release of ios 15 should be a major event for mobile operating systems. And yet, this year, there is no special feature or broad theme that makes this release unique. Apple has focused on quality-of-life updates as well as new features for its own apps.
The result is a solid update that’s not going to be controversial. Few people are going to take advantage of the new Focus feature. They will spend a lot of time customizing their phone to make it as personal as possible. Others are just going to miss or dismiss the new features.
This year’s update is also a bit different as you don’t need to update to iOS 15. If you’re fine with iOS 14, Apple won’t force you to jump to iOS 15. You will still receive security patches. . Some people will dismiss iOS 15 outright.
It seems like a small change but it actually says a lot about the current state of iOS. Apple considers iOS a mature platform. Just like you don’t need to update your Mac to the latest version of macOS if you don’t want to, now you can update at your own pace.
iOS should also be considered as a mature platform for app developers. iOS 15 adoption will be slower than usual because people may not necessarily update to iOS 15 right away. Apps should potentially work longer on older iOS versions.
Of course, when users buy a new iPhone and replace their old iPhone, they will ‘update’ to the new version of iOS. But those with Apple and those who have pre-ordered the iPhone 13 will get iOS 15.
focusing on you instead of your phone
One of the biggest changes in iOS 15 is the ability to change your focus from Control Center. This is a surprisingly powerful feature with lots of options and tweaks. I’d say it doesn’t sound like an Apple feature.
But it is definitely one of the most interesting features of iOS 15. Chances are you spend a lot of time with your phone and your device requires a lot of attention from you. With this new feature, it reverses the balance and puts you back in charge.
‘Do Not Disturb’ users are already quite familiar with the idea that you can silence them when you don’t want notifications. If you want to keep using Moon Mode with iOS 15, you don’t need to change anything.
But now you can create additional focus. By default, Apple suggests a few focuses – work, sleep, driving, fitness, gaming, mindfulness, personal, and reading. Each focus is adapted to your needs and you can create new ones from scratch.
When you turn on a specific focus, it basically blocks notifications by default. You can then add people and apps so that notifications for those people and apps still persist. App developers can also mark a notification as time sensitive so that it is always on. I hope they don’t misuse that feature.
There are three more settings you can activate. First, you can optionally share whether your notifications are currently muted in Messages and compatible third-party apps. Second, you can hide the home screen pages altogether. Third, you can hide notifications from the lock screen and hide badges from the home screen.
Focus gets especially interesting when you realize that you can combine specific focus with automation features. For example, you can turn on ‘Sleep’ automatically at night or you can turn on ‘Tasks’ automatically when you arrive at work.
Power users will also enjoy setting the focus and pairing it with shortcuts. For example, you can use a shortcut to open the Clock app when you turn on sleep mode. You get it, there’s a lot of depth to this new feature and beta users are just starting to scratch the surface.
update all apps
With iOS 15, Apple has improved almost all the default apps. Some additions are definitely nice improvements. Others have been a bit more controversial.
Let’s start with the controversial, SafariThe design has been updated. But what you saw at WWDC in June doesn’t exactly look like shipping today. Essentially, Apple has listened to feedback and changed the user interface of its web browser over the course of the summer.
By default, the address bar is now at the bottom of the screen, just above the row of buttons that let you open bookmarks, share the current page, or go to the previous page. I think it works better. But if you really don’t want the address bar at the bottom, you can move it back to the top of the screen.
Other than that, the Safari changes are all nice improvements. For example, the browser now supports traditional web extensions. It will be interesting to see if the popular Google Chrome extension finally makes it to Safari. Another cool new feature is the ability to create tab groups and search your tab groups from your other devices.
face time Has become a versatile video-conferencing service. Now you can create links, share them with friends and add them to calendar invites. For the first time, people who don’t have an Apple device will be able to join a FaceTime call from a web browser. There’s also a new zoom view… I mean, grid view.
Unfortunately, the big new FaceTime feature isn’t ready for prime time just yet. SharePlay, the feature that lets you sync audio and video playback with your friends, is going to be released later this fall.
NS Season The app has also been redesigned. It’s now packed with a lot more information, such as a rainfall map, next hour rainfall notifications, and a new UV index. It has become a solid alternative to third-party weather apps. I still use snowflakes but the differences are smaller and smaller.
messages Now better integrated with other Apple apps. Whenever someone sends you an article, a photo album, a podcast or a song, you’ll see those recommendations in Apple’s other apps – Apple News, Photos, Apple Podcasts, Apple Music, and more. Once again, it’s a nice addition to my tests but it’s not going to change the way you use your phone.
Apple Maps It’s getting better and better, especially if you live in San Francisco. If you haven’t used it in a few years, I encourage you to try it again. It is now a solid alternative to Google Maps.
Some cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London are getting new detailed maps with 3D buildings, bus lanes, sidewalks and more. It’s like how detailed navigating a video game is. The app has been redesigned with new place cards, a new driving user interface and in-app settings.
photos Getting a bunch of improvements too. The company is refining the memories every year. I’m not sure there are a ton of people using this feature, but it’s better than ever. If you also swipe up on a photo, there is now more information, such as the shutter speed and lens used.
But the biggest change to your photo library is that you can now search for text in your photos. iOS is scanning your photos to find text and save it for Spotlight searches.
Similarly, you can now point your camera at text and select text from there. This is incredibly convenient if you’re looking for the restaurant’s address on the menu and want to share it with a friend or if you’re traveling and you want to translate some text.
tips and tricks
There are a ton of small changes that make iOS 15 better than iOS 14. Let me list some of them:
- If you have a compatible home key, hotel key, office key or ID card, you can now add them all to the Wallet app.
- You may share some health data with someone else. This can be useful if you are living away from your loved ones or if you want to update your healthcare team.
- If you paid for iCloud, you are now an iCloud+ user. In addition to storage, you get additional features. iCloud Private Relay, which is available as a beta feature, lets you browse the web with enhanced privacy. Hide My Email lets you create randomly generated email addresses to create new accounts on the web.
- Similarly, if your family is using iCloud for their email addresses, you can now set up a personal domain name and set it up in iCloud.
- Uses speech recognition on iOS devices, which means you can dictate text very quickly.
- But not only that, iOS processes some Siri requests directly on your device, which means you can start a timer, set an alarm, or change the music right away. It has changed the way I use Siri.
- If you get locked out of your iCloud account, you can add account recovery contacts. This is important for convincing more people to use two-factor authentication.
- Speaking of two-factor authentication, Apple’s built-in password manager ‘Password’ can now save 2FA details and auto-fill 2FA fields. It works a lot like 2FA in 1Password.
- You can set up a legacy person for your Apple ID. I encourage you to take a closer look at that feature. I’ve talked to many people who couldn’t take pictures of a loved one after their death because Apple just couldn’t provide photos.
- Apple has added tags to Reminders and Notes. You can also @-mention people in notes.
As you can see, the list of changes in iOS 15 is quite long. But it is up to you to decide whether you want to update to iOS 15 or not. When Apple added cut, copy and paste with iPhone OS 3, it was an obvious decision. I personally like the new features and it was worth updating. And I hope this review can help you decide whether to update.