iOS 9.3: Here are the best features you can get right now

Apple's newest iOS is available now for download; here's what's new and noteworthy.

Sarah Mitroff Managing Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
Expertise Tech, Health, Lifestyle
Sarah Mitroff
3 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

A new iOS update is here for your iPhone, iPad and iPod. iOS 9.3 is now available for and includes welcome upgrades that'll help you sleep better and stay organized. If you haven't already downloaded it, here's how.

is arriving on your iOS devices now, as free update. Let's take a look at the best new features Apple has given us.

Night Shift makes your screens easier on the eyes

You may have heard that your phone's screen is ruining your sleep quality and yet you still fall asleep with it every night. Apple's trying to help you get a better night's rest with Night Shift, a setting that changes the colors on the screen at night.


Night Shift on an iPhone 6.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Researchers believe that blue light emitted by LED screens halts the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells our brains to sleep. Switching from bright white and blue undertones to warmer colors (like red, orange and yellow) is said to be easier on your eyes and allow your body to fall asleep naturally.

Apps like Flux and Twilight can already do this for your computer and Android phone. Before 9.3, you'd need to jailbreak your iOS device in order to alter the screen colors. Night Shift is built into iOS 9.3 and you can customize the feature by changing the color temperature (cooler or warmer) and schedule it to run until sunrise.

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News you'll (probably) want to read

Apple tried to give us a one-stop shop for news last year with the News app. It's getting more personal with 9.3, showing stories that are more tailored to your interests. You'll see more articles the app thinks you want to read, plus suggested trending topics of news. The app also got performance updates, so it'll load faster and you can now watch videos from the feed.

Lock up your notes

The humble Notes app gets some love with 9.3. You can now password protect your notes to keep important info safe from prying eyes. You can also now finally sort notes by date or title. Hardly revolutionary stuff, but it does make this simple app much more useful.


You can password-protect notes to keep them safe.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple really wants you to use the Health app

Still wondering how to use that Health app? Apple will now highlight third-party apps you can connect to this wellness dashboard to keep tabs on your workouts, weight and sleep quality. And if you have an Apple Watch, you'll be able to see the movement data it collects from the Health app.

CarPlay gets better tunes

Apple's in-car entertainment and navigation system CarPlay gets upgrades courtesy of Apple Music and Maps. You now get to browse suggested songs and artists in Apple Music before you head out. While you're on the road, a new Nearby feature uses Maps to find food, fuel and other services.

Smart tools for teachers

iPads can be incredible teaching tools and now they get extra features to help them better fit into a classroom. The Classroom app helps teachers deliver lesson plans and track their student's progress. Students can share a single iPad by logging in with different accounts to personalize what they see. Apple is also introducing Apple IDs for education that are created and managed by school administrators.

Everything else

iOS 9.3 adds many more smaller new features and improvements. On the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, there are new 3D Touch shortcuts for the Weather, Settings, Health, App Store, iTunes Store and Compass apps. You can also duplicate photos in the Photos app, if you want to edit one copy and keep the original. Siri now supports Hebrew, Finish and Malay.

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