Everything new (and exciting!) coming in iOS 9.3


This is a bigger update than anyone anticipated.
Photo: Apple

Apple released the developer beta for iOS 9.3 today. To the surprise of many, it actually includes quite a few brand new and useful features whether you’re in the classroom or trying to sleep — or both. There are so many new features that we can actually dedicate an entire post to explaining all of them. So here we are doing exactly that.

Note that since today marks iOS 9.3’s release only for developers, it might be a while before the rest of us see the final version show up in the Settings app. But without further ado, here is everything you can look forward to in iOS 9.3.

Lock your private notes

No need for a third-party app to store sensitive information anymore.
Photo: Apple

The Notes app introduces the ability in iOS 9.3 to password-protect individual notes. If you want to store personal information like credit card numbers, account credentials or, dare I say some scandalous photos, you can keep them under a lock. If you want to open the locked note(s), it’ll prompt you to use your Touch ID fingerprint or manually enter a preset Notes password.

Sleep better with Night Shift

iOS 9.3 has a very clever new feature called Night Shift. Looking at blue light for too long actually sends false signals in your body to stay awake and alert even when you might be laying in bed, so Apple has a solution. iOS will use your clock and geolocation to learn when the sun sets, then automatically make the color temperature on the display warmer to get rid of some of the distracting blues at night. In the morning when the sun rises, the display’s colors will return to normal.

iPad for education just got amazing

Multiple users in education. Soon for the rest of us?
Photo: Apple

A huge release for education customers, iOS 9.3 first adds a long-requested multi-user mode to the iPad. That means teachers can add a large roster of students to a single iPad and let them share only one with their personal data saved on their own accounts. Plus, using the new Classroom app, teachers can monitor all the students using an iPad, glance at which apps they’re using and check the progress they’re making with assignments in real time. It’s also much easier to create Apple IDs in bulk so institutions don’t have to waste time or energy on one-by-one student signups.

One iPhone, multiple Apple Watches

Starting with iOS 9.3, you can pair multiple Apple Watches to a single iPhone. If you have a bunch of data on one iPhone that you want to share with people in your family who each have their own Watch, this new feature would be quite advantageous. Plus, developers should have a field day with this since it allows for better app and OS testing. To take advantage of multiple Apple Watch linking, you’ll need watchOS 2.2, which also went into beta today.

News, Health, CarPlay and more

Among some of the smaller updates in iOS 9.3, the News app has personalized recommendations in its For You tab, Editors’ Picks and can play video inline. The Health app now displays more information from your Apple Watch like your move and stand data, plus recommends third-party apps in various categories like weight. CarPlay introduces For You recommendations from Apple Music and improves the Maps app with Nearby stops like food and gas.

If you’re a developer, you can get on board with iOS 9.3 immediately by downloading the beta from the iOS Dev Center. The rest of us can (for now) drool over the details Apple laid out in the iOS 9.3 Preview page, which unfortunately isn’t accompanied by a release date just yet.

  • aromedia

    Would be nice to fix all major bugs in 9.2 first. iOS is getting pretty scary and annoying from what I experience since a couple of updates.

    • I though there was a beta of 9.2.1. Quite a lot of bugs – my Game Center crashed and won’t load again, some games won’t even load because of it

      • aromedia

        Dont’t worry they will (try to) do a 9.2 fix before 9.3…

  • oldmanyoung

    Night Shift – finally! The one app I miss from my jailbreak days is f.lux. I’m hoping Apple will also give users control over the times and color temps.

  • Christos

    any news about Siri languages? Interested in Greek.

    • Mikael

      Malay (Malaysia), Finnish (Finland), and Hebrew (Israel)

      • Christos

        thanks bud.

  • Jay

    Wish they’d pair Night Shift with a dark ui

  • Collector

    It’s crap the multi user is just for education. I would love to be able to have more then one account on my iPads. This way when I hand it over to an art director on a photo shoot I don’t need to worry about my data. Also while I don’t need to worry about it now that my daughter is older that would have been great when she was younger. I would think parents would want this feature. I will enjoy not having to repair with the fact that I have two Apple Watches.

  • Andy Brooks

    I wish iCloud Photo Library would come to Apple TV.

  • ShitIconSays

    Explains why f.lux doesnt work as well now.

  • ARob

    Shared iPad, great start. I trust this will expand. A couple of common use cases are a shared family iPad and Business vs Personal user profiles.

  • Anouar El Mourabit

    Does anyone know if bluetooth protocol rSAP will be supported?

  • scott ronan

    Nightshift works well, just turned it on.

  • Jobias

    iOS 9.3 will be publicly released in the spring according to the iPhone main page

  • Chris Lewis

    People haven’t mentioned that iBooks now shares all your books (PDF’s, etc) to all your devices via iCloud – which is great for people like me! Also, since getting the Apple Watch and using iOS 9, my iphone would drop 20% battery overnight when not charging unless I switched to aeroplane mode. 9.3 has meant it now only drops by about 4% – fantastic!