Apple is releasing iOS 15 this fall, marking a major update to the system with powerful features that enhance the user experience.
For the first time ever, FaceTime will be extended beyond just Apple users. As well, other new features on iOS 15 are SharePlay (to share experiences on devices), and Focus, which allows users a new way to manage notifications.
“For many customers, iPhone has become indispensable, and this year we’ve created even more ways it can enhance our daily lives,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, in a release.
“iOS 15 helps users stay connected while sharing experiences in real time, gives them new tools to help reduce distraction and find focus, uses intelligence to enhance the photos experience, and, with huge upgrades to Maps, brings new ways to explore the world. We can’t wait for customers to experience it.”
FaceTime for everyone, and SharePlay on Apple’s iOS 15
FaceTime calls are finally extending beyond Apple devices. Users will soon be able to create a link from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac and share it through Messages, Calendar, Mail, or third-party apps, so anyone can join a FaceTime call from their web browser on Android and Windows devices.
And for regular users, iOS 15 promises that conversations with friends and family will feel even more natural. Portrait mode will be available for video calls, so that the background can be blurred. As well, group FaceTime calls will have a new grid view, enabling participants to see more faces all at the same time.
Another announcement is Apple’s SharePlay, which allows users to share songs or TV shows or movies on a FaceTime call.
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Focus to reduce distraction
The new iOS 15 will feature Focus, a new way to filter notifications and apps based on what a user wants to focus on. Users can create custom Focuses or select from suggested Focuses.
According to Apple, “Focus suggestions are based on users’ context, like during their work hours or while they’re winding down for bed, and when Focus is set on one Apple device, it automatically applies to their other Apple devices.”
Additionally, Apple said that if a user’s Focus is blocking incoming notifications, their status is automatically displayed to others in Messages, reflecting that a user is not currently reachable.
Speaking of notifications
Apple’s notifications have been redesigned. Part of the change includes adding contact photos for people and larger icons for apps that make them even easier to identify.
According to Apple, to help reduce distraction, there is also a new notification summary that collects non-time-critical notifications for delivery at a more opportune time, such as in the morning and evening.
“Using on-device intelligence, notifications are arranged by priority, with the most relevant notifications rising to the top, and based on a user’s interactions with apps. Urgent messages will be delivered immediately, so important communications will not end up in the summary, and it’s easy to temporarily mute any app or messaging thread for the next hour or for the day,” said Apple.
Live Text and spotlight search
New on iOS 15 is Live Text, which uses on-device intelligence to recognize text in a photo and allow users to take action.
For example, Apple said users can search for and locate the picture of a handwritten family recipe, or capture a phone number from a storefront with the option to place a call.
And for those who use public Wi-Fi, the Apple Neural Engine in the Camera app can also quickly recognize and copy text, such as passwords displayed at a local coffee shop.
As for Spotlight, it uses intelligence to search photos by location, people, scenes, or objects, and using Live Text, Spotlight can find text and handwriting in photos.
Visual Look Up
Visual Look Up highlights objects and scenes it recognizes so you can get more information about them, according to Apple. By tapping on a photo on your device or the web, Visual Look Up will allow you to learn more about the art, landmark, nature, or even pets.
Safari’s new design on iOS 15
For those who use Safari on their phones and iPads, it will have a new design that makes controls easier to reach with one hand and puts the content in the center. As well, there will be a new tab bar that is compact and stays at the bottom of the screen so you can swipe easily between tabs.
Added new features, such as the customizable start page and web extensions on iOS, make Safari even more personal and powerful.
Apple Maps with enhanced details
Apple said it is committed to building “the world’s best map,” and iOS 15 takes Maps even further with brand new ways to navigate and explore.
“Users will experience significantly enhanced details in cities for neighborhoods, commercial districts, elevation, and buildings, new road colors and labels, custom-designed landmarks, and a new night-time mode with a moonlit glow,” according to Apple. “This is a whole new way of looking at the world through Maps.”
Maps will feature a three-dimensional city-driving experience with new road details for those navigating using iPhone or CarPlay.
As for transit riders, you can find nearby stations more easily and pin favorite lines. Maps will automatically follow along with a selected transit route, notifying users when it’s nearly time to disembark, and riders can even keep track on Apple Watch.
Redesigned Weather widget on Apple’s new iOS 15
We all love checking the weather in Canada. And now, the weather app will include more graphical displays of data, full-screen maps, and dynamic layouts that change based on conditions.
“Beautifully redesigned animated backgrounds more accurately reflect the sun’s position and precipitation, and notifications highlight when rain or snow starts and stops,” said Apple.
Apple’s iOS 15 is being released this fall.