Two days ago Apple’s latest mobile OS, iOS 9, dropped for current iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users. On the phone side of things, the operating system upgrade supports the upcoming iPhone 6s and 6s Plus all the way back to the iPhone 4s, a 4-year-old phone at this point.
As an iPhone 6 user, I'm quite pleased with the changes made in iOS 9. I haven't been as impressed with iOS 7 or 8 in recent years, and while I still don't like the flat direction Apple took in iOS starting in iOS 7, I do appreciate the drastic performance boost that comes with iOS 9.
The first thing I noticed was the overall speed of my phone had increased. It's noticeably faster whether I'm opening or closing apps, returning home, or switching between apps.
Speaking of switching between apps, the task manager that opens up when you double click the home button has received a makeover as well. Before you would have to scroll through the open apps one at a time, with an entire page view for each app. Now the cards are in closer proximity to each other, which makes previewing and closing apps much easier.
Apple also included a “Back to Previous App” button to make it easier to return to whatever it was you were just doing. Instead of using the ancient way of pressing the home button twice, this makeshift back button does make the task quite a bit easier. (However, I don't think Apple should rule out including a true dedicated back button in the future. Probably won't happen, but you never know.)
A special battery saving mode has been a recent addition to many smartphones, and now you can add Apple to the list of manufacturers that embrace this method of extending battery life. I feel that the low battery mode in iOS 9 does a pretty good job of extending the life of the phone. It doesn't restrict the phone so much that I really notice, and it is a noticeable difference. I still think that a bigger battery would be ideal, even if it made the iPhone thicker, but something is better than nothing.
As an avid music lover (although I don’t think I know anybody who doesn’t love music) the recent addition of the little music icon that appears if you plug in headphones is also a handy addition. This little icon will launch the last music app you used whenever you tap it or slide up (if your screen is locked). A simple but effective shortcut.
AT&T users with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (or newer) will be able to finally reap the benefits of WiFi calling and texting, at least whenever it's commercially available. This was a godsend for me when I was using the beta, because my house is directly in the middle of a signal-less void and it wreaks hell on my battery life.
Most importantly, and iOS 9 now separates your selfies and screenshots into separate albums for you. A true time saver in this selfie-centric society.
Overall, there are quite a few new features for iOS 9, but these are the ones that I’ve noticed and have used the most. The update is a solid one, but doesn’t really add anything game-changing to the smartphone world. As usual, this is just one of those things where if you like and use Apple products, you’ll probably benefit from this update (unless you’re an iPhone 4s user, in which case it doesn’t seem to perform any worse or better than the iOS 8 update). I am happy with iOS 9.