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Apple reinstates Home Sharing in latest iOS 9 beta, tweaks Handoff interface

Apple made good on a promise to return music Home Sharing to iOS with the release of its fourth iOS 9 beta on Tuesday, a build which also came with a few minor user interface adjustments including a new way of displaying Handoff panes in the app switcher.




As seen in the screenshot above, Home Sharing for music is now an active option in iOS 9 beta, restoring a feature many iPhone, iPad and iPod users relied upon to stream content not stored locally on their iOS devices. Home Sharing was stripped of its ability to play back music with the release of iOS 8.4, which coincidentally marked the launch of Apple Music in June.

Apple first debuted Home Sharing on iOS in 2011, allowing iOS device owners to stream music, movies, TV shows and other digital content from a central computer running iTunes on a shared network. The feature removal left only video streaming available and only affected iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Also changed with today's iOS 9 version is the app switcher, which sports a relocated Handoff pane that resides at the bottom of the screen. Swiping up on the preview initiates a Handoff session and loads app data from a host device. Previously, Handoff popped up as an extra app switcher pane located to the far left of all open iOS apps.

Introduced as part of Apple's cross-platform Continuity feature set, Handoff lets users swap data between compatible apps running on iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite. For example, users can start typing up an email on Mac before seamlessly switching over to an iPad, picking up where they left off. The feature has since extended to Apple Watch, though functionality is limited to one-way transfers to Mac or iOS.

Apple is scheduled to release iOS 9 this fall alongside next-generation iPhone models.