iOS, WatchOS Beta Builds For Developers Pushed Out
Apple gave developers new test versions of all its major platforms this week -- iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and OS X.
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This week Apple released a slew of beta builds covering all of its operating systems. Developers can download fresh versions of iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2, tvOS 9.2, and OS X 10.11.4. Here's a look at what's new in each.
iOS 9.3 beta 2 is available for developers to download and install over the air. Most of the new features of iOS 9.3, such as a renewed focus on education and Night Shift mode, have already been detailed. The update also makes improvements to the Apple News and Health apps, and Apple Music and Apple Maps when used via CarPlay.
This week's change includes new controls over Night Shift mode. Now it can be toggled on or off in the control center (rather than deep in the settings menus). It is quite obvious thanks to a new eye-shaped icon that falls between the timer and calculator icons.
Developers for the Apple Watch can now take a look at watchOS 2.2 beta 2. This beta must be downloaded via the dedicated Apple Watch iPhone app, and requires iPhones running iOS 9.3 beta. One of the key benefits of watchOS 2.2 is the ability to pair with multiple Apple Watches with a single iPhone.
This beta, in particular, doesn't have any user-facing changes with the exception of Apple Maps. As always, the build incorporates bug fixes and performance tweaks.
Apple plans to add a number of features to the newer Apple TV product with tvOS 9.2, now in its second beta release. This upgrade adds support for Bluetooth keyboards to ease text-entry pains, app folders, and support for podcasts. Interestingly, it bakes in MapKit, which will let developers add Apple Maps to their own tvOS apps. The update includes new languages for Siri, a well.
The new beta brings full iCloud Photo Library access to the Apple TV, as well as Live Photos -- Apple's animated photo collages.
(Separately, Apple released tvOS 9.1.1 to consumers, which adds the ability to listen to podcasts.)
Last, Apple pushed out a new version of OS X 10.11.4. The minor system update's largest feature is new support for passwords in the Notes app. Otherwise the features appear to be limited to bug fixes and performance updates. At the moment it doesn't look like there are any new consumer-facing changes to speak of.
These beta releases are expressly reserved for developers, but consumers can register to test iOS and OS X betas through Apple's public beta program.
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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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