Apple finally released the iOS 15 out to the public after rounds of testing. And everyone is excited to try out the new features of iOS 15. Also, we are more than excited to let you know about each and every new feature and change in iOS 15 so that you can try them out as well.
iOS 15 supports all of the devices that supported iOS 14. So, if you have the iPhone SE (1st Generation), iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, or newer, you will be able to get the iOS 15 update now.
If, for whatever reason, you are not able to see the update, follow these steps:
- Launch the Settings app on your iPhone
- Tap on General
- Tap on Software Update
- Let it load, and then you should be able to see it
If you are still not able to see it:
- Launch the Settings app on your iPhone
- Tap on General
- Tap on Software Update
- Tap on Automatic Updates
- Toggle off Automatic Updates
- You should see it now
If you’re still not able to see it, you may try restarting your iPhone.
iOS 15 Features List
There are a lot of changes in iOS 15, around 300-400 significant changes, some of which are more important, some are less important. However, let us dive in.
1. New ‘Hello’ Screen
When you update to iOS 15 for the first time, you will be greeted with a new Hello Screen, similar to the Hello Screen that was on the new iMac when Apple introduced it.
It draws the world Hello and then changes it to different languages. It looks pretty good.
2. Home Screen Changes
- On the Home Screen, it looks similar to the Home Screen of iOS 14. However, there are some new options. When you press and hold and go into Jiggle Mode, and then tap on the pages dots in the bottom, you can see all of your pages just like you would see in iOS 14. But you can now rearrange pages as you like by pressing and holding any page and then dragging it around.
- You can also add multiple apps of the same type on different home pages. This is useful when you want to adjust a focus mode. We will get to it later in this article.
- The home screen also gets a feature that was previously exclusive to the iPads. And that feature is Drag and Drop across more apps. You can pick images, files and documents from one app and drag them into another app and them drop them there.
There are a bunch of new widgets that you can add to your home screen in iOS 15. A few of them are:
- Contact widget
- Find My widget
- App Store widget
- Game Centre widget
- Mail widget
- Sleep widget
Also, in the screen time widget, you now have an icon in the upper-left that indicates who is being tracked by the widget.
So, they have updated some of the old widgets and also added new ones.
When you long-press on a stacked widget and tap on edit stack, you will now see two new options:
- Smart Rotate
- Widget Suggestions
You can also reorder the widgets in the stack by pressing and holding the widget and then dragging the widget within the stack.
4. Weather App
It has new animations depending upon the weather in your area.
This feature is available on most phones. But the older phones may not see all of these animations.
Not only has the app completely been redesigned, but you will also see the changes are dynamic depending upon the weather conditions.
If you tap on the map in the weather app and then tap on the third icon in the upper-right, you will be able to see the Temperature, Precipitation, and Air Quality.
5. Settings App
If you go into settings, you can see that everything in the settings app has been redone. Everything now has rounded corners instead of being edge-to-edge like it was before.
If you have a Beta Profile installed on your iPhone, you can now see the profile under the VPN & Device Management.
The options have been changed in the Transfer & Reset iPhone settings. Maybe you are trying to get ready for a new iPhone, you have an option where it says Prepare for New iPhone.
6. Focus Mode
Just like you had Do Not Disturb, you now have a new option in the control center that says Focus Mode. When you tap on it, you can see a bunch of different Focus Modes. You can customize them or you can use one of the default focus modes, you can add a new focus mode as well.
Just like you previously had Do Not Disturb and Driving Mode, you can now set it up for sleep, or work, or whatever you would like.
If you change your Focus Mode, you can see that it actually changes your Home Screen. The dots at the bottom of the home screen changes as you change your Focus Mode. This changes how notifications come through depending upon your focus mode.
You can also set it to change the focus mode based on your location or the time of day. You can see it in the settings or you can get to them from the control center. Under these focus modes, if you tap on any one of them, you can adjust the settings to allow the people that can contact you during that specific focus mode.
The iPhone users can also adjust the apps that can send you notifications during that focus. You can also see a Smart Activation setting that knows to turn on the focus mode depending upon your location. You can turn it on manually, you can also add automation that happens when the focus is on like turn on the lights when you are at home focus mode, etc.
You can also share the focus mode settings across your devices. So, when you turn on a focus mode on one of your devices, the focus mode changes automatically on your other devices.
You can also have the focus mode to send notifications to others when you are in a different focus mode. So, when you are in the Work focus mode, you can tell others that you are working and you can notify them as well.
This is a nice feature if you like Do Not Disturb and what it to change automatically to different modes.
It will even walk you through how to change or add new focus modes.
Notifications have also been changed in iOS 15. If you open the Notification Center, you can see that it will show you the notifications that you received during a focus mode.
The look of the notifications has been changed as well. The notifications have also been grouped differently.
If you slide a notification to the left and tap on Options, you can see a bunch of new options.
There’s also a notification summary in iOS 15. Notification Summary gives you a summary of notifications that aren’t as important to you during the day. If you launch the Settings app on your iPhone and then tap on Notifications, you will see that at the top of the screen, it says Scheduled Summary. If you tap on Scheduled Summary, you can set up multiple summaries to show up throughout the day so that you can get notification summaries based on apps that you don’t want to see notifications from during a certain focus mode or throughout the day. It will summarize the notifications and just let you know about the notifications that you may have missed.
You can go through them and pick those on a per-app basis, sort them alphabetically, or you can turn them on or off as you like.
If you tap on the Clock app, you can now tap on an alarm directly and make changes whereas, you had to tap on Edit first and then tap on an alarm to change it in iOS 14.
You can also see that they have brought back the scroll wheel to iOS 15. Previously, this was available in iOS 13, and then they changed it to iOS 14.
In iOS 15, Apple continues to add accessibility features and some of those are really nice. So, if you launch the Settings App and then go into the Accessibility Settings, and scroll all the way down to the bottom, you will see a new feature that says Per-App Settings.
Under Per-App Settings, you can adjust settings on an app-by-app basis. Some of the settings let you change the text size, bold text, etc. on a particular app.
They have also added Background Sounds, this is something that’s really nice if you’re trying to study or sleep. So, within your Accessibility Settings, if you tap on Audio/Visual, you will see Background Sounds. If you tap on it, you will see the option to turn them on, and then you have different sounds for balanced noise, bright noise, dark noise, ocean, rain, and stream. These are all new, you can play these sounds in the background if you would like, and you can also say when media is playing, and change the volume. You can have it playing all the time or you can also stop it when the iPhone’s locked.
Sound Recognition has received some updates as well. A year ago, Apple added the option for sound recognition to notify you if your iPhone hears a specific sound. So, you have options such as fire alarms, sirens, or smoke, your iPhone will let you know that it’s hearing a sound or that it thinks that it is hearing a sound. This year, Apple has added the option for two new sounds which are Glass Break and Kettle.
VoiceOver has received some pretty significant updates as well. So, if you use VoiceOver in accessibility and you are using that option to understand what’s going on your display, it will now go into more detail as far as objects, people, or text on the display. So, if you’re viewing a photo, it will give more context to that photo.
The Magnifier App is not kept on the phone by default. It now comes by default with iOS 15 and there’s no need to install it from elsewhere.
Also, within the accessibility settings, if you tap on Touch, and tap on AssistiveTouch, in the options where you have devices, you can now use a game controller for AssistiveTouch as well. They have also added new languages for voice control such as Chinese, Cantonese, French, and German.
10. Camera and Photos
When you open the photos app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
Note: For this to work, you will need an A12 Bionic CPU or newer. So, you can use this feature on an iPhone XS or newer.
Apple has brought a new feature called Live Text. This is extremely helpful. The camera can now recognize text within whatever it is looking at. This also works within photos, so if you tap on a photo that contains text, and then press and hold on to a text, your iPhone will now recognize the text in that photo. So, maybe you took a photo of a tracking number, you want to copy it, you can do that now. Or, you can even translate it, look it up, or share that text. You can do this from other laces as well, such as Safari. So, if you want to paste text from an image within safari, you can press and hold on to the address bar and it will show you an option to scan text. If you tap on it, you can insert the same text using the camera’s viewfinder.
Now, the next thing is Visual Lookup which again, pertains to photos. Visual lookup uses machine learning to understand what’s in a particular photo. So, if you have a photo of a monument, and you open the photo, you will see an “i” icon with some stars on top of it, on the bottom of your screen. If you tap on the “i”, it recognizes where the landmark/monument is. And if you tap on Landmark, it will look up what is in the photo and tell you what it is. It also gives you more information about that image, so you will have batter metadata within photos as well. This works on multiple things such as animals, flowers, landmarks, etc. and Apple will be adding things throughout.
In the Camera app, Apple has updated a few things as well. On the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro series, Apple has improved the panoramic mode to improve geometric distortion and better capturing moving objects while you are capturing a panoramic photo altogether.
Apple has also updated the QuickTake video settings, so when you swipe up or swipe down when you are capturing a QuickTake, you can zoom in or zoom out accordingly.
Also in the camera, you can now turn off night mode permanently. So, if you do not want night mode to interfere with your photo, you can turn it off.
In the Photos app, Apple has made some changes as well. They have updated memories. So, if you tap on memory, you will see some new options at the bottom like the option to add music. You can also change the visual look and feel of your memories. Also, when you tap on a memory, in the upper-right there is an option as well. Tapping on this option reveals more options where you can manage the photos in the memory, you can select a key photo for that memory, etc.
When you capture a Live Photo and then go into the Live Photo to view it, you will see an option in the Upper-Left corner, you have options like Loop, Bounce, and Live Exposure. You used to have the same options previously as well, but it was not as easy to access it.
FaceTime gets some big upgrades as well. When you launch the FaceTime app, you will see that FaceTime looks a bit different now and you will see an option at the top to Create Link and New FaceTime. Create Link allows you to share a FaceTime call either through the FaceTime app or through Calendar, with someone that’s on Windows or Android. They can access the call via a web link and can join the FaceTime call.
Also, within a FaceTime call, the overall menu has changed a little bit. Originally, you were able to actually share your screen and also have SharePlay, but these features will be coming later down the road. The menu has been updated a little bit, with different options. You now have Portrait Mode, and if you switch to the rear camera, you now have the option to Zoom In.
There are some new audio options as well, but these are in the Control Center. When you open the control center, you will have two new options that are Video Effects, and Mic Mode. Within Mic Mode, you have three more options that are, Standard, Voice Isolation, and Wide Spectrum.
Also, when you are on a call and your microphone is muted, FaceTime will let you know that your microphone is muted and will give you an option to unmute it.
Note: SharePlay will be brought to FaceTime a little bit later.
12. Keychain and Passwords
Apple has previously had a way to remember passwords and suggest passwords. However, they have added two-factor authentication authenticators built into iOS 15. If you go into Settings, and then tap on passwords, and then go into a password, you will see the option to Set Up Verification Code. You can use two-factor authentication with this, and set up a verification code for that password.
There are some changes in the messages app as well. When you open the messages app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
If you have a focus mode turned on, and someone is trying to text you, they will see a message from the Messages app at the bottom of the chat window, saying that the person on the receiving end has their notifications silenced and that they can notify you anyway, but you will receive the notification once your focus mode is turned off.
The second change is, if you send multiple photos to a person, they will be stacked within a single message.
Also, if you send less photos to a person, say, 3 photos, it won’t be stacked, but it will look more like a collage of the photos.
Apple has added a quick download button beside the stack/collage as well, so you can save them to your album all at once.
14. Shared with you
If someone shares an article or a photo with you, you will see a ‘Shared with you’ tab in the respective app. So, if someone has shared a link with you in the Messages app, you will see a tab that says Shared With You when you open the Safari app. Similarly, if someone sent pictures to you in the Messages app, you will see a Shared With You tab in the Photos app.
15. New Memojis
Apple has also added new memojis and more memoji customization options.
Previously you could only dictate for about 60 seconds, and now the limit has been removed. So, you can now enjoy unlimited dictation.
17. Selecting Text
It is so much easier to select text now, because Apple has brought back the magnifying loupe so you can see where exactly your pointer is.
18. Glide Typing
Apple calls this feature QuickPath. Apple has now added more languages to support the QuickPath keyboard feature.
19. Keyboard Layouts
There are additional updates for keyboard layouts, and also an enhanced 10k layout for Chinese.
The Maps app has received some huge changes as well. To begin with, the Maps icon is changed, if you haven’t noticed that already. Also, when you open the maps app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
Apple has also added quite a few things in the Maps app. If you zoom out fully, you will see that we now have a globe. But this is only added on devices that have the A12 Bionic and newer, as they are handled a lot by the neural engine.
Another update that the Maps app has received is that the cities now have a lot more detail like trees, more detailed roads, etc. San Francisco, New York, and London are some of the first ones to receive this upgrade and Apple will continue to bring these changes to other cities around the world. They have also updated the information while navigating.
Also, when you search for an individual place, you will have more detailed information related to that place. You can also add photos and rate the place if you want to.
There are also updated transit directions in cities. If you tap on the Car icon in the upper right corner, you will see 4 options that are Explore, Driving, Transit, and Satellite.
Apple has also added Augmented Reality in Walking Directions. But for this to work, you have to be in a city that supports it.
You also have access to your user account. If you tap on your profile icon beside the search bar, you can see your favorite places, guides, reports, preferences, etc.
In iOS 15, Safari gets a major redesign. If you launch the Safari app on your iPhone, you may have already noticed that the address bar is now at the bottom of the screen. But, since this was a very controversial change, Apple has given us the option to customize the address bar if we don’t really like the new design. To get to this option, you can tap on the aA icon in the address bar, you now have the option to Show top address bar, if you tap on it, the address bar will change back to its old design and look like it did in iOS 14. You can also change this from the Safari settings within the Settings App.
You now also have the option to add extensions in Safari. You can browse for extensions in the App Store and add extensions such as Ad Blockers and much more into extensions on Safari.
Within Safari also there are additional options, so if you press and hold the Address Bar, it gives us the option to Copy or Voice Search. We can now use our voice to search directly in Safari. To use Voice Search, tap on the microphone icon in the address bar and it will enable voice search.
In Safari, another major change is the different start page. It can be fully customized similar to the start page on Mac. You now have your Favorites, Siri Suggestions, Privacy Report, Frequently Visited, etc. You can customize this by tapping on the edit button at the bottom of the start page. After pressing the edit button, you can choose what should be visible and what shouldn’t. Also, you can customize the background image on the safari home page.
You also have the option to create tab groups in iOS 15. If you tap on the tab icon in the bottom-right corner in Safari and then tap on the little arrow at the bottom beside the start page, it will now show your tab groups. You can view the different tab groups that you have, you can create or remove your tab group as well.
Apple has also made available the swipe down to refresh feature in safari. So, if you swipe down on any page, it will refresh that page.
22. iCloud Plus
This is a completely new and a service offered by Apple to hide information online. So, if you go into settings and then tap on your profile at the top, under iCloud, you will see some now options for a private relay which is currently in beta, and hide my email.
If we go into the private relay and turn it on, it hides your ip address and browsing activity in safari and protects your unencrypted internet traffic so that no one including Apple can see both, who you are and what sites you have been visiting. But it is in beta and can slow things down a little bit. Once it is generally available, it will be much faster.
Similarly, Hide my Email does a similar thing. It creates a new email address and hides your personal email by creating a unique random address that forwards things to your personal inbox.
If you want to use these features, you will have to pay an additional cost and will be available a bit later.
23. Find My
Find My now tracks in real time if you’re looking for people. So, if you have relatives, friends, or loved ones that allow you to follow them, you can now track where they are in real time. You can also see it in the Find My widget.
Within the Find My app, there is a new + icon which, when tapped on, gives you more options like Share My Location, Add MagSafe Accessory, Add AirTag, Add Other Item.
If you have to Find My enabled in your iCloud Settings, and if you go to shut down your phone, there is a new message in the “Slide to power off” screen that says, “iPhone findable after Power Off”. This helps you to locate your iPhone even if it is turned off.
Also, under the Devices tab in the Find My app, you can now locate your AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.
In iOS 15, the wallet will get a major update to include different cards. The reason we are saying Will Get is that many people are anticipating ID cards but, depending upon where you live, this feature may or may not be available. This feature is very country dependent and state dependent in the US as your state has to approve it. So, you will have the option to add your ID card and have it official using information from biometric sensors to determine that it’s really you.
Also, passes that have been expired will now be visible in the “Previous Cards” tab. Also, there are now transit cards and more, but most of these features are not active yet due to local laws and government regulations.
Siri gets some updates as well with on-device speech processing on supported devices (A12 Bionic and Newer). This means that it can process whatever is being said to it, on the device without having to connect to the internet. Previously, it would connect anonymously to the internet, process what you said to it, and then provide you with answers. So, it has offline support including timers, alarms, phones, messaging, sharing, app launching, and more.
Also, Siri better understands contexts now. So, if you’re texting someone back and forth, and if they say I’m going to the store, Siri will understand that and you can just say what time, instead of saying what store are you going to or anything like that.
Also, you can now use Siri to control different devices at certain times, so you can tell it to control your lights after dinner, or something along those lines.
You also have the option to announce messages in CarPlay now and there’s improved speech in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. There’s also mixed English support and Indic language support you can use those together.
Music gets some minor updates as well. When you are using the music widget, and any music is not playing, the widget has that typical Red background. But, when you play any music, the background color of the music widget changes to the color of the album art.
27. App Store
There are some changes in the App Store app as well. When you open the App Store app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
28. Spotlight Search
Spotlight search gets some updates as well, the first change it that you can now access it from the lock screen. You can now search for more things like photos, text within photos, etc. It also allows you to search for more things such as actors and tv.
The search results are segmented now, so that there’s more clarity on where the result to a particular search is from.
You can now search for things with App Clips as well. So, if you’re looking for an app, search can show you an App Clip for that App.
There is an update to the Notes app as well. When you open the Notes app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
The first change to the Notes app is that there’s a new icon in the control center. When we tap on that icon, it will open the notes app. When we 3D touch or long-press on that icon, it will give you the option to Make a New Note, Make a new Checklist, Take a new Photo, or Scan a Document.
If you open the notes app, there’s a new tab where you can see the different tags from within different notes. If you tap on one of those tags, it will find where that tag is located throughout within the notes app.
If you’re sharing a note with someone, you can see the list of changes that have been made to that note by the other person. It will even notify you that you have been mentioned in a note and that you need to update the note.
Also, if you’re using a quick note from the iPad, you can see that on the notes app on the iPhone as well.
There is an update to the Reminders app as well. When you open the Reminders app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
Reminders get a similar update to the notes app as well. You can see the tags in reminders as well. You now have smart folders based off of tags. You can have Siri to announce your reminders as well and delete completed reminders on its own, or you can just delete them yourself.
It also has improved natural language support and context support.
31. Voice Memos
Voice memos have received some updates as well. When you open the Voice Memos app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
You now have the option to change the playback speed, skip silence and enhance the recording.
You can also share multiple voice memos at once now.
News has received a small update as well. There’s a change in the overall look of the news feed.
Translate has received some updates as well. When you open the Translate app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
Translate is now built-in system-wide. So, if you’re viewing a webpage that is in another language, and if you select a text and tap on translate, it will give you the translated result.
It will auto-translate back and forth with someone if you’re holding a conversation with someone. You can tap on conversation and select the language you are having the conversation in, and it will hold the conversation in that language. You can also choose how you want the conversation, either Side by Side, or Face to Face.
There’s an update within Health as well. When you open the Health app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
If you go into health, you can see that you now have trends, it shows you all of your different health trends.
You also have the option to share your health data if you want to share your health your data with your doctor. You have the option to allow this or disallow it. Apple does not have access to this data, it is only shared with the person you wish to share it with.
You now also have the option for walking steadiness. You can go into browse in the browse tab, and then go to mobility, you can see your walking steadiness there.
You also have the option to monitor your blood glucose as well.
Additionally, you have the options to add lab results and more.
In iOS 15, Apple has added privacy features as well. Last year they added app tracking transparency. Under privacy, if you go to the bottom, you can see the option to record app activity, you can save your App activity and share that information so you can see exactly what apps are doing, what information they’re using and it breaks down that information in a text file so that you can see it clearly.
Shortcuts has received some updates as well. It is now cross-device compatible, so if you add a shortcut on your iPhone, it will be reflected on your iPad or Mac as well.
You now have more options in the shortcuts app. If you tap on any shortcut and tap on the first icon in the top-left corner, you see more options that you now have. You also have the option to add background sounds now.
37. Screen Time
Screen Time gets an update as well. If you go into the settings app and then go into your screen time, under screen time you now have down time. During downtime, only apps that you choose to allow and phone calls will be available. You can turn on down time or schedule it.
There’s an update within the Books app as well. When you open the Books app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
In the books app, Apple has also redesigned search.
There are improvements to the capabilities in the Home app. If you use any accessories, Home now has the option to automating accessories based on the light level.
You can also add keys as well.
If you are using a HomeKit camera, it can detect packages as well.
There’s an update in the Podcasts app as well. When you open the Podcasts app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
Within Podcasts, there are now personalized recommendations. You also have the new Shared With You tab in podcasts. There are also channels to try.
If you’re using your phone to define words, which you can do on just about any word on your iPhone, there are new dictionaries for India and Hong Kong and there’s a new idiom dictionary for Mainland China as well. There’s also a new thesaurus for Mainland China as well.
You also have 5G enhancements for iPhone 12 and 13 series devices. You can now prefer 5G over Wi-Fi in your settings.
Apple even allows you to do software updates over cellular instead of Wi-Fi as well.
43. Game Center
Game Center gets some updates as well. In Settings, if you go into Game Center, you can now see Recent, Group Invitations, Game Center Friend Requests, and also Game Highlights that can be recorded for about 15 seconds if you’re using a PS5 or Xbox controller.
The TV app also gets minor changes. When you open the TV app for the first time after upgrading to iOS 15, you will be welcomed with a new splash screen that gives an overview of all the new features and changes.
You have Shared with you in the TV app as well.
You can now use the TV in streaming apps in Japan.
45. Additional Features
There’s also an inclusive language support update as well. So, if you’re using your phone in different languages or different countries there’s an inclusive language for Spanish only, and it says to make your device feel more personal.
You can now choose how you would like to be addressed throughout the system as far as Masculine, Feminine, or Neutral, so those have all been updated.
All of these are huge changes to iOS 15, of course, there are not huge visual changes everywhere, but there are updates throughout the whole OS that Apple continues to change. There are small updates throughout like small icon updates and more.
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