iOS 9 has been released! While Apple is usually enthusiastic about a new version of the OS and all the cool features that brings, average users have learned to be wary of updates. Even though there’s a paucity of hard evidence to support it, everyone swears updates make old iPhones run slower. And, in a lot of cases, they do, at least for a little while.
So, should the wary upgrade to iOS 9? In short, yes. iOS 9 is a faster, stronger and lighter version of the same OS we’ve grown accustomed to. It’s built better and can work with your device in some ways better than the old iOS versions can.
Why You Should Upgrade to iOS 9
Apple built it fast
Apple software has advanced by leaps and bounds feature-wise over the last few years. That advance has come at the cost of bugs. OS X and iOS have become much less stable, leading to widespread complaints from users.
Apple heard those complaints and designed iOS 9 to be more stable. The whole point of this version is to make sure your old iPhone will run even faster than before.
According to sources within Apple’s software development departments, Apple engineers have pushed executives for a Snow Leopard-style stability focus in 2015, following numerous bugs that clouded the launches of both iOS and OS X.
One source explained, “I wouldn’t say there’s nothing new for consumers, but the feature lists are more stripped down than the initial plans called for.”
You can see this kind of focus in Apple’s revamped approach to handling the iOS beta. Instead of limiting it to Apple developers, they actually opened it to the public and let anyone try it. This wider pool of users and testers gives Apple a greater chance of catching all the bugs.
Early reviews say iOS 9 is fast and saves battery
Apple claims iOS 9 will add an hour of battery on top of your device’s regular lifespan. While the reviews haven’t reproduced that result, battery life has improved.
The new Low Power Mode kicks in under 20 percent battery. It limits background activity, automatic downloads and animations. The experience is definitely slower, but longer lasting.
iOS 9 takes up less space
When you have a 16 GB iPhone (or god forbid, an 8 GB model), it means carefully managing your onboard storage. This isn’t made any easier by iOS, which takes up several GB by itself.
With iOS 9, Apple is finally recognizing this issue. It slimmed down the size of its firmware download (no more deleting tons of apps to update), reduced the size of iOS 9 on the disk and instituted something called app thinning.
Apple’s statistics show a significant reduction in app size when app thinning is used. Savings are typically in the range of 20–40%, but this will obviously depend on the application.
Apps now ship only with the assets needed for a given device, download resources as needed and can recompile within the App Store for better optimization.
All this is a huge benefit to the user, especially those of us who stuck to 16 GB.
They finally fixed the damn Shift key
The fun redesign we got with iOS 7 meant a Shift key that was just confusing. Was it up? Down? Who could tell?
Apple has fixed this issue by instead making the entire keyboard change case, just like on Android. When Shift is on, everything is in caps. When it’s not, lowercase. This is a famous minor annoyance, and we’re glad to see it go.
All in all, iOS 9 looks like a solid upgrade (provided you don’t want to jailbreak). It’s faster, has fewer bugs, supports cool new features like Apple News, and has a working Shift key.
There are not a lot of reasons to avoid this one – even if you have an old iPhone.