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iOS 9 Review: Should You Upgrade?

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Small, Smart iOS 9 Changes

Apple also includes a number of additional small, useful changes in the iOS 9 update. While these may not make the top ten list, they certainly improve using iOS 9.

There is finally an iCloud Drive app that users can install to the home screen. With this installed it is finally possible to browse your iCloud Drive storage outside of a specific app, and then choose the app you want to open that file with.

See contact photos in Messages on iPhone 6 now.

See contact photos in Messages on the iPhone 6 now.

Inside the Messages app you will now see contact photos, which makes finding a conversation slightly easier. This was available on the iPhone 6 Plus on iOS 8, but now it is also on the iPhone 6.

Apple switches to a new font for iOS 9 which makes better use of the screen space and is easier to read. While this seems like a small change, it is an important one.

The new iOS 9 keyboard includes useful new features.

The new iOS 9 keyboard includes useful new features.

The iOS 9 keyboard now shows letters in caps when shift or caps lock is on and there is better support for shortcuts on the iPad with the on-screen keyboard and with a Bluetooth keyboard attached. On the iPad you can place two-fingers on-screen at the same time to use the keyboard similar to a mouse for better text selection.

iOS 9 Security

A new six digit passcode option makes breaking a passcode tougher.

A new six digit passcode option makes breaking a passcode tougher.

Apple delivers several smart security upgrades in iOS 9. The most obvious is a new six digit passcode option. After using iOS 9 for a few days the iPhone informed me that I needed to change my passcode to a new six digit version that makes it harder for someone to guess your passcode. It’s not clear if everyone will need to upgrade, as Apple still includes an option to use a four digit passcode in settings.

There is also better support for two-factor authentication that will help keep your iPhone, iPad and Mac on OS X El Capitan more secure.

iOS 9 Performance

Overall the iOS 9 performance is good, but there are some stutters using the iOS 9 GM, which should match the final build that Apple delivers on September 16th.

The iOS 9 iPhone 6 performance is where we see the most stutters. Some of this may be due to apps not updated to support iOS 9 yet. When there is a small lag on iOS 9 it usually disappears fast enough that it isn’t a major deal, but it is still worth mentioning. We have yet to test iOS 9 on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5 or older devices.

We’ll update this performance section in the next week as we use iOS 9 on more devices and offer device specific iOS 9 performance reviews.

Should You Install iOS 9

Should I Install iOS 9? That all depends on your device.

Should I Install iOS 9? That all depends on your device.

The biggest question after reading about all the new iOS 9 features is, “Should I install iOS 9?” Like many updates this depends on the device you own and how you use it.

For users with a newer device like the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 or iPad mini 4 installing iOS 9 is almost a no brainer. While there are some small hiccups in performance the overall experience is solid and the new iOS 9 features outweigh any issues I’ve observed.

If you own an older device, like the iPad 2, iPhone 4s or iPhone 5 — you should exercise more caution. With iOS 8.4.1 on these devices the overall experience is the best we’ve seen since the iOS 8 release last fall, and on older devices there is more of a chance that performance will suffer or problems will appear. We suggest waiting a few days or a week after the iOS 9 release date to see specifically how iOS 9 performs on these devices before you upgrade.

iOS 9 vs iOS 8: What’s New in iOS 9

iOS 9 vs iOS 8 Walkthrough - Home Screen

iOS 9 vs iOS 8 Walkthrough - Home Screen

The image above shows that the iOS 9 home screen looks very much like the one on iOS 8. This is not surprising, but you will notice one major change to this screen. 

The new iOS 9 font on the home page carries over through settings and apps. It's surprising how much the look of the system can change with a small tweak to a new font.

From the home screen you can now swipe left to a new search screen, and you can still swipe down to Spotlight from any of the home screen pages.

When you upgrade you will also see options to add iCloud Drive to your home screen. 

Apple adds two new default iOS 9 apps that you cannot delete. Find iPhone and Find Friends apps now come with the iPhone by default. You can hide them in a folder, but you cannot delete the apps. The Find My iPhone app is a very good addition, while Find My Friends is still not as widely used. 

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Guy

    09/15/2015 at 12:50 am

    Josh, the new IPad Mini 4 also can do split screen multitasking. This is in reference to your article saying only the Air 2 and Pro can do this. Otherwise, nice article.

    • Joakim

      09/20/2015 at 12:07 am

      Also worth to note that the multitask gesture conflicts with the forward gesture in Safari so that doesn’t work anymore.

  2. Exappleuser

    09/17/2015 at 11:28 pm

    iOS 9 sucks to the core it’s ugly and no concept at all and Apple makes it to something big?? WHAT?????? I did the update on iPhone 6 Plus I see no difference but now phone works like crap, and freezes up apps crash and all them passwords pop ups etc, never did this till now, the iOS 9 wallpapers are stupidly ugly, glad I’m getting my iPhone switched out at Apple and be back on iOS 8.4.1 where things were fine!! I knew this apple scam was to come, thanks god my Samsung Galaxy not 5 is on its way and good riddance Apple!! Apple sucks!!! Gets worst by the year!! Die Apple DIE!!!!!!!!!! And than sell iPhone on eBay cheap just to get rid of it fast!!!

    • Bert

      10/01/2015 at 11:22 am

      Wow, thanks for taking the time to actually be coherent with your comment. Yikes.

  3. Joakim

    09/20/2015 at 12:04 am

    Works ok on iPad Air 2 but sluggish and laggy on iPhone 6 plus, impressive how short time apple used to destroy it.
    iOS 9 didn’t add shit to my iPhone except for lag and a very depressed Norwegian Siri.
    So stick to iOS 8 if you have 6 plus.

  4. David

    09/22/2015 at 12:18 am

    The new IOS is so ugly. Siri screen is offensively so. Lost is the simplicity in apple design. Lost is the vision that kept it leading instead of chasing flashy gaudy novelty design.

    Most apple people would pay more to get less and they did. By less I mean elegance.

  5. Jude

    09/24/2015 at 2:34 am

    iPhone 5s is not compatible, my torch doesn’t work, freezes, crashes, slow, battery life sucks pages flick up and down in safari; when you haven’t moved you finger. The email search now brings up all my contacts instead of simply searching through my emails for the one I want??? I usually do a word search in association with the email I want.

  6. Wilda

    09/29/2015 at 7:29 am

    What was this update??? I can’t even see my business emails, the contact screen is a mess, I can’t hear Siri among other issues. It is a real mess!!!

  7. Jack Black

    10/05/2015 at 10:13 pm

    Propaganda, b.s. IOS 9.0.2 on ipad 3 sucks. Thanks a lot, I’ll never trust this site again for advice.

  8. Jansen

    10/06/2015 at 4:48 am

    My 5C freezes on sign in, search assumes I want contacts not word association, Maps refuses to talk, battery life is 75% of previous and am getting multiple peoples’ texts! At this point I do not see one redeeming feature. My company made me upgrade for security against the team’s better judgement. An unmitigated flop.My paranoid self believes they want to force everyone to a hardware upgrade

  9. helen axtman

    08/12/2016 at 7:25 pm

    is it really neccesary to upgrade to IOS 9.02

  10. helen axtman

    08/12/2016 at 7:26 pm

    it’s taking forever to finish

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