OS 15’s best features: Focus mode transforms while FaceTime reinvents.
Whether you’re receiving Apple’s new iPhone 13 or have an iPhone 6S that’s six years old, iOS 15 will be ready to download on Monday, Sept. 20.
For months, the latest version of iOS has been in public beta, receiving various adjustments before its ultimate release.
I’ve been trying iOS 15’s new features, and everything from major improvements like FaceTime call web links for
Android and Windows pals to little tweaks like pinning chats to the top of the Messages app have enhanced my iPhone without interrupting my regular routine.
Overall, iOS 15 seems to be a continuation of iOS 14, which in turn appears to be a continuation of iOS 13.
These three upgrades are similar to a film trilogy, but unlike The Lord of the Rings, there is no terrifying Eye of Sauron hovering over your every action, just Siri.
Following in the footsteps of iOS 13 and 14, iOS 15 allows you to customize your iPhone experience to your liking.
For example, with Safari, you may relocate the tab bar to the bottom of the screen to make it simpler to grasp one-handed.
If you wish the tab bar to return to its previous location at the top, touch the AA button and choose Show Top Address Bar.
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iOS 15 doesn’t drastically change the appearance of your phone, at least not in a noticeable manner. This isn’t the same as the dramatic change from iOS 6 to iOS 7.
Furthermore, iOS 15 isn’t characterized by a few big, showy additions. Rather, it’s made up of a slew of little and medium contributions that build up to something bigger.
iOS 15 is a complete makeover of your phone, from new options to customize your Memoji to bigger aesthetic enhancements in Maps.
Apple, on the other hand, has discreetly crept in enhancements to help make your phone better without
disrupting your current preferences and workflows, rather than trumpeting its updates like a procession of
Apple’s iOS is absolutely unrivaled in terms of device support. If you have an iPhone 6S or the original iPhone SE,
iOS 15 is compatible with your device.
You may not be able to receive all of the new features. When compared to Android phones, this is a significant
difference. I can’t think of a Google, Samsung, or Huawei phone from 2015 that will be able to run Android 12.
Let’s get into a couple of my favorite features now that it’s out of the way.
Focus mode in iOS 15 is transformative
Focus mode made the most effect on me out of anything in iOS 15. It’s been described as “Do Not Disturb mode on steroids” by many peers.
Focus helps you arrange app and widget pages on your iPhone’s home screen to fit your activity and state of mind, as well as filter alerts depending on what you’re doing right now.
Your status is immediately shown in Messages for friends to view when Focus mode is activated. It’s similar to Slack’s Away status, except for reminding people not to disturb you.
A Focus status, on the other hand, is system-wide and applies to your iPhone, Mac, and other devices. You may also turn off your Focus status so that it isn’t shared.
If they choose, third-party app developers may provide Focus status in their messaging applications. As a result, your Focus status may be compatible with WhatsApp, Signal, and other apps in the future. When iOS 15 is launched, Slack will support the Focus status.
In Settings, you can simply set up or modify a Focus. I created a few preset Focuses, including ones for work and exercise. For cooking and cycling, I created a few unique Focuses.
Please don’t criticize my somewhat boring naming strategy for cooking and riding since you may call the Focus anything you like.
You may set a Focus to start and stop at a certain time or to be activated when you arrive at a specific place, or you can use Control Center to turn them on and off whenever you choose.
You may choose who can inform you when you create a Focus.
I keep my interaction with my employer and coworkers to a minimum so that I may concentrate on my job.
You’ll still get all of your messages and calls, but only those from the contacts you selected will be notified, just as in Do Not Disturb mode.
When contacts I didn’t designate attempt to contact me when I’m using Focus, they’re informed that my notifications are turned off above the text area in Messages.
They may choose to “Notify anyhow,” which will notify me.
During a Focus, you may choose which app pages from your home screen are shown.
I created a page dedicated to the applications I use at work. Slack, Filmic Pro, Voice Memos, and a teleprompter software are among the applications included.
I disabled applications like Instagram and Twitter that I knew would distract me.
When I activate my work focus, the four pages of applications on my home screen are reduced to the one I chose.
Because iOS allows you to clone an app many times across various pages on your home screen, you have an almost limitless number of personalization options.
I can put Slack on one app page with work applications and another app page with commute apps. It’s also worth noting that Focus does not remove or deactivate applications that aren’t in use.
If I’m at my work Focus and need to access Twitter, I can do so via the App Library, which also gives me access to all of my iPhone apps.
It took some time to get Focus set up and tuned to perfection. If you have a Mac running macOS Monterey, you may need to tweak Focus a little more to make it work for you.
I’ve seen a difference in how I use my phone after switching to focus mode. I’m feeling more focused.
Portrait mode for FaceTime calls looks great
Portrait mode is no longer only for pictures. For FaceTime conversations, iOS 15 adds the option to use Portrait mode, which allows you to put an artsy fuzzy backdrop behind you.
You can put a blur over yourself in Zoom, Skype, and other video chat applications, but Apple’s approach looks so much nicer and more natural.
Portrait mode replicates the natural out-of-focus falloff you get with a mirrorless camera and fast lens, rather than being a wall of a blur.
FaceTime Portrait mode doesn’t have the jagged cutoff or strange halo appearance that Zoom does.
When I first tried out the function, one of my friends wondered if I had received a new phone since the effect was so impressive.
Video conversations become even more vivid when you combine Portrait mode with FaceTime’s spatial audio capability.
The position of the audio source in relation to you is grounded by spatial audio.
All of the callers are obviously on your phone, but spatial audio distributes them out so they seem like they’re speaking to you from the left and right as well as the center.
It’s a fantastic effect. It seemed to function best when there were four or more persons on the call.
Notification Summary removes the noise from your iPhone
Notification Summary is similar to having your own personal dossier full of selected alerts that aren’t urgent or timely. Notifications from apps may be overwhelming.
Managing your alerts has always been an all-or-nothing proposition. However, iOS 15 enables you to collect relevant alerts in one location and see them whenever you want.
Notification Summary gathers alerts from applications that I’m interested in but aren’t urgent for me, so I’m not continually stopped or distracted even for a minute.
Then, when I wish, it sends me that set of alerts.
Notification Summary is useful for managing alerts that you want to view but don’t need to see right away. A notice from a game informing you of an update, or, in my case, a notification from the New York Times Crossword app informing me of a new problem (OK, that one could be considered urgent).
My connection with my iPhone has completely altered thanks to the Notification Summary.
Because I can now better control notifications from applications I previously turned off, I’ve started accepting them from apps I previously turned off.
Live Text is a fantastic way to input text, numbers, and websites
“Oh, it’s Apple’s equivalent of Google Lens,” I thought when Live Text initially came out. Yes, they are on the same wavelength, but they are not the same. Google Lens is a hybrid of Live Text and iOS Spotlight. To recognize text, you may utilize Live Text in real-time with your camera or pictures. It automatically identifies and contextualizes any text that is present. It works with both printed and handwritten text.
If a phone number appears, you may touch it to call it. You can translate a Spanish term into English if it exists. Simply touch the Live Text icon on the bottom right to interact with any text in the frame if you have a picture. The user interface is simple and straightforward to use. One of my favorite instances was when Live Text recognized text on a wrinkled T-shirt in a picture I was wearing.
iOS 15 features not available at launch
There are a few features in iOS 15 that won’t be accessible at launch, but I’d like to highlight two of them. The first is the option to add identity cards to your iPhone’s wallet, such as your driver’s license.
I was dubious when I initially heard about this feature. However, after misplacing my wallet, I wish I had a backup of my driver’s license on my iPhone’s Wallet app.
The second thing that makes me happy is SharePlay. When you’re on a FaceTime call, SharePlay allows you to listen to music or watch a movie or TV program with your pals while they’re on the other end of the line.
You may even show your screen to others. I tested the functionality in an early beta version of iOS 15 and was pleasantly surprised by its capabilities.
It’s a combination of group video-watching capabilities introduced to applications like Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney Plus during the epidemic, combined with screen sharing via a Zoom call.
The difference is that SharePlay is more integrated throughout your phone, rather than being restricted to a few apps. It may be used for TikTok, music sharing,
and any other app that has chosen to utilize SharePlay.
It features a simple UI and even enables you to stream SharePlay media from your phone to an AppleTV-enabled TV.
Walk don’t run to iOS 15
Overall, the many features and improvements to iOS 15 resulted in a good experience. I’d suggest backing up your phone before installing this update, as with any other software update.
Those with older iPhones may wish to wait a few days to see whether any additional users have reported issues.
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