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iOS 15 is absolutely packed with new features, and it can be overwhelming sorting through everything that's new. If you're wondering whether it's worth upgrading and what new features might be worth getting access to right away, we've rounded up 10 of the best new additions in the iOS 15 update that you might not be aware of.

iOS-15-Top-Features.jpg

1. Android and Web-Based FaceTime

For the first time, FaceTime is expanding to non-Apple device users, and those who are on Android and PCs can join in on a FaceTime call.

ios-15-facetime-android-pc.jpg

If you have an Apple device, you can open up the FaceTime app and select the "Create Link" option to make a FaceTime "room" that anyone can join from the web on an Android device, PC, or other compatible option. You can also create a link while you're already on a FaceTime call.

facetime-android.jpg

You can send the link to someone using a text message, email, or other means, and that person will be directed to enter their name before being allowed into the chat. The FaceTime creator will need to approve their access, so no one can join without express approval. All that's necessary to enter a FaceTime call is a web browser and a device with a camera and a microphone.

pc-android-facetime.jpg

While Android and PC users can join FaceTime calls, an iPhone, iPad, or Mac is required to create the initial FaceTime link and to approve participants.


2. Notification Summary

Depending on how many apps you have installed and your notification permissions, you could be receiving hundreds of notifications a day, many of which are not urgent.

ios-15-notification-summary.jpg

With Notification Summary, you can set specific times for your unimportant notifications to be delivered, such as in the morning and the evening, preventing you from being interrupted all day long. Important, time sensitive notifications bypass Notification Summary, but things like Instagram likes, game pop ups, news alerts, and other similar notifications can be saved for a time that's best for you.

notification-summary-2.jpg

Notification Summary can be turned on and managed by going to the Notifications section of the Settings app. You can choose your summary times and which apps will be relegated to the summary.

3. Tab Groups

There's been a lot of discussion about Safari's new design, but Apple toned it down over the course of the beta testing period and even left an option to stick with the iOS 14 design.

ios-15-safari-tab-groups.jpg

Because the design has gotten so much attention, it's easy to forget that there are other great Safari features like Tab Groups. With Tab Groups, you can save all of your open tabs into a folder and open them back up later.

If you're planning for a trip, have a few websites you use often for work, or just want to do something like save the menus of your favorite restaurants, you can do that with Tab Groups.

Open up the new tiled tab view in Safari (icon on the far right corner) and then long press on the Tabs icon in the middle to save your open tabs into a Tab Group or to open one of your saved Tab Groups. Tab Groups sync across iOS and Mac so they're accessible on all of your Apple devices.

As a bonus feature, make sure to pull down on a website whenever you want to refresh it because that's a quick new way to refresh a site.


4. On-Device and Offline Siri

Most Siri requests are now processed on device instead of being kicked back to Apple's servers, which makes Siri faster and more secure.

siri-glow.png

Siri is also able to better understand commands over time as a device is used, getting used to the contacts that you interact with, the words you type, and the topics you prefer, with that data kept on device.

On-device Siri is enabled through the Neural Engine and is available on iPhones and iPads equipped with an A12 Bionic chip or later.

Because a lot of Siri commands are handled on device, many Siri requests now work offline. You can create and disable timers and and alarms, launch apps, control audio playback, and access Settings with no connectivity.


5. Live Text

When you look at an image in Photos, preview a photo you're going to take with the Camera app, or view a photo on the web, if there's text in that photo, the iPhone and the iPad will now recognize the text. You will see a little box with three lines of text whenever text is recognized, and you can tap it to see all of the text in the image highlighted.

copy-paste-live-text.jpg

You can long press on the highlighted text in an image to select it, copy it, look it up, translate it, or share it. Live Text is system wide so you can use it wherever you see an image, and it's handy for copying notes, keeping track of receipts, and more.

photos-visual-lookup.jpg

The Photos app also has a bonus Visual Lookup feature that will identify plants, animals, landmarks, and more. Apple will tell you what it thinks you're seeing, and show similar web images.


6. System-Wide Translation

Translate is now system wide, so any text that you select anywhere in iOS can be translated to or from another language. Supported languages include Arabic, Chinese, English (UK and US), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

live-text-translation-ios-15.jpg

7. Health App Trends

A new Trends section in the Health app lets you keep an eye on all of your health trends over time so you can see at a glance if you're exercising less, if your heart rate shifts, if your oxygen levels drop, and more.

ios-15-health-app-trend-info.jpg

You can view Trends in the Health app, and can opt to get notifications if there's a change in Trends. The Health app also has sharing features so you can send your health records to family members, and a Health Checklist if you want to make sure you're taking advantage of all the health features offered through the iPhone and Apple Watch.

8. Find Devices Erased and Powered Off

Using the Find My Network, the Find My app in iOS 15 can be used to locate devices that are turned off or that have been erased, which will make it easier to find lost devices and harder for thieves to hide stolen devices.

iphone-power-off-find-my.jpg

If a device that was stolen has been turned off or if it was low on battery and has died, it can still be tracked when it's close to another Apple device that's active.

Similarly, an iPhone that's been stolen and then erased is still going to show up in the Find My app and it will be trackable even after it's been wiped, which wasn't the case in earlier versions of iOS.

For these features to work, the ‌Find My‌ network feature must be enabled. It's on by default, but you can double check by going to your profile, tapping on ‌Find My‌, selecting ‌Find My‌ ‌iPhone‌, and then making sure "‌Find My‌ network" is toggled on.


9. Drag and Drop

iOS 15 supports cross-app drag and drop, so you can grab images, links, highlighted text excerpts, files, and more with a finger and then drag them from one app to another.


If you have a Safari link you want to share, for example, you can long press on it and drag it with a finger. Holding that finger on the display, you can swipe to exit Safari and open another app like Messages, where you can drop the link to send it to someone.

This works for all kinds of file types, and if you want to drag multiple files, you can drag a single item and then select additional items by tapping them with another finger to create a stack. The stack can be dragged into another app from there.

Cross-app drag and drop has been an iPad feature for some time now, but it's new to the iPhone in iOS 15.


10. Built-In Authenticator

In the Passwords section of the Settings app, you can now save two-factor verification codes right alongside your username and password, so you no longer need a secondary app like Google Authenticator for two-factor authentication.

ios-15-passwords-two-factor.jpg

Setup requires a QR code or a setup key, similar to any other authentication app. Once added, you can get a code from the Passwords section when logging into a website, but if you're logging in using Safari, it will autofill, which is super convenient.

Wrap Up

Have a favorite feature in iOS 15 that we didn't mention here? Let us know in the comments below.

Article Link: iOS 15 Features: Our Top 10 Picks
 
Last edited:

saudor

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2011
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Looks like most of the front-facing new features are already A12 and higher.
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
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Which originally announced Safari features didn't make the final release cut?
 

fel10

macrumors 68000
Feb 2, 2010
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I’d say live location in Find My Friends is one the of the top features as well. It’s as smooth as navigation too.
Oh wow I didn’t even know that was a feature. That’s awesome. Does the other person need to have IOS 15 installed too for that to work though?
 
Last edited:

PsykX

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2006
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The original design that was in the early betas.
They accomplished in the final release what they wanted to accomplish with the original design though.
For me, it's all good with Safari on iOS.

On iPadOS, it looks too much like Monterey, which I completely hate.
 
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nsayer

macrumors 65816
Jan 23, 2003
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Has anyone figured out how to have separate 2FA codes for Amazon and AWS? I can’t figure out how to separate the two logins so I can have two separate 2FA codes.
 

JGIGS

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2008
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CANADA!
I haven't installed it yet but most of these new features feel kinda niche to me. I guess I'm just really basic on how I use my phone. I try to use siri a fair bit, when it doesn't fail on me, so I'm hoping offline siri can really improve the speed and accuracy. Especially the accuracy of speech to text.

Live text could be useful if I remember to use it but even then that's on fairly limited occasions.

Web and Android based facetime links are nice but an actually messages app for android or even web based would be even more nice. Web based imessage on icloud.com would come in super handy when I'm working on a PC.

Some better way of customizing icons would have been a nice feature and also eliminate a feature advantage on Android.
 

Johnny907

macrumors 68000
Sep 20, 2014
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On device Siri is even more useless than cloud based Siri. Half my requests end with:
“One moment… sorry, I can’t do that right now.”
 
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