iOS 15 announced with SharePlay, Focus mode, Live Text, and other improvements

Highlights
  • iOS 15 has been previewed at WWDC 2021 by Apple
  • The new iOS version for iPhones features SharePlay, Focus mode, and Live Text, among other things
  • iOS 15 also brings improvements to FaceTime, iMessage, notifications, and more 

Apple kickstarted its WWDC 2021 keynote with iOS 15. The new OS for iPhones comes with improvements to FaceTime, iMessage, and notifications, among others, along with a handful of new features like SharePlay and a Focus mode that blocks out distracting notifications for you. The new iOS 15 features also include Live Text that does OCR (Optical Character Recognition) automatically in the Camera app, more updates to Apple Photos app’s Memory feature, and support for keys and ID cards in wallets. Additionally, Spotlight has new cards for actors, movies, and more, and its universal search can now be used for photos in your collection. iOS 15 will start rolling out to compatible devices starting this fall.

iOS 15 compatible iPhone models

iOS 15 will be available as a free software update for 

  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)

While the public beta will start next month, developers can start testing the new software from today itself.

iOS 15 new features

iOS 15 users will be able to invite Android and Windows users to FaceTime group calls

FaceTime: Upgrades to FaceTime are among the major highlights of iOS 15. The video calling app is coming to Android and Windows via the web with the latest update for group calls. Additionally, FaceTime comes with Spatial audio to make the calls sound ‘more natural, comfortable, and lifelike’. With Spatial Audio, When there are a bunch of people on the screen, the voice will sound like it comes from where the head is,” said Apple at the event. The app also supports voice isolation to cut background noise, grid view, portrait mode to blur the background when you are on call, and the ability to create a FaceTime link for those on other platforms to join the call.

SharePlay: The iOS 15 features also include SharePlay that allows users to listen and watch content together on screen and share the screen with others. Apple Photos, Music, News, Safari, Podcasts, and Apple TV all support ‘Shared with You’. The feature also lets you pin stuff for easy access to that content within those apps.

iMessage: Then there is iMessage, which now has a new collage and stack for sharing photos, new embeds for playlists and Apple News articles, and a section in Apple News called “Shared with You” that pulls from all the Apple News links sent to you in Messages. In addition to this, if you are phone is on DND (Do not disturb), the iMessage on iOS 15 lets others know that you have enabled the mode with an automatic status update. That said, it’s possible to override the DND mode in case of an emergency.

iOS 15 will estimate the notifications it needs to filter out and add to the Notification Summary

New look for Notifications: iOS 15 comes with a redesigned notification panel as well. It offers custom control over notifications with a summary of all the alerts you have received throughout the day, along with Focus Mode. The latter allows you to customise notifications based on priority so that you can focus on what you’re doing. You can set up modes for work, personal, and more. The feature is said to use on-device AI to pre-guess what notifications you want. Additionally, text messages will appear with contact photos and there will be bigger app icons for easy recognition.

Live Text: As for the Live Text feature on the new OS, it lets you select, copy, and paste text from images elsewhere – similar to Google Lens. Apple says that the feature will work on existing photos as well.

Improved privacy: iOS 15 introduces even more privacy controls to help protect user information. With on-device speech recognition, the audio of Siri requests is now processed entirely on iPhone by default, thus improving performance significantly. The Mail app’s Privacy Protection stops senders from learning whether an email has been opened and hides IP addresses so senders can’t learn a user’s location or use it to build a profile on them. App Privacy Report offers an overview of how apps use the access that has been granted to location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts in the last seven days, and which other domains are contacted.

These were some of the major features of iOS 15. In addition to these, the new mobile OS build comes with better support for locating your AirPods using the Find My app, browser extensions for Safari on iPhones, “Memories Mixes” feature to add music and transitions in the videos using Photos app, and wider range of support for Apple Wallets. Apple has also redesigned its Maps app with new AR directions, a new navigation view and more road details, including turn lanes, medians, bus lanes. Apple’s Weather app, on the other hand, gets better animation and full-screen support with the upgrade.