iOS 9.3 Is Out: Here's Why You Should Upgrade

Senior Writer

Your iPhone is about to become a better night-time companion and your Notes will be more secure, thanks to changes introduced in the latest version of iOS 9. Apple announced iOS 9.3 during its iPhone SE launch, with the update rolling out today (March 21) to all devices that support iOS 9.

If you've been using the public betas of iOS 9.3, none of the changes in this update will take you by surprise. The most noteworthy new feature is Night Shift, which automatically adjusts the colors that your device's screen emits during the day to a warmer palette in the evening. That will reduce the amount of blue light your iOS device gives off at night, which is why Apple vice president Greg Joswiak said Night Shift "may help you sleep better" if you glance at your iPhone or iPad just before bed.

Night Shift works automatically by knowing both the time of the day and your location. This feature will only be available on the iPhone 5s or later, as well as the iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later and the 6th-generation iPod touch.

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iOS 9.3 also adds TouchID security to the Notes app, allowing you to hide your private journal entries and lists behind a layer of biometric security. You'll only be able to use the new security feature on devices with a fingerprint sensor — the iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 and later and both the 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

The News app sees a slight update in this new edition of iOS, as it gains a Top Stories feature that aims to help users keep track of current events. A For You feature promises a more personalized feed of stories, and you can watch videos embedded in stories directly from your feed.

iOS 9.3 also brings more features to CarPlay, which gains deeper integration with the Apple's streaming music service and adds the option to show you nearby restaurants and locations in its Maps app.

An updated Health app now offers suggestions for apps to help you monitor weight, workouts and sleep. iPads used in education will also see a gain, as this release allows for multiple users on a single device, though Apple didn't dive into detail on those features.

One change in iOS 9.3 that Apple didn't talk about during the iPhone SE event is a security fix that addresses a vulnerability in Apple's iMessage platform. Researchers recently revealed that photos and video could be intercepted when sent from one iOS device to another, but this update will patch this flaw.

iOS 9.3 is available as an over-the-air update that you can access via the Settings app under General > Software updates. You can also plug your iOS device into a computer and launch iTunes to download iOS 9.3.