iOS 9, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, has been installed on more than half of active iPads and iPhones since it was released just five days ago, Apple announced in a press release on Monday. That’s not just the fastest adoption rate for iOS; it’s the fastest adoption rate ever for an Apple operating system. iOS 9 is “on pace to be downloaded by more users than any other software release in Apple’s history,” senior VP Phil Schiller said in the press release.
A year ago, iOS 8 had just been released, and adoption was lagging. Three weeks after it became available, the operating system was installed on about 47 percent of iPads and iPhones, which was a worse share than either iOS 6 or iOS 7 had gotten by that point after their releases. What’s different this time around?
Apple made a lot of little changes to make iOS 9 easier to install right away. The operating system needs only 1.3 GB of hard drive space to install, so people with 16 GB phones won’t have to delete a ton of apps to make room for the update. (By contrast, iOS 8 took a little over 4.5 GB of space to install.) If your device doesn’t have quite enough space to upgrade, iOS 9 can temporarily delete some apps, then automatically reinstall them when everything is finished.
Early reports also say iOS 9 doesn’t bog down older devices. That was a problem with older versions of iOS, which were technically compatible with iPhones and iPads that were a few years old, causing them to run so slowly that many people decided it wasn’t worth it to upgrade.
iOS 9 also adds a few nifty time-saving features such as the ability to use Spotlight to search within individual apps and automatic music mode (when you plug in headphones, it’ll automatically suggest the audio app you used most recently, such as Spotify). There’s also an automatic low-power mode that freezes animations and stops apps from refreshing in the background, letting you squeeze a little more life out of your battery once it falls below ten percent.
Apple also announced in its press release that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will be available to buy starting on Friday morning, September 25. The release states, somewhat coyly, that “walk-in customers … are encouraged to arrive early” – a suggestion that will certainly be taken just as seriously as in years past, when the truly dedicated have waited in line for days to buy a new iPhone.