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iOS 15: All the best new features coming to the iPhone

Apple has just announced the iOS 15 update for the iPhone and it packs a load of new features. Here are some of the best we’ve heard about so far.

If you use one of the best iPhones or best iPads then you’re using iOS. This is the software that powers Apple’s mobile devices and it gets one big update every year. This year it came at WWDC 2021 in June, where CEO Tim Cook and company announced a wave of sweeping reforms to the mobile operating system.

Here are all the new features we’ve heard about in iOS 15 so far. We’ll be updating this page as we know more.

Apple has confirmed iOS 15 is coming later in the year.

In terms of when you’ll see iOS 15 arrive on your phone, this usually happens around the same time as Apple releases a new device. If the iPhone 13 arrives in September, we’d expect iOS 15 to ship on that device and be available at a similar time.

Apple does a great job at supporting its iPhones and iPads for many years after release, with some versions of iOS launching with full support for every device that ran the previous version.

That’s the case here, with every phone that supports iOS 14 able to be upgraded to iOS 15.

Here are all the features we know are coming to iOS 15 so far. Check out our iPadOS features page for all the information on what’s coming to the iPad Pro 2021 and other iPad models.

FaceTime is getting a load of updates in iOS 15, although it does feel a bit like this is all a little too late.

You can now schedule FaceTime calls and share the links with other iOS, Android and Windows users. You’ll also be able to blur the background around you using a new portrait mode. Great if you forget to tidy up before your morning call.

A new feature called SharePlay will allow you to share music, TV shows and even Disney Plus content across a FaceTime call so you can watch it all together – even using AirPlay to showcase it on a TV.

There’s a SharePlay API that developers will be able to build into their apps too.

There have been some changes to the audio options in FaceTime calls with iOS 15. Spatial Audio is here now, so conversations should sound more spread out and natural. You’ll also be able to prioritise your own voice, ditching that pesky background noise.

iMessage was heavily rumoured to be getting a raft of new features in iOS 15 prior to WDDC 2021 and during the show’s keynote that proved to be the case.

Links and files that are shared with you will show up in the News app so you can browse the stories later.

There’s a new notification summary included in iOS 15. This groups together notifications and pings them to you at certain points during the day. This is ideal for those apps where notifications don’t need to be seen right away.

Apple has also slightly upgraded the look of the notification panel.

Focus is a new feature that gives you individual profiles with various settings specific for each.

One could be for when your driving, or at work or for the weekend. These profiles vary things like notifications (in work mode you might only receive alerts when work apps) while it can also alter homescreens too. You could, for instance, have a page of apps that purely shows up during your work hours.

There are a couple of nifty features added to some other Apple apps too.

You can now search directly inside pictures you’ve taken, pulling out phone numbers to easily ring up a cafe. This looks very clever, and useful.

The weather app has been overhauled, with new animations and graphics throughout. There are also new weather maps, which look a lot like those from Dark Sky.

Finally, Wallet now supports certain house keys, ID card and hotel key cards.

“iOS 15 is far from a massive rethinking of the software that powers your iPhone and it seems like it’s the iPad that has picked up the bigger updates this year. The lack of lockscreen updates is a shame and I am not sure yet whether the notification changes are enough – but it’s a start.

However, there’s still a lot to like here. I really appreciate the ability to search text in photos you’ve taken, and it’s great to see some of the best features from Dark Sky added to the weather app. The improved sharing options look clever, too”

Max Parker

By

Deputy and mobile editor

This is a breaking story and we’ll be updating this page as we know more. Read on for the previous information about iOS 15 prior to release.

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