Apple finally released its highly anticipated iOS 15 update this week.
The software update, which debuted at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7, comes with a ton of upgrades to Maps, Notes, Wallet, Weather, FaceTime, and more. (This update is not to be confused with Apple’s iOS 14.8 update, which addressed a critical iPhone security issue. If you haven’t updated yet, do so ASAP.)
🍏 Want more best-in-class tech guides? Let us be your tech support.
iOS 15 also delivers a suite of new features including SharePlay, which lets you stream music, movies, and other media together on FaceTime. Plus, there’s a new way of sending out notifications, designed to help you stay focused and on-task.
📲 How To Install iOS 15:
Open the Settings app > Select General > Choose Software Update > Under the Also Available section, select Upgrade to iOS 15 > Select Download and Install to begin.
NOTE: Before downloading the update, check to see if your iPhone, iPad, or computer will even support it. You can find a list of Apple products that will support iOS 15 here.
Without further ado, here are some of iOS 15’s most notable new features.
FaceTime is getting an upgrade. The update will finally allow you to FaceTime Android and Windows users, courtesy of a shared link that opens the app on a web browser. The sound and picture quality will also improve, making the calls seem more lifelike than ever before. You’ll also be able to view everyone on the call, thanks to a Zoom-like grid. Better still: everyone will look better than ever thanks to FaceTime’s new Portrait Mode feature.
SharePlay is one of iOS 15’s most stunning new features. Now, you can “share experiences” while connected via FaceTime. This means that you can listen to songs on Apple Music, or watch movies or TV shows together, all while FaceTiming. And with the touch of a button, anyone can control the shared settings. According to Apple’s press release, several streaming and gaming services—including Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, MasterClass, Paramount+, Pluto TV, TikTok, and Twitch—will incorporate SharePlay.
iOS 15 includes a slew of features designed to help you stay focused and minimize distractions. With the update, you can filter out pointless notifications, let friends and coworkers know that you’ve got your thinking cap on, and schedule specific times when you’d like to receive notifications. (Don’t worry, you’ll still get urgent messages.)
Notifications have also been redesigned to include photos and larger app icons, all to help you see what’s coming in more quickly and easily.
Sharing is Caring
Now, anytime someone shares something with you in the Messages app—like, say, a photo, song, or a link to a news article—Apple’s new Shared With You feature will conveniently highlight it as new in Photos, Apple Music and Apple News, respectively.
Thanks to the new update, you can unlock more than you ever dreamed possible with your phone. The upgrade will allow users to open and start some compatible vehicles (BMW was the first to jump into the game) or enter their home, office, and hotel rooms—all with a simple scan of your mug through FaceID or with a passcode.
Apple is also working with the TSA to load digital identity cards onto your Apple Wallet so that you can breeze through airport security without fumbling around for your driver’s license or state ID. To keep this information secure, Apple says it will encrypt your identification through the same technology it uses to secure Apple Pay. Users in some participating states could have access to this new feature later this year.
Apple’s weather app is also getting an upgrade. The redesign includes a reactive background with a more accurate placement of the sun and the option to turn on notifications that alert when inclement weather will start and stop.
The new iOS 15 update will make it a whole lot easier for you to apologize to your millions of angry followers. The Notes app will now feature user-created tags so you can keep those drafts organized, and will include the ability to alert other users when a shared note is edited. You’ll also be able to view a note’s history, thanks to a new feature called Activity View.
iOS 15 has a ton of new features in store for Apple Maps. The redesign includes new colors and labels, elevation, custom landmarks, and a new nighttime mode, according to the release. You’ll also be able to save (or pin) frequently used public transportation stops. A new augmented reality feature will also help you navigate the world around you by foot.
There are new updates on the privacy front. Apple’s new App Privacy Report will let you know which apps have access to your contacts, photos, location, and more. And all that audio that Siri captures— “Hey, Siri. Is Jake Gyllenhaal single?”—will stay safe and sound on your device, thanks to on-device speech recognition.
iOS 15 introduces a bevy of new accessibility features. Apple has beefed up its Voice-Over feature, which will provide even more details about the contents of images, and introduced a new feature called Made for iPhone, which supports bidirectional hearing aids. Among other upgrades, users will now be able to customize the size of text within each app.
- Translate: A new feature to Apple Translate enables live translation mid-conversation. Bonus: you can now translate text anywhere on your iPhone.
- Apple TV: The newly introduced “For All of You” category will compile a list of movies and shows that reflect the interests and preferences of everyone in the household. It’s a movie night fit for the whole fam.
- Health: You’ll be able to share medical information and data with family medical professionals, and the new Trends feature will track lifestyle choices. The new Walking Steadiness feature is designed to help monitor stability and coordination in an effort to prevent falls.
- HomeKit: Siri will now work with select third-party devices, giving you the ability to check for messages, manage your schedule and set timers on a wide range of devices, all thanks to Apple’s HomePod and HomePod mini, which will relay the requests.
- Find My: The application can now find your phone even if it has been lost or reset. You’ll also have the option to share its location with friends and family beforehand. Thanks to iOS15, Apple will now ping you if you’ve left your AirPods or other devices in an unfamiliar location.
- Safari: Apple’s web browsing app also got a redesign. With new button placement, it’s now easier to surf the web with one hand. Thanks to a customizable start page and a redesigned tab bar, scrolling through your favorite sites will be a lot easier.