Apple released its latest iPhone operating system, iOS 15, to pair with new features in its updated iPhone, iPad, and Watch lineup. iOS 15 offers several key new features to enhance the iPhone user experience and widen communications capabilities across Apple devices:
FaceTime received a boost with the introduction of SharePlay, which allows parties to watch TV shows and movies, listen to music or share their screen while chatting over FaceTime. Notably, the function offers synced playback controls so that both parties can react to shared moments at the same time.
Apple also rolled out spatial audio for FaceTime calls, which allows individual voices to sound like they’re coming from the direction in which they’re positioned on the screen, helping conversations to flow more naturally. In addition, FaceTime links can now be shared with anyone via a weblink, allowing both Windows and Android users to use the service.
The latest update also offers new tools to minimize distractions. The Focus feature allows users to choose what tasks to prioritize while minimizing the number of notifications received from other apps. Users can also signal to others that they are in Focus mode to avoid disruption.
Notifications have been redesigned with larger icons for easy skimming and can now be sent out as a streamlined daily summary, while the Maps app now offers greater detail, better walking directions, and 3D landmarks. The Safari web browser can now support extensions and has been revamped to include a bottom tab bar for easier page swiping. In addition, the Wallet app will soon support driver’s licenses and digital keys.
One standout feature is the introduction of Live Text in photos, which uses on-device AI to pinpoint useful information in images, like phone numbers and email addresses. Live Text also supports translation in seven different languages, including English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Users can utilize the Visual Look Up feature to learn more about objects in photos, while the Spotlight function now shows more information at a glance.
The Photos app also received a boost to its Memories feature, while the Health app now offers greater ways to share important data with designated contacts to better track health changes. Lastly, iOS 15 bumps up the privacy and security on Apple portable devices, providing increased visibility into how apps access user data and introducing an iCloud+ subscription feature with enhanced privacy options.