I thought I’d give the new iOS 9 Beta 1 a spin on my ageing iPad 3. I’ve hit a few stumbling blocks and thought I’d tell you about them.
The first attempt to add the new beta using iTunes didn’t work and turned my poor iPad into a coaster. Very disappointing. Thankfully a DFU restore did the trick, and iOS 9 was starting fine. Things were looking up.
I thought it would make sense to restore the latest iCloud Backup I had made just minutes before, thinking that testing with existing data would make sense. But restoring my iCloud Backup didn’t work: I picked one, the restore started, counted down the minutes, and shortly before it was due to finish, it comes up with the message in the screenshot above. Nothing doing.
I had three backups in total from various dates to choose from. I tried them all, multiple times, but to no avail: none of them could be restored. All I could do was to setup my device as a “new iPad” (after all, that was its launch title). It did make me wonder if all my iCloud Backups were broken or if it was just this particular iOS 9 Beta.
So I went on to explore a bit, being particularly intrigued by the Slide Over feature: apparently you slide in from the right hand side with one finger and bring up a second app. Doesn’t work of course. Turns out none of these new features work on my iPad 3, nor on the iPad 2: all you can do is use two fingers on the keyboard and move the cursor (no text selection either).
It was my understanding that Slide Over was supported on all devices, and that only the arbitrary split view and picture-in-picture required this week’s hardware. But since there’s no actual documentation on this topic, your guess is as good as mine. I didn’t even look at the News app, mainly because I’ve un-installed Flipbook and Zite many years ago and have never looked back.
The new Notes features are a nice touch, 4 years late in my opinion, but better late than never. The interface reminds mea little of 53 Paper. It is required to upgrade existing notes for use with iOS 9, much like the upgrade to iCloud Drive. You can choose not to do it, and the app tells you that upgrading means you can no longer exchange notes with older devices.
Apple want to make absolutely sure nobody is using old devices anymore: this is the another step in making sure there will be no more data exchange with iOS 5 and iOS 6 devices. It’s top priority for them. Please throw that iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 4 and iPad 1 away once and for all. We should all go to the store and drop $1000 a month or more just to be able to write a shopping list that works on all our devices.
I had secretly hoped that iOS 9 would bring performance improvements. My device has been severely crippled with the arrival of iOS 8, and rumour has it that iOS 9 might remedy that. It’s too early to tell I must say: while the keyboard now reflects capital and non-capital letters depending on the shift key, it does take nearly a second for the font to change when you press said shift key or the symbol key. Nothing much has changed there. This could be because betas usually aren’t as fluid as release versions.
But because I no longer expect anything “nice” from the Cupertino Fruit Co. of late, I wasn’t even disappointed. iOS 9 looks and feels exactly like iOS 8 on my current device, and for me there is no benefit in having it on my device: I don’t intend to roll out any new apps in the near future, so I went back to exploring the iCloud Backup situation.
I’ve downloaded the iOS 8.3 release version, quickly wiped my iPad and tried to restore my backup again. No problem at all. Phew! Relieved that my backups were still intact, I try my best to forget this plethora of disappointment with iOS 9.
It’s a bit like how Apple must feel when they’re trying to forget that last year’s OS (or hardware) was ever released.