iOS 15 is PACKED with amazing new features. Here’s everything you need to know.
Apple has unveiled the next generation of the iPhone’s operating system – iOS 15. Given the sheer volume of new features coming to iOS 15, it’s the biggest iOS update in years.
And that’s not even counting all the entirely new tools like Live Type – which is simply AMAZING. All this means we have bad news for Google: its Android 12 update took so weak compared to iOS 15, it’s laughable.
And perhaps the most surprising news of all is that Apple has announced iOS 15 will run on ALL iPhones that support iOS 14 right now. Yep, iPhones going back all the way to the iPhone 6s from 2015 will run iOS 15. That’s just insane.
Here are the best new features coming to iOS 15 when it ships to the public this fall.
iOS 15: FaceTime & SharePlay
FaceTime is getting its biggest update in years in iOS 15. The star of the FaceTime updates is without a doubt SharePlay. This is a feature that allows you to watch video or listen to audio with other FaceTime users.
So if you want to watch a movie with your friend on the other side of the world, you can simply start a FaceTime video call, tap play on the movie then tap SharePlay and you will both be watching the movie in sync.
But SharePlay offers so much more than just shared movie watching. With SharePlay you can also now share your iPhone’s screen with another FaceTime caller. This is perfect for browsing websites together or showing them where a setting is on the iPhone.
iOS 15: FaceTime Comes To Android (Kind Of)
Another major surprise was that now FaceTime video calls work on Android. But don’t get too excited – there’s no official FaceTime Android app. Instead, FaceTime in iOS 15 gain the ability to share links to FaceTime video calls and sent them to other people. This means you can arrange calls for the future.
But what if you send a link to a FaceTime call to an Android user? They can still join! Their link will open up in the Chrome or Edge browser on Android and they’ll be able to take part in the FaceTime video call just as if they had an iPhone. Incredible!
iOS 15: Messages
Messages gets several new updates in iOS 15. The best of which is the new Sharing features. In iOS 15 when a series of photos are texted to you, Messages will now display them as a stack of pictures, which you can swipe through in the message thread itself.
Or you can tap on the stack to expand them all into a grid view. And Messages also will now sort your other shared items too so they are easy to find and access later. For example, if someone texts you a link to a website, an Apple News article, a link to media in the Apple TV app, a link to a song, or a link to a podcast, those various media will now be saved in a special section in the respective apps.
So now, you don’t have to remember to go back to your message thread to see that recipe website link mom texted you. Just open up Safari and you’ll find all the links shared with you there in a special sub-section.
iOS 15: Notifications
Notifications are much improved in iOS 15. The notification screen gets a brand new look, with larger notification app icons and contact photos making it easier to identify where a notification is coming from.
You’ll also get a new “Notification summary” notification when you wake up each morning. This is intelligently arranged so the most critical or interesting notifications are shown first.
iOS 15: Maps Just Got Amazing
With iOS 15, Apple Maps has now surpassed Google Maps as the most beautiful maps software. Maps gain all-new city experiences – graphics that show hyper-detailed roadways, neighborhoods, trees, and more.
And the driving features of Maps in iOS 15…well, it frankly looks like it’s right from an amazing open-world video game. The animation and graphics are mind blowing.
Maps also includes new features like a globe view, augmented reality walking directions, and a slew of improvements to transit directions.
iOS 15: Wallet
The Wallet app is also getting its biggest update in years. Now Wallet can hold digital keys, such as keys for smart locks and hotel rooms. It can also hold state drivers licenses so you can do away with your physical driver’s license (in some states). Wallet in iOS 15 brings us one step closer to ditching our physical wallets for good.
iOS 15: Live Text & Visual Lookup
But probably the coolest new feature of iOS 15 is Live Text. This feature uses machine learning to identify text in photos – such as names of restaurants, phone numbers written on a sign or a white board, or just any kind of text in general.
You can then tap and select the text in the photo as if it were simply text in an email or on a web page. Once the text is selected you can copy and past it somewhere else or, if its something like an address or phone number, simply tap on it to get directions or call the number.
Really, it’s truly amazing.
And Apple is also introducing Visual Lookup to photos. Now your iPhone will use machine learning to analyze the objects in a photo. Tap on the object – like a flower or a dog – to find out what type of flow it is or what breed of dog it is. This is Star Trek-level stuff.
iOS 15 will ship this fall.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When will iOS 15 be out?
iOS 15 will be available this fall. It will be a free download from Apple.
Q: What iPhones can run iOS 15?
iOS 15 will work on the following iPhones:
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 mini
- 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 (1st generation)
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPod touch (7th generation)
Q: Is iOS 15 free?
Yes. iOS 15 will be free to download. It does not require a purchase. As long as your iPhone supports iOS 15, you can download it for free.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.