Every year, I look forward to Apple's developer conference where the company shows off the next major software updates for the iPhone and iPad. This year, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 made their respective debuts, and I can't wait to dig in. The updates are currently available to developers, and Apple has said there will be a public beta in July, but stopped short of announcing a specific date. I'm particularly looking forward to trying out the new multitasking experience on the iPad.
The update includes privacy enhancements, a new sharing feature for watching videos or listening to music together and so much more. While we wait for the public beta to become available, I wanted to take a look at some of the key features in iOS 15 that you're sure to love.
Get more out of your tech
With iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, not only will you be able to FaceTime someone who uses Android, but you'll have new Do Not Disturb tools at your disposal, and notifications will be less of a headache. Here are six of the many features coming to iOS 15 that you're sure to love.
FaceTime comes to Windows and Android
When Apple first unveiled FaceTime, its video and audio calling platform, Steve Jobs infamously said the service would soon be open source and available to everyone. Well, that didn't happen. Apple kept the feature to itself, adding it to every hardware product it sells.
However, most of us spent a year during the pandemic using Zoom on a regular basis, Apple is finally expanding FaceTime to include Android and Windows owners.
Instead of releasing an app for either platform, you'll send a FaceTime link via your preferred non-iMessage platform to your Android or PC using contacts who can then use a browser for the video call.
You can even create a link and add it to your calendar, just like a Zoom meeting invite.
Live Text is a magical tool for your Photos library
Google Lens has been around for a while now, using your phone's camera to identify text in a photo, translate foreign languages or identify real-world items like animals or plants. And now, your iPhone is getting its own version of Lens.
You'll use Live Text by tapping a button in your camera's viewfinder before you even take a photo, or by opening any picture in your Photos library. That button will then make any text, be it a phone number or an address, selectable. You can then copy and paste that information into an email, or call a number to make a reservation, for example.
Notification summaries look fantastic
The iPhone or iPad's notification tray can look overwhelming at the end of the day as your phone receives countless alerts from random apps. With iOS 15, there's a new Notification Summary feature that's designed to help tidy up your notifications.
You can pick which alerts and which apps are demoted to a summary, and even pick how often your summary shows up on your lock screen to let you know which notifications you've received.
Each summary shows you the number of alerts you've received in a clean preview card that you can expand to see them individually. It's a welcome addition to the iPhone and iPad if you ask me.
New Do Not Disturb settings help focus on what matters
Do Not Disturb is a convenient feature when you want your phone or tablet to be completely silent and avoid any interruptions, but the all-or-nothing approach isn't ideal in every situation.
Apple added a new Focus mode in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 that takes DND to the next level. You can create custom Focus profiles that will allow only the apps you select to alert you while keeping the other apps quiet.
You can even select which contacts you'll still receive alerts, be it messages or phone calls. Everyone else who messages you while you have a Focus profile enabled will see a status notification letting them know you're currently busy and you'll see the message at a later time.
Photos, links, and recipes are always at your fingertips
Whenever a friend or family member shares a photo with you in Messages or sends a link to a recipe you've been bugging them for, it's good practice to save the shared item right away. Otherwise, you'll be forced to scroll back through your conversation history to find it. It's a hassle.
Shared With You is a new feature that will debut with iOS 15 that will make it easier to find, well, whatever's been shared with you. More specifically, your iPhone and iPad will now automatically show you photos and videos that a close friend has shared with you in the Photos app. Links sent to you will be present in a new Shared With You section on the homepage in Safari. The same can be said about links to news articles in the Apple News app and TV shows and movies in the Apple TV app.
Better yet? You don't have to do anything for it to start working. There's no setup, no remembering to toggle a button. After updating to iOS 15, it'll start showing you all the stuff you used to lose and forget.
I'm most excited about the Photos integration. I have so many pictures in conversations that I should have been saving to my Photos library, but now that will automatically be done for me.
The Mail app is no longer a privacy tattletale
Virtually every newsletter or email you receive from a large company has small tracking pixels embedded into it. Even the links within an email can alert the sender when you've clicked on them.
Companies use these tools to measure and track if emails are being opened, links are being clicked and other important metrics. However, some users don't like the idea of being tracked.
So Apple built a new privacy tool into its Mail app. Mail Privacy Protection hides your IP address so the person who sent the email can't see where you're located, and it also stops the tracking pixels from letting the sender know you've opened it.
There are plenty, and I mean plenty, of more features in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 that I haven't even touched on yet. I plan on taking a deep dive into the operating system once the public beta launches in July. If you have a developer account, you can install it right now, but I don't suggest it.