AWT News Update: July 9, 2015

Greenlandic Flag Photo ©2015, Steven Sande All Rights Reserved

Greenlandic Flag Photo ©2015, Steven Sande All Rights Reserved

Yeah, I'm finally back from that long, long vacation cruise. And that means one very important thing -- the AWT News Update is back. Today's news includes:

  • News about the iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan Public Betas, which you can download and try
  • An update to the Facebook iOS app that should make using the social network a lot less annoying
  • New features in iOS 9 beta 3 that will make bloggers and selfie fans very happy
  • And I give my unsolicited opinion of the iOS 9 News app (it's not that great right now)

The plaintext version of the podcast is below...

Text Version

I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is a short AWT News Update for July 9, 2015. I’m back from my long vacation and I’m rested and ready, but not tanned. My trip took me to places like Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands, so it wasn’t exactly warm… but it was spectacular. So, let’s get right back to the news.

In case you missed it, the public betas of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan are now available. That means that anyone with an Apple ID can go to Apple’s beta website and apply to download the beta software for installation. Apple World Today readers are forewarned — make sure your systems are backed up, and that you realize the dangers inherent in running beta operating system software before you leap into the beta program. Also remember that Apple wants your feedback on features and bugs, so there’s more to beta testing than just enjoying new features.

One of the big frustrations with Facebook, particularly when using the iOS app, is the way that the social network tends to randomly post items in no specific order. Well, the iOS app today added a new feature that not only lets you decide which posts you want to hide or view in the News Feed, but also select which people and pages you want to prioritize. Prioritizing items means that the posts will always appear near the top of the News Feed, making your visits to Facebook a lot less painful. This feature will become available to web users of Facebook in the next couple of weeks.

iOS 9 beta 3 added a couple of nifty features that would be nice if they end up making it to the final product. First, there’s a special screenshots album that arrived in the beta. Those of us who take screenshots of apps for a living have been doing the happy dance since we saw this. Apple also added a selfies album, so all of those pictures of you and your BFF will show up in the same place. Hoorah! And finally, folders are now showing 16 apps per page instead of nine, meaning fewer pages in your folders if you have a lot of apps. Yay!

The beta also added the News app for the first time. After adding specific news channels or general topics, you can start browsing as much as possible. Apple also tries to recommend posts you might want to read; so far, I found this to be more annoying than useful. At this point I’m not too impressed with News, but it is the first time it’s actually shown up in an iOS 9 beta, so I’m hopeful that things will get better. One final note — Apple didn’t add Apple World Today to the source list. Let’s hope that a future version of News either has the ability to add your own feeds or takes suggestions from readers.

We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon for another edition of the AWT News Update.