Five cool iOS 9.3 features

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 22 Mar 2016

Sleep better: Apple's Night Shift mode shifts the iOS colour to a warmer tone to reduce blue light which reportedly disrupts sleep patterns.

Apple has released iOS 9.3, which is a free download for all iOS 9 users, bringing with it pages and pages of bug fixes and some new features.

Most notably, this latest operating system release fixes the notorious bug that could completely brick your iPhone if you set the date to May 1970.

Amongst the many bug fixes and tiny updates, there were five new features that we were particularly excited about.

Sync those books
Sync those eBooks: iCloud sync finally arrives for PDF files and eBooks that you've bought from outside the iBooks Store.

iBooks gets sync
One of the most annoying omissions for users of iBooks is that for some reason, if you load PDFs or eBooks that weren’t purchased in the iBooks Store itself, these files would not sync to all your devices.

With iOS 9.3, this oversight has finally been fixed and now you can enable PDF and user-added eBooks to sync across all your devices by going into Settings>iTunes & App Stores and turning on “Books & Audiobooks” automatic downloads option.

Protected Notes
While there are ewallet apps in the App Store that specifically cater to storing your sensitive information and encrypting it, many of us just use our Notes app to store some of our passwords.

Perhaps recognising this, Apple has added a whole lot more security to the Notes app by adding support to encrypt and password protect specific Notes.

The cool thing is that you can choose to unlock those files using Touch ID so you don’t have to constantly type the password every time you want to read a protected Note.

To lock a note, open it and then tap on the little box icon with an arrow pointing out of it at the top right hand corner of the screen (we used to call it the Share icon, but that’s become increasingly inaccurate with each iOS update) – on the bottom row of the menu that pops up is an option to Lock Note.

Just tap on it and you will be given the option to lock the note using Touch ID or a password.

Night Shift
Save your sleep: Night Shift mode on iOS 9.3 can be turned on manually in the settings or Control Centre or set on a schedule depending on time and location.

Night Shift
Everyone’s adding a “reduce blue light” mode in monitors and other displays these days – apparently some research has shown that seeing too much blue light in the evening will disrupt sleeping patterns.

With iOS 9.3 Apple has also added a feature to reduce blue light in the display and it’s called Night Shift mode.

You can either toggle Night Shift on manually or let the iPhone automatically use your location and time to detect the best time to turn it on.

Alternatively you can bring up Control Centre by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen and toggle it on from there as well.

Save a photo from a Live Photo
While Live Photos are great, they do take up more space and there are times when need to regain some storage space but don’t want to delete all your precious photos just to make room.

iOS 9.3 now allows you to save a full-resolution still photo from a Live Photo – just tap on the Share button (again, it’s the box with an arrow coming out of it) and then choose “Duplicate” which will pop up another menu to “Duplicate as Still Photo.

”Tapping on this will duplicate the Live Photo as a still, after which you can delete the original Live Photo.

3D Touch extended
If you own an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, iOS 9.3 brings with it more context menus (Apple calls it the Quick Action menu) when you firm press on icons.

For example a firm press on the App Store icon brings up a list of Quick Actions which now includes an “Update All Apps” option, while doing so on the Stocks icon brings up an option to search for specific stock tickers.

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