Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Apple needs to keep the system software fresh to maintain customers' interest in its products, ensure software developers keep making apps for its platform, and make sure devices are secure. The refreshes are also vital to keep Apple in step with competitors like Google, whose Google Now and Google Now On Top provide predictive capabilities to Android device users.
A major revamp of Apple's mobile software comes every year when the company launches a new phone. The latest version, iOS 9, hit the market in September with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.
Watch this: iOS 9.3 arrives with new features
One of the biggest changes Apple made with iOS 9 was providing the ability for the software to learn about someone's habits at a particular time of day or in a certain location. For instance, the device could load up music selections ahead of regular morning runs or bring up an audio book someone is listening to while in the car.
iOS 9.3 includes a feature called Night Shift that changes light emitted from the display to a warmer tone, which experts say should help people who look at their iPhones or iPads before bed fall asleep more easily. The blue light emitted by LED screens can reduce the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells our brains to sleep. Switching from bright white and blue undertones to warmer colors, such as red, orange and yellow, may help you doze off with less frustration. Night Shift uses your device's clock and location to determine when it's sunset, and automatically turns down the cooler blue tones on the screen. In the morning, the display goes back to normal.
Here's what the new iPhone SE looks like (pictures)
In addition to Night Shift, Apple included other tweaks to the software, including password protection for the Notes app. Notes will also be able to be sorted by date or title. While these aren't revolutionary tweaks, they're important given Apple's focus on securing users' personal information on their devices.
Apple is currently in a battle with the FBI over a government request to unlock an iPhone 5C used in December's San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack. Apple argues it shouldn't be forced to make its phones less secure, while the FBI says it needs Apple's help to determine if information on the iPhone could reveal more about the terrorists' activities.