What’s New in iOS 9.3: Night Shift, New Quick Actions, Improvements to Apple News, Notes, CarPlay and Health

Apple’s iOS 9.2.1 update is still in testing, but that didn’t stop the company from surprising us with an iOS 9.3 beta this morning. The iOS 9.3 beta is one of the biggest updates to iOS 9 yet, introducing a new Night Shift feature and improving several existing apps, including Notes, Apple News, Health, CarPlay, and more.

We’ve gathered up a full list of the changes and new features in iOS 9.3, to give MacRumors readers a clear picture of what they can expect to see when iOS 9.3 is released to the public.

Night Shift – Night Shift is a new feature that’s designed to automatically cut down on the amount of blue light an iOS user is exposed to at night by shifting to more yellow tones for the iPhone or iPad’s display. Studies have suggested blue light exposure at night can disrupt the circadian rhythm, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

Night Shift settings are available in the „Display & Brightness“ section of the Settings app. In this section, there’s a new option to toggle on „Blue Light Reduction“ and set the display to be Cooler or Warmer. A Schedule option lets users set a custom schedule or choose to turn on Night Shift from sunset to sunrise.

Quick Actions – On the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, there are new 3D Touch Quick Actions for several of the stock apps, including Weather, Settings, Compass, and Health. Weather’s Quick Actions allow you to see the weather at your current location or for saved locations in the app. Settings includes useful shortcuts for accessing Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Battery, and Wallpaper options. Health’s Quick Actions provide access to the Medical ID or a user’s dashboard, while Compass now features options to open directly to the compass or the level.

There are also new Quick Action options for the App Store and iTunes Store apps. For the App Store app, Quick Actions now include „Update All“ to update all apps at once from the Home screen, and „Purchased“ for opening up to a list of all purchased apps. For the iTunes Store, new options include „View Downloads“ and „Purchased.“

Notes – There’s a new option to use Touch ID or a password to protect notes within the Notes app. With this enabled, Notes will ask for either the user’s password or a fingerprint when opening Notes that have been protected with a password. Password Protection for Notes can be set on a note-by-note basis within the Notes app. There are also new options in Settings to organize notes by Date Edited, Date Created, or Title.

News – Apple has improved the news app in iOS 9.3 to make it more tailored to each person’s interests. The For You section is also incorporating trending topics and specific picks from Apple editors to help users better discover content. Other new features include a new landscape view for News on the iPhone, in-line video playback for videos in news stories, and faster content updating when opening the news app.

Health – In the Health app, when viewing the Weight, Workouts, and Sleep categories, Health now links to apps you can download that will allow you to collect this data. Health also mirrors the Apple Watch move, exercise, and stand data in a new „Activity“ interface, and it displays your goals. The new Health features in iOS 9.3 may not be functional yet, as the new interface and the app suggestions were not available on our iOS devices running iOS 9.3.

CarPlay – Several CarPlay apps have been updated to bring them in line with iOS apps on iOS 9. The Apple Music CarPlay app now includes New and For You sections for better music discovery, and a Nearby feature in Maps offers better access to information about what’s close by, providing suggestions for local gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops, and more.

Alongside iOS 9.3, Apple’s also provided a comprehensive list of all the cars in the United States and other countries that offer CarPlay support. Apple’s list includes more than 100 2016 and 2017 models from 22 auto manufacturers like Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Ferrari, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Opel, Porsche, Peugeot, Seat, Škoda, Suzuki, Volkswagen and Volvo.

Education – iOS 9.3 includes multiple Education-oriented features including shared iPads for students, a new Classroom app, an Apple School Manager, and improved Apple ID management features.

Apple Watch – With iOS 9.3 and watchOS 2.2, the iPhone is able to pair with more than one Apple Watch. Both updates are required, with each watch running watchOS 2.2 and the iPhone running iOS 9.3. WatchOS 2.2 was seeded to developers alongside iOS 9.3.

Live Photos – On the iPhone 6s, there’s a new option to save a full resolution photo from a Live Photo. When using the Share Sheet, choosing „Duplicate“ now gives an option to create a Still Photo duplicate of a Live Photo.

Wallet/Apple Pay – In Wallet and when using Apple Pay, there’s now an option to open an app that’s linked to a pass or credit card. For example, on a Southwest boarding pass, there’s a new icon that will open the Southwest app when tapped.

Siri – Siri has been updated in iOS 9.3 to include the following languages: Malay (Malaysia), Finnish (Finland), and Hebrew (Israel).

App Switcher – iOS 9.3 includes haptic feedback when using the Force Touch app switcher on an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus. „Peek“ feedback is provided when first opening the app switcher, and a full „Pop“ feedback is given when pressing further to open it fully.
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Google is giving away Star Wars Cardboard headsets!

Quick! Get yourself over to the Google Store now, where you can claim a free Star Wars Cardboard, courtesy of Google. The limited edition headsets are themed to look like BB-8, a First Order Stormtrooper, Kylo Ren, and RS-D2 — but you can only pick one! These headsets are exactly the same as those that were being […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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‘Tweetbot 4’ for iOS Gains Support for 3D Touch

Popular third-party Twitter client Tweetbot is the latest app to be updated with support for the 3D Touch feature on the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and it now supports both Quick Actions on the Home screen and Peek and Pop gestures within the app itself.

A hard press on the Tweetbot icon on the Home screen brings up options to create a new tweet, tweet a photo, and view the Activity Tab that was recently added in the fourth version of the app. When a notification is present, there’s also an option to reply to a tweet or a direct message from the Home screen Quick Action list.

Peek gestures, which bring up previews of links, work with embedded tweets, Safari website links, Twitter profiles, and more. A Peek gesture can be initiated in Tweetbot with a hard press, and pressing even harder expands into a Pop gesture, allowing content to be opened from the Peek.

The 3D Touch features in 4.0.1 Tweetbot are available only on the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus, the two devices that support 3D Touch. Other users will not notice any changes in the app, aside from additional language localization in French, Spanish, and Japanese.

What’s New
– 3D touch peek and pop support in the timeline. We’ll add it to more places in future releases.
– 3D touch home screen quick actions.
– Localized for French, Spanish and Japanese. More coming.
– Lots of bug fixes.

Tweetbot 4 can be purchased from the App Store for $4.99. [Direct Link]

Update: Just hours after releasing Tweetbot 4.0.1, Tapbots has released Tweetbot 4.0.2. Tweetbot 4.0.2 adds the following features:

– You can now swipe back to dismiss Tweetbot’s browser. Feel free to quietly rejoice.
– YouTube links will open directly in the YouTube app, if you have it installed
– Fixed a crash when 3D Touch peeking from night mode, sorry about that

In addition to the above changes, the new version of the app also opens articles in the Safari viewer in Reader Mode if the option is available.



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Apple Store App for iOS Gains Support for iPhone 6s, iOS 9

Apple today updated its Apple Store app for iOS devices to version 3.5, adding support for the new iPhone 6s and the iOS 9 operating system. Apple’s release notes for the update are vague, so there are no details on what new features the app might have for iOS 9 and the iPhone 6s.

It’s possible the Apple Store app update adds support for the 3D Touch feature built into the new iPhones, enabling Quick Actions that can be accessed directly from the Home screen, but it’s also possible this is a simple compatibility update that makes sure the app works properly with the new devices. We’ll update this post when we learn more about what’s new in today’s update.

What’s New in Version 3.5
– iOS compatibility update
– Adds support for iPhone 6s

The Apple Store app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Update: Today’s update does indeed add 3D Touch Quick Actions to the Apple Store app. A force press from the Home screen on the app icon will bring up options to open the app directly to the store, a list of retail stores, or orders placed.




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3D Touch Brings Trackpad Shortcut to iPhone 6s Keyboard

Apple introduced the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus with several new features this week, one of the most significant being 3D Touch. The pressure-sensing technology enables iPhone users to perform additional multi-touch gestures called „Peek“ and „Pop“ to access Quick Action shortcut menus or preview content within apps.

Apple added a 3D Touch page to its website earlier this week with some examples of what Peek and Pop gestures can be used for, including previewing emails and websites, viewing photos you’ve taken while taking new ones, quickly accessing your contacts, taking a selfie, quick compose and more.

One of the more useful actions that 3D Touch makes possible is pressing the iPhone screen to turn the on-screen keyboard into a virtual trackpad (pictured on left).

One press turns your keyboard into a trackpad.
Press the keyboard within apps such as Notes, Mail, and Messages, and your keyboard behaves just like a trackpad. You can then use a cursor to easily select and manipulate text with precision.

Existing iPads running iOS 9 will also have similar functionality, with users able to control an on-screen cursor by moving two fingers anywhere on the screen, including over the QuickType keyboard, to select, edit and move text.

3D Touch also enables iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users to press the left side of the Home screen to switch to multitasking view, press lightly for finer lines or more deeply for thicker ones in Notes, swipe left to delete an email or swipe right to mark it as unread in Mail and more.



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Third-Party Mac Developers Begin Embracing Force Touch, Led by ‘Inklet’

Following its March 9 media event where it introduced „Force Touch“ trackpad technology for the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and upcoming 12-inch MacBook, Apple opened up the feature to third-party developers by delivering developer APIs starting with the third beta of OS X 10.10.3. The APIs will allow developers to support the ability of Force Touch trackpads to sense multiple levels of pressure and perform different actions depending on how hard the trackpad is being pressed.

Apple has already taken steps to build Force Touch support into its own apps, as outlined in a support document. At the simplest level, the new Force Touch trackpads support a new „Force click“ functionality, which allows a user to click on an item and then press a bit harder to activate a secondary function such as pulling up Dictionary or Wikipedia entires on selected text in Mail or Safari, a map preview when selecting an address, or Quick Look previews of files when selecting icons.

Beyond the single-level Force click, the new Force Touch trackpad also supports more advanced features through sensing multiple levels of pressure, allowing users to accelerate zooming in and out of maps or vary the speed of fast forward and rewind in QuickTime and iMovie. iMovie also supports „bumpy pixels“ in which the trackpad gives subtle vibrational feedback during the editing process to let the user know when the end of a dragged clip has been reached or when cropped clips are in proper alignment.

While Force Touch is currently limited to the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, the feature looks set to expand throughout Apple’s product lineups, with the company’s other notebooks gaining the technology as update cycles allow and the Apple Watch supporting it as a key interface mechanism at launch. Apple is also rumored to be bringing Force Touch to the iPhone later this year.

On the Mac side, Ten One Design today announced an update to Inklet, its popular third-party drawing software, that will bring „enhanced pressure control“ to MacBooks with the new Force Touch trackpad. The company believes it is the first Mac developer to launch support for Force Touch.

Through Inklet’s software, users have been able to draw and edit images within applications like Pixelmator and Photoshop for a while, by determining „stylus pressure“ to differentiate between when to use thin and thick lines. Ten One Design notes that the introduction of the Force Touch trackpad makes its app not only more precise in designating pressure sensitivities, but more reliable as well.

We think Inklet is the first 3rd party application to support the Apple’s new Force Touch trackpads. This means you’ll have amazing pressure control on newer machines, and in a pinch you can even use your finger.

Having a trackpad capable of measuring force is a big deal. Even though Inklet has always been capable of determining stylus pressure, this update makes measuring pressure simpler and more reliable. Kudos to the team at Apple who designed this precise and useful instrument.

Beyond Force Touch support, Inklet’s update also bring „improved pressure response“ to MacBooks with the traditional multi-touch trackpad, along with the usual minor bug fixes. The company says Inklet will prompt users to update the app „sometime within the next three days“, although users wanting to check out the new features sooner can hasten the process with the „Check for Updates“ prompt in the Inklet menu.

Those yet to download the software can do so for $24.95 for the base app, or $34.90 for the app bundled with the company’s Pogo stylus, from Inklet’s official website.




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LastPass Password Manager Introduces New Mac App [Mac Blog]

Popular free password management service LastPass today is launching a new Mac app to make it easier for Mac users to access their passwords on their laptop and desktop computers. The new LastPass Mac app offers a full-featured vault for storing login information, passwords, credit cards, and more, and it comes equipped with several other useful tools such as Quick Search and Security Check.

Quick Search, one of the Mac app’s key features, lets users search for a website or keyword to quickly locate logins, notes, and passwords. Sites can be launched directly from their default browser using a keyboard shortcut, with LastPass filling in the username and password for super quick site logins.

Security Check is another built-in feature of the LastPass Mac app, letting users continually monitor the strength of their passwords to make sure each one is secure enough. LastPass for Mac offers both offline access and automatic syncing between the Mac app and the iOS app.

Before the introduction of the Mac app, LastPass was web-only when used with Mac and Windows computers, offering browser plug-ins for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and more to access password management features.

„We are living in a time when using the same password across every online account, or storing passwords for critical accounts in an insecure document on your computer, means you will inevitably get hacked. At the same time, memorizing dozens of unique passwords is virtually impossible,“ said LastPass CEO and Co-Founder, Joe Siegrist. „The LastPass Mac App functions as a vault that safeguards sensitive information. It allows our customers to have convenient local access to their data, saving them the distraction of recalling passwords or manually typing in their login details.“

Last month, LastPass debuted Auto-Password Change, a useful designed to let users change their passwords for supported sites with just the click of a button.

The LastPass Mac app, much like the LastPass iOS app, will be a free download from the Mac App Store.

The service is supported by ads, but ads can be removed with a $12 per year subscription fee, which also adds priority tech support and multi-factor authentication.




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