Taking hints from the likes of Google and Microsoft, Apple, for the first time ever, launched a public beta testing programme for its flagship mobile operating system, iOS 9. The programme, as most of you might already know, allows general users to download and test the latest builds of Apple’s software. We saw the last build of iOS 9 (Public Beta 2) a few weeks ago and it mostly included only a handful of bug fixes and performance enhancements. Nothing too stunning.
Just yesterday though, the Cupertino giant started rolling out its next beta build meant for general users to test, the iOS 9 Public Beta 3. And (surprise!) the new build contains a lot of new goodies you will love to play around with.
The latest public beta build has had a number of new additions in terms of features along with the generally expected bug fixes and performance enhancements. New features include support for Wi-Fi calling over the AT&T service, Wi-Fi Assist, new wallpapers, CarPlay tweaks, keyboard changes, slight changes in the interface and a lot more. Let’s tease you with a few of the important changes found in the public latest test build.
Wi-Fi Calling Support For AT&T
The previous builds of Apple’s mobile operating system featured Wi-Fi calling but the service was limited to the T-Mobile network. Apple has now added AT&T to the supported networks band for Wi-Fi calling. Though, if you try to use the service over the AT&T network, you won’t get what you expect. Instead, you will be redirected to a webpage that says, “Oops! Wi-Fi Calling isn’t yet available in your area, but check back soon.”
If you don’t already know what this feature is about, let me tell you for a fact that it is a very useful feature especially in a country like India where Wi-Fi availability is quite scarce.
The feature was first seen in the iOS 9 Developer’s Beta 5. It allows the smartphone to automatically switch to cellular data if your Wi-Fi reception or speed is too less. Imagine that you are a bit away from your router and are struggling to get good coverage.
You would eventually just give up, switch your Wi-Fi off and turn to mobile data, if you have a data plan. Well, you wouldn’t need to worry about that now as Apple’s latest software takes care of that. The phone will automatically switch to the better option without the user’s interference.
CarPlay has also received a teeny tiny makeover adding features like the ability to like tracks using the heart button, the addition of larger artwork and a few cosmetic updates here and there.
New (Trippy) Wallpapers (yay!)
One thing we all can welcome anytime is a good collection of themes or wallpapers. The latest iOS public beta features a large collection of beautiful wallpapers that could make your phone look stunning. The wallpapers range from simple abstract ones to beautiful sceneries and photos of planets suspended in a stark black background.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Apple has removed a few of the older wallpapers, including the stock designs for the iPhone 5c and the default iOS 9 wallpaper that was demonstrated at WWDC.
Siri Gets A Makeover
Siri now looks more glamourous than ever. She now features icons without labels for call, message, and FaceTime buttons when you tap a contact’s picture which make the UI more appealing.
The keyboard has also seen a few minor changes including changes in the glyphs on keys like Delete, Shift, and Dictation.
Also, text shortcuts in the keyboard settings have been renamed “Text Replacement” to match the label on the Mac.
Other Notable Changes
The Handoff/Suggested Apps will now show you suggestions for apps you already have installed, instead of giving you App Store suggestions on the lock screen.
The Music app now features and ‘Shuffle All’ feature using an option at the top of the app.
The Calendar app greets you with a new splash screen briefing you about the new features of the client, the first time you open it.
The Activity app has also made it through to better days gaining promotions in the cosmetics and features sector.
Along with all these goodies, Apple promises a better user experience with a lot less bugs, decrease in app crashes, better performance and an increase in overall responsiveness. If you haven’t already been notified of this new beta, don’t worry, you will gain access to it soon as it was released yesterday and most users were informed of it only a few hours ago.