April 6, 2016 By John Harrington Jr. 3 min read

In late March, Apple made its latest major mobile operating system version release, iOS 9.3, available for download. Soon after completing their routine install, many early adopters reported a bug that was making Safari and other apps unresponsive after clicking specific links therein. In usual fashion, Apple amply addressed the feedback received with speed and efficiency, releasing a newer version (iOS 9.3.1) just days later.

Now that the bug has been appropriately been addressed through the iOS 9.3.1 release, we can shift our focus to the underlying benefits of Apple’s newest iOS enhancement, iOS 9.3. This new operating system (OS) has given both users and organizations from a wide assortment of industries reasons to be happy.

iOS 9.3 Updates for Users

Here’s a quick breakdown of what you may notice upon completing your OS update:

  • You can further enhance the usability of your screen real estate. Once you’ve updated to the latest and greatest OS version, you can take advantage of new 3-D Touch shortcuts to get things done more quickly.
  • For those of you who struggle to fall asleep after wrapping up your night with iPhone in hand, day-and-night sensitive screen optimizations have been made. Night Shift, fueled by time and location information, automatically shifts color and brightness settings between dawn, high noon and dusk, ensuring your display gels well with the level of brightness coming in from outside the window.
  • Several key apps have received noticeable face-lifts and functionality updates: Notes is more secure, News is more discoverable, Health is more attuned to the use of wearables and CarPlay is more sensitive to its surroundings.

Why IT Is Excited

Those in administrative or strategic roles concerned with enterprise mobility management (EMM) can take advantage of new enterprise productivity and security features. Of course, there are some prerequisites to take full advantage of all the new iOS 9.3 updates. In some cases, iOS devices will need to be enrolled in Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP) or placed in Supervised mode.

Enrolling corporate-owned and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) iPhones and iPads in an EMM solution such as IBM MaaS360 helps IT professionals effectively drill down on OS features, determine which use cases are most important to meet their organization’s mobility goals and craft policies that ensure they’re being used to the fullest effect.

MaaS360 had same-day support for iOS 9.3 when it was made available, and MaaS360 admins will soon be able to take advantage of the following updates:

  • Lost Mode: This reports geolocation data to the EMM platform without the user enabling Find My iPhone (or iPad) or location services. Information can be displayed on the screen of the missing device to aid in its return to the owner.
  • Allow or disallow Apple Music: Apple Music subscribers can have limitations on use of the music application in specific contexts or locations (e.g., in the library, at the office, etc.).
  • Notification controls: Users can either prevent the display of notifications from specific applications or truncate the amount of information displayed from apps containing classified information. This is particularly useful for devices in kiosk mode, enabled via IBM MaaS360 Secure Mobile Browser.
  • App blacklist/white-list restrictions and enhancements: Control the apps shown on the home screen while hiding all other apps. Users can also proactively implement app blacklisting policies that prevent an application from being opened or implement policies that restrict use of applications to native apps and white-listed applications.

Benefits for Specific Industries

IT in health care, retail and education will be pleased with these feature rollouts:

  • Preconfigured home screen layouts: Customize the home screen with various applications and Web clips, which is particularly useful for company-owned devices.
  • Multiuser support for iPad users: Offer Multi-Apple ID support for a single device, which is great in circumstances where the same device will be accessed by many individuals for different uses and purposes.

No matter how you’ll be using iOS 9.3 — whether on your own or company time — Apple has included many new updates that’ll further your enjoyment, productivity and data security when using an iOS device.

If you didn’t get a reminder, downloading the update is easy: Just navigate to Settings, then General, then Software Update. You’ll notice the iOS 9.3.1 bug fix is already available for download.

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