Apple’s all-new iOS 15 has arrived. It brings a ton of new features and apps. This is very exciting, as the new update brings a ton of new ways to stay connected with each other. Its powerful feature set lets users explore, focus, and enjoy their iPhones in unique new ways.
Apple warns you to please backup your devices before updating to iOS 15 since apps may not be stable and performance may vary. Also, only download the iOS 15 update from the App Store (not OTA) or else you might end up with an expired build of iOS 15 installed on your device, which can cause major problems, including bricking your device.
Now, let’s go over some iOS 15 features, shall we?
iOS 15 Features
Here are some of the major new features that iOS 15 has to offer. This is not an exhaustive list by any means. If you want an exhaustive list, read Apple’s iOS 15 Review.
The biggest feature in iOS 15 is peer-to-peer updates for iDevices. Peer-to-peer updates mean instead of your iPhone needs to connect with Apple’s servers to download a large update file, it can do so directly with other iPhones or iPads nearby. It does this by using WiFi direct connections instead of connecting through the internet (which will be faster). Once downloaded, everyone else who needs the update can download it from your device instead of Apple’s servers. This means that only one person needs to go through the hassle of downloading a large iOS update file, and everyone else can just install it via their iPhone.
Apps on iCloud
Another new feature in iOS 15 is apps on iCloud. It’s kind of like having iTunes Apps installed on iCloud accounts. With this, you’ll be able to download any app previously downloaded from the App Store directly from iCloud (without signing in to your Apple ID or anything). You will also get free space for that app if you used up all your iCloud storage before getting this feature. Just tap and hold an app tile and hit “delete” to uninstall any apps you don’t need anymore. Those apps will still be available to download from iCloud directly.
iOS 15 now allows you to buy app bundles. This is not a new concept by any means. Still, it’s great that Apple is allowing developers to offer discounted bundle pricing for apps. For example, the “Fruit Ninja” game has this feature. If you purchase all expansions of the game in one shot for $1.99, you save 70% compared to purchasing each expansion separately, which would cost you $1.00 each (that’s just one example). Developers also have the option to create custom bundles as well if they wish to do so.
One thing iOS 15 makes really easy are group messages. If more than one person is messaging back and forth in a group message, iOS 15 will split the box horizontally, allowing you to see all the messages separately. Only the person who started or is responding to that particular thread will have their message highlighted in blue. It makes it much easier to keep track of conversations when there are multiple participants involved.
iOS 15 also has something called Tapback. This is pretty much like the Facebook “Like” button, except it’s for iMessage only. When someone sends you a message, just hold your finger on one of the icons of your messaging apps (like “heart” or “thumbs up”). Doing so will give you some default responses, which include things like “cool”, etc. Still, you can also tap more options at the bottom, including adding an emoticon, sending a sticker, or sending your location.
One iOS 15 feature that is especially useful if you’re like me, who sends lots of emojis in all their texts (to make my friends laugh), iOS 15 will let you search for emoji by category. Just bring up the keyboard and swipe left to get to the “emoji” section, which has categories like “people”, “places”, etc. Swipe further if you want more specific categories. It’s much easier than having to scroll through them all one at a time.
iOS 15 also has something called Bubble Effects. This allows you to send full-screen animations when responding back via iMessage. You can choose from things like balloons that pop up on the screen, lasers that shoot, fireworks that explode, etc.
Type to Siri (beta)
iOS 15 has a new feature called Type to Siri, which lets you type your questions instead of talking aloud. To turn this on, go into the “Siri & Search” section in your Settings app and switch on the toggle button next to “Type to Siri”. You will then activate Siri by holding down the Home button (or saying “Hey Siri”) while simultaneously tapping once on the keyboard icon on the screen. It’s not quite hands-free like Google Now or Cortana yet since it requires both hands for some reason, but at least you know it might be something Apple will fix in future iOS releases.
FaceTime upgrades Spatial audio, support for Android and Windows
iOS 15 also brings a significant improvement to FaceTime. You can now have a group call with up to 32 participants. If you want, iOS 15 will automatically select who it thinks are the most prominent people in the room by enlarging their square tiles and shrinking others. This is actually an interesting feature, especially if you’re organizing a meeting or party via video chat. There’s also another new feature called “FaceTime Audio”, which lets you make voice-only calls. The quality is much better than regular cellular calls and doesn’t eat into your data plan like Skype and WhatsApp does (their VOIP calling features).
One more thing: iOS 15 also seems to be compatible with Android phones too as well as Windows 10 PCs. That means you can video call your friends and family on those platforms as well using the FaceTime app.
Apple Maps update: 3D street data, AR walking directions, and weather warnings
With iOS 15, you can now get more information while using the Apple Maps app. Type in a location if you’re on foot or drive to one and tap on it. You will see full 3D imagery of the building or structure, including its surroundings. If it’s someone’s house with trees around it, for example, you will be able to see them too. It looks very cool, especially since most maps apps today do not have this capability (Google Maps only shows flat map data). Weather updates are also available at that point, thanks to iOS 15’s new “Weather Widget” feature, which gives you real-time weather alerts down to the street level.
iOS 15 also has an augmented reality addition for pedestrians called ” Walking Navigation “. Just like how Pokemon Go uses augmented reality to show you where Pokemon are, iOS 15 will now display your surroundings as well as point of destinations on the map. You can also search for local restaurants or coffee shops with Apple Maps’ new “Scout” feature, highlighting the best places nearby by category (just tap on the star icon next to the search bar).
Siri updates: Search photos & videos by date, topic, and more.
iOS 15 also gives Siri a major upgrade. Its voice assistant will now be able to do lots of things that Google Now can do. Specifically, it can now search photos and videos by date, location, people in them, etc. For example, you can ask, “What did I do last weekend?” or something like “Show me photos I took in New York last year”, and Siri will bring up the result. You can also ask Siri to show you photos of specific people or say things like, “show me videos I took at the beach”. It’s just like Google Now but with privacy built-in (the information is all on your phone, not sent back to Apple’s servers for processing).
Now you can validate digital ID cards in the Wallet app with facial recognition selfies. Just make sure your iPhone’s camera points at your face when it detects your fingerprint. Press the home button. It doesn’t sound too practical, but it could come in handy if you need to confirm your identity before doing something or entering a secure location.
ARKit for developers: Interactive app development with iOS 15
The Clips app may not be ready yet but using Apple’s new ARKit developer tool, 3D animated augmented reality objects will become possible on iOS 15. This is not exactly something that consumers can take advantage of right now since it requires coding expertise to do so. Still, developers can start playing around with ARKit now and create better experiences for future iOS releases. Check out what HBO’s Silicon team has to say about their experience working with ARKit.
iOS 15 compatibility: Compatible with iPhone 4s and iPhone 5/5c (2012) & up
Apple’s iOS 15 is compatible with the following iPhones:
– A 5S, 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus 2007-2015.
– The first-ever iPhone model called the “iPhone” (2007).
– The original iPhone 3G (2008) – The first-ever iPad (2010)
– Compatible with iPod Touch devices that are 5th gen or higher.
This means if you have an older phone like the 4s, your device won’t run iOS 15 properly since iOS 15 has lots of new features that require advanced graphics and processing. iOS 15 will run on an iPhone 4s, but only the basic features and apps will be available, and you will need to upgrade if possible.
So, these were all the interesting iOS 15 features and updates. We tried our best to cover most of the aspects. However, it’s a pretty big update. The new iOS 15 packs a lot of new features and we must have missed quite a few. Therefore, we will keep updating this article when we come to know about new features/updates. Which iOS 15 feature do you like the most and why? Let us know in the comment section below.
In our review of Apple’s latest iPhone 13 Pro Max, we noted its Apple’s best phone yet. Combined with iOS 15 it’s sure to change the way we use smartphones in a big way.