OS X 10.11.4, iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2, tvOS 9.2 released

Today Apple released updates for most of their products. Recently Apple has shifted from a huge update every year or two with nothing but bug fixes in between, to more frequent, more gradual updates. So these updates actually introduce a few pretty significant features. And recently the release notes provided by Apple have gone into far more depth so if you want to see some of the more detailed changes I suggest reading those. I’ve personally been running the betas on my iPhone and Apple Watch recently, and have found them to be significantly faster.

To install the update:

  • Mac: Click the Apple menu > App Store. Switch to the Updates tab.
  • iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch): Tap Settings > General > Software Update
  • Watch: on your paired iPhone open the Watch app > General > Software Update
  • TV (4th generation): Settings > System > Software Update

Apart from the standard round of bug fixes, security patches, and speed enhancements we also get:

IMG_2737Night Shift on iOS. Supported on 64-Bit devices (iPhone 5s or higher, iPad Air or higher), Night Shift reduces the blue light emitted by your device. Some studies have suggested that this reduces the interruption to your circadian rhythm, allowing you to sleep better. This can be configured to turn on automatically after sunset in the Settings app under Display & Brightness or it can be toggled manually on the updated Control Center with an upward swipe from the bottom of the screen.

IMG_2736Secure Notes on iOS and Mac. The notes app now allows you to encrypt your notes using a password. Each note can have encryption enabled or disabled, but all encrypted notes will use the same password. You can also unlock the notes using your fingerprint on Touch ID-enabled devices. Be careful with your password though because the password cannot be reset. If you lose your password you lose the notes. To enable encryption tap the “Share” button on a note and look for “Add Password” on the bottom row.

Wi-Fi Calling on Verizon. If you have at least an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and an eligible account you can head to Settings > Phone to turn on Wi-Fi calling. this allows your phone to make calls and SMS over your WiFi connection when your cellular connection is weak or nonexistent. Once it’s configured you’ll see “Verizon Wi-Fi” as your carrier when active. Read more detailed information from Apple or the Verizon FAQ.

iCloud for iBooks. Not only can you download books you purchased from the iBooks Store, you can also sync your own PDF files within iBooks across devices via iCloud Drive.

Support for multiple Apple Watches. If you’re watch-obsessed there is a chance you’ve wanted to have multiple Apple Watches but were limited to a single watch per iPhone. Now you can pair multiple watches.

Encrypted iCloud backups. It appears that iOS backups are now encrypted using your passcode if you have Two-Factor Authentication enabled. This will make it more difficult for Apple to comply with law enforcement requests, and more difficult for hackers to who gained access to your account to be able to access your personal data. But it also means that if you forget your passcode and get locked out of your iPhone, Apple might not be able to help your recover your backup data.

Several Apple TV features:

  • Dictation: hold the Siri button in a text entry field to speak instead of typing, even allows you to spell out your passwords
  • Folders: click and hold an icon until it starts jiggling, then press the play button to move it to a folder or create a new one
  • Music search for Siri
  • App Store search for Siri
  • Bluetooth keyboard support
  • Podcast app
  • Complete iCloud Photo Library, not just shared folders
  • Live Photos
  • Fewer swiping accidents: to scrub through a video that’s playing, you need to click to pause before swiping left or right, then click again to jump; this reduces the times you grab the remote upside-down and accidentally swipe forward several minutes

Import Evernote content into Notes on Mac.

Multi-user support for education iPads. Only for the education market. But maybe it’s a sign of things to come? I’d love to have a shared iPad for the house with customized logins for each user.

Polish for some built-in iOS apps. That’s polish like 💅. Not Polish like 🇵🇱. Some minor interface changes for CarPlay, Health, and News apps.