After eight years of upgrades and interactions, we’ve come to expect certain things with iOS updates. Each time around, Apple offers a few new apps, a couple marquee features, some fresh wallpaper, and a host of minor speed and usability improvements that give users plenty of reasons to seek out the upgrade button. Apple’s ridiculously high adoption rates aren’t just a result of its handle on fragmentation; downloading a new iOS release can be just as exciting as peeling the plastic screen cover off a new iPhone, breathing new life into old devices and offering at least one or two must-have apps and features.
iOS 9, released today, slows things down a bit. While there are lots of new things to try out (particularly for iPad users), many of its changes are of an intuitive nature. iOS 9 is a so-called maintenance release, focusing on improving the foundation and making it smarter rather than rebuilding and adding to it. There are far more noticeable little changes in iOS 9 than big ones – like, for example, using watchOS’s San Francisco as the main system font – and while it doesn’t smack you in the face with its newness like iOS 7 did, there’s still a lot to absorb. In some ways, version 9 feels like something of a culmination of what Apple started with iOS 8, smoothing many of the rough edges and bringing a greater sense of coherence and navigation. In a former time, it might have been called iOS 8.5.
But even though you won’t find very many revolutionary changes, the usability and accessibility tweaks throughout iOS 9 make it feel like a complete, polished operating system rather than a work in progress. And as always, if you’ve missed anything, we’ve got you covered with 50 tips and tricks.