Tomorrow.

When setting a schedule you can tap to choose exact times, or tap Sunset to Sunrise to have Night Shift follow the sun in your locality, thanks to GPS and knowledge of sunset/sunrise times. (Don’t see Sunset/Sunrise options? See this article.)

The manual enable switch is useful for initially adjusting the Color Temperature slider, which you’ll see below the other controls. This lets you get the degree of warmth coloration to your tastes (ensure you’re looking straight on at the screen while doing this, because the color can shift subtly if viewing from non-straight angles.) I prefer a slightly cooler image, for example, rather than a screen swamped by yellow.

Night Shift can also be toggled on and off from the Control Center that slides up from the bottom of the screen.

Can’t see a Night Shift option? This might be because it’s only for the iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, and iPod touch (6th generation).

Notes security and sorting
Open the Settings app, then tap the Notes heading in the list. Then tap the Password heading.

You’ll be immediately prompted to set a password, and you should make this different from your login passphrase/passcode. If your device has TouchID you can choose to use this instead of the password, by toggling the switch beneath the password field, but you’ll still have to enter a password – it’s needed if you try to open the note on a Mac, or those occasions when TouchID on the iPhone/iPad just won’t work properly.

Protection isn’t automatic or universal. From now on you must manually lock any notes you want to protect – open the note, then tap the Share button, and tap the Lock Note icon. You’ll need to enter your password or use TouchID to apply the lock option to the note. Once the lock option has been applied, you must tap the lock icon at the top of the note to actually lock it.

To alter how the notes are sorted in the list, open the Settings app, tap the Notes heading, and then tap the Sort Notes By entry and choose from the list: Date Edited, Date Created, or Title.

News app
No mystery here – just open the News app, then tap the For You icon at the bottom to see a better laid-out, faster and more personalized summary of the top stories you’re likely to be interested in.

Don’t forget to try out the new News app landscape mode by turning your device on its side (and turning off orientation lock, if necessary!)

Health app suggestions
Again, this feature isn’t complicated – just open the Health app, tap the Dashboard icon at the bottom, tap one of the Dashboard entries, and the list of apps will appear under the usual Dashboard info for that section. Tapping any will switch you out to the App Store for installation.

Obviously, not all Dashboard categories have apps. Nobody has yet created an app to aid climbing flights of stairs, for example. Try each of the Dashboard headings in turn to see what’s suggested.

MacStories has an interesting write-up on CareKit, which was announced during the March 21st event.

Switching users on iPad
Alas, this feature is only available when the iPad is managed in an education environment, with the Shared iPad feature employed via the new Classroom app. For more information, see Apple’s guide. (If we find an easy way of hacking this for general use we’ll be sure to let you know here at Mac Kung Fu!)

Multiple Watch pairing
If you’re lucky enough to have more than one Apple Watch, and want to pair them to the same iPhone, open the Watch app on the phone and select your currently paired Watch from the list at the top. Then select Pair a New Apple Watch from the list. In future you can switch between Watch settings/configurations within the Watch app by simply opening the Watch app on the iPhone, then waking the Watch by lifting it to view the time.

Note that before being able to add a new Watch you’ll need to ensure the current Watch paired with the Phone is updated to Watch OS 2.2. This can be done by opening the Watch app on the iPhone, then selecting General > Software Update. The Watch will need to be charging for the update to be applied, and have a charge of at least 50%.

New Force Touch options
If you have an iPhone 6S or a 6S Plus, be sure to Force Touch each home-screen icon for the built-in apps to see the new menu options. For example, Force Touching the Settings app now provides a shortcut to go straight to choosing a Wi-Fi network.

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