Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of iOS 9.3; betas for tvOS and Watch

The initial public release of iOS 9.3 appears just days or weeks away. Apple has officially seeded the fifth beta iOS 9.3, sending the update to developers and public beta testers for testing purposes. The fifth beta comes just over a week after the fourth iOS 9.3 beta was seeded. The public release of iOS 9.2, which was the last big update to iOS 9, is now three months old, setting the stage for a March release of iOS 9.3. The iOS 9.3 beta has been in testing since January 11, 2016.

Developers and beta testers received the update over-the-air through the IOS section of the Apple Developer Center.

The most significant fix by Apple is its promised change to Apple Pencil. In earlier betas of iOS 9.3, the Apple Pencil was rendered useless for many navigational purposes, such as selecting text, scrolling, swiping between apps, accessing menus, and general editing functions in non-drawing apps. Apple Pad Pro users felt betrayed by the move, since they loved the full functionality of Pencil. Apple quickly reassured users that the move was only temporary and the functionality would be restored in the next update.

New in iOS 9.3 beta 5

Night Shift Control Center toggle. The fifth beta has changed the toggle function on Night Shift. The toggle no longer has a pop up menu with options to “Turn On For Now” or “Turn On Until Tomorrow. The button’s function is now cleaner and simpler, since it just turns Night Shift on and off on demand.

New in iOS 9.3

IOS 9.3’s most important features will be Night Shift mode, which protects your eyes by reducing the amount of blue light iOS users are exposed to. Other notable features include changes to the iPad for Education program, like multi-user login. Multi-user login is limited to MDM customers and is not available to the general public. Apple Music for CarPlay was given an upgrade to offer “New” and “For You” sections to help people discover new music, while the Nearby Feature in CarPlay Maps gives users a wealth of information about what is nearby. The Health app has also been given a makeover to make it more consonant with watchOS 2.2.

New in tvOS2

The company also released a new beta for tvOS. Its 9.2 has some major improvements yet for Apple TV, including support for Bluetooth keyboards, folders for channels, and a new app switcher interface that highlights your favorite content.

More control for employers

Responding to the needs of employers to control Apple devices they loan to employees, Apple will use a special version of iOS 9.3 to let employers enforce homescreen layout, black/whitelist apps, and notification settings. Under this Apple program, employers can disable iTunes Radio and other apps that employers think distract employees. Developer Steve Throughton-Smith released the details on his official Twitter account. https://developer.apple.com/enterprise/ConfigurationProfileReference.pdf

Changes for Apple Watch

watchOS was also beata’ed, with the most significant change being the ability for Watch to pair with more than one device to an iPhone.

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