iOS 9.3 Beta Shows Off Big Changes Coming To iPhone and iPad

Apple has released a beta version of its new iOS 9.3 software for iPhones and iPads, giving a glimpse into the new features that will soon be available. The system updates are now available to developers, who can download the beta from the iOS Dev Centre. For everyone else the wait won't be too long — the public beta was released on Wednesday for anybody who signed up. Here's some of the key new features in store.

Education tools

With a big focus on increasing iPad use in the classroom, Apple have introduced new features for everyone at school, from students to admin staff.

Students are being offered a personalised iPad experience even when multiple users are sharing the same device by now being able to log in to their own individual profile. The new feature, called 'Shared iPad' gives students access to their own apps, books and documents on any iPad. Young students will be offered a more basic version accessed with a four digit PIN.

Teachers will be able to see what individual students are doing on their devices, present their work directly to Apple TV and manage iPad use by casting information to students' devices with a new Classroom app.

The update will offer a centralised hub for teachers called 'Apple School Manager', where they will be able to purchase apps and manage individual Apple IDs and enrolment.

It will also be easier to create Apple IDs in bulk, giving schools the ability to assign and manage their students' accounts. The school features will not be available to the general public.

Night Shift

A new 'Night Shift' mode will automatically adjust the colours on iPhone and iPad screens when night falls, becoming warmer and less eye-straining so that Apple users won't be disturbed by interruptions to their sleep caused by harsh blue screen light.

A similar feature, called f.lux, has been offered in the jailbroken app store Cydia since 2011. F.lux developers unsuccessfully attempted to release the app into Apple's App Store in 2015. Apple's new 'Night Shift' mode will operate as a built-in feature in iOS 9.3, instead of as a separate app.

Improved 3D Touch

iOS 9.3 will come with advanced 3D Touch capabilities, meaning there are advancements to the way users can interact with their Apple device using pressure commands. These include new 'Quick Shortcuts' for the App store, Compass, Health, iTunes Store and Weather.

Pair multiple Apple Watches to a single iPhone

With iOS 9.3, users will be able to pair multiple Apple Watches to a single iPhone so that pictures and other data can be shared with a number of people each with their own Watch. To link multiple Apple Watches to an iPhone, users will need watchOS 2.2, which also went into beta this week.


The iOS 9.3 system update will also offer a Fingerprint Lock for the Notes application and additional features for CarPlay including recommendations from Apple Music and improvements to Maps so that users will be told where to find nearby petrol stations, restaurants, available parking and more.

This article originally appeared in Digital Life, The Sydney Morning Herald's home for everything technology. Follow Digital Life on Facebook and Twitter.



    It's about damn time that iOS got f.lux built in.

      I feel sorry for the developers

        On the contrary. f.lux is free, so it's not as if they'll lose any income stream. What it will do is alert more people to the importance of less blue night at night and drive them to install f.lux on their Mac and Windows PCs.


      Apple used the idea, they didn't integrate the actual f.lux's app.

      No wonder they rejected it from the AppStore.

      A nice feature to have but it's sad considering f.lux originally thought of it.

      Last edited 15/01/16 7:53 am

    It will also be easier to create Apple IDs in bulk, giving schools the ability to assign and manage their students’ accounts
    I fail to see a benefit to doing this compared to bypassing the need for individual Apple IDs entirely via Configurator.

    Fingerprint lock for Notes......pffffft! How about finger print lock for the Photos app, or Message app or even the email app.

    There are those times when you have to let someone handle your phone (for whatever reason), and during those times it would be nice to know that certain apps were fingerprint locked, but Notes would be one of the last apps I'd be looking to apply additional security to.

      It must be much easier: fingerprint lock on per app basis
      Or at least API to include it.

      What i really anticipate for a long time is API to send iMessage, but we won't have it ever I guess.
      It's the only thing making me considering to move to Android (((

      Notes would be one of the last apps I'd be looking to apply additional security to.

      I can see people using the notes app to write down passwords.

    I just hope it's the start of a shift towards different user profiles.

    Yes. Shiny. But are they going to specifically address the HORRIBLE power consumption of iOS 9 on slightly older iPhones? Doesn't look like it. iPhone has one of the best cameras on a mobile, but when it draws 1% battery every 2 minutes the party had better be short.

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