Аpple has announced iOS 15 at WWDC 2021 alongside iPad OS 15, WatchOS 8, macOS Monterey, and a host of new features and changes to its apps and services. While the final release of iOS 15 will happen later this year with the iPhone 13 announcement, you can now download the iOS 15 Beta to experience it on your iPhone.
Visual Changes with iOS 15
The first thing that you notice when looking at any UI is the visuals and from iOS 14.6 to iOS 15 Beta 1, it doesn’t seem like a lot has changed. The home screen and lock screen remain largely similar except for the way notifications are displayed.
The Settings app seems slightly redesigned with all the elements just looking a little more compact on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. We don’t know if this is a bug or if it’s just meant to be that way.
Major Changes to FaceTime: Spatial Audio, Facetime Link, and SharePlay
Facetime, Apple’s in-house video calling service has received a major overhaul in terms of features. Not only is it more useful now, but it also emphasizes call quality, and it now lets you invite Android users to join your call, something that wasn’t possible before. FaceTime now competes directly with the likes of Zoom and Google Duo and even one-ups them in a few departments.
- Spatial Audio: It was introduced last year with iOS 14 and allowed users to experience an immersive audio experience. Now, Spatial Audio has made its way to FaceTime as well. When there are multiple people speaking on a FaceTime call, users with the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max will actually be able to hear their voices coming from different areas simulating a meeting with people sitting in different parts of a room.
- FaceTime Link: This is one of the biggest changes to FaceTime and the reason we say this is because FaceTime Link basically lets you add participants on Android and Windows as well onto your FaceTime call. This is a huge deal since your friends and family who are on Android no longer have to be excluded.
- SharePlay: If you ever wanted to watch a movie or a TV show with your friends, SharePlay makes it easier than ever. All you have to do is call your friends on FaceTime and as soon as you head over to a video streaming app like Apple TV+, you will see a prompt that will allow you to share the content over FaceTime. This even applies to sharing your screen for a presentation or for just listening to some music.
Notifications get a Revamp with iOS 15
If there’s one thing that iOS users have been complaining about for years, it’s the way the iPhone manages notifications. With iOS 15, Apple has tried to make things tidier in your notification drawer by introducing a number of changes. The most notable ones include larger app icons to easily identify the app that sent you a particular notification and also bigger faces of people on your personal notifications. This will help you decide which notifications are important to you and need a quick response and which ones can be dealt with later.
Manage your Work-Life Balance with Focus
While this is an extension of the revamped notification settings, it also involves a little more personalization based on what you choose to focus on – Personal life, Work, Sleep, etc. These are various modes that you can choose from based on which you can alter your home screen settings, enable or disable notifications from select apps and contacts, etc. It essentially allows you to focus on what you want to while cutting out distractions. There are context-based Focus suggestions as well based on your location, time of the day, and the activity you’re performing. You can also set Do Not Disturb modes now with the ability to let a sender on iMessage know that DND is currently activated on your iPhone.
Apple Wallet can now hold your ID Cards
Apple introduced Car Keys to Apple Wallet last year and they’ve taken it a step further this year on iOS 15. While more cars will be getting support for UWB, the highlighting feature is that Apple will now let you add your house keys as well to your Apple Wallet. You can also add your office’s access cards so that you can go completely digital and your iPhone can unlock everything from your house door to your car. Apple is also working with hotels all over the world to allow guests to unlock their rooms with Apple Wallet. One of the biggest changes, though, is that Apple Wallet will even allow you to store your ID cards and Apple is even working with TSA to approve the use of digital IDs at airports.
Weather, Siri, and Privacy Reports on iOS 15
Apple’s default Weather app has been redesigned to show data in a better way. The background is more intuitive and the graphics change more accurately depending on the weather conditions. There are new animated backgrounds as well as full-screen weather maps.
As with Siri, most of the queries now stay on the device which means a lot of the offline recognition and processing have also gotten better. Siri also understands contextual questions better now meaning you can ask consecutive questions without repeating your first question and Siri will still understand what you’re trying to say.
App Privacy Reports is a new feature that shows you how apps on your iPhone track you and the history of data usage by apps. You can also track which apps have requested what permissions in the past few days and how many times an app has requested access to things like the camera, microphone, contacts, etc. This is surely a great feature that should give you an overview of how apps are using the data on your phone.