Apple iOS 15 Features Worth Checking Out

The long-awaited Apple upgrade is out. That means new and improved features and better security protection for your iPad and iPhone.

Here are the main features of the Apple iOS 15 Operating System update. In our online courses being released in January, we walk you through all the details. This list should get you started.

Improved Notification Settings

Control notifications based on different scenario settings such as work, home, vacation, etc. This update gives more control than the simple on/off options we had before. Now you can arrange notifications by priority. And if notifications overwhelm you during the day, set them to deliver at a time of your choice with a notification summary. For instance, the Weather App can now notify you of weather changes if you like that sort of thing. Go to Settings > Notifications.

FaceTime Upgrades

FaceTime is such a big part of how we video call and connect with people, so we were happy to hear it wasn’t left behind on iOS 15. If you ever got caught on a FaceTime call and your location was ideal, you will love this feature. FaceTime can now focus on your face and blur your background. It’s a nice effect that keeps video-calling distractions to a minimum. You can now share your screen in a FaceTime call, so you can browse apps and websites together, including streaming a movie or listening to music together. And, with up to 32 people allowed on a FaceTime call, you’ve got yourself a party!

Spotlight Search

Swipe down from the middle of your home screen to access Spotlight. It’s a handy place to search your device, the web, and within apps. Apple enhanced Spotlight with a new feature that can recognize text in a photo. It works with both typed and handwritten text and supports several different languages. You can also search for photos by location, people, scenes, objects, and text.

Improvements to Apple Maps

Apple Maps needed an upgrade in a big way. Google Maps was such a superior experience, but not any longer. After hiring some of the Google Maps team, Apple spent the past few years making the improvements we see with the new Apple Maps app under iOS 15.

Better elevation data, labels, and 3D landmarks are a few examples. Some buildings even glow in the night just for fun. When navigating with turn-by-turn directions, you will see more street-level detail featuring bike lanes, bus lanes, crosswalks, turn lanes, and more. Some highway overpasses appear in 3D to make them easier to see. For those on foot or using public transit, you can now rely on Apple Maps to accurately get you around. Augmented Reality technology allows you to scan nearby buildings and structures to give you pinpoint location accuracy. This is similar to Google’s Live Maps AR View if you are familiar with that. Of course, the new Apple Maps also has CarPlay functionality for those using their Apple device in their car.

Safari Upgrades

Safari’s new design puts the address bar at the bottom, making it easier to navigate a webpage and search with one hand. Lots of other changes to Safari that we will cover in class.

Improved Apple Weather App

The new version of the Weather app features more details on the current weather, including maps showing current conditions. Animated backgrounds that accurately reflect the sun’s position, current precipitation, and other weather events make it feel like you are looking out a window when weather watching from within the app. A fun thing to do is check the weather in some of your favourite cities.

Siri Gets Smarter

This one is big. Siri no longer needs an internet connection to work. That means your virtual assistant is always available and a lot more helpful. Improved speech recognition and language understanding are much needed improvements. Siri can now learn about the contacts you interact with most, words you type often, and topics you read about to provide better responses to your queries. Siri’s responses are faster, and improved security means your interactions with Siri are even more secure and private.

Translate App Now Everywhere

With iOS 14, we got the Translate app that can translate conversations and provide translation within Safari. With iOS 15, translation is now within all Apple apps. This means you can select text almost anywhere and choose Translate from the pop-up window to translate immediately into your preferred language. During a conversation, the Translate app can now detect when you start speaking and translate speech without the need to tap the microphone. You can also translate text from photos— very handy if you’re looking at a restaurant menu and would like to know what you’re about to order—goodbye language class.

New Privacy Measures

App Privacy Report view shows how often apps use the permissions they’ve been granted. This is an easy view to see if apps have permissions you are not comfortable with. Mail Privacy Protection hides your IP address (the address your device uses to connect to the internet) and other features that make it harder for email marketers to learn about you and follow your email activity.

The Wallet app

The Wallet app has new key types you can label as home, office, or hotel room. Remote controls got a lot more exciting, too. The Wallet App supports remote keyless entry controls if your car has this feature. It means you can use your iPhone to lock or unlock your car, honk your horn, preheat your car, or open your trunk. Later this year, some US states will allow a driver’s license or state ID to be added to the Wallet app. We hope this comes to Canada soon.

Photos App

A neat update to Memories in the Photos app features a new design and integration with Apple Music to suggest songs based on your Apple Music listening history. It also does a pretty good job at editing and syncing your photos or videos to the song.

Health App

A new sharing tab allows users to share their selected health data with family or caregivers. Lab results have descriptions, highlights, and the option to pin results for quick access. Track walking steadiness over time, and get a notification if you’re at risk of a fall. And, to adapt to our new pandemic life, COVID immunizations and test results can now be stored in the Health app.

Find My App

There are now Separation Alerts to notify you if you have left your Apple device behind. Find My network now supports AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.

Quick Recap

It can be challenging to get used to a different Operating System (OS). It’s good to remember that OS updates come with added security features, so it’s essential to keep your device updated. These upgrades are meant to make our devices more secure and useful. iOS 15 is worth the effort.

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AUTHOR

Linda Fawcus • Gluu Society Founder

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