iOS 15: What’s new and when can I get it?

Posted: 8 June 2021 10:18 am
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Here are the details you need to know about Apple's latest version of the iPhone operating system.

Tech giant Apple has just announced the launch of the next iPhone operating system, iOS 15. The information arrived along with a number of other software goods, but the new iPhone update is definitely one to keep an eye on.

If you're keen to learn more about what Apple has in store for customers, you can check out our detailed round-up of the WWDC 2021 event. Or, you can keep on scrolling to learn all about the latest iOS update coming to compatible devices later this year.


New iOS features you need to know about

  • FaceTime updates. New features include spatial audio (which replicates the sound of speakers in the same room), voice isolation (which blocks out ambient noise for clearer audio) and wide spectrum audio (which opens up the mic to capture everything around you). You'll also be given a grid view of everyone's face, portrait mode access and FaceTime web links. The latter can be used to schedule calls in advance and invite Android users to chats.
  • SharePlay. This is a new social networking tool that allows you to share music, watch movies with friends and screen share a wide range of compatible apps. Ever since the first COVID-19 lockdown, features like this have really been growing in popularity (think Netflix Party). In short, they allow you to enjoy content with friends remotely as if they're in the same room.
  • "Shared with You". This component will sit within the Apple News app, and will bring together links and content from the Messages app that people have sent you, but you haven't found the time to look at.
  • Notification updates. Users will now get new icons and a notifications summary for quick views of multiple notifications.
  • "Focus". This tool allows you to nominate specific notifications, contacts and apps to appear on your phone, with other distracting information kept hidden. (Unlike Screen Time, the aim here is to streamline your phone towards a specific task, rather than restricting usage altogether.)
  • Live text. This will allow you to select text from images, such as numbers in photos for automatic calling. It will purportedly work for 7 different languages, making it easy to translate signs and menus in foreign countries.
  • Update to Apple Wallet. This will soon support home, office or hotel keys. This will include approximately 1,000 Hyatt hotels at launch, meaning you don't have to rely on those plastic cards that only seem to work half the time.
  • Apple Weather. Full screen, high resolution weather maps.
  • Improvements to Maps. Expect to see new 3D driving modes which promise to make turning lanes, identifying bus and taxi lanes, and traversing complex highway interchanges easier to do. Pedestrians will also be getting a 3D location finder similar to Google Street View, although currently only "select US cities" have been confirmed for this feature.

Apple is concentrating on refining what works in iOS rather than introducing big show-stopping features we haven't seen before. The additions we're most excited about are the improvements to Maps which will hopefully mean we never miss an exit lane again.


When can I get iOS 15?

Major iOS updates usually appear in mid-September to coincide with a new iPhone, so expect to see iOS 15 during this timeframe along with the iPhone 13. We'll have a full review of the latter when it launches. In the meantime, serious tech heads can download the developer betas for iOS 15 from today.


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