What’s New in iOS 9.3: Night Mode, Touch ID for Notes, more personalized News, and more

BY Evan Selleck

Published 11 Jan 2016

ios-9 logo

Recently, Apple released the very first beta for its future public release, iOS 9.3. In light of the release, Apple has launched a dedicated page outlining what’s new.

In light of some noteworthy new features coming to iOS 9.3, Apple has gone ahead and launched a dedicated landing page for those new aspects of the upcoming software. While iOS 9.3 is still just a beta, these new features will surely be worth looking forward to. That includes a better way to look at your iOS device at night, more security, and improvements to the Health and News apps.

iOS 9.3 Night mode

First up, a new night mode that Apple has apparently called “Night Shift.” With this, the iOS device will automatically shift its color tones to match the time of day. It will do this by automatically adjusting with the device’s clock and geolocation to keep tabs on when sunset is. The device will then shift the colors to the warmer end of the spectrum to make it easier to look at:

“Many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. Night Shift uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. Then it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on your eyes. In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings. Pleasant dreams.”

The standard iOS Notes app is getting a significant upgrade as well, including the ability to sort notes by the date of their creation, alphabetically, or the last time they were modified. On top of that, you’ll be able to secure the Notes app with Touch ID with iOS 9.3:

“Notes is one of those apps you use all the time for all kinds of things. Now you can secure the notes that contain your most personal data — such as financial details, medical info, or website logins — with a password or fingerprint. You can also sort notes by date created, date modified, or alphabetically.”

iOS 9.3 News app

News is getting more personalized, too, with the For You section now including Editors’ Picks and suggesting trending topics for the user to check out. Now on the iPhone users will be able to view everything in landscape if they so choose:

“The articles in For You are now better tailored to your particular interests. And to help you discover new Favorites, For You suggests trending topics and Editors’ Picks. When a story contains video, you can play it right from your feed. On your iPhone, you can view everything in landscape. And when you check for updates, the latest stories appear much faster — so you can catch up on the day’s events quickly and easily.”

The Health app is getting an even easier way to find third-party apps that track the data you want tracked, with new categories like Weight, Sleep, Workout, and more. The updated Health app will now show stand, exercise, and move data as well:

“It’s simpler than ever to find third-party apps to track your health and wellness. Categories such as Weight, Workouts, and Sleep have a new slider menu that reveals great apps you can easily add to your Health dashboard.2 The Health app also now displays your move, exercise, and stand data, as well as your goals, from Apple Watch. So you can see all your health metrics in one place and easily share your data with third‑party apps.”

CarPlay gets a boost in iOS 9.3 as well, with support for Apple Music’s For You section, along with the New section as well. A new Nearby feature in Maps will also show you places to eat, get coffee, and other locations as well:

“With iOS 9.3, CarPlay adds even more useful features. New and For You from Apple Music — with songs, artists, and albums handpicked by experts, plus selections based on your preferences— are right at hand on your screen. And the Nearby feature in Maps lets you find gas, parking, restaurants, coffee, and more with a tap. So you’ll know the best places to stop, whether you’re on your daily commute or an epic road trip.”

iOS 9.3 Shared Education

Finally, a new focus on education. On another dedicated page for a preview of the upcoming features tied to students and teachers, iOS 9.3 will bring a slate of new features to the fore. That includes the ability to share an iPad among students, called “Shared iPad.” With it, a student can have their own Apple ID and have all of their content loaded up when they sign in. It’s the perfect situation for a classroom that might not be able to have an iPad per kid.

“Technology can reshape education. And iPad, with its powerful features and apps, opens up new, more engaging ways of learning. With the iOS 9.3 beta, you’ll find a preview of new features that will make it even easier for schools to put devices where they’ll have the greatest impact — in the hands of students.”

There’s a new Classroom app, too, for when there are multiple tablets out among the students at the same time. This will allow a teacher to pop up the same lesson on all of the iPads at the same time. There’s a Screen View option, too, which will let the educator see what’s on a student’s iPad at any given moment.

Lastly, there’s a new Apple School Manager, which is based on the web. This will give educators the ability to see their students’ Apple IDs, manage profiles, and otherwise keep tabs on the information provided to the students through the iPads.

iOS 9.3 is just in its first beta stage, so the wait for the final release could be a bit of a stretch. But with these features, and probably others, to look forward to, at least it looks like the wait will be worth it.

[via Apple]