After three months of testing iOS 15, we’ve been discovering almost daily new features coming to the Apple devices. While iOS 15 supports iPhones all the way back to the iPhone 6s, there are some features exclusive to the iPhone XS or newer coming today.

In June, 9to5Mac published all the macOS Monterey exclusive features coming to the M1 Macs. Now, it’s time to share which iOS 15 features will be only available to iPhones with the A12 Bionic chip or newer, which are iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone SE (2nd gen), iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 13, and iPhone 13 Pro.

Here are all the features coming to only a few iPhones with iOS 15 today:

Spatial Audio on FaceTime: This feature creates a sound field that helps conversations flow as easily as they do face to face. Your friends’ voices are spread out to sound like they’re coming from the direction in which they’re positioned on the call.

Portrait Mode on FaceTime: With iOS 15, it’s possible to blur the background of a call to put the focus on you, but only iPhones with the A12 Bionic chip will be able to use this feature.

Interactive globe on Maps: Only newer iPhones will be able to discover the new interactive 3D globe on Apple Maps, which includes significantly enhanced details for mountain ranges, deserts, forests, oceans, and more.

Immersive walking directions on Maps: Get where you’re going with step-by-step directions shown in augmented reality.

Live Text in photos: With iOS 15, text is interactive in all your photos, so you can use functions like copy and paste, lookup, and translate. Live Text works in Photos, Screenshot, Quick Look, and Safari and in live previews with Camera.

Visual Look Up: Swipe up or tap the information button on any photo to highlight recognized objects and scenes. Learn more about popular art and landmarks around the world, plants, and flowers out in nature, books, and breeds of pets.

New animated backgrounds on Weather: There are now thousands of variations of animated backgrounds that more accurately represent the sun’s position, clouds, and precipitation.

On-device speech processing: With iOS 15, the audio of your requests is now processed entirely on your iPhone unless you choose to share it. The power of the Apple Neural Engine enables speech recognition models with the same high quality as server-based speech recognition.

Keys in the Wallet: Add home keys, hotel keys, office keys, and car keys with an iPhone XR/XS or newer.

iPhone 12 exclusive features in iOS 15

There are three exclusive features that need an iPhone 12:

Panorama pictures: Panorama mode in iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro has improved geometric distortion and better captures moving subjects while also reducing image noise and banding.

Enhanced connectivity on 5G: More app and system experiences are enhanced by faster 5G connectivity, including support to back up to iCloud and restore from an iCloud backup, stream audio and video on Apple and third-party apps, download higher-quality Apple TV+ content, sync photos to iCloud Photos, update Apple News+ articles for offline reading, and download machine learning models

5G preferred over Wi-Fi: The iPhone 12 line now automatically prioritizes 5G when Wi-Fi connectivity on networks you visit occasionally is slow, or when you are connected to captive or insecure networks, so you can enjoy faster, safer connectivity.

Apart from all these iOS 15 features, there are some that require an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8, which means that although Apple will release iOS 15 to iPhone 6S and SE (1st gen) owners, there are more functions they won’t receive, as:

Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking: Listeners with AirPods Pro and AirPods Max can get an even more immersive experience of Dolby Atmos music with Apple’s dynamic head tracking. Requires an iPhone 7.

Walking Steadiness: Walking Steadiness on iPhone is a first-of-its-kind health metric that can give you insight into your risk of falling. Requires an iPhone 8 or newer.

iPhone 13 exclusive features in iOS 15


Even the new iPhone 13 has exclusive features with the iOS 15 release:

Cinematic mode: Filmmakers use a technique called rack focus — shifting focus from one subject to another — to guide the audience’s attention in their movies. Now iPhone makes it easy for you to bring the same storytelling technique to your videos.

Photographic Styles: This feature creates a personal look for your photos. Unlike filters, styles selectively apply adjustments to the right areas, while preserving skin tones.

Apple will also release ProRes video recording for the iPhone 13 Pro but, as for now, we can’t call it an iOS 15 exclusive, as it’ll come later this year.

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About the Author

José Adorno

Brazilian tech Journalist. Author at 9to5Mac. Previously at tv globo, the main TV broadcaster in Latin America.

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