iOS 9 Beta: WiFi Assist, App Revamps - InformationWeek

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Software // Operating Systems
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iOS 9 Beta: WiFi Assist, App Revamps

The latest update to the beta version of Apple's iOS 9 delivers a much needed WiFi feature, app redesigns, and new wallpaper options.

10 Annoyingly Addictive iPhone, Android Apps
10 Annoyingly Addictive iPhone, Android Apps
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Apple has delivered the latest version of its forthcoming mobile OS to its developer audience. The newest update to iOS 9 packs a few key features and redesigns for apps like Activity, Calendar, and Siri. However, the WiFi feature is garnering the most attention.

The decision to release iOS for beta testing is a new one for Apple. Preview builds are currently limited to registered developers, but the company promises to eventually include consumers in the process.

There is plenty to see in iOS 9 beta 5, but two capabilities have the tech world buzzing: WiFi Assist and WiFi Calling.

[Coming Soon: Siri-powered voicemail transcription.]

As reported on 9to5Mac, WiFi Assist is a new setting for maintaining a strong online connection. If you're in an area with bad WiFi, the enabled feature will automatically transfer your device from WiFi to a cellular connection.

Normally, the iPhone will stay connected to a poor WiFi signal unless you manually disconnect or walk away until you're out of range. The setting saves you the frustration (and battery life) of a poor WiFi connection by making the automatic switch.

WiFi calling support is also available for AT&T subscribers in iOS 9 beta 5. This generally provides a better phone call connection. It's a handy option if you're traveling in a location with a weak signal.

Earlier versions of iOS 9 limited WiFi calling capabilities to T-Mobile. It looks like this feature will be available on several carriers in the future.

(Image: Krystian Nawrocki/iStockPhoto)

(Image: Krystian Nawrocki/iStockPhoto)

Read on to learn more about the app updates and new features Apple has included in iOS 9 beta 5:

  • New wallpaper: Apple has gotten rid of some old wallpaper designs in iOS 9 beta 5 and replaced them with a range of new images. Testers can choose to display pictures of planets, abstract splashes of color, or up-close feathers.
  • CarPlay: Larger artwork and features from Apple Music and Beats 1, including ability to like songs by tapping a heart button.
  • Calendar: Opening the Calendar app now displays a splash screen to explain its new capabilities. The app will now provide information on events it pulls from your Mail app, and it will use Apple Maps to find locations and determine traffic conditions so you'll know the best time to leave.
  • Music: Newly added Shuffle All button at the top of the app for shuffling all your tunes.
  • Siri: When you tap the picture for a contact, you will no longer see labels for the call, message, or FaceTime buttons -- just the icons for each option.
  • Handoff: Handoff will now only suggest apps that have already been installed on your device.
  • Keyboard: Now has new buttons for Delete, Dictation, and Shift.
  • Activity: Updated with new design.

iOS 9 is predicted to launch in full later this fall, likely in September. We're also expecting Apple to debut a new iPhone within the same time frame.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2015 | 10:58:50 AM
Voice to Text no longer functions
Since upgrade to iOS 9, I'm unable to use the Voice to Text feature. The voice synthesizer screen shows activity, but no text will appear.
User Rank: Strategist
8/10/2015 | 10:00:37 AM
WiFi really, really needs updating
I would like to see the WiFi work; period. I know many of the Apple-heads out there think the iPhones are rock solid and WiFi works perfect, but I have been using iPhone for over three years and find it to be poor at best. Perhaps it is the issue they are fixing, but my WiFi is stong and always up at my office, yet performnce is poor. My friends and family whom are Android users have little to no difficulty finding and using WiFi in random locations. Many times I will be sitting next to them and NO WiFi is available, yet the Android show 10+ signals. (This is marginally better on my iPhone 6 than my 5) Lets hope there is more to the WiFi fix than what is listed here.
Li Tan
Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
8/8/2015 | 9:15:42 PM
Looks exciting
The new iOS 9 looks exciting to me and Apple is on the trend to improve iOS to make it more user friendly. However, I am willing to see if there will be more breakthrough-level stuff, considering this is a major release of iOS. 
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