Apple released iOS 15, the major annual iPhone software update, on Monday.
This year’s version has seen some major changes, including FaceTime’s ability to make calls to Windows and Android users, artificial intelligence that can better identify animals, plants, and other items in photos, and a feature that extends notification limits. manages better.
While Apple releases regular updates throughout the year, the annual update that is released alongside new iPhones has the most additional features and changes.
iOS 15 is also available for many older phones, all the way back to the iPhone 6S, which was released in 2015. This is what you get.
What’s New in iOS 15?
FaceTime with Windows and Android users. FaceTime, Apple’s video conferencing software, used to be reserved only for Apple products – users who wanted FaceTime with an Android phone or Windows PC were out of luck. As of iOS 15, anyone with an Apple computer will see a button that allows them to link to a FaceTime chat. Users can send that link to any computer or phone with a modern web browser, and they can also join the chat. Users must be allowed into the chat, so the link will not allow random people in without your permission.
New messages integration. Some people get lots of different links in Apple Messages, formerly iMessage, throughout the day, but don’t have time to check them out until later. Now Messages shares that information with other apps. For example, if someone sends a link to an Apple News news story, it will appear in the Apple News app in a section called “Shared with you.” The same goes for Apple Music and Apple Photos. This new integration also applies to Safari web links, podcasts, and Apple TV movies and TV shows.
AI that can see what’s in a photo, including text. Apple has been improving photo recognition capabilities in the Photos app for years, and this year it takes a big step forward in the types of objects in photos it can recognize. With iOS 15, Apple’s software can identify and provide more information about animals, landmarks, plants, and books. It also makes text in your photos searchable and users can even copy text from a photo and paste it into a document. Apple’s AI runs on an iPhone, rather than using the cloud to do the work on a remote server, so the stuff you identify or copy isn’t sent back to Apple.
More control over notifications outside office hours. For a few years now, iPhone users have had a mode called “Do Not Disturb” that limited notifications except from a list of close contacts. These features got a major upgrade in iOS 15 that Apple calls “Focus.” The main feature only shows notifications from people and apps that you’ve pre-approved. If someone texts a user who is in focus mode, they receive a notifications suppressed message, sort of an out of office message. Users can create multiple Focus profiles for different situations, such as work, play, and sleep. It allows users to create special home screens so that they can have different collections of apps for work or home, for example.
Apple Maps Reminders. Apple Maps comes with annual improvements, including better directions, public transit timetables, and an augmented reality walking routes feature that places large arrows over real-world scenes to tell users where to go. But commuters will probably enjoy the new real-time alerts that tell users when to get off the bus, train, or subway before they miss their stop.
New Safari design. The default browser on the iPhone is getting its biggest redesign in years, bringing the address bar and back button from the top of the screen closer to the bottom for easier access for thumbs. If you don’t like the new Safari, you can revert it to the old look. Safari also stores groups of open tabs so you can come back to them later, and supports extensions — much like Google Chrome or Safari on the desktop — via Apple’s app stores for the first time. Extensions are small apps that let you do more on a site, like block ads, but there aren’t many available yet.
Find a better system. Apple’s Spotlight is a powerful user feature that searches the web and your files and makes apps easier to access. Users open it by swiping down from the top of the screen. It has a new look this year, with more photos and Apple-provided information about TV shows, movies, musicians, and links shared with you.
Privacy protection. Apple has put an emphasis on privacy in recent years, but in iOS 15, it’s starting to become a feature worth upgrading for. A new feature is called “App Privacy Report” and it shows you how many times an app has used your microphone or location in the past seven days. It will also tell users if apps are calling home to their own servers – which is normal, but may highlight certain uses of data that were previously overlooked. People who pay for iCloud also get iCloud Private Relay, a beta feature similar to a VPN that hides IP addresses, potentially revealing your location. People using Apple’s Mail app can enter random email addresses and hide tracking pixels that tell marketers whether an email has been opened or not.
Faster Siri. Siri no longer needs to send data to a distant server to understand what you’ve asked for. Now it can do it on the device itself, which will lead to a smoother experience without a slight delay, as well as extra privacy – Apple will no longer have access to all recordings of your Siri requests.
Driver’s license and keys in Apple Wallet. Apple is adding the ability to place driver’s licenses and keys in the Wallet app, but it may take time for all users to take advantage of these big new features.
Apple says the TSA and eight states are already on board with the program to put driver’s licenses and state IDs on the iPhone. Users will have to wait for their state government to support the feature.
Users can also store keys, including car ignition keys, in Apple Wallet. If you have a smart home or go to an office with compatible locks, you can start unlocking your front door with your phone as soon as you update with the new software. The car’s ignition key function requires a BMW or other compatible vehicle.
A big delay: Apple plans to launch a feature called SharePlay that will allow you to watch a movie or TV show with other people via FaceTime. But that feature isn’t included yet and is now promised for later this year.
How to get iOS 15
It is very easy to install iOS 15. All you need is an iPhone SE (1st generation) or later or an iPhone 6s or later. Those phones were released in 2016 and 2015, respectively, so most people should get the update. This is what you do:
- Connect your compatible iPhone to WiFi and power.
- Open Settings.
- Open General.
- Open Software Update.
- Tap Download and Install.
That is it!