5 iPhone 6s software features you can’t get on older iPhones

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

Maybe you aren’t wowed by the hardware upgrades that come with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and you don’t think you’re going to need them. But did you know that its hardware improvements enable new software features that you won’t be able to get on older iPhones?

Here are five of them.

Live Photos

Live Photos on iPhone 6s

When you capture a photo on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, iOS 9 automatically captures the moments right before and right after your image is snapped. By putting these together, it then creates a Live Photo, which comes alive with movement and sound when you look at it.

Unfortunately, capturing Live Photos requires the more powerful hardware and improved camera inside the new iPhones, so you won’t be able to enjoy this feature on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or any of their predecessors.

You will, however, be able to view Live Photos that you receive from iPhone 6s and 6s Plus owners.

3D Touch


Without a 3D Touch display, your older iPhone won’t be able to take advantage of the new 3D Touch features baked into iOS 9. The means the “peek” gestures that allow you to preview emails, SMS messages and web pages, or hold down on app icons to access Quick Actions shortcuts, are exclusive to iPhone 6s.

Other 3D Touch features older devices will miss out on include the ability to activate Live Photos, pressure sensitive drawing and sketching, the ability to launch the app switcher by swiping in from the edge of the display, and pressing the keyboard to activate the virtual trackpad.

Animated wallpapers

Live Wallpaper on iPhone 6s

Without the ability to capture Live Photos, it makes sense that older iPhone owners cannot use them as animated wallpapers, either. Even if previous devices did have the ability to use Live Photos as wallpapers, you wouldn’t be able to activate them without the 3D Touch gesture anyway.

If you set a Live Photo you have received as a wallpaper, then, we can only assume that it will just stay still like a normal photo would.

Always-on “Hey Siri”

Hey Siri

Introduced with iOS 8, “Hey Siri” lets you activate the iPhone’s virtual assistant without actually touching your device — you just use your voice. The only problem is, you’ll need an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus if you want to use this feature when your iPhone isn’t charging.

Just like before, “Hey Siri” only works when your iPhone is plugged in if you don’t have the latest model.

4K video recording and editing

iPhone 6s 4K video recording

Not only will you need the new 12-megapixel iSight camera in iPhone 6s and 6s Plus to shoot super-sharp 4K video, but you’ll also need its new A9 processor and additional RAM to edit it. Without upgrading, then, you’re stuck with 1080p recording at 60fps on more recent devices, or 30fps on older ones.

Faster performance and a new camera aren’t the only reasons to upgrade to an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, then — there are plenty of new features in iOS 9 that will be added to these devices, too. The question is, will any of them convince you to upgrade?