Gadgets

You can now test out the iOS 9 Beta

How much do you love your iPhone?

Is it by your side day and night? Is your body so entwined with its workings that you find yourself feeling phantom vibrations, checking your pocket only to find that you didn't in fact just receive a notification? Would life be a struggle without its metallic embrace?

Then you're not going to want to sign up for the public beta test of the new iOS 9. 

The Apple Beta Software Program has opened up registrations for the latest operating systems: iOS 9 for portable devices and OS X El Capitan for Macs. If you sign up with your Apple ID (that email address you always forget about when iTunes asks you for security clearance), you'll stand a chance of receiving the new software two months ahead of the rest of the Apple-adoring public, enabling you to explore its new features.

However, unlike many beta tests you might have embarked on previously, Apple runs a "true" beta service: this is an early, bug-filled build, teaming with rough edges and broken crannies. By signing up to the test and downloading the beta software, you'll be helping Apple identify those aspects of the iOS 9 that need improving, or that just don't work, thanks to a report app that partners with the operating system.

As such, you shouldn't download this to the iPhone or iPad (or Mac, in the case of El Capitan) that runs your day - it's just asking for trouble. If you have a secondary compatible device that you no longer tap consistently, such as an older iPad or compatible iPhone, then back it up first and jump on in. Here's what you'll find.

Better Maps

Well that's not saying much. Apple Maps has been the perpetual joke of the internet, spawning Tumblr accounts that document its many failings. The new Maps now has transit information added for certain cities (just London in the UK), and more accurate map information. 

Download it, try it and then go back to using Google Maps like everyone else.

Good News

The shiniest, most useful addition of iOS 9 is the new News app. Select topics you want to keep abreast of, flick through emerging stories and don't you dare compare it to Flipboard or Feedly.

Smarter Siri

Falling in line with the significantly smarter Siri of the Apple Watch, the bodiless PA is set to become the heart of your iPhone's... brain? Anatomy never was our strong point. 

By monitoring how you use your iPhone, what you search for, where you are and what's in your calendar, Siri will pop up with suggestions and helpful information while you're out and about. Start pumping something into search and it should guess what you're looking for and start providing detailed information from a cross section of apps and internet sources.

If you've used Google Now, it'll feel very familiar.

You'll be able to sign up for the beta trial here. Happy exploring.