The iPhone will see a lot of improvements in iOS 15, and we’ve compiled a list of our favorites so far.
iOS 15, which is already in the developer’s hands and will be released as a public beta in July, is a major update. The adjustments are more of a refinement than a complete overhaul of how you’ll utilize your iPhone. As a result, the list of new features and improvements in iOS 15 is so long that it looks to go on forever in Apple’s own description.
To put it another way, the iOS 14 upgrade from last year may have significantly altered the appearance of Apple’s iPhone software. However, iOS 15 adds so many new features and improvements that it’s likely to improve at least some elements of your iPhone experience. That appears to be the plan, at least.
With the help of enhancements to the iPhone’s built-in apps, Apple is framing iOS 15 as a software update that seeks to help you better connect with others, focus more on the task at hand (even if that objective is particularly resting rather than working), and explore more of the world around you. Apple is also seeking to use the iPhone’s onboard intelligence better, though Android fans will forgive Apple if some of those functions appear to be rip-offs.
The public beta of iOS 15 won’t arrive for a few weeks, allowing us plenty of time to dig into the new features. Then we’ll have a full summer of updates to familiarize ourselves with all of the new features. iOS 15 will be released in its entirety in the fall, most likely around the same time as the iPhone 13. Until we have a chance to dig deeper into the software update, here’s a rundown of the most important improvements in iOS 15 and how they’ll affect how you use your phone.
Notifications in iOS 15 have a new design.
Because everyone is affected by notifications, any modification to the incoming alerts will be significant. Despite the notification management features Apple released with iOS 12, many iPhone users find the constant barrage of banners from text messages, app notifications, and other outside forces clamoring for their attention to be too much to bear.
To combat notification fatigue, iOS 15 adopts a multi-pronged strategy, with one of the first steps being a makeover of the notifications’ appearance. App alerts now have a larger icon, and incoming texts, calls, and emails now have a picture of the person you’re trying to contact (at least if you have a photo of them in your Contacts, one assumes). Visual triage of notifications should be easier because your eye will be led to the people and apps you care about.
You can also choose to have all of your alerts grouped in a morning and evening overview. (With iOS 15, you’ll be able to set a specific time for your notification summary.) The summary emphasizes the communications that require your immediate attention – presumably, frequently used apps and favorited contacts are prioritized first. Consider it a way to handle notifications on your own time instead of flinching at every ping from your iPhone.
Focus Mode (iOS 15)
In iOS 15, notification management extends to a new Focus Mode that Apple plans to release. Consider it a more intelligent version of Do Not Disturb, capable of determining which notifications you need to see at any given time and which may be hidden.
In iOS 15, Do Not Disturb is still available, but it’s joined by other Focus Mode options: Personal, Work, and Sleep are the defaults, but you may build your own for gaming, reading, driving, and other activities. You’ll be able to decide which alerts do get through with each Focus Mode option. Work mode, for example, may allow Slack communications from your team, email messages from your employer, and so on, while the Personal setting would prohibit all work messages.
However, the focus mode is about more than just notifications. You can also customize your home screens based on the mode you’re in. In Work Mode, for example, apps you need for your job would show front and center, while possible diversions like games, social networking, and streaming apps would be relegated to the cornfield until you changed your Focus setting.
The success of Focus Mode will be determined by how simple it is to use and how successful it is at suppressing notifications. On paper, however, it appears to be a useful tool for reclaiming more of your time and attention.
Enhancements to FaceTime
We’ve spent the last year and a half with video messaging applications, so, understandably, Apple would want to improve its video chat service with iOS 15. FaceTime has the kinds of upgrades you’d expect from a video chatting software – if you don’t like the program’s present cluttered layout, FaceTime adds a grid mode that stacks conversation participants in evenly sized tiles. For more realistic talks, spatial audio support makes people’s voices sound as if they’re originating from where they’re orientated on the screen. You can also quickly choose between Voice Isolation mode, which concentrates on your voice, and Wide Spectrum mode, which incorporates all noises in the environment.
iOS 15 adds the ability to arrange FaceTime calls, including producing a little link that people can press to join the call at the designated time.
FaceTime’s new SharePlay feature, which enables you to view films, listen to music, and share your screen with other people on your FaceTime chat, is the most eye-catching addition. Through a web interface, SharePlay will also work on Mac and iPad, as well as Android and Windows. ShareTime synchronizes material across devices so that everyone can enjoy it at the same time. For example, if one person pauses the film or music, it pauses for everyone. When the folks on your FaceTime call wish to talk over the movie, show, or song you’re sharing, an auto-ducking mechanism lowers the volume.
This behavior resembles many watch-along features that people used to stay in touch with pals during the coronavirus outbreak. The difference is that, whereas such approaches typically entailed adding an extension to a video messaging application, FaceTime incorporates those settings inside the app itself. Apple is also offering an API for developers to add their own SharePlay functionality. The company works with streaming service partners such as Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, Hulu, and others to make the feature available once iOS 15 is released.
iOS 15 brings a new look to Safari.
The annual iOS releases provide new functionality to many built-in apps, and iOS 15 is no exception. The most significant modifications will be made to Safari, which aligns with Apple’s plans for its Web browser in macOS 12 Monterey.
Because Safari for Macs is gaining a more streamlined design, Apple adopts it for the iPhone’s smaller screen. This means that with iOS 15, the browser’s tab bar will shrink and relocate to the bottom of the screen. Even if you’re using a larger iPhone, this makes it easier to use with one hand. As you navigate down the page, the tab bar disappears.. (If you tap the screen, this will also happen.)
In iOS 15, the tab encompasses a lot of Safari’s navigation because it now includes the smart search field. You can also access grouped tabs from the tab bar, which is a feature carried over from macOS Monterey and allows you to group relevant browser windows. If you’re using the latest versions of iOS, iPad, and macOS, your group tabs will also sync between devices.
iOS 15 adds more Maps functionality.
Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 15, focuses on Safari, but Maps also receives some love. Mountain ranges and deserts will be depicted in more depth thanks to the app. Apple also intends to enhance city views with more details such as elevation, buildings, trees, and specific landmarks. When iOS 15 is released, those features will be available in a few cities before being rolled out to more locations over time, as is Apple’s typical procedure for releasing Maps updates. To use this function, you’ll need an iPhone with an A12 Bionic processor or later.
The more detailed driving map, which can show you lanes, crosswalks, and medians, as well as real-time traffic and road incidents, is one change that drivers will love. A road-level 3D view of complicated interchanges will appear to help you better handle any lane changes or merges.
As a frequent user of public transportation, I’m excited about the new features in iOS 15, such as maps that show major routes and allow you to track your progress; you’ll also receive notifications when you’re close to your stop. Best of all, Maps allows you to pin your favorite routes so that you can see departure times whenever you’re near them. In a move similar to Google Maps, Apple is adding augmented reality-based walking directions to Maps, another feature that necessitates an A12-powered phone.
Messages in iOS 15
Messages received much attention in iOS 14, so the chat app doesn’t get quite as much of a going-over in iOS 15. But since this is the app that many iPhone users are spending their time in, you can expect a few enhancements to Messages.
The most significant change is the addition of a Shared With You function. Anyone who shares an Apple News story, photo, or podcast episode link will now transport you to an exclusive section in the relevant app when you hit the link in your News, Photos, or Podcasts app. Support will be provided for other Apple products as well, such as Music and TV.) You can react to the person who provided you the link without having to go back to Messages by using the Shared With You area. You can also pin shared information in Messages for later access.
There are new clothing and eyewear options for Memojis, as well as multi-colored headgear and accessibility features. As always, the idea is to create a collection of Memojis that is as different and individual as possible.
iOS 15’s Wallet
You know it’s a pretty big iOS update when even Wallet is getting new features. According to reports, Apple plans to expand support for other types of keys, including house keys, office security cards, and hotel key cards. Also, iOS 15 should enable a greater variety of cars. There is a good chance that the success of this particular feature will be determined by how well it is received by the smart lock industry, hotel chains, and automobile manufacturers.
As a result of integrating identification cards into its mobile app, Apple hopes t eliminate the need for a separate physical Wallet altogether. By allowing you to upload your driver’s license or state ID card to your phone, iOS 15 goes a long way toward achieving this goal. According to Apple, the feature will be available in “participating states” by the end of 2021. To find out which states are on board, we’ll need to wait. If you’re flying, your digital ID will be accepted at security checkpoints thanks to a partnership between Apple and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
iOS 15’s Health additions
iOS 15 adds a trends analysis tool to the Health app, which will better record your progress over time and even notify you if any new patterns are detected in your Health. The app can already collect a lot of data, from steps taken to body measurements taken. To help doctors decide whether or not you’re at risk of falling, the update includes the ability to track your walking steadiness.
The option to securely share all of your data with your doctor is perhaps the most significant change to Health in iOS 15. Family members will be able to exchange health data as well, which is a good inclusion if you have an older parent whose Health you’d like to monitor.
iOS 15’s Home app
Although Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant have a leg up on Apple, the updates to HomeKit and the Home app in iOS 15 should help Apple’s position in the smart home industry. The integration of Siri to third-party gadgets will be the most major shift. Siri compatibility will necessitate the purchase of a HomePod, but it will allow you to communicate with Siri through a wider range of linked devices.
Package detection is also coming to Home, which leverages HomeKit Secure Video, security cameras, and video doorbells to recognize parcels and tell you when they come.
iOS 15’s Weather app has a fresh new appearance.
Few apps have benefited as much as the built-in Weather app from an Apple acquisition. Some of these modifications appeared in iOS 14 as a result of Apple’s acquisition of Dark Sky. However, the next iOS 15 version is expected to make significant improvements to the app’s look and functionality, to the point where you won’t need to use one of the finest weather apps anymore.
Updated graphics displays that match the forecast, right down to moving backgrounds, will be included in iOS 15’s revamped Weather app. However, Apple’s maps show more meteorological detail than you’d expect from a pre-installed weather software, including precipitation, air quality, and temperature.
Live Text Search and Visual Lookup
The Visual Lookup and Live Text features that Apple is adding to iOS 15 will be familiar to anyone who has used Google Lens in the past. Although something has been done on another platform, it does not rule out its inclusion as a standard feature on the iPhone.
Visual Lookup does exactly what it says on the tin: you snap a snapshot of something and can learn more about it by swiping up or tapping the information icon. If you’re going to be gazing at monuments, artwork, or historical landmarks, bring this along.
Apple’s desire to use artificial intelligence in iOS 15 may be seen in the addition of Live Text. You can copy and paste text from photos into a note or message using the live text feature. A phone number will initiate a phone call if the text is an address or addressee, while signs and addresses will take you to Google Maps. Live text will be available in iOS 15 for the first time in Photos, Screenshots, Quick Look, and Safari.
New privacy tools in iOS 15
Recently, Apple has put a lot of emphasis on privacy in an effort to set itself apart from rival tech firms that have been less conscientious about protecting customer data. However, the person Apple is blaming presumably rhymes with “Face” and “Book.” Third-party apps might now be required to ask your permission before tracking you, thanks to iOS 14.5’s recent improvements.
iOS 15 intends to keep those privacy efforts going, with a new App Privacy Report feature in Settings that shows how often apps access your location, images, camera, microphone, and contacts, among other things. That way, if an app is being a little too forward, you can revoke rights. Apple also claims that its report card will reveal which apps access other domains, giving you a better idea of where your data is being shared.
Thanks to Apple’s Mail Privacy protection feature, Mail will be a little more secure with iOS 15. When you use this feature, your IP address is hidden, and senders aren’t able to see if you’ve seen their email – a useful tool for thwarting any marketing campaigns that aim to track you.
Photo changes in iOS 15
The Memories function, which collects images about a specific occasion, place, or person into a single album, is enhanced by the Photos app. With an interactive interface, automated color adjustments, and new animations, Apple promises a more immersive iOS 15. If you have an Apple Music subscription, you can use songs from that catalog as the background music for your Memories.
The most significant update to images on your phone is that they can now be searched using the Spotlight search function, which you can reach by swiping down from the home screen. You’ll be able to look for images based on persons, places, and objects in the photos themselves. You can also use Live Text to search for photos that include specified text.
Meet iCloud Plus
Apple intends to replace its commercial iCloud storage options with iCloud Plus, a new service. This is more than just a rebranding since iCloud Plus adds a slew of additional capabilities, two of which are privacy-related.You may use Hide My Email to create unique, throwaway email addresses when you don’t want to give out your real email address during online forms or registration, which uses Apple’s Sign In with Apple function. When using iCloud Private Relay, your IP address is hidden and all of your online activity is encrypted. When using iCloud Private Relay, your IP address is hidden and all of your online activity is encrypted. Your IP address is hidden and all of your activity is encrypted with iCloud Private Relay. iCloud Plus now includes HomeKit Secure Video.
iCloud Plus plans start at 99 cents per month for 50GB of storage and one HomeKit Secure Video camera and go up to $9.99 per month for 2TB of storage and unlimited cameras.
More widgets in iOS 15
One of the most useful new features in iOS 14 last year was the addition of app widgets that provided quick access to information such as the current weather or upcoming appointments.. It’s without a doubt the best improvement Apple has made in years, so it’s no surprise that iPadOS 15 adds widgets to the iPad’s home screen.
Additionally, iOS 15 will include new widgets that were not included in the previous year’s release. Apple promises additional widgets for Find My, Game Center, App Store Today, Sleep, Mail, and People, as well as connectivity with Family Sharing.