iOS 15: Release date, new features and every other rumors what we know so far

Posted by Ryan Mai on

We're still waiting for Apple to release iOS 14.5 (which could happen today at Apple's Spring Loaded product launch event), but that's not stopping us from looking ahead to the next new version of the iPhone operating system: iOS 15. As usual, we'll expect a range of new features in iOS 15, building on iOS 14's upgrades like home screen widgets and new camera tricks. We've also got a decent idea of when to expect the new OS to be released.

Here's every rumor about iOS 15 we've heard so far and every educated guess we can make, including when it may be available to download, and what new features we may see. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next big update for iOS
  • When is it out? Probably September 2021, following a June 7 unveiling
  • How much will it cost? It will be free


Rumors suggest that the iOS 15 update will drop support for the 2016 iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus. That would mean the update will be available on the following devices:

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE (2020)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus originally launched in 2015, while the first-generation iPhone SE came out in 2016, so it would not be a surprise to see the new update drop support for these older iPhones.

There's no word yet on which iPads will be able to run iPadOS 15, but if iPadOS 15 drops support for chips older than the A10, it will be incompatible with the iPad mini 4 (2015), iPad Air 2 (2014), iPad 5 (2017), which are equipped with A8, A8X, and A9 chips, respectively.

iOS 15 release date: Likely September

Apple typically reveals new versions of iOS at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Last year's WWDC started on June 22, and we got our first look at iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and MacOS Big Sur. WWDC 2021 is likely to be a virtual event in June as well, though Apple hasn't released its plans yet. After the new iOS is announced, it becomes available to developers for testing and, usually later in the summer, as a public beta. 

The final version of iOS 15 is likely to launch in September, alongside the iPhone 13. Even though last year, the iPhone 12's release was delayed to October due to the pandemic, we still saw iOS 14 released in September. So it's a pretty good bet that iOS 15 will follow the same schedule. 

Device compatibility: iOS 15 will likely work on iPhone 7 and later

The only rumor we've heard about device compatibility so far is that iOS 15 will require an iPhone 7 or later, according to Israeli site The Verifier and French site iPhoneSoft. That's not a huge surprise, since the iPhone 6 models are now more than five years old, and run on the A9 chip. It seems that iOS 15 will require devices with an A10 chip, which include the iPhone 7 and beyond, and the seventh-gen iPod Touch. 

New iOS 15 features: Changing default apps, making widgets interactive

iOS 14 added widgets that you can customize in smart stacks. iOS 15 will likely add more widget capabilities.

We won't have a good idea of what features are coming to iOS 15 until it's actually unveiled at WWDC 2021. Since iOS 14 was a larger update, it's possible that iOS 15 will make fewer changes, and instead build on the base iOS 14 set up and improve its functionality. 

According to the tech site PhoneArena, iOS 15 could allow you to change more default apps. In iOS 14, you were able to swap defaults Safari and Mail for other browser and email apps. The upcoming iOS 14.5 update will also let you change your default music platform from Apple Music. iOS 15 may allow you to make more customizations like this. 

PhoneArena also predicts that iOS 15 will make widgets interactive, the way they are on Android, which would let you do things like change volume or toggle things on and off. We may also see more widget size options, the site reported. 

The iPhone 13 is rumored to have an always-on display, similar to the Apple Watch. While this is a hardware change, iOS would also likely change to accommodate it, possibly by updating the lock screen to display notifications in a different format, according to PhoneArena. 

iOS 15 download instructions: The same as always 

If you're part of Apple's developer program, you'll likely be able to download the iOS 15 developer beta after the new OS is announced in June to test your apps. The OS will likely be available to download as a public beta later in the summer (it was in early July for iOS 14), so you could download it then if you like, but be warned: Betas are usually buggy, and we don't recommend that you download it on your primary device. 

Once iOS 15 is generally available, which we expect to be in September, Apple will likely send a notification letting you know you can update. Or, you'll be able to do it manually, by going to the Settings app > General > Software Update. 

See more: AirTags: Apple's New Trackers - Everything We Know - Price, release date and features 

See More: iOS 14.6: Everything we know about Apple's upcoming operating system


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