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Apple iOS 15: 7 things you need to know about it

Words by Nathan Irvine

Upgrades inbound

Apple WWDC 2021 introduced us to the tech giant's new iOS 15. The transformative software update - out fall '21, usually to coincide with new iPhone - really switches things up for Apple devices. From iPhones and iPads to Mac and even AirPods, there's an upgrade for everyone.

You can watch the full presentation below, or you can skip right past it and find out the most important bits that you need to know. It's your call.

Facetime is going head-to-head with Zoom, Skype and the like

One of the biggest revelations from WWDC 2021 was that you can now use FaceTime on non-Apple devices. With FaceTime Link you can send a, erm, link, to email, WhatsApp or more and then your chums can jump on a video call with you. Simple. It now has a grid view so you can see all callers at once and new voice controls let you isolate your chat and eliminate background noise. You can use the fancy Portrait function of iPhone's to make sure you look picture perfect too. And lastly, during FaceTime calls you use SharePlay to allow other callers to listen to your music, watch a show or you can share your screen with them too.

iMessage now files away incoming messages and media

If someone sends you an image, URL or audio clip/music, iMessage automatically stores it for later consumption. For example, you can jump into Photos and you'll find a folder called Shared To You that will contain all images sent from a certain contact. Links to articles will be neatly tucked into notifications too. Speaking of which...

Notifications are now fully customisable

Focus is the new option that Apple has introduced to give you more control over notifications. You can either let the clever machine learning function automatically pick out your most important type of notifications that you interact with, or choose your own setup. This means you can stick pointless emails further down the priority list and put important fashion drops from The EDGAR Store on top. These can also be apps, widgets, dates from your diary, it really is up to you. An additional benefit is that Notifications will automatically tell you if you're walking too far away from your AirPods.

Multitasking on iPad is intuitive

It's been a while coming, but multitasking on iPad looks set to deliver the kind of functionality and ease of use it has always promised. You can work side-by-side with different apps open and even drag and drop one page on another to immediately begin working on two things at once.

Live text is a globetrotter's dream feature

Back when iPhone launched, there was a clever app that could translate languages just by pointing your camera at it. Well, Apple has brought the function back and taken it to the next level. Traveller's to foreign lands - when we're free to roam again - can get an instant translation from a sign, menu or book just by taking a picture of it. You can even screenshot a webpage and it will perform the translation.

Wallet can now house way more functional things

OK, so this roll out will involve lots of different third-parties jumping on board with the tech, but it's potentially groundbreaking. Wallet can now be used to carry such things as hotel key cards, so you never have to hold a physical version of it. It can open electronic door locks too. But don't worry, it's encrypted so it will only ever be linked to your device and not some tech-savvy burglar. And in certain parts of the world (mostly US, to begin with), you're going to be able to present official photo ID through your iPhone's Wallet.

Maps looks like a real 3D world now

Apple Maps has always been the poor relation of Google Maps, but that all seems set to change. Maps is going to be upgraded with 3D models that show accurate elevation and rendered landmarks. Bike lanes, flyovers and crossings will also be included in iOS 15 too. Best of all, you can take pictures of an area that you're lost in, and it will produce an augmented reality map that you can follow back to where you need to be.

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