Holy crap, Apple isn’t playing around! The company kicked off its WWDC livestream with the announcement of iOS 15 and its many new features. The upcoming iPhone update introduces FaceTime call links for Android users, new Messages controls, a much less annoying notification system, a Focus mode that lets you hide unwanted apps, and…yes, there̵
The iOS 15 developer beta is now available and a public beta is coming next month. Apple will release the iOS 15 software update for the iPhone 6s and later models this fall.
Let’s start with the biggest changes in iOS 15 and work our way down to the smaller stuff.
Share FaceTime Link and SharePlay
People like to talk about Apple’s “walled garden” ahead of events like WWDC. But one of the biggest changes in iOS 15 breaks down the walled garden — at least a little bit. iOS 15 lets you share invitation links for your FaceTime calls. Of course, these shareable links allow you to schedule virtual meetings and gatherings, but you can also invite Android and PC users to your FaceTime chats with them.
Unfortunately, Android and PC users cannot initiate FaceTime chats. But the change makes FaceTime a more viable platform for sports teams or businesses that want to hold meetings or video chat in groups without worrying about Zoom, Google Meet, and other platforms.
Other changes to FaceTime make it a better platform for professional conversations, such as a portrait mode that blurs your background, an optional grid view that gives each caller an identical sized tile and marks who is speaking, and a speech isolation switch to reduce background noise. remove .
But Apple knows that FaceTime is a powerful tool for friends and family, not just professionals or teams. That’s why iOS 15 adds a new feature to FaceTime called SharePlay. SharePlay lets you include music or movies in FaceTime calls to listen or watch a group in real time. Anyone in the chat can control music or movies and contribute to a queue, and if you need to multitask, you can set up a group streaming video in picture-in-picture mode or send it to your Apple TV.
Then there are some minor changes, such as a Spatial Audio feature that makes FaceTime participants feel like they’re in 3D space (based on the on-screen position of their video feed), and a Wide Spectrum audio mode that picks up background noise, such as the sound at a concert.
Apple says FaceTime SharePlay will support Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Twitch, ESPN+, Pluto TV, Paramount+, NBA TV, TikTok and MasterClass at launch. Other streaming app developers can add SharePlay support to their app using the SharePlay API.
New notifications and focus mode
Notifications on iPhone are kind of shitty. That’s why iOS 15 uses the notifications overview to help you prioritize the notifications that matter to you. Notification Summary delivers groups of notifications at certain times of the day (morning news, etc.), eliminating annoying pings when you’re busy.
As if that weren’t enough, iOS 15 includes a new Focus mode that lets you choose which notifications you want to receive based on your activity. Focus modes, which come in pre-programmed or custom flavors, can also hide selected apps and widgets. For example, if you go into a work mode, you can hide Messages notifications and temporarily remove social media apps and games from your home screen. Better yet, Focus works on all devices, including your iPad and Mac.
Apple folds the Do Not Disturb setting into Focus mode. Now if you use Do Not Disturb, people who try to message you will see that you are busy. In an emergency, people in Messages can bypass Do Not Disturb mode to send you a text message.
Share links and photos in posts
In addition to integrating Do Not Disturb into Messages, Apple’s own texting app now has a Shared with you section. The Shared with you section makes it easy to find links, photos, and music people have sent you so you can always go back and check out that article or song you’ve been ignoring.
Messages in iOS 15 also handles photos differently. When someone dumps a bunch of photos into Messages, they’ll appear in a nice collage that’s easy to navigate. Not only that, but when someone sends you photos, iOS 15 can automatically determine if they could be important to you. Maybe you were around when the photos were taken, either way they will be added to your Photos collection automatically.
Photos Live Text and Reminders Features
People store a lot of photos in iCloud, but rarely go back to see their memories. That’s why Photos now includes a Memories feature that turns photos into slideshows. Photos automatically adds music and filters to these slideshows, but you can customize them if you want to use your own filters and music.
You can swipe back and forth through each page of Memories slideshow, or even pause the slideshow by holding your finger on the screen. Overall, the feature is similar to Google Photos’ Memories feature, but puts a greater emphasis on music and moody filters.
One of the weirder changes to iOS 15 is called Live Text. Live Text allows you to highlight, copy and paste any words or numbers you find in an image. The tool makes it easy to scan text from documents or whiteboards, or quickly call phone numbers displayed on buildings or advertisements.
Spotlight adds detailed contacts, search photos, famous people
Spotlight makes it easy to find apps or search the web. And with iOS 15, Spotlight can give you instant, granular access to Photos and Contacts. You can search for words related to photos, such as where they were taken or the subject. And when you look up someone from your contact list, Spotlight shows you all their information with a large photo or Memoji.
If you don’t want to search for your friends in Spotlight, that’s fine. The iOS 15 update adds famous actors and musicians to Spotlight, giving you IMDb-like information without opening a browser or apps.
Wallet now stores everything (and I mean everything)
Okay, so you’ve added your credit card to Apple Wallet. What now? With iOS 15, you can basically add anything to your Wallet, including house keys for smart locks, business work badges, and even your driver’s license (although most states still require you to have your driver’s license with you).
Now with UWB support, Wallet can wirelessly unlock doors, cars and other systems without taking your iPhone out of your pocket. Apple is even partnering with select Hyatt hotels to bring key cards to the iPhone so you can get into your room, gym, and pool without any hassle.
Weather app gets the Dark Sky treatment
Remember when Apple bought the Dark Sky weather app? Yes, it looks like that purchase is paying off. The iOS 15 update includes a major redesign for the Weather app that makes it look almost identical to Dark Sky.
Dynamic animations are the highlight of this redesign. The weather background automatically adapts to your environment with high-quality, realistic animations. Images for wind, UV, and other nuanced data are also dynamic and constantly changing in iOS 15’s Weather app.
Interestingly, Weather now includes detailed maps with data on air quality, precipitation, humidity, and other factors. The maps should give iPhone users a good idea of how storms and other weather phenomena move around them in real time.
Maps is now like ‘Sim City’
Apple Maps looks a bit odd in iOS 15, at least if you’re in a major city. The update adds more details for certain cities, such as elevation, road colors and labels, and custom 3D landmarks (such as the Golden Gate Bridge).
For those who don’t live in LA, San Francisco, or any other major city, Apple Maps gets more road details like zebra crossings, bike lanes, and 3D-rendered overpasses. Commuters can now use Apple Maps to track their transit schedule or pin specific routes, and a new AR mode lets you use the iPhone’s camera to scan your surroundings and get real-time directions.