QUICK LOOK: iOS 9 public beta

Marga Deona
QUICK LOOK: iOS 9 public beta
iOS 9 promises a lighter footprint with added functionality, but is it enough to wow the iPhone user?

MANILA, Philippines – When Apple announced iOS 9 in this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), 3 of the biggest promises that stood out were the following: a smarter, more proactive Siri; a low-power function to extend battery life; and delayed product obsolescence where 4 year-old devices such as the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 could still take advantage of the upgrade. (READ: What’s new: OS X, iOS 9, watchOS 2 at #WWDC15)

iOS 9’s official update won’t roll out until the fall (September-November) of 2015, but Apple just release its beta version to the public this month. To sign up as a beta tester, go here. But don’t forget to backup your devices!

Rappler downloaded iOS 9’s public beta on an iPhone 6 Plus, and here are the things we noticed after a day of fiddling with it.

User interface and experience

Probably the most significant change would be the new font on iOS 9. iOS junks Helvetica Neue as its system font and replaces it with San Francisco, the typeface seen on the Apple Watch screen.

The difference is slight, yet perceptible. With San Francisco’s wider spacing, rounded corners, and sparser lines, the typeface is said to improve readability. 

Lo and behold, lowercase on the iOS 9 keyboard!

iOS 9 also rolls out a scrubber for the Photos app, allowing the user to thumb through rolls of photos and screenshots.

There is also a new ‘Selfies’ folder where photos taken via the front-facing camera are automatically stored.

A new function also allows the user to go back to the most recently used app.


While the battery life of the iPhone 6 Plus is good enough to last a heavy user (we’re talking push email, OTT chat, social media, phone calls, and a bit of tethering) for a good 8 to 10 hours, iOS 9 rolls out its Low Power Mode function, which “temporarily reduces power consumption” until the user can charge the iPhone. 

A smarter Siri?

At WWDC Apple promised a smarter, more proactive Siri for iOS 9, but in the public beta, it fell short.

During the iOS 9 keynote, Apple’s Craig Federighi gave a demo on how to make use of Siri’s heightened intuitiveness. 

We tried doing this with a few other names. 

But this function – where iOS 9 tries to guess numbers not saved in your phonebook – is quite useful. It gathers data from email signatures and mobile numbers associated with friends and contacts’ social media accounts.

Buggy wonderland

Of course, as expected bugs were encountered. For instance, messaging app LINE froze while trying to download a wallpaper for a selected theme. The system then crashed and reverted to the home screen. 

Some notifications, when tapped, would not respond, prompting a reboot of the app. But again, this is expected from 3rd party apps. However, native iOS apps such as Reminders has it share of minor bugs; entries took a while to register on the control center.

Hit or miss

If you are excited to try out these new iOS 9 functions, then by all means, download the public beta. It’s stable enough for regular use, if you aren’t too bothered by minor bugs. Otherwise, you can wait for the official update in the coming fall.

Actually, it might be better if you do. – Rappler.com

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Marga Deona

Marga leads digital and product management for Rappler’s multimedia expansion. Sometimes, she writes about the intersection of technology, culture, and business, as well as the occasional sports and music features.