September 20, 2021
iOS 15 is available today
iOS 15 introduces new ways to stay connected, powerful updates that help users focus and explore, and intelligent features to get more done with iPhone. FaceTime updates provide more natural video calls, Focus helps users reduce distraction, new features like Live Text use on-device intelligence to surface useful information, upgrades to Maps provide brand new ways to navigate the world, and much more. iOS 15 is available today as a free software update.
Enhancements for More Natural FaceTime Calls
FaceTime is more essential than ever, giving users a way to easily connect with the people who matter most. Powerful updates to FaceTime audio and video features make calls feel more natural and lifelike. With spatial audio, voices in a Group FaceTime call sound like they’re coming from the direction in which the person is positioned on the screen.1 Voice Isolation, a new microphone mode, uses machine learning to eliminate background noise and prioritize the user’s voice, while Wide Spectrum allows for every bit of background sound to come through. Inspired by the stunning portrait photos taken on iPhone, Portrait mode in FaceTime blurs a user’s background and puts them at the focus.2 Voice Isolation, Wide Spectrum, and Portrait mode can also be used with third-party apps, such as Webex, Zoom, and WhatsApp. Group FaceTime gives the option to display participants in same-size tiles in a new grid view.
FaceTime calls now extend beyond Apple devices, so people using an Android or Windows device can join from their web browser. FaceTime calls on the web remain end-to-end encrypted so privacy is not compromised. To initiate the call, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users simply create a FaceTime link and share it through Messages, Calendar, Mail, or third-party apps, making it easier than ever to connect with friends and family.
Later this fall, SharePlay will deliver a new way for users to share experiences with friends and family while on a FaceTime call, such as listening to songs together, watching a TV show or movie, completing a workout together, or sharing their screen to view apps. SharePlay will work with apps like Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple Fitness+, as well as Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, MasterClass, Paramount+, Pluto TV, SoundCloud, TikTok, Twitch, and many others. SharePlay can be accessed through iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and with shared playback controls, anyone in a SharePlay session can play, pause, or jump ahead. SharePlay even extends to Apple TV, so users can watch shows or movies on a big screen.
More Ways to Stay Connected with Messages
Shared with You is a new section that appears in Photos, Safari, Apple News, Music, Apple Podcasts, and the Apple TV app that displays the photos, articles, music, and other content shared by friends and family in Messages. Shared with You automatically displays shared photos in the Photos app, news stories in Apple News, and other relevant content in the corresponding app. The Shared with You section shows who sent the content, and makes it easy to view the associated message and restart the conversation.
In iOS 15, Memoji brings even more ways for users to express themselves with multicolored headwear, more glasses styles, and new accessibility options including cochlear implants, oxygen tubes, and a soft helmet. Memoji stickers can be customized with more than 40 outfit options and nine new sticker poses including a shaka, hand wave, and light bulb moment.
Powerful Tools to Find Focus in the Day
iOS 15 introduces Focus, a new way to help users reduce distraction by filtering notifications based on what a user wants to focus on in that moment. For example, the Work Focus can be set during work hours to only allow notifications from coworkers and apps that are used for work, the Personal Focus can be used when taking a break with friends and family, or the Fitness Focus can help a user stay in the zone while completing a workout. Users can create a custom Focus or select a provided Focus, which uses on-device intelligence to suggest which notifications from people and apps are allowed. To further extend the ability to focus, users can create dedicated Home Screen pages with relevant apps and widgets to match a specific Focus.
While using Focus, a status is automatically displayed to contacts in Messages and supported third-party communication apps like Slack, so they know not to interrupt. Users will even receive suggestions to turn on a Focus based on factors like time of day or location, and when Focus is set on one Apple device, it automatically applies to all of a user’s Apple devices.
A Fresh New Look for Notifications
Notifications have been redesigned, adding contact photos for people and larger icons for apps that make them even easier to identify. The notification summary is a collection of notifications delivered each day at scheduled times determined by the user. Using on-device intelligence, the summary is arranged by priority, with the most relevant notifications rising to the top based on how a user interacts with apps. Time-sensitive notifications, messages, and phone calls will be delivered immediately, so users won’t miss timely alerts, and it’s easy to temporarily mute any app or messaging thread for an hour or for the day.
On-Device Intelligence Delivers Live Text, Advanced Spotlight Search, and Memories
Live Text makes text in photos interactive. Using on-device intelligence, Live Text recognizes text in photos across the entire system including the web, and allows users to take action, such as copy and paste, look up information, and translate. Users can even tap the image of a phone number to make a call, or the image of a web address to open a page in Safari. With the power of the Neural Engine, the Camera app can also quickly recognize and copy text in the moment, such as the Wi-Fi password displayed at a local coffee shop. With Visual Look Up, users can learn more about popular art, landmarks, and books, plants and flowers found in nature, and breeds of pets.
Spotlight is the universal way to start searches on iPhone and now it can be accessed directly from the Lock Screen, and includes the ability to search photos by location, people, scenes, or objects. Using Live Text, Spotlight can find text and handwriting in photos.
iOS 15 delivers the biggest update ever to Memories. With a fresh new look, interactive interface, and integration with Apple Music that uses on-device intelligence to suggest music tracks, new cinematic Memories makes it easier to relive favorite or forgotten moments.
Redesigned Browsing with Safari
Safari introduces a newly designed browsing experience that makes controls easier to reach. By default, the new tab bar is positioned at the bottom of the screen, so users can easily swipe between tabs with one hand. Tab Groups allow users to organize tabs and easily access them at any time across iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and a customizable start page and web extensions on iOS make Safari more powerful and personal than ever.
Navigate and Explore with Apple Maps
Maps in iOS 15 introduces a whole new way of looking at the world. A visually stunning map offers unprecedented levels of detail for neighborhoods, commercial districts, buildings, as well as custom-designed landmarks, and a new night-time mode with a moonlit glow. Navigation features a new three-dimensional driving view with road details that help users more easily identify turn lanes, medians, crosswalks, and sidewalks. The enhanced map is available in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, with more to come. A beautifully designed interactive globe provides rich detail for mountain ranges, deserts, rainforests, and bodies of water.
Transit riders can get one-tap access to all departures near them and pin their favorite lines. Maps automatically follows along with a selected transit route, notifying users when it’s nearly time to disembark, and riders can even keep track on Apple Watch. By simply holding up iPhone, users can receive detailed walking directions in augmented reality.
New Keys and State IDs Come to Apple Wallet
With iOS 15, users can access even more places with just a tap of their iPhone with new home, hotel, office, and car keys in Wallet. Digital car keys get even better with support for Ultra Wideband technology, so users can securely lock, unlock, and start their supported vehicle without removing their iPhone from a pocket or bag.3 iPhone can also be used to unlock a user’s home, office, or even a hotel room — all through keys stored in Wallet.4 Additionally, users will be able to add eligible state IDs and driver’s licenses to Wallet on iPhone as this option becomes available in their state in the future.5
Redesigned Weather Experience
Weather includes an all-new design with full-screen maps, graphical displays of weather data, and dynamic layouts that change based on conditions. Beautifully animated backgrounds more accurately reflect sun position, clouds, and precipitation, and notifications indicate when rain or snow is about to start or stop.
Organize and Collaborate in Notes
Notes adds user-created tags that make it easy to quickly categorize notes and mentions that allow members of shared notes to notify one another of important updates. An all-new Activity view shows the recent history of a shared note, and Highlights reveals details on who made the changes. Quick Notes created on Mac and iPad can be viewed and edited in Notes.
More Privacy Controls
New privacy features provide even more transparency and control over the data users provide to apps. Mail Privacy Protection prevents senders from learning whether an email has been opened, and hides IP addresses so senders can’t learn a user’s location or use it to build a profile on them. Siri’s protection of user privacy goes even further with on-device speech recognition as users’ audio requests are now processed entirely on device by default, enabling more personalization, offline requests, and faster performance.6
- Siri adds Announce Notifications on AirPods and the ability for users to share what’s on their screen just by asking. Siri can now be enabled in third-party HomeKit accessories, so HomePod and HomePod mini users can easily and securely ask Siri to send a message, set a reminder, or broadcast an Intercom message to the family from more devices in the home.7
- iCloud+ combines everything users love about iCloud with new premium features, including Hide My Email, expanded HomeKit Secure Video support, and an innovative new internet privacy service, iCloud Private Relay.8 Current iCloud storage subscribers will be upgraded to iCloud+ automatically at no additional cost. All iCloud+ plans can be shared with people in the same Family Sharing group, so everyone can enjoy the new features, storage, and elevated experience that comes with the service.
- The Health app gets a new sharing tab that lets users share their health data with family, caregivers, or a care team, trends give users a way to focus attention on meaningful changes in personal health metrics, and Walking Steadiness is a new metric that empowers people to proactively manage their fall risk. Users also have the ability to store verifiable COVID-19 vaccination or test result records directly in the Health app, so they can easily access them at any time.
- Translate adds a new Auto Translate feature that automatically detects when a user begins speaking and translates speech without tapping the microphone button, allowing for conversation across languages to flow more naturally. Systemwide translation makes it possible to translate text anywhere on iPhone by selecting it and tapping Translate.
- New iPhone setup makes it more seamless than ever to get started with iPhone. Existing iPhone users can temporarily back up data to iCloud — even without a subscription — to easily transfer their data to a new iPhone.9 For those moving to iPhone for the first time, an improved Move to iOS experience easily transfers photo albums, files, folders, and Accessibility settings, so iPhone feels personal right from the start.
- Accessibility features include the ability to explore people, objects, text, and tables within images in more detail with VoiceOver, and new background sounds play continuously in the background to mask unwanted environmental or external noise. Sound actions customize Switch Control to work with mouth sounds, and users can customize display and text size settings on an app-by-app basis. Apple is also bringing support for recognizing imported audiograms — charts that show the results of a hearing test — to Headphone Accommodations.
Pricing and Availability
iOS 15 is a free software update that is available starting today for iPhone 6s and later. For more information, visit apple.com/ios/ios-15. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.
- Available on iPhone and iPad with A12 Bionic and later and Mac models (2018 or later).
- Available on iPhone and iPad with A12 Bionic and later and Mac computers with the M1 chip.
- Digital car keys are available on iPhone XS and later and require a participating car manufacturer.
- Support for new keys requires an iPhone running iOS 15 and a compatible door lock for apartments, homes, offices, and hotels that will be available through third parties.
- Participating states will share more information at a later date about when support for mobile driver’s licenses and state IDs in Wallet will be available to their residents.
- Available on iPhone and iPad with A12 Bionic and later. Requires download of speech models.
- Requires HomePod or HomePod mini with HomePod software 15.0 or later and a compatible HomeKit accessory.
- iCloud+ plans: 50GB with one HomeKit Secure Video camera ($0.99 per month), 200GB with up to five HomeKit Secure Video cameras ($2.99 per month), and 2TB with an unlimited number of HomeKit Secure Video cameras ($9.99 per month). iCloud Private Relay will initially be released as a public beta.
- Requires an iPhone running iOS 15.
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