Apple begins testing iOS 9 ahead of a launch this fall

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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.