Apple Releases iOS 9.3 With Night Shift, New Quick Actions, App Improvements, '1970' Bug Fix and More
Apple today released iOS 9.3 to the public, marking the third significant update to the iOS 9 operating system since it launched in September of 2015. iOS 9.3 has been in testing since January 11 with new features, refinements, and bug fixes added throughout the beta testing period.
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.
Night Shift mode can be set to turn on automatically at sunset or it can be manually toggled on when needed via the Settings app or through the Control Center Night Shift icon, shaped like a sun. For full instructions, check out our Night Shift how to.
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.
CarPlay includes "New" and "For You" sections in Apple music for better content discovery, and iOS 9's Nearby feature is now available in CarPlay Maps for more information on local points-of-interest located close by. When paired with an Apple Watch running watchOS 2.2, an iPhone running iOS 9.3 can support multiple Apple Watches.
For the education sector, there are multiple features to make the iPad more appealing to teachers and students. There are better tools for managing Apple IDs, accounts, and courses, along with a Classroom app that lets teachers guide students through app-based lessons. Multi-user login is also supported in iOS 9.3 for educational users, and while a highly desired feature, it not available to the general public. Apple is also introducing improved transparency for its Mobile Device Management users, which encompasses iOS devices controlled by schools and businesses, to let people know when an iPhone is being tracked and controlled by an organization.
As for bug fixes, iOS 9.3 fixes a bug that caused 64-bit iPhones and iPads to be disabled or "bricked" when the date on the device was set to January 1, 1970. In iOS 9.3, devices can be restored to working order using iTunes, and it is no longer possible to set a date before 1/1/01 at 12:00 a.m. GMT. Other general bug fixes are listed below:
- Fixes an issue where manually changing the date May 1970 or earlier could prevent your iOS device from turning on after a restart
- Fixes issues that could prevent some iCloud Backups from completing
- Fixes an issue for some users where Health data was incomplete after restoring from an iCloud Backup
- Fixes an issue where an inaccurate battery percentage could be displayed
- Addresses an issue that prevented iMessage or FaceTime activation for some users
- Addresses an issue that could prevent displaying the iPhone interface when receiving a phone call
- Fixes an issue that enabled overriding restrictions applied to cellular data toggle
- Fixes an issue that caused notification settings to appear in the Watch app for apps that were not installed on Apple Watch
In early iOS 9.3 betas, Apple Pencil navigational functionality was removed, preventing iPad Pro owners from using it to select text, scroll, swipe between apps, and more. Apple restored the functionality in iOS 9.3 beta 5, and at release, the Apple Pencil is working as normal.
Along with the above listed additions, there are numerous other minor tweaks, performance improvements, and bug fixes in iOS 9.3, designed to refine and improve the overall functionality of the iOS 9 operating system. The update comes with a long list of release notes covering new features and improvements, well worth reading through on your iOS device.