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iOS 9.3 is ready to install with Night Shift, password-protected Notes, and more

Susie Ochs | March 22, 2016
This iOS update also fixes a flaw recently discovered in iMessages.

Notes. Apple’s Notes app gets more secure in iOS 9.3, letting you set a password or use Touch ID to keep your notes under wraps. Other security-minded apps such as Evernote, Day One, and 1Password already let you use Touch ID to log in, keeping your information private without your thumbprint or a master password to unlock it. Those apps also have a alphanumeric passcode associated with them, and Notes will too—that way you can still access your password-protected notes on your Mac running OS X 10.11.4 or later.

To password-protect your Notes, go to Settings > Notes and look for the Password Protection feature. Turn it on, then tap Set Password. Enter a good password and verify it, and you can optionally enter a hint to remind you too. If your iPhone or iPad has Touch ID, there will be a switch to Use Touch ID too. If you ever forget your passcode and can’t use Touch ID (say, because you just restarted your iPhone), you won’t be able to access your protected notes. And if your iOS device is running iOS 9.3 but your Mac is still on Yosemite or earlier, your password-protected notes won’t show up on your Mac at all. You need El Capitan (OS X 10.11.4 specifically) to be able to see them on both platforms.

News. Apple’s News app is having trouble catching on, and tweaks in iOS 9.3 aim to make it easier to use, so you’ll keep coming back. Additions include inline video you can play without leaving your feed, landscape support throughout the iPhone version of the app, and a supposedly better-tailored For You section.

Health. Apple’s database for HealthKit info has never been much to look at—it’s more a clearinghouse for all the health-related data you’ll collect and interact with in third-party HealthKit-enabled apps, like RunKeeper, Withings Health Mate, and MyFitnessPal. In iOS 9.3, the Health app will help you discover new HealthKit apps to install, adding a side-scrolling list of relevant apps to the bottom of the category pages for Weight, Workouts, and Sleep. The Health app will also show the move, exercise, and stand data collected by your Apple Watch, which right now is mostly locked into the Activity app. That’ll make it easier to share, say, the stand data with other HealthKit apps.

CarPlay. If you connect your iPhone to a CarPlay stereo, you’ll get a couple new features in iOS 9.3. The Apple Music app will finally show the New and For You sections, instead of just your collection and playlists. And the Maps app will finally support the Nearby feature that was added in iOS 9, way back in September. Nearby helps you find businesses in your vicinity by category, like gas, parking, coffee shops, and restaurants.


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