Apple’s iOS 15: Everything You Need to Know

iOS 15 Apple’s latest iPhone operating system, was launched on September 20. This update adds new features and controversial design changes for the vast majority (including older models) of iPhones. This article will cover iOS 15 and the subsequent updates, regardless of whether you are looking to purchase a new iPhone 13 or keep your old iPhone model.

Which devices can receive iOS 15?

Apple iPhone 13 models will come with iOS 15. However, there are many millions of iPhone owners with older devices that will also benefit from the update. Apple has released iOS 15 for all iPhone models, including the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6 Plus and the original iPhone SE. This makes these models the longest supported iPhone models. The iPadOS 15 was also released to the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4, iPad (5th generation), and iPad Pro 9.7. It is also available for the iPad Mini 6 (and 10.2-inch iPad) as well as the iPad Mini 6.

What are the new features in iOS 15?

iOS 15 has many new features and improvements. These are some of the most exciting features to look out for when you update iOS 15.

Notifications

This update will make it easier if you don’t want to receive notifications or allow them to pile up. The lock screen now has a new Notification Summary that compiles all your notifications. It gives you a cleaner look. However, you don’t need to be concerned about missing any notifications. Summary uses on-device intelligence to determine which apps you use most to prioritize notifications. This means that urgent messages like messages will not be lost in the app reminders.

 

ios 15 apple's latest iphone operating system

The Notification Summary is enhanced by the new Focus feature. Choose from the pre-set Focus modes — Sleep, Work, Personal, Do Not Disturb, and Sleep — or create up 10 Focuses to allow iOS 15 to prioritize your notifications based upon your circumstances. You can also set Focus modes to a specific location. Once you have set your status, it will automatically apply across all connected Apple devices. You can now see notifications in Focus mode using new notification settings and widgets for your home screen. The notification system in iOS 15 has been improved. Icons for apps are now larger and the text is more clear. This makes it easier to keep up with all of your notifications at once.

Sharing

Apple understands how crucial video calls and messaging are in today’s world, so it announced a number of new features for FaceTime and Messages based on SharePlay.

SharePlay allows you to listen, watch, and share with your family and friends. You can press Play on Apple Music to start a FaceTime conversation. Everyone on the call has the ability to play and pause the music, giving them complete control of the entertainment.

a group of friends uses shareplay to stream a television show together.

This works well with video. You can stream to your Apple TV simultaneously while keeping the callers in sync. Apple’s SharePlay API will allow SharePlay to be extended to other apps. This includes Disney+, Hulu Max, Twitch and TikTok. You can also share your iPhone’s screen on a conference call with other people, so everyone can browse the internet or give advice about how to change settings.

Shared with You is available on all iPhones, including Photos, News and Podcasts. It allows you to share photos, articles, and songs with your friends as a message. Photos allows you to integrate shared photos from friends. iOS 15 will sort the photos and place them into your gallery. You can place news shared in this manner at the top of the list and receive reminders about who sent it.

Camera

Apple added a text-scanning function to the iPhone’s camera, and then supercharged it. Live Text allows you to access text-based information in photos. It also works with online photos and screenshots. It recognizes text when you take a picture. You can copy and paste it into an email, text message or select text from an existing image to search online. You can also call it directly from the photo by using its phone number recognition.

a person using the iphone to capture text on a whiteboard.

iOS 15 makes use of on-device intelligence to examine images. Visual Lookup allows you to search for information about a photo, such as books, nature, landmarks, or art. Spotlight can also search for photos using text, someone’s names, or elements within a photo. Spotlight recognizes famous actors and other names so you don’t have to search for them.

Photos

Apple Music is now integrated into Memories. iOS 15 will create more personal collages with photos and videos that are based on your actions. These short shows are now built with Apple Music tracks that are personalized to your preferences and appropriate for the environment. Images are timed to the beat.

a memory mix playing on an iphone.

You can personalize these by editing them with Memory Mixes. This allows you to modify the pacing, songs and even the look of the videos using different filters. iOS 15 also continues to analyze your Memory and make recommendations for songs to use based on your personal preferences.

Apple Wallet

Your driver’s licence will be your first personal identification document that Apple Wallet stores. It will be encrypted and stored in Apple Wallet’s secure space. Apple said that the Transportation Security Administration will soon accept digital IDs. A list of the items accessible is displayed when you share them. Apple didn’t specify when or if the feature would be made available outside of the U.S.

a driver's license stored in apple wallet.

Apple Wallet now allows you to store digital keys in addition to your payment cards, driver’s licenses, and work IDs. The digital keys feature is only available for iPhones with the A12 Bionic chip or higher. You can use your eligible device to unlock your car and secure your home with HomeKit. When you stay in a Hyatt-branded hotel, digital keys allow you to go straight to your room rather than stopping at the front desk.

Maps

Apple will soon expand Maps coverage to Spain, Portugal, and Italy before the end. Apple is also offering an AR view of selected cities in augmented reality (AR), but this update will only be available for iPhone models with the A12 Bionic chip or higher.

AR cities will also allow for walking directions. People with eligible iPhone models can scan their surroundings with the Camera app to get walking directions. The Camera app will use maps to determine your location and provide walking directions.

Interactive globe views will be available on the new Maps. You will find many new details such as custom-designed landmark icons and elevations. There is also a night mode that features a moonlight glow.

apple maps' new driving details.

iOS 15 has updated driving directions with more detailed information on the map. This includes bus lanes and crosswalks as well as bike lanes and better guidance for complicated junctions and turn lanes. These changes are initially only available for Maps on iOS. CarPlay will get them later in the year. Maps can be used to guide you on transit.

Privacy

Apple has made Siri the default method for processing user requests, in a gesture of respecting their commitment to privacy. Although faster than traditional audio processing, it requires more processing power so devices with A12 Bionic chips and newer are limited.

Mail Privacy Protection is another security feature that prevents spammers from knowing whether you have opened their emails. Traffic from your device via Safari or the Mail app will erase most personal information such as your IP address and geographic location so that no one can create a profile around it.

Apple will soon add an App Privacy Report to the App Store. This report will provide an overview of how apps use information that they have access to, such as location, microphone, camera, and location, and the contact domains they are contacting.

What are the new iOS 15 apps?

More changes are coming, as well as new widgets and support for more languages on iOS 15. These are just a few of the other apps that are receiving updates.

FaceTime

FaceTime will soon be available to anyone with a Windows or Google phone. FaceTime calls can be scheduled in advance, which will sync with Google Calendar. You can also invite others to FaceTime calls immediately with a link they can open in Edge and Chrome. You can now use the Grid view to see all of your friends in one place.

Safari

Apple iOS 15 introduced Tab Groups, which sync between devices. You can create any group you want, such as Recipes for weekly meal planning. You won’t have scrolling to go past those tabs if you don’t use them. You can switch tabs by clicking on the tab bar at bottom of your browser.

open tabs in safari on ios 15.
Andy Boxall/Clear Tips

Health

The Health app now stores information from your Apple Watch, immunization records and laboratory results. It’s possible to share your health data with family members or health centers. You can also protect sensitive information by knowing who has what access.

What new features were included in iOS 15.1?

Apple has added some features to iOS 15.1 that were missing in the original iOS 15 release. Sharing content from App Store apps via FaceTime is possible with SharePlay. This allows you to share your content with family and friends. Apple now supports the iPhone 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max. Apple also tweaked the disorienting macro-camera switching feature to make it more optional.

Apple now allows users to add vaccine cards directly to their Apple Wallet app, making it easy for them to access.

What new features were included in iOS 15.2?

Apple released iOS 15.2 in December’s second week with many new features and fixes. Many apps and services are updated, including Siri, the TV app, and Apple Music.

Apple has highlighted some features in iOS 15.2, despite the extensive changelog. With this update, the App Privacy Report, which lets you see how many apps have access to your location and microphone, will be available for iPhones.

Digital Legacy is a tool that allows you to hand over your Apple account and other trusted individuals in the event of your death. You iPhone will also be able find AirTags around you more easily. This would help to avoid stalkers by adding a new “items can track me” setting to the Find Me app.

Apple Music Voice Plan is now available. This plan costs $5 and allows you to use Siri more often. Apple has also added a feature that allows parents to filter out nudity from the Messages app and accompanying safety messages for minors.

There are some fixes available for iPhone 13 smartphones, as expected. The company has fixed a bug that prevents streaming apps from loading video on iPhone 13 phones. They also tweaked the camera app to add a setting for manually controlling macro shots using the ultrawide lens.

What new features were included in iOS 15.3?

Apple released iOS 15.3 on January 26, 2022. The update focused primarily on stability and bug fixes. Although this update didn’t include any new features, it was crucial for fixing serious security issues. These are good reasons to update to iOS 15.3 immediately.

There were also a few other bugs that were fixed, such as an issue with HomeKit Secure Video cameras that would not refresh properly and another issue that prevented users adding multiple COVID-19 vaccine cards to family members who received all of their vaccinations on the exact same date.

What’s new in iOS 15.4?

Apple has released iOS 15.4 beta 1 to developers just a day after iOS 15.3 was made public. It already contains some surprises. Apple appears to be testing a new feature that allows you to unlock your iPhone using Face ID even if you’re wearing a mask. Similar functionality was available in iOS 14.5, but it required an Apple Watch and wasn’t very secure. iOS 15.4’s new feature will scan your upper face to find distinguishing features. However, if you have glasses, you will need to train FaceID with additional scans while wearing them. This will ensure that your iPhone can recognize you even if you are wearing a mask.

the iphones showing the use face id with a mask settings in the first ios 15.4 beta.
Jesse Hollington / Clear Tips

iOS 15.4 will include 30 new emojis and a new Home Screen widget to Apple Card holders. It also includes improved support for Sony DualSense controllers. Apple will begin a preview of passkey technology. This technology promises to allow you to sign in to websites without a password. Digital vaccination cards are expected to expand into Europe with the support of the EU Digital COVID Certificate format.

Do I need to update?

iOS 15 was subject to months of beta testing before its September release. However, a live launch uncovers new issues every time. Apple addressed the most serious issues with iOS 15 within one week. The iOS 15.2 and iOS 15 3.0 updates that followed have fixed other bugs and security issues, so it’s now quite stable.

Apple allowed people to stay on iOS 14 with iOS 15. This promised to provide important security updates to those who didn’t upgrade. This was a temporary offer and iOS 15.3 is now available. If you don’t want to be left behind, it’s time for iOS 15 to become your default operating system. The October iOS 14.8.1 update will be the last of iOS 14’s features. There are important security updates in iOS 15.3 you might not be able to get unless your upgrade.

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