Big Changes Coming with iOS 15

Big Changes Coming with iOS 15 

Written by: Stephanie Bariatti, SMB Media Marketing Consultant 

            Apple will release its new operating system this fall, iOS 15.  Since the announcement of the new OS back in June, the tech giant has spent the summer running betas and fine-tuning the new features.  We don’t have an exact date for the official launch, but it will probably be sometime in September.  And based on the company’s history, it seems likely that iOS 15 will coincide with events to announce the iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7, AirPods 3, a new iPad mini, new Apple Silicon Macs and much more.


            Some of the new features seem pretty interesting and useful.  Here are a few of the key highlights:


FaceTime Upgrades


            FaceTime will offer spatial audio to make people's voices appear to come from their position on the screen, making your video chats feel more natural and lifelike.  FaceTime will also start to look more like Zoom, allowing you to see all participants in a grid view, schedule calls and share links to calls that can be accessed via browser on Google Android and Microsoft Windows devices.

            The much-anticipated SharePlay feature has been delayed for the first public release and probably won’t be available until an iOS 15 update later in the year.  SharePlay will allow users to share a song, video, or even the device’s screen with other people via FaceTime.


iMessage Sharing Features


            iOS 15 adds some new iMessage sharing features for photos, news articles and playlists.  When a friend sends you multiple photos over iMessage, they'll appear in a dynamic collage formation that allows you to swipe through them or tap through to view the whole bunch in your photos app.  If you want to access the same photos later, you'll find them stored in a new Shared with You folder, as well as mixed in with your own featured photos and memories.  You'll also find news articles and playlists shared through iMessage in new Shared with You tabs in your News and Apple Music apps. 


Apple Maps Update


            Apple Maps gets an upgrade, with more elevation data, road colors and driving directions, rich labels, 3D landmarks and improved night mode.  In terms of public transportation, you can also pin nearby public transit stops and station information to your iPhone and Apple Watch devices, and receive automatic updates and notifications as you ride and approach your stop.  When traveling on foot, a new augmented reality feature lets you scan nearby buildings in the area with the iPhone's camera to determine their precise position for more accurate walking directions, which are also presented in AR.  Maps might also factor weather warnings into suggested routes in iOS 15.


Facial Recognition Selfies 


            Apple announced that will add ID card support for the Wallet app in iOS 15, allowing you to carry digital versions of government-issued identification cards like your drivers license on your iPhone.  But it's unclear how exactly the new feature will work.  According to code uncovered by 9to5Mac in the latest iOS 15 beta 4 for developers, Apple could be using facial recognition selfies to validate your digital ID cards when adding them to your wallet. Some banking apps already use this selfie validation feature to authenticate users when logging on with new devices. 


            If you’re interested in getting a preview of what’s to come, you can help yourself to the public beta (check if your iPhone can run iOS 15 here).  Just be warned - betas are usually buggy, and it's not recommended to download them on your primary device. But if you want to, here's how to download the iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 betas. If you’d rather wait, Apple will probably send you a notification to download when it goes public.  Thankfully, Apple has really been taking the feedback seriously and changing things that testers are not happy with.  So hopefully, may of the bugs will be worked out by the time of public release. 


Stephanie Bariatti works as a Consultant and Project Manager for SMB Media Consulting.  She has had extensive experience with many facets of advertising and media, having worked for and with creative agencies, production companies and research departments.  She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, three lovable little boys and a snuggly Golden Retriever.