Apple’s iOS 15 is now available. Following last week’s iPhone 13 presentation, Apple stated that iOS 15 will be broadly accessible for free download on Monday, accompanying iPadOS 15. At the event, four iPhone 13 models, brand new iPads, and the Apple Watch Series 7 were all unveiled.
Not to be mistaken with the previous week’s release of iOS 14.8, which resolved a security concern, iOS 15 introduces new features to multiple iPhone models.
Apple’s iOS 15 update was first shown at the company’s virtual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, accompanied by a developer beta and then a public beta.
While iOS 14.5, iOS 14.6, and iOS 14.7 introduced a slew of new features during spring and summer, like the ability to unlock your iPhone with Face ID despite wearing a mask, restrict apps from monitoring you for commercial reasons, and select among four Siri voices, iOS 15 offers much more. New iOS 15 features involve the ability to initiate FaceTime conversations with Android users, improved iMessage sharing, and smarter Maps navigation.
Continue scrolling to discover all we’ve uncovered so far about iOS 15, especially when it will be publicly released, how to download it, and some of the most significant additional features.
iOS 15 will be available on September 20th
As is customary, Apple unveiled iOS 15 on June 7 during its virtual Worldwide Developers Conference. The new OS was first accessible for programmers to test before being available for free download as a public beta on June 30.
Apple stated during the iPhone 13 event on September 14 that iOS 15 would be broadly available for free download on September 20.
This is consistent with Apple’s usual iOS release timetable, with the software generally coming within a week after each iPhone launch event.
And if you’ve been using the same iPhone since 2015 or later, you’ll most probably be qualified for iOS 15. Apple’s iOS 15 is now available for the iPhone 6S and subsequent models.
Added features in iOS 15
Here are some of the primary new features of iOS 15, presented at WWDC 2021.
- FaceTime upgrades feature spatial audio and compatibility for Android and Windows.
FaceTime will have spatial audio, which will allow people’s voices to appear to emanate from their place on the display, making video conversations feel more factual and realistic. FaceTime will also begin to resemble Zoom, with the ability to see all users in a grid format, plan conversations, and send links to meetings that can be viewed through browser on Google Android and Microsoft Windows devices.
- iMessage sharing options
iOS 15 introduces new iMessage sharing options for images, media articles, and playlists. When a friend shares numerous images with you over iMessage, they’ll emerge in a dynamic collage arrangement that permits you to scroll through them or click through to see the entire collection in your photos app. If you wish to view the same images later, they’ll be kept in a separate Shared with You folder, along with merged in with your own highlighted photos and memories. News stories and music lists shared over iMessage will also appear in new Shared with You tabs in your News and Apple Music applications.
- Apple Maps update: 3D street data, AR walking directions, and weather warnings
Apple Maps gets an upgrade with more elevation data, road colors and driving directions, rich labels, 3D landmarks and improved night mode. In terms of public transportation, you can also pin nearby public transit stops and station information to your iPhone and Apple Watch devices, and receive automatic updates and notifications as you ride and approach your stop. When traveling on foot, a new augmented reality feature lets you scan nearby buildings in the area with the iPhone’s camera to determine their precise position for more accurate walking directions, which are also presented in augmented reality.
Maps also could factor weather warnings into suggested routes in iOS 15. Redditor ChrisSDreiling, who spotted the update in iOS 15 beta 3, says Maps will let you know if there are flash floods on your journey, and suggest alternate routes to avoid the extreme weather. Although other types of weather alerts weren’t mentioned in ChrisSDreiling’s post, it will be interesting to see if more weather warnings will be added before the iOS 15 general release.
Facial recognition selfies to validate digital ID cards in the Wallet app
At WWDC this spring, Apple announced that it will add ID card support for the Wallet app in iOS 15, allowing you to carry digital versions of government-issued identification cards like your driver’s license on your iPhone. The ID feature isn’t in the initial release of iOS 15 and it’s still unclear how exactly it will work. (It will also only be for US users.) According to code uncovered by 9to5Mac in the iOS 15 beta 4 for developers, Apple could be using facial recognition selfies to validate your digital ID cards when adding them to your wallet. Some banking apps already use this selfie validation feature to authenticate users when logging on with new devices.
How do you download iOS 15?
Now that iOS 15 is generally available, you likely got a notification from Apple letting you know you can update. Or you can do it manually, by going to the Settings app > General > Software Update and under the Also Available section, tap Upgrade to iOS 15.
If you had already installed the iOS 15 beta on your phone, you can uninstall it before downloading the final version of the OS. Here’s why you might want to wait before installing the full release of iOS 15.
For more, here’s everything to know about the iPhone 13. You can also take a look at the cool new features for WatchOS 8, the best things about MacOS Monterey and check if your computer is compatible with the new MacOS.