Apple begins testing iOS 9 ahead of a launch this fall


A new iOS 8 update is here.
iOS 9 is now in the oven. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

It will be many months before developers see Apple’s first iOS 9 beta, but the Cupertino company has already begun testing the update internally ahead of this fall’s release. The software has starting appearing in analytics data for a number of sites in recent months, including our own.

If Apple sticks to its traditional release schedule this year, we’ll get our first preview of iOS 9 this June at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The company then makes early versions of the software available to developers for testing, before a public rollout alongside new iOS devices later in the fall.

Inside the walls of Apple’s Cupertino HQ, however, it seems a select few are already running iOS 9. Czech blog LetemSvetemApple was first to notice iOS 9 in its Google Analytics data, with three visits from the new OS this month. After digging around in Cult of Mac’s own stats, I noticed iOS 9 first began appearing around November 22.

Only a small number of visits every few days were accounted to iOS 9 devices for the first couple of weeks, but in mid-December, there was a noticeable increase in usage.

iOS 9 is alive. Screenshot: Cult of Mac
iOS 9 is alive. Screenshot: Cult of Mac

This suggests Apple began testing on iOS 9 on a small number of devices just two months after rolling iOS 8 out to the public, and may have made the software available to even more employees last month.

Of course, this isn’t exactly unusual; Apple is expected to test new software well in advance of its public debut, so it’s not too surprising that iOS 9 is being passed around internally. For the rest of us, there’s a six-month wait just to see it, and about nine months to go before we can actually get our hands on it.

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  • Lynn

    This is why things are getting so out of hand at Apple. iOS 8 is still a hot steaming mess, and they’ve already moved on.

    • WesH

      Out of hand huh? What world do you live in? Apple and its devices are in the best shape they have ever been. I see only hate.

      • Lynn

        I have an iPhone 6 Plus with 128GB. I’m not a hater. However, my phone hasn’t synced properly with my car since I had it. Both podcasts and iPod can only be browsed about 25% of the time. I had no problems with iOS 7 on my 5S. And before you blame my car, I have Siri Eyes Free… So … state of the art. Not being able to browse my playlists in my car is s big deal. This is a core function. They might as well disable calling and not fix it for months. That’s just one issue I’ve had so get your eyesight checked.

      • Cold_dead_fingers

        Best shape? Is that supposed to be a joke? Apple software is in the worst shape it’s ever been. Their quality in OS X has gone down since Lion, and their quality in iOS has gone down since iOS 6.

        I’ve had more issues with iOS 7 and 8 than all previous releases combined. And most every time I ask for help at an Apple Store, they tell me to start a fresh backup on my phone. That means I have to remember all of the apps that I have downloaded and forget about all of my pictures and video. Maybe your shit is working perfectly, but not everybody is so lucky.

      • Samuel Crowe

        Maybe you just gotta know how to handle it, buddy.

    • Matt Testerman

      I agree Lynn, I felt this is the worst iOS I have ever used and I have an iPhone 6. I have never had this many random crashes, sync issues, freezes, than my other iPhone. I miss my iPhone 4 with iOS 6/7.

  • Jonathan R Wegner

    Good — it’s needed. iOS8 on my brand new iP6 runs like a lame dog. Worst iOS version ever. The BETA was even worse.

    • sigzero

      I have an iP6 wit iOS8 and it runs pretty dang quick.

    • I think you mean iPhone 4S instead of iPhone 6. Because, just like sigzero, my iPhone 6 runs iOS 8 ‘pretty dang quick’. Especially with iOS 8.1+. Currently got iOS 8.2 beta 4 running on it and it’s even more stable than ever.

      Just don’t get all the hate against iOS 8. Yes, it runs bad on iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad mini (1st generation) and iPod touch (5th generation). But all other devices are able to perform pretty well with it.

      • Jonathan R Wegner

        I wish it ran smoothly, but it does not. I may need to do another clean install, as mine is buggy as hell. Conversely, my iPad Air 2 runs great. But, the BETA was the worst I’ve run.

      • David

        Of course a beta runs bad.. ITS BETA! … its used for ironing out bugs.

      • Cold_dead_fingers

        iOS 8 doesn’t run all that well on my iPhone 6. I get a lot of stuttering when I close apps or browse through a folder and pretty much all over the OS. In fact, I’d say I have more stutter with my iPhone 6 and iOS 8 than I did with my iPhone 5 and iOS 8.

      • RedNinjaX

        That’s a long list of buggy devices out of the total supported ones.

  • 5AMTech

    …And it hasn’t occurred to anyone that people might be using fake user agent strings? I’ve done it, if just for geek cred, and to show off to my friends that those user agent detecting websites think I’m running iOS 9.

    Also, relevant photoshop:

    • Paul Lloyd Johnson

      It’s actually more likely that they are running iOS9 though.

    • Jarrod Davis

      I was thinking the same thing.

  • GadgetCanada1

    In 365 days, recycle this article and change iOS9 to iOS10

  • Matt Testerman

    Should I even dare upgrade after the nightmare of iOS 8?