Apple’s iOS 15 update will bring many new features to your iPhone when it launches this fall. Apple announced the latest software for the iPhone this week during its annual big developer conference when it highlighted some of the changes.
The update will give you more options for FaceTime video chat, including, yes, finally talking to friends on Android. It also brings new privacy features that help protect your email and show you how often apps are accessing things like your camera and microphone. And later this winter, you may even be able to add your driver’s license to Apple Wallet, depending on where you live.
There are many changes, but I am going to highlight some of the ones that stand out to me the most. They are available for developers to try now and anyone will be able to try a beta version starting in July. Otherwise, expect to see them on your iPhone in the fall. It will be available for iPhone 6s and later.
Apple iOS 15 will let you watch movies, TV shows, and more with friends through FaceTime.
FaceTime is getting some new features. One is called SharePlay. Once you start a FaceTime video call with someone (or multiple people), you can open compatible apps like Disney +, Hulu, TikTok, and other apps, and then watch a movie or TV show together. Viewers can pause or fast-forward and everything will stay in sync. You can even switch to chatting via iMessage while watching or sharing your screen. Works on iPad, Mac, and iPhone.
FaceTime with Android and Windows users
Apple iOS 15 will allow you to FaceTime with Android and Windows users.
You will be able to bring Android and Windows friends to your FaceTime video chats. Anyone with a Mac, iPad or iPhone will see a new button to create a link for a FaceTime video, which can be shared with users on non-Apple devices. You will also need to allow those users to enter the chat, so you don’t have to worry about the link being relayed to other people and to random people who appear in the chat.
Your driver’s license in Apple Wallet (and keys too!)
Wallet and keys
Apple will soon allow you to store your driver’s license in the Apple Wallet app on your iPhone. That means you won’t have to get your license to go through the TSA at the airport to begin with. This feature is coming in winter, and Apple is working toward state-by-state approval. You will still need your driver’s license in case you are pulled over as the TSA will only accept it when it is released.
And speaking of the wallet, you will soon be able to store digital keys to your home in Apple Wallet. If you have a compatible HomeKit smart lock at home, or even in the office if your workplace offers it, you’ll be able to touch your phone to unlock the door. And you can share temporary or permanent digital keys with other visitors.
New iMessage features
Apple iOS 15 includes new updates for Messages.
iMessage will start sharing relevant information in other applications. So, for example, if someone sends you a link to a story, you’ll see it in the “Shared with you” section of Apple News with a reminder of who sent the link. This is convenient if you want to read a story later but don’t want to go back through hundreds of posts to find the link.
And if someone sends an image (not a meme or screenshot), it will appear as “Shared with you” in Apple Photos. This applies to links in Safari, podcasts, and movies and TV shows on Apple TV. Also, instead of seeing a long list of images when someone sends a lot, you will get a clean stack of photos that you can flip through.
Identify animals, elements and plants in photos.
Apple iOS 15 will allow you to search for things in your photos.
Your iPhone will be able to identify and give you more information about an animal, a landmark, a plant, or an object, such as a book. A small icon will appear at the top of the photos in your gallery, and with one tap, you can identify a pet’s dog breed and show it more information, for example. Or a flower with some background on the plant. The feature is similar to what has been available on Android phones called Google Lens.
Block messages and notifications at certain times with Focus
Focus in iOS 15 allows you to tell others that you are not available.
I am excited about this. A new “Focus” feature will only allow notifications from people and apps that you have previously approved at any given time.
The idea is that when you just want to sit and read, or you don’t want your phone to ring after a certain time, you won’t see random apps sending spam notifications or text messages from people you don’t need to hear from. the moment. And recipients will see if you are focusing, with a message that says, for example, “Todd has notifications muted with Focus.” If it’s urgent, the sender can send the message anyway.
You can create Focus settings for many things: work, play, sleep, and more. And each will allow you to create a custom home screen, so you will only see (but still be able to access) certain apps. Maybe create a home screen for your work applications and another for the applications you use when you are at home, for example.
Big changes in Apple Maps
Apple finished rolling out a complete redesign to its Maps app last year, but it’s back with another big update. Among many other things, it offers improved driving directions with lanes, crosswalks and more clearly marked. And there is a really cool 3D model that shows the elevation and points of interest in major cities. The new maps will work first in San Francisco, followed by Philadelphia, New York, London, Washington and Los Angeles before rolling out to other cities.
And speaking of your location. iOS 15 will also provide more information on public transportation, including real-time alerts for when you need to get off the bus, train, or subway. There’s even a new augmented reality feature that, like Google Maps, overlays more information on the real world so you can see where you’re going.
Safari browser updates, including voice web search.
Safari in iOS 15 also receives big changes.
Safari is getting a big update on iPhone, Mac, and iPad. It includes a redesign that brings the search bar to the bottom of the page on the iPhone, support for saving groups of open tabs (like the ones you use for work or planning a vacation) that you can reopen on any device, and a new option. to search the web by voice.
Just tap the microphone button and say what you want to search for and Safari will take care of the rest. Also, the extensions are compatible with iPhones and iPads for the first time, so you can use add-ons like Honey to find discount codes and promotions while shopping.
Translate, copy and interact with text in photos.
Apple iOS 15 can identify text in photos.
Any text from any photo can be copied and pasted or translated. So if you are reading a menu in another language, you can just take a photo and see what it says. Or you can take a photo of the address or name of a restaurant and then tap on it to get more information on Apple Maps. Another good example: Take a photo of a package and then click on the tracking number to track where the package is via UPS or FedEx. Lastly, you can also touch phone numbers on pictures to call a place immediately.
Improved Spotlight Search
Apple iOS 15 Spotlight Search
Spotlight Search is the tool you get when you slide your finger down the screen to search your iPhone. It is also getting great improvements. If you search for a contact, for example, it will show you the photos that person took and any text message links that person sent you. You will learn more about TV shows, movies, artists and musicians and more.
Apple will tell you even more about how apps use your phone. A new privacy report will show you how often an app has accessed your microphone, location, photos, and camera over the past seven days. And it will show you the servers the app is contacting, so you can see if an app could be sending data to many other companies or places.
ICloud + and Mail privacy protections
Apple iOS 15 will allow you to hide your email address.
iCloud + is a fancy new name for iCloud. You won’t pay more for some of the features, but it does include new benefits. You will hide your online activity using “iCloud Private Relay”, making it difficult for people to see the sites and other places you visit.
A ‘Hide my email’ feature that creates a random email address in forms where you need one to sign up, so that the recipient doesn’t know your real address (although you can still get emails forwarded to your usual address) . And finally, you get support for up to an unlimited number of HomeKit secure video cameras that you may have in your home. (The $ 0.99 per month plan includes support for one camera, but you can add more depending on your plan.)
Siri gets faster
Siri is faster for some tasks on iOS 15. The new on-device processing means you can ask Siri to do things like set timers and alarms, open apps, control music, turn on the flashlight, and more, all without the need for a Internet connection. That means those tasks need to be done immediately, rather than with a slight delay. This feature requires an iPhone XS (iPhone 2018) or newer.
Create legacy contacts so they can access your account when you die
A new “Digital Legacy” program allows you to establish contacts who will be able to access your account when you pass away. This should make it easier for loved ones to get everything off your device, transfer ownership of the phone, or close an account. . It is currently a difficult and confusing process. Additionally, a new “Account Recovery Contacts” feature allows you to designate certain people who can help you change your password in case you ever forget it and your account or certain devices are locked. .
There’s a lot more in iOS 15, including changes to AirPods that can help you hear conversations better, new widgets for Apple apps, system-wide translation, and more. But these were some of the highlights that caught my eye. Also, remember, sometimes Apple introduces some new features that require the hardware in newer iPhones, so expect some other changes in the fall.