Apple’s much-anticipated iOS 15 updates for the iPhone will roll out on 20 September, alongside iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8. Among the biggest new features are improvements to Apple’s video calling app, Facetime. These include the addition of spatial audio surround sound, which will give the impression that sound from participants in a chat are coming from where they are placed on the screen.
In addition, there is a new voice isolation feature that employs machine learning to focus on the user’s voice and block out background noise to make your speech clearer. Should the user want every bit of sound in their environment to be captured and shared, there is a wide spectrum mode. iOS 15 also boasts redesigned notifications with app logos and contact profile pictures and a notification summary that can be set to show according to the user’s preferences.
New focus modes will offer more settings to better control notifications and make contacts aware of your current situation.
Other features expected to be available include:
- iMessage – “Shared with you” function for saving articles received in messages to read later.
- Live Text – Allows users to highlight text in the camera frame to instantly copy into an email or document or search certain terms or call numbers.
- Photos – New Memories feature will use machine learning to collect photos into relevant galleries and add animations and music.
- Apple Wallet – Further support for digital house and accommodation keys, as well as digital US ID documents.
- Apple Maps – New details added to navigation, including turn lanes, cross-walks, bus lanes, and traffic lights, as well as live 3D interchange rendering.
- AirPods – New Conversation Boost feature will help callers better understand who they are talking to in a busy environment.
- Safari browser – More consistency across devices, with new features including tab grouping and tab bookmarking. Extensions have also been added to the browser app on iPhone and iPad.
One feature which will not be rolling out as originally planned is Apple’s controversial child safety update. The feature, announced in early August, will scan iCloud Photos for content that depicts sexually explicit activities involving children. Apple said this would allow it to report such instances to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Despite assuring that the feature will be designed with user privacy in mind and going to great lengths to explain how it would achieve this, Apple was forced to delay it after heavy backlash from customers.
Advocacy groups and researchers were concerned the system could be abused to spy on citizens and get personal photos in countries with authoritarian governments.
Apple said it would collect input and make improvements before releasing the “critically important” child safety feature, but a new rollout date remains to be confirmed.