How to Get the Most Out of iOS 15’s New Features

You might want to update your iPhone

Key Takeaways

  • iOS 15 is now available to download.
  • Some of the best features of iOS 15 are related to productivity and staying focused.
  • The new update is worth downloading, but be aware of some minor glitches and issues.
Focus Mode on iPad and iPadOS 15


iOS 15 is officially out, and it’s definitely worth the hype you’re hearing.

An iOS update is almost like getting a new phone since there are features to play around with. Of course, some iOS updates are better than others, but the iOS 15 is probably the most jam-packed update Apple users have seen in years.

While there are plenty of new features to explore and love in iOS 15, there are still some minor glitches, but it’s worth downloading to see for yourself.

Productivity Is the Name of the Game

iOS 15 could be Apple's biggest system update yet, with new features like Portrait Mode and spatial audio on FaceTime, a Shared with You folder that works across various apps, Live Text to identify specific elements in photos, and an upgraded Weather app, and much more.

However, where iOS 15 shines is its various updates and features surrounding productivity. If you’re someone who has hundreds of random and unorganized Notes in your phone (like me), the Notes upgrades are a game-changer. 

Notes now allows you to add tags to easily categorize things, smart folders that use those tags to automatically place similar Notes in a folder together, and an update to Shared Notes that notifies you when someone has made changes in a Shared Note and shows exactly what they did. 

A line up of the new Apple iPhone 12 inside the window of an Apple Store

James D. Morgan / Getty Images

Another handy productivity feature is the Notification Summary. I often miss notifications throughout the day just by being busy or unlocking my phone too quickly and not seeing them. The new feature allows you to choose a specific time to receive a detailed summary of all the notifications from apps you may have missed. For example, I scheduled it to be delivered at 5 p.m. once the bulk of my workday is over and I can catch up on whatever I missed. 

But perhaps the most valuable and important update to iOS 15 is the new Focus Mode. I was super excited about this feature in particular, since it silences your notifications and lets people who text you know you're in focus mode and won't be notified of their message. 

Overall, I’ve found the new features of iOS 15 to be great additions to my phone and valuable to my daily tasks.

I tried out three different Focus Modes that included work, personal, and wedding planning (you can add/customize a Focus Mode to your liking). It does take a bit of playing around to figure out how it works and set it up correctly, but I was happy to see I wasn’t receiving any texts (especially those annoying group texts) during the hours I marked off for work. 

And one of the best features about Focus Mode is the customizable homepages that will turn on by default whenever you have a Focus Mode turned on. So, for example, during my work focus, I hid any social media from my homepage so I wouldn’t be tempted to check on Instagram while on deadline.

Is It Worth It? 

Overall, I’ve found the new features of iOS 15 to be great additions to my phone and valuable to my daily tasks. It helps that the productivity features are now integrated directly into my iPhone instead of through specific and separate apps.

However, a feature of Focus Mode I was excited about didn’t live up to the hype. While having Focus Mode turned on, none of my contacts who texted me got the message that I had notifications silenced. I made sure I did all the right things and had everything turned on that should be, but after checking in with people who texted me, no one saw that message. Without that message, it kind of defeats the purpose of Focus Mode since my contacts might think I’m ignoring them. 

Focus Mode in iOS 15 with DO Not Disturb option


I and a few others at Lifewire, as well as a couple of people on Twitter, have had this issue with the Focus Status since downloading iOS 15 earlier this week. Apple didn’t provide any details on whether it was aware of this issue or if there was a known glitch when we reached out for comment. 

Aside from that, Focus Mode is also meant to work across all your devices. However, since macOS Monterey has not been released yet, I was still receiving Message notifications while working on my MacBook during Focus Mode. 

There also have been reports that iPhone users are receiving a message saying, "iPhone storage almost full,” even if they are nowhere near using up all their phone’s storage space. 

While iOS 15 is chock-full of new and beneficial features, you may want to hold off until the next system update that addresses these issues so you can experience the new features to their fullest.

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