iOS 15 Overview Updated September 20, 2021

iOS 15: New features, compatibility, release date

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179 'iOS 15' stories

November 2020 - December 2021

iOS 15 guide

Apple has officially taken the wraps off iOS 15, the next version of its operating system for iPhone users. The company says it designed iOS 15 with four different things in mind. The update was presented by Apple VP Craig Federighi. Here’s what’s new.

FaceTime updates:

iOS 15 includes a handful of new features for FaceTime, including new features to help it compete with services like Zoom.

  • Spatial Audio support
  • Grid view for videos
  • Portrait mode for videos
  • FaceTime links
  • Join FaceTime calls from the web on Android and Windows
  • SharePlay for sharing content during FaceTime, including screen sharing, music, and more

SharePlay can work with third-party apps and streaming services using an API available to developers. Apple is already working with Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, TikTok, NBA, Twitch, and more.

Messages

Apple has also announced new features for Messages, including new ways to easily access content that people send you. Shared Stacks will bring over content from Messages to the News app and Photos app.

Notifications

  • Notification summary can be delivered anytime you choose.
  • When you enable Do Not Disturb, your status will be shown to other people via the Messages app
  • Notification design has been revamped with larger icons for improved glanceability
  • You can set different “Focus” statuses that change your Home Screen, notification preferences, and more.

Photos

  • The Photos app now includes a new OCR feature for recognizing text. Apple says the feature uses AI to detect text images automatically.
  • Photos also now appear in Spotlight search.
  • New interactive memories feature.

Wallet

  • Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey is here to talk us through new features in the Wallet app.
  • iOS 15 includes new keys for your home and work in the Wallet app, as well as automatic hotel keys, Hyatt to roll out Apple Wallet support to hotels later this year.
  • Identify cards are coming to Apple Wallet later this year, encrypted and safely stored in the Secure Enclave.

Weather

  • The Weather app has been redesigned with a ton of new data.
  • Layout design of the Weather app changes based on the weather in your current location.

Maps

  • New Apple Maps interface coming to Spain and Portugal today and to Australia and Italy later this year.
  • A variety of design updates for Apple Maps to bring a ton more details for cities in commercial districts, buildings, and more.
  • New Nearby Transit features for Apple Maps as well, notifications for when to disembark.

Devices compatible with iOS 15

Here’s the full list with every iPhone and iPod touch model supported by iOS 15:

  • iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st gen)
  • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XS and XS Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2nd gen)
  • iPod touch (7th gen)

Hands-on with iOS 15

Release date

iOS 15 is available now to developers and public beta users. It will be released to the general public in the fall.

iOS 15 Stories December 2

Update: Now rolling out to public beta testers as well.

After a brief hiatus, the beta train is back in business today. Apple is now rolling out iOS 15.2 beta 4 to registered developers, bringing new features and continued refinements. Today’s update to beta 4 comes just over two weeks after the release of beta 3 to developers and public beta users. Head below for the details. 

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iOS 15 Stories November 30

Apple on Tuesday stopped signing iOS 15.1, which means that users who updated their devices to iOS 15.1.1 or iOS 15.2 beta can no longer downgrade to iOS 15.1. This comes a month after the company stopped signing the iOS 15.0.2 firmware.

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A growing number of iPhone users running iOS 15.1 are reporting connectivity issues with Bluetooth hands-free systems in cars. A thread on the Apple Support forums includes complaints from a number of iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 users, as well as a few potential fixes— none of which appear to be permanent.

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iOS 15 Stories November 29

Apple previewed its new cycle of operating systems in June during the WWDC21 keynote. With iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, macOS Monterey, and tvOS 15, the company promised tons of new features.

Now that all these systems are available to the public, there are some features that are still a ways away from launching. Here are they.

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iOS 15 Stories November 23

Apple is delaying support for storing ID cards in the Wallet app until 2022. The company announced this feature at WWDC in June, initially promising that it would be released in “late 2021.” As some of us suspected might occur, this release date has now been pushed to 2022.

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iOS 15 Stories November 19

iPhone: How to set a custom Safari background in iOS 15

One of the notable changes with iOS 15 is a totally redesigned Safari. The all-new browser aims to make it easier to use with one hand and offers more customizability. Follow along for how to set a custom iPhone Safari background in iOS 15.

iOS 15 Stories November 18

Here’s how Background Sounds work in iOS 15

One of the handy new features in iOS 15 is Background Sounds. Read along for how to use iPhone Background Sounds, what you get, what you don’t, how it works while listening to music, and more.

iOS 15 Stories November 16

Update: Now available to public beta testers as well.

iOS 15.2 beta 3 is now available to developers, and the update continues to bring new refinements and features to iPhone users. Today’s new release includes more tweaks to the Macro feature on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, new promotions for Apple Arcade, and more.

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All aboard the beta train. Apple is now rolling out iOS 15.2 beta 3 to registered developers, bringing new features and continued refinements. Today’s update to beta 3 comes just one week after the release of beta 2 to developers and public beta users. Head below for the details.

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iOS 15 Stories November 12

iOS 15: How to switch to Private Browsing on iPhone with the new Safari

Safari has gotten a major overhaul with iOS 15, and while there are a number of improvements and changes, some features aren’t found where they used to be. Read along for a look at how to switch to iPhone Private Browsing in Safari with iOS 15.

iOS 15 Stories November 10

Apple released the second developer beta for iOS 15.2 yesterday, and it contains several noteworthy enhancements. New is support for Hide My Email directly inside the default Mail app, along with the return of Legacy Contacts, which first appeared in the initial iOS 15 beta released at WWDC. Watch our hands-on video as we discuss the top iOS 15.2 beta 2 changes and features, and be sure to subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more hands-on walkthroughs.

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Update: iOS 15.2 beta 2 is now rolling out to public beta testers as well.

Apple continues to make changes to iOS 15.2 with this week’s release of the second beta. The update includes new child safety features in the Messages application, tweaks to the TV application, and more. Head below for our full roundup of the new features in iOS 15.2 beta 2.

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iOS 15 Stories November 9

Apple is releasing the second developer beta of iOS 15.2, and it includes a notable new feature. Apple says that iOS 15.2 beta 2 adds support for the new communication safety feature in the Messages app. This is one of the features Apple first announced in August but ultimately delayed after pushback.

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The beta testing process is moving forward today. Apple is now rolling out iOS 15.2 beta 2 to registered developers, bringing new features such as the App Privacy Report, redesigned Notification Summary, and more. Head below for the details.

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Apple is looking to help users minimize distractions with the all-new Focus mode in iOS 15 (also supported by Mac, iPad, and Apple Watch). The feature has the ability to set notification, call, and message filters, auto-reply to others when you’re not available, and comes with handy customization and automation. Let’s dive into how iPhone Focus works in iOS 15.

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iOS 15 Stories November 3

Hands-on: How to edit PDFs with iPhone and iPad in the iOS 15 Files app

One under-the-radar feature that comes with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 is found in the Files app. Follow along for a look at how to edit PDFs on iPhone and iPad, including the option to rotate, insert, scan, remove pages, and more.

iOS 15 Stories November 2

Apple stops signing iOS 15.0.2, blocking downgrades from iOS 15.1

A month ago, Apple stopped signing the first public release of iOS 15, and by the middle of October, iOS 15.0.1. Now the company has just stopped signing iOS 15.0.2, which means that users who updated their devices to iOS 15.1 can no longer downgrade to iOS 15.0.2.

Quadriplegic Apple user and disability campaigner Colin Hughes last year shared his experiences of using Apple kit as someone who uses a wheelchair and has only very limited use of his hands. He’s now followed up with a look at the accessibility improvements Apple made in iOS 15 and watchOS 8.

He highlights the progress Apple has made, as well as the weaknesses in its accessibility support, including a couple of very surprising failings…

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iOS 15: How to change date, time, and location for individual or multiple photos on iPhone

Another small but handy addition with iOS 15 is the ability to edit images’ EXIF data in the Photos app on iPhone and iPad. Read along for how to change photo date/time and location for individual and multiple images.

iOS 15 Stories October 29

Hands-on: Here’s how the all-new Safari in iOS 15 works

One of the major changes arriving with iOS 15 is a totally redesigned Safari. The all-new browser aims to make it easier to use with one hand as it shifts the search/tab bar to the bottom, introduces customizable Tab Groups, new start page, and more. Let’s dive into how the new Safari in iOS 15 works.

iOS 15 Stories October 28

Update October 28, 2021: Apple is now rolling out iOS 15.2, watchOS 8.3, and tvOS 15.2 to public beta testers.

Apple today released iOS 15.2 beta 1 to developers. Coming just two days after the public release of iOS 15.1, today’s beta of iOS 15.2 continues to add new features that were originally slated to be included in iOS 15.0. Head below as we round up everything new with today’s release.

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iOS 15 Stories October 27

Following the release of iOS 15.1 earlier this week, Apple today released the first developer beta of iOS 15.2 — which comes with some privacy-related changes. However, the update also features a redesigned Notification Summary on the iPhone and iPad lock screen.

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iOS 15 finally lets you share your screen over FaceTime, here are the details

One of the headlining features of iOS 15 is SharePlay, which among other things, will finally let you share your iPhone’s or iPad’s screen with people over FaceTime. After an initial delay, Apple this week released iOS 15.1 with SharePlay support to the public…

Two days after Apple started rolling out iOS 15.1 to all users, the company is now seeding the first beta of iOS 15.2. So far, one of the most important features coming with this software update is the App Privacy Report feature in Settings.

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