iOS 15 is here: New functions and everything you need to know about Apple’s new iPhone OS

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Apple could use facial recognition to validate digital IDs for the Wallet app in iOS 15.

Apple / Screenshot by Sarah Tew / CNET
This story is part of Apple event, our full coverage of the latest Apple news.

Apple’s iOS 15 is finally here. After Apple’s iPhone 13 event The tech giant revealed that last week iOS 15 would generally be available for free download on Monday, next to it iPad 15. At the event we also saw four iPhone 13 models, new iPads and the Apple Watch Series 7 all debuted.

Not to be confused with IOS 14.8 released last week which fixed a security issue, iOS 15 will bring new features to several generations of the iPhone.

We took a first look at Apple’s iOS 15 update in the company’s virtual Worldwide developer conference in June, followed by a developer beta and a public beta. (Here is So now download iOS 15, why You might want to wait to download iOS 15, and Here’s how to check if your phone can run iOS 15.)

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While we’ve seen a lot of new features introduced this spring and summer iOS 14.5, iOS 14.6 and iOS 14.7including the ability unlock your iPhone with Face ID when wearing a mask, Block apps from tracking you for advertising purposes and choose from four Siri voices, iOS 15 adds even more. The new iOS 15 features include the ability to Start FaceTime calls with Android users, easier sharing in iMessage and better directions in maps. Read on to see everything we’ve learned about iOS 15 so far, including when it will be generally released, how to download it, and some of the biggest new features.

iOS 15 release date: September 20th

Apple first introduced iOS 15 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7th, as is typical. The new operating system was available to developers for the first time for testing and was available for download as a public beta on June 30th.

At the iPhone 13 event on September 14th, Apple announced that iOS 15 will be generally available for free download on September 20th.

This follows Apple’s typical iOS release pattern, with the software usually arriving within a week of an iPhone launch event.

And if you’ve been using the same iPhone since 2015 or later, you’re probably eligible for Apple’s iOS 15 iOS 15 will be available on the iPhone 6S and from every iPhone.

iOS 15 new features

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Apple’s iOS 15 receives a number of new features.

Apple

Here are some of the key new features in iOS 15 that were revealed at WWDC 2021. (And here is an overview of all new features in iOS 15.)

FaceTime upgrades: Spatial audio, Android and Windows support

FaceTime offers spatial audio to make people’s voices appear as if they came from their position on the screen, to make your video chats feel more natural and lifelike. FaceTime will also look more like Zoomso you can see everyone in a grid view, schedule calls, and share links to calls that can be accessed through the browser on Google Android and Microsoft Windows devices.

Continue reading: Fun FaceTime Date Idea: Try Apple’s New SharePlay Feature in iOS 15. the end


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iMessage sharing capabilities

iOS 15 adds a few new iMessage sharing functions for photos, news articles and playlists. When a friend sends you multiple photos through iMessage, they’ll appear in a dynamic collage formation that allows you to swipe through them or type through them to see the whole bunch in your Photos app. If you need to access the same photos later, you can find them saved in a new Shared With You folder, mixed with your own photos and memories. You can also find news articles and playlists shared through iMessage in the new “Shared For You” tabs in your News and Apple Music apps.

Apple Maps update: 3D street data, AR directions and weather warnings

Apple Maps is getting an upgrade with more elevation data, street colors and directions, extensive labels, 3D landmarks and improved night mode. When it comes to public transportation, you can also pin nearby stops and stop information to your iPhone and Apple Watch devices, and receive automatic updates and notifications as you drive and approach your stop. If you are out on foot, you can use a new augmented reality function to scan nearby buildings in the area with the iPhone’s camera to determine their exact position for more precise walking directions, which are also displayed in augmented reality.

Maps could also include weather warnings in the suggested routes in iOS 15. Redditor ChrisSDreiling, who spotted the update in iOS 15 Beta 3, says Maps will let you know if there are flash floods on your trip and suggest alternative routes to avoid extreme weather. While other types of weather warnings weren’t mentioned in ChrisSDreiling’s post, it will be interesting to see if more weather warnings will be added before the general release of iOS 15.

Face recognition selfies for validating digital IDs in the wallet app

at WWDC This spring, Apple announced that it would add ID card support for the Wallet app in iOS 15, so you can use digital versions of government-issued IDs like your driver’s license on your iPhone. But it’s still unclear how exactly the new feature will work. According to the code revealed by 9to5Mac in iOS 15 Beta 4 for developers, Apple could use facial recognition selfies to validate your digital ID cards when you add them to your wallet. Some Banking apps Already use this selfie validation feature to authenticate users when signing in with new devices.


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How to download iOS 15

Now that iOS 15 is generally available, you’ve likely received a notification from Apple letting you know that you can update. Or you can do it manually by clicking on the Settings app > Generally > Software update.

If you’ve already installed the iOS 15 beta on your phone, you can uninstall it before downloading the final version of the operating system.

For more, here is Everything you need to know about the iPhone 13. You can also look at it the cool new features for WatchOS 8, the best things about macOS monterey and check if your computer is compatible with the new macOS.

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