It’s not that much different from the previous OS, 9.2.1. But even if you’re sick of your phone prompting you to let it update every few hours, the changes within iOS 9.3 are definitely important. Don’t hesitate to update right now.
Most importantly, iOS 9.3 fixes a critical security bug in iMessages. Without the fix, photos and videos you send to other iPhone users are susceptible to an attack that allows hackers to obtain your encryption key. In order to fully patch the security bug and no longer be vulnerable, every iPhone user you message with has to have also updated to iOS 9.3. Apple’s mobile software updates almost always fix some security bugs, which is one of the reasons why it’s actually really, really important to be using the latest version.
Beyond fixing flaws, the new iOS also has some neat features you’ll want to get your paws on. But first, let’s go ahead and start getting that new OS installed.
How to update
When the update is available, Apple will send a notification to your phone. You can also check your Settings app to see if there’s a small red alert badge, telling you it’s time to update. Even if you don’t see the alert, you can manually force your device to update. Once you’ve downloaded the update, your phone will have to restart. This will mean a few minutes without service—something to keep in mind if you’re waiting on anything important.
- Backup your data. It’s good to make sure that all of your photos, tunes, settings, contacts, and more don’t go away along with your old operating system. You can backup via iTunes or iCloud.
- Plug your device into its charger or into your computer with the latest version of iTunes installed. And connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or open up iTunes.
- Find the software update. Tap on Settings > General > Software Update. Then click to Download and Install. If you’re plugged into iTunes, find your device. Then under Summary, click Check for Updates.
- Clear space. You may be prompted to clear space to make room for the update. Your phone will give you the option to temporarily delete apps and reinstall them after the update. Alternatively, you can make room by deleting files manually.
- Schedule it for later. If you really need your phone now, after the software update is downloaded, you can opt to install the software later. iPhones give the option to install overnight (just leave your device plugged into a charger before going to sleep) or to remind you later.
The new OS is pretty rad! It extends the 3D Touch feature to more apps, which makes accessing apps on your Apple devices much faster. The update also adds Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint locks to the Notes app, and it works just like unlocking your phone from the home screen.
But the coolest update is Night Shift, a new feature for iOS that accounts for research that finds blue light before bed makes for a less peaceful night’s rest. The new features automatically adjusts the brightness and warms the colors on your screen after sunset.
Other updates offer recommendations based on your location for Apple’s in-car helper CarPlay, more personalized recommendations from Apple’s Health app, as well as some cool new education app upgrades that ease sharing between iPads and makes simpler to create lessons for the iPad.