iOS 15 Overview
Apple in June 2021 introduced the latest version of its iOS operating system, iOS 15, which is set to be released in the fall. iOS 15 introduces new features for FaceTime calls, tools to reduce distractions, a new notifications experience, added privacy features, complete redesigns for Safari, Weather, and Maps, and more.
Notifications have been redesigned in iOS 15, adding contact photos for people and larger icons for apps. To reduce distraction, a notification summary collects notifications together for delivery at an appropriate time and arranges notifications by priority.
Focus is a new feature that can filter notifications and apps based on what a user wishes to focus on at a certain time. When a user’s Focus is blocking incoming notifications, their status will be displayed to others in Messages. iOS will suggest a Focus for different occasions, such as work hours or winding down for bed, using on-device intelligence, but users can also create a custom Focus. When a Focus is set on one Apple device, it automatically applies to other Apple devices.
Safari features a completely new design. Controls are now easier to reach with one hand and give more focus to a webpage’s content. There is a new, compact tab bar that floats at the bottom of the screen so users can easily swipe between tabs. Tab Groups allow users to save tabs and easily access them at any time across devices. There is also a customizable start page and web extensions for the first time.
The Maps app now offers a new 3D view in cities with significantly enhanced details, showing buildings, pedestrian crosswalks, bike lanes, and more. There is a new city-driving experience with added road details and improved Transit features, such as pinned favorite lines, notifications to disembark, and AR walking directions.
iOS 15 brings voice isolation and Spatial Audio to FaceTime calls so that voices sound as if they are coming from where the person is located on the screen. FaceTime also supports Portrait mode and offers a new grid view to see more faces at the same time. SharePlay is a new feature that allows users to share media together in sync during a FaceTime call. Users can also generate shareable links to a scheduled FaceTime call, which can also be opened on Android and Windows devices.
The Weather app has been redesigned in iOS 15, showing more graphical displays of weather data, full-screen maps, and dynamic layouts that change based on weather conditions. Totally new animated backgrounds can now more accurately reflect the sun’s position and current precipitation, and there are notifications to highlight when rain or snow starts and stops.
The Wallet app adds support for new key types in iOS 15, such as homes, offices, or hotel rooms. Later this year, customers in participating U.S. states will be able to add a driver’s license or state ID to the Wallet app.
The Photos app features a major update to Memories with a new design and an interactive interface. Memories now supports integration with Apple Music, using on-device intelligence to offer song suggestions for personalized Memories.
Live Text is a new feature that uses on-device intelligence to recognize text in a photo that users can search for, highlight, and copy. Spotlight can now search for photos by location, people, scenes, objects, and text. Spotlight also offers web image search and richer results for actors, musicians, TV shows, and movies. Enhanced results for contacts show recent conversations, shared photos, and location if it is shared through Find My.
iOS 15 also introduces new privacy measures, such as processing Siri requests directly on the iPhone, which has the added benefit of better responsiveness, Mail Privacy Protection to stop senders knowing if an email has been opened and detecting a recipient’s IP address, and an App Privacy Report view to show how often apps use the permissions they have been granted.
There are dozens of tweaks and changes for other apps, such as user-created tags, mentions, and an Activity view in the Notes app, Trends, Walking Steadiness, and a new sharing tab in the Health app, a systemwide Shared with You feature for highlighting content that has been shared in Messages conversations, and a new For All of You row in the TV app to recommend entertainment for the whole household.
iOS 15 is compatible with the iPhone 6s and later, which means it runs on all devices that are able to run iOS 14, and will be released this fall.