Apple today announced iOS 15 at WWDC 2021. The latest update for iPhones aims to keep you connected with your friends and family.
FaceTime is getting a major upgrade with iOS 15. With video calls surging in popularity over the last year due to COVID-19, Apple is making some important changes to make FaceTime calls more natural. FaceTime calls will now support spatial audio to make it sound like they are sitting in the room with you. Voice isolation uses machine learning to block all ambient noise and focus on just your voice.
FaceTime is getting grid view support to make group video calls easier, making it easier to view multiple callers at once. To make the video calling experience better, FaceTime is getting a portrait mode as well, which will blur the background. You can also schedule FaceTime calls using FaceTime links, which you can share with your friends or family ahead of time. Apple is also allowing Android and Windows users to join FaceTime calls using the web browser.
iOS 15 also brings SharePlay to FaceTime. This allows you to listen to the same music or video while on a FaceTime call. Apple is also introducing a SharePlay API so that other apps and streaming services can also hook into it.
Sharing Becomes Easier in Messages
The updated Messages app in iOS 15 now has a new design for group photos. Any links shared with you in the Messages app will also show up in the Shared With You section of Apple News. This allows you to read any content at a later date easily.
You can also pick up on the conversation right from within the Apple News app. Similar functionality will also be making its way to Apple Music, Safari, Podcast, Apple TV, Photos, and more.
Redesigned Notifications and Focus
Apple is redesigning notifications in iOS 15, with contact photos and icons now visible in the notifications. It is also adding a Notification Summary that gives you a summary of all your unread notifications. Impressively, if you have Do Not Disturb enabled, the other party sending you a message will inform you about this.
iOS 15 also debuts Focus profiles so that you can set different profiles for app notifications and home screen layout. For example, you can select the work apps from whom you want the notification alerts when at work. You can also set different home screen layouts for each profile. Any Focus profile you set will also be synced to your other devices.
iOS 15 debuts Live Text that lets you easily extract text from any photo. It works across the OS, apps, and even the web. You can then select the extracted text and share it easily.
Spotlight is gaining photo support in iOS 15. You can search for photos in your photos library or the web. Apple is also adding rich information cards for popular celebrities, locations, and movies. Contact cards in Spotlight are also getting richer details as a part of the update.
The Photos app is getting Photos Memories that automatically create a montage video based on your recent photos and trip. You can customize memories by using your favorite songs in Apple Music.
Apple is further improving the Wallet app in iOS 15. BMW car keys will now show up in the Wallet app. Similarly, you’ll be able to add corporate badges, hotel room cards, and more directly to the Wallet app.
Apple is also bringing Identity Cards to Apple Wallet. This means you can add your driver’s license to your Wallet and then use it as a digital ID. The feature will be available in select US states initially.
Redesigned Weather App
The Weather app is getting a new design with stunning new animations, animated background designs, and graphics. The app also includes full-screen Weather apps to show air quality, precipitation, and more.
Apple Maps Improvements
The new Apple Maps is coming to Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Australia this year. The updated Apple Maps app in iOS 15 will offer “incredible new details” for commercial buildings, marinas, and more. The additional details include road colors, elevation details, and more.
Apple Maps in iOS 15 also gets a new night mode. The Driving mode is also getting better with additional details like bus, taxi, and bike lanes. On highways, the Maps app will render complex overbridges in 3D to make navigation easier.
Apple Maps is also getting a new AR mode similar to Google Maps, allowing you to scan buildings around you to get navigation directions.
Siri Now Works Offline
Apple is improving Siri on iPadOS 15 by adding ML-based voice recognition for improved privacy. This means Siri can now work offline, and the processing is faster as well.
Smarter Health App With Family Sharing
The Health app is getting some notable improvements in iOS 15 as well. It will now show your walking steadiness so that you can know if your walking steadiness is decreasing over time. You can now also share Health data with your health care provider as per your liking.
Family sharing is also coming to the Health app. This will allow you to share and view the Health metrics of your family members. You will also get alerts about elevated heart rate and other key health metrics.
Apple has redesigned Safari in iOS 15. The tab bar is now hidden by default. You can tap on the page once to bring up the tab bar, which sits right below your thumb. You can switch between open tabs by swiping on the tab par.
Apple is also bringing web extensions to Safari on the iPhone and iPad. You can also select which extensions will be enabled on which page.