iOS 9.3 is available immediately to all iOS 9 users as an over-the-air update. It can also be downloaded through iTunes on the Mac and PC. As a major update to the iOS 9 operating system, iOS 9.3 introduces several new functions, important bug fixes, and feature refinements. Perhaps the biggest change is the introduction of Night Shift mode, designed to reduce the amount of blue light iOS users are exposed to in the evening by shifting the iPhone or iPad display to a warmer (yellower) color spectrum.
For iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users, several apps are gaining new Quick Actions. Weather, Settings, Compass, Health, App Store, and iTunes Store all offer new or improved features when pressed on the Home screen. Settings, for example, offers quick access to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Battery settings, while the App Store now offers an option to update all apps.
In Apple News, users will find better personalized recommendations, more frequent updates, support for in-line video, and a landscape view on the iPhone. In Health, there’s a new Apple Watch-style “Activity” view, and in Notes, there’s now an option to password protect individual entries with a passcode and/or Touch ID. Third-party apps, like Shazam are able to add songs to Apple Music playlists, and Verizon Wireless subscribers can now use Wi-Fi calling.
The OS X 10.11.4 update is available to all OS X El Capitan users and can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store. OS X 10.11.4 introduces Live Photos support in the Messages app, expanding the number of ways Live Photos can be viewed on a Mac. Prior to OS X 10.11.4, Live Photos could only be viewed through the Mac Photos app. Live Photos in Messages are denoted by the concentric circle icon that marks a Live Photo, and a click on a Live Photo will bring up a mini photo viewer that will play the photo animation.
The update includes support for password protected Notes, a feature that is also available within iOS 9.3. With password protection, individual notes within the Notes app can be locked with a password that must be entered before content can be viewed. Also new is an option to import notes from other note-taking apps like Evernote.
Aside from the minor new features in Notes an Messages, OS X 10.11.4 includes no other obvious outward-facing changes, instead focusing primarily on under-the-hood performance improvements and bug fixes to address issues that have surfaced since the launch of OS X 10.11.3.
The 2.2 update can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General –> Software Update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the Apple Watch charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone.
WatchOS 2.2, along with iOS 9.3, introduces support for pairing multiple Apple Watches with a single iPhone. Both updates are required, and each watch paired with an iPhone running iOS 9.3 must have watchOS 2.2 installed.
There are few other outward-facing changes included in watchOS 2.2, but the update brings improvements and a new look to the built-in Maps app. Maps now supports the Nearby feature first introduced with iOS 9, allowing users to quickly locate local points of interest, and it has new buttons for quickly accessing directions to home and work.
tvOS 9.2 can be downloaded over-the-air through the Settings app on the Apple TV 4 by opening the System section and choosing the Software Update option. tvOS 9.2 brings two new text input methods — dictation and Bluetooth keyboards — to the fourth-generation Apple TV, making it much easier to insert passwords and search for content like apps, movies, and television shows. With dictation support, Apple TV users can dictate text for tasks like spelling user names and passwords instead of typing them in.
In tvOS 9.2, apps can be grouped into folders, making it possible to create a more organized iOS-style Home screen, and there’s also a new look for the App Switcher interface.
Full support for iCloud Photo Library is included, so Apple TV users can access all of their photos on the device, including Live Photos taken with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.