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iOS 15: See All The New Features

iOS 15 is the latest OS for the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple for their iPhone and iPod Touch lines.

It was announced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7, 2021 as the successor to iOS 14, and will be released on September 20, 2021. It was released to support the new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro.

See all the latest features below.

Features

Focus

The Focus allows users to set their “state”, such as work, sleep, do not disturb or a custom one. Based on the selected state, users can set the type of notification they want to receive and from which application. It is also possible to choose which pages and then apps to show on the Home based on the state. The state can change automatically based on where the user is or a time. Some Lock Screen settings can be controlled based on the state: for example, the Dim Lock Screen feature, which darkens the lock screen from not showing notifications on that screen, can be automatically turned on or off based on the state.

Focus also controls the interactions with Contacts: the do not disturb state can be shared to iMessage contacts so that they can see that the user is in the do not disturb state, where the messages are delivered silently. It is also possible to decide which specific contacts can “disturb” the user.

Focus is synchronized automatically across different iOS devices on the same iCloud account.

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iCloud

Backups to iCloud can now also be made on 5G cellular networks.

Notifications

Notifications receive a new look with contact photos for all communication apps and larger app icons. The Summary allows the user to group and postpone the notifications coming from the chosen apps, delivering them at a scheduled time in a single big notification called summary notification.

Live Text

Devices with an A12 chip or newer support Live Text in stock apps which can transcribe, copy and paste text from images and photo camera in real-time.

Smart stacks with suggested Widgets

The Widgets in iOS 15 are more dynamic: depending on the context, the system can add or remove widgets to existing stacks. For example, near the start of a certain event in the Calendar, the system can decide to add the Calendar Widget to an existing smart stack, if it is not already present, and then remove it at the end of the event.

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Cross-App Drag and Drop

Users can now drag pictures and text from one app to another.

Home

Users can now reorder the various Home screens.

Per-App Text Size

From the Control Center, the text size can be set per app, each app can have a different text size which is remembered.

Spotlight

The global search function has been enhanced and it is also available on the lock screen by pulling the page down.

Dictation

Formerly limited to 60 seconds, the Voice-To-Text dictation available in the keyboard is unlimited. Moreover, it is faster and more accurate.

System-wide Translation

System-wide translation allows user to translate text in any languages by simply selecting it and tapping on the Translate option that appears.

RealityKit 2

The new version allows apps to build more immersive AR experiences using new APIs to capture objects even faster, custom shaders, dynamic assets, custom systems and character control.

Adjust video playback speed

The system default player, used for videos and by many apps, has the control to adjust the playback speed.

Video Effects and Mic Mode

Video Effects and Mic Mode are two new commands in the Control center that allow the user to add Portrait effect to the camera and set Microphone mode to Voice Isolation on any apps.

Accessibility improvements

  • Per-App Accessibility: each app can have a different accessibility text setting (Bold Text, Larger Text, Button Shapes, On/Off Labels, Reduce Transparency).
  • Image Exploration with VoiceOver: explore people, objects, text, and tables within images in greater detail with VoiceOver. Explore your receipts and nutrition label values intelligently and logically even if they are in a table. Move your finger over a photo to find out a person’s position relative to other objects within the images.
  • Voice Image Descriptions in Markup: Markup allows the user to add image descriptions that can be read by VoiceOver. Image descriptions persist even when shared and can be read in a range of supported apps on iPhone, iPad and Mac.
  • Sound Actions for Switch Control: let you control iPhone with simple mouth sounds, such as a click, pop, or “ee” sound, without the need for physical buttons, switches, or complex verbal commands.
  • Background Sounds: play balanced, bright or dark, ocean, rain noises and continuously transmit background sound to mask unwanted ambient or outside noise and help you focus, stay calm or rest. Sounds mix or subside under other audio and system sounds while the device is being used by its owner.

Increased 5G usage

iOS 15 allows more apps and system features to use faster 5G connectivity than iOS 14: you can download iOS software updates to 5G without limitations, backup your phone to iCloud and restore it from an iCloud backup to 5G, in the TV app you can download programs via 5G connection with higher picture quality than before. It also allows devices with 5G cellular connectivity to automatically switch to a fast 5G network when experiencing slow Wi-Fi performance or poor signal or when connected to an unsecured or captive wireless network.

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App improvements

FaceTime

iOS 15 adds several new features to FaceTime including:

  • Grid view for group conversations
  • Portrait mode. Requires A12 Bionic chip or later
  • Spatial Audio
  • Voice isolation mode: the artificial intelligence is able to recognize and remove any noise in the room leaving only the voice of the user who is speaking.
  • Wide spectrum mode
  • FaceTime links and web integration, which allow anyone to join a call including Android and Microsoft Windows users
  • Calendar integration
  • Mute alerts, which let users know when they are talking while muted
  • FaceTime can now take advantage of all rear cameras (on compatible devices)

SharePlay

Another major feature of FaceTime is SharePlay, which allows users to listen to music, watch movies, share their screens, and more with other users while on a FaceTime call. SharePlay works across iPhones running iOS 15, iPads running iPadOS 15, and Macs running macOS Monterey.

Messages

  • Multiple images in stack: messages now displays multiple images in a stack, making them easier to navigate.
  • Pinned content: it’s possible to pin any content, text or link you receive from a contact.

Memoji

Memoji have more customization options, including new clothing, two different eye colors, new glasses, new stickers, multicolored headwear, and new accessibility options.

Shared with You

Messages also introduces a new feature called “Shared with You”, which organizes links and other content shared via Messages in a dedicated section in their native apps for later viewing (for instance, a news article shared via messages is shown in the News app).

Maps

Apple Maps receives several new features:

  • Greater depth has be added to the driving maps with the use of 3D modeling which will make it easier to interpret directions when faced with roads that go over or under the one being driven on, including buildings, bridges and trees.
  • 3D globe with a new color palette and increased mountain, desert, and forest detail
  • Increased traffic information, turn lanes, bike, bus and taxi lanes, medians, crosswalks
  • Walking directions in augmented reality on A12 devices or later
  • Redesigned place cards
  • Improved filtering for search
  • Easier to report map issues
  • The night mode set in Maps now follows the night mode set in the OS instead of activating it only at night and the colors are improved.
  • Public Transport Info: public transport routes and times with ability to pin favourite routes to the top. In-app notifications will alert users when they need to get off a bus or train due to improved real-time GPS tracking. This transit information now can be visible also on a connected Apple Watch.

Photos

The Photos app allows the user to manually set the time and date of a photo. The app also allows the user to view information about the photo such as the camera used to take the photo and the photo’s file size. In the Photos app, the user can now look up places that are inside images, however, this feature works on the Apple A12 chip and later.

Camera

Improved panoramic shooting mode on iPhone 12 and above: less geometric distortion in panoramic shots with elongated fields of view, noise and banding reduction that are formed in the image due to changes in brightness and contrast when moving the camera from side to side other, a less blurry and clearer image even when capturing moving subjects within the panorama.

Safari

Safari was completely redesigned, moving the tab bar and address bar to the bottom of the screen. It now has tab groups, allowing users to organize tabs and share entire groups of tabs.

Browser extensions are available for the first time in Safari for iOS; they are the same extensions available in Safari for the Mac.

A new start page: it is possible to have a custom page at browser startup that contains one or more sections including favorites, most frequently visited sites, shared with you, privacy reports, reading list, Siri suggestions and iCloud panels.

Safari in ‌iOS 15‌ automatically upgrades sites that are known to support HTTPS from HTTP.

App Clips more discoverable: it is possible to show a full-screen preview of the app clip in Safari. Reduced also the number of steps to open the app clip.

Added support for WebM audio/video codec.

Siri

Siri now works offline, offering shorter response times for the most common requests that do not require an Internet connection. Requires A12 Bionic chip or later.

Share with Siri: you can finally just ask Siri “Hey Siri, share this with [name]” (or something similar like “send this to [name]”) and Siri will share the content on the screen to that person using Messages. Items like images, web pages, Apple Music or Podcasts, Apple News stories, and Maps locations will share the actual content (or a link to it). For content Siri can’t share, it will warn you that it can only send a screenshot—but Siri will still automatically take that screenshot and drop it in a Message to that person.

Announce Notifications: with announce notifications update in iOS 15, Siri can now read all incoming notifications and even allow users to respond to them using their voice. The user can choose to enable this for specific apps.

Health

It is possible to share health data with family, friends or healthcare professionals that can take care of the user.

There is a new monitored parameter called “Walking Steadiness” which determines the risk of falling using iPhone sensors and sophisticated algorithms that measure balance, stability and coordination.

Added the Trend analysis i.e. horizontal lines that show the trend of the various parameters over the long term.

Lab Results allows to import laboratory results into the Health app from a healthcare provider.

Files

Groups is a new view mode that groups files of the same type.

The Built-in PDF editor allows the user to insert pages from existing files or scans, remove pages and rotate pages. PDFs can also be locked with a password.

Notes

New #tags allow classifying, organizing, then finding your notes faster. Smart Folders automatically group various notes based on tags.

Ability to share notes with other collaborators and work on them together. The activity view shows a summary of the changes made by other collaborators before your last reading and a day-by-day list of the activities carried out by each collaborator. It is possible to mention @someone in the notes, who will be notified.

Reminders

Ability to insert #tags in reminders to classify them.

Shortcuts

Sound recognition has been added to the automations, so it’s possible to execute a customized command when a certain sound is recognized.

Wallet

  • Keys: iPhone is able to unlock select HomeKit-enabled smart locks with a tap.
  • Identification cards and driver licenses: iPhone can store a copy of a user’s state-issued identity card or driver license. Arizona, Georgia, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah will be the first in United States to support the feature.

Weather

Weather received an overhaul, with new animations and weather maps in full screen, and the weather icon was updated in the fifth beta.

Next-time precipitation notifications: you’ll get a notification whenever rain or snow is going to start or stop within the next hour for your current location and each saved location, independently.

App Privacy Report

By activating this app logging, the user can save a 7-day summary of the times when the various apps access certain data and the domains or websites they visit.

Siri improved privacy

On devices with an Apple A12 Bionic system on a chip or newer, Siri now converts audio into words on the device itself instead of sending it to Apple servers.

Mail Privacy Protection

In Mail app it masks the user’s IP address during the reading of mail messages containing external contents.

Hide My Email

Hide My Email allows you to create unique, random email addresses that forward to your personal inbox so you can send and receive email without having to share your real email address.

iCloud Private Relay

When browsing with Safari, Private Relay masks the user’s IP address, preserving the region but not the actual location. It also protects the DNS query resolution and insecure HTTP traffic in all apps.

However, this feature will not be available in Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, mainland China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and the Philippines.

Built-in one-time password authenticator With Autofill

The built-in authenticator allows iOS devices to be used to generate verification codes for additional sign-in security of accounts. There is no need to download a separate app because it is integrated into the OS. The verification codes are automatically filled when a user signs in to the site.

WPA3 Hotspot

Hotspot connections now can also use the WPA3 security protocol.

CSAM Detection

CSAM Detection enables Apple to identify and report iCloud users who store known Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) in their iCloud Photos accounts. This recognition is based on a perceptual hash called NeuralHash which is based on features of the image instead of the precise values of pixels in the image.

Siri and Search are also being updated to intervene when users perform searches for queries related to CSAM explaining to users that interest in this topic is harmful and problematic. The Messages app will warn children and their parents when receiving or sending sexually explicit photos and these photos will be blurred.

Other changes

  • New widgets have been added: Mail, Contacts, Game Center, Find My, App Store, Sleep.
  • iOS 13 wallpapers were removed in the first beta of iOS 15.
  • iOS 15 features a new wallpaper in two modes: light and dark.

iOS 14 compatible Devices

Apple says that iOS 14 can run on the iPhone 6s and later, which is the exact same as iOS 13. This means that any iPhone supported by iOS 13 is also supported by iOS 14. Here’s the full list:

  • iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 Mini
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max

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