Apple announced iOS 15 at WWDC 2021, an update coming to iPhones when it’s released to the public this fall, and very soon as a developer beta.
As usual at Apple’s developer conference, the company used the WWDC 2021 keyword to reveal the next important OS releases.
Set to arrive this fall to coincide with new devices like the iPhone 13, iOS 15 will introduce a variety of new features and other improvements.
And as you can expect from a major release, the changes are extensive, covering everything from the home screen to apps built into mobile operating systems.
Apple also continues to push to maintain user privacy and security in the latest version.
Apple said it designed iOS 15 with four different things in mind: staying connected, finding focus, using intelligence, and exploring the world.
The first set of changes outlined at WWDC relate to FaceTime, Apple’s video calling app that has become very important over the past year.
Adding Spatial Audio support to FaceTime makes it easier to identify who is speaking in a conference call, by making the audio appear to come from a picture of the person currently speaking.
Sound isolation improvements help reduce background noise, while a wide acoustic mode is also available.
Grid View also helps reorganize the call and make it easier to see everyone on the call at once.
The big advantage of FaceTime is cross-platform calls, where a FaceTime link can be created and shared with others.
Apple now allows users to plan FaceTime calls in advance, and the video calling platform also supports non-Apple devices, such as Android smartphones.
This link can be used across Android devices and Windows desktop computers, expanding the service for the first time in its history.
SharePlay allows users to share media within a FaceTime call, including shows, movies, and music from various service providers.
Apple Music support is also included with integration with multi-user playback sync. Screen sharing option is also available. This includes many of the major streaming services.
SharePlay is a powerful new set of features for shared experiences that you can enjoy when you’re on a FaceTime call.
Continuing the theme of communications, iMessage users benefit from new options for grouping and stacking images for sharing, providing more ways to visually display shared images with others.
And Shared Stacks brings content from Messages to the News app and the Photos app.
And when you share content like Apple News articles or playlists, it now appears as embedded in messages rather than as a link.
Shared with You within Apple Music, Safari, Podcasts, Apple News and the Apple TV app aggregates shared content to listen to or watch later.
To help users stay focused when doing other tasks, Apple has added a range of features to reduce the amount of distraction that can occur.
Notifications are edited, and they now have a notification summary. Instead of a stack of notifications, a single large summary notification can be presented to the user whenever they want. It combines all the most important elements into one message.
And if users have enabled Do Not Disturb mode on their device. The status is shown to others in messages to let them know that the user has silenced notifications with focus.
Under Focus, modes can be set up for different situations, which can also be enabled or displayed depending on where the user is. For example, a configured fitness mode can be suggested if the user shows up at the gym.
In an effort to help users deal with large amounts of typed information, Live Text is an automatic OCR feature for the Camera app.
Users can point the camera at text via a board, tag, or page. This makes the live text selectable and can be copied and pasted elsewhere.
And by taking advantage of machine learning, the feature isn’t just limited to the camera app. They can be used to scan images practically anywhere they are used in the operating system. Including pre-captured images and web images.
It also includes support for seven languages, and can recognize objects and scenes.
Spotlight has been updated with the ability to search for images within the user’s library. Contact searches have also been improved, with an indication of whether DND mode is enabled by them.
A large selection of new cards is included. that display information for actors, movies, and other types of content.
Photos users can take advantage of Apple Music support in the Photos app for the Memories function. That can expand the music used to accompany slide shows.
The Memory Mixes feature allows users to edit memories that have been created to enhance them in various ways.
Apple is significantly expanding the types of cards and documents that can be added to the wallet. Including IDs, driver’s licenses in certain cases, and more types of keys.
The biggest advantage is the ability to add information from the ID card in some supported US states to the wallet via the iPhone. Apple says it is working with the US Transportation Security Administration to support digital identities at airports.
All information in the wallet is stored in a secure and encrypted manner. It includes the person’s legal name, birth data, photo, and true ID status.
In addition to supporting IDs, Apple is also expanding the types of keys that can be added to a wallet. This includes smart home lock keys, hotel room keys, and work badges that can be scanned to enter the workplace.
For example, hospitality company Hyatt will offer its support for digital keys to more than 1,000 locations later in 2021.
The weather app has got an updated user interface. There will be more details about the current weather conditions provided to users, so that they are more aware of what is happening outside.
The app also gets a weather map, which includes the temperature, rain, and air quality of the area.
Apple announced that it will bring its updated Maps experience to Australia, Italy, Portugal and Spain later in 2021.
Additional information is provided to users in cities, which display areas such as commercial areas, elevation signs, and individual buildings.
Sights receive custom designs, as well as a Night View mode. The globe is also displayed.
The new Navigation view relies more on 3D images. Including showing overlapping and complex exchanges.
In theory, this makes it easier to navigate more complex intersections and highways.
And if you’re traveling on foot, you can scan a building in augmented reality view to get walking directions.