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OS Updates from Apple

You can look for iOS 9 for your Apple devices later this month and OS X El Capitan for your Mac computers later this fall. Here’s what to look for when you see them.

iOS 9 has been in public beta testing, and the good-and-bad of that is that a lot of testers find lots of bugs. While it generates a lot of public complaining, the process gives Apple’s developers the chance to fix “real world” problems before the great masses of “real world” people start using it.

So, let’s get our technical issue out of the way. I had problems calling my wife cellphone-to-cellphone on the Verizon network. I got a weird message about circuits being busy, and other Verizon users had trouble with voice mail. When I called Verizon, they asked if I was using iOS 9. When I told them I was, they said they were working on the issue. That’s why I like public beta testing.

Now, for the features. A recent CNET review points to improvements in Siri, the Maps app, search tools and battery life. The new iOS will be available for devices as old as iPad 2 and iPhone 4S – which may correspond to the changing world of phone carrier contracts and data rates. Regardless, here some worthwhile features:

  • Siri will be able to answer questions that relate to locations and times, such as “Remind me to call Mom when I get home,” and she’ll deliver in seconds.
  • When you launch a Spotlight search by swiping right from the first home screen or swiping down, you’ll get your most common contacts, recently used apps and other info. It could tie Maps and your location to nearby places of interest.
  • Apple now has its own News app.
  • Maps now works with public transit. Touch a Transit tab at the top to see all sorts of options to get there via public transportation. You can even tap a train station or bus stop to see all of the lines that pass through that stop or what exit to take from a station.
  • The keyboard has a system-wide font change, and it shows letters in lowercase when shift is off. The display will shift to “caps” when you tap the shift key.
  • The Notes app allows you to quickly make check lists, add formatting to notes and add images. There’s a scribble pad to draw with your finger on screen, and you can select pen types and colors.
  • The new Low Power Mode could add up to 3 hours to battery life. Flip a switch in the settings, and you can reduce or disable functions like background app refresh and visual effects.

OS X El Capitan for Mac computers is also in public beta testing. Some items of interest include:

  • A split screen lets you view two apps side-by-side.
  • Wiggle your finger on the trackpad to find your cursor.
  • Spotlight pulls in search results for weather, sports, stocks and videos. You can also use natural language to find what you’re looking for.
  • Mail borrows some swipe actions from iOS 9 and ties better your calendar.
  • Maps also picks up the iOS 9 tricks, and you can sync app results between your Mac and iOS 9 iPhone.
  • Notes borrows from iOS 9, and Safari has three new features
  • The ability to hide the menu bar is now built in instead of being a separate app – giving you every last inch of your screen if you have a compact MacBook.

If you have any questions about installing the new Apple operating systems and synching devices and computers or need help getting your systems up and running, we can help. Call us – 973-433-6676 – to have us talk you through the process or email us to schedule help.