iOS 15: Release Date, Features, and Supported Devices

What you get with Apple's iOS 15 software update

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iOS 15 is Apple's 2021 operating system update for iOS devices. Every update brings with it new features and fixes. The OS, available to the public since September 2021, includes improvements to widgets, notifications, texting, social sharing, and more.

When Did iOS 15 Come Out?

iOS 15 was first announced on June 7, 2021, at the Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference. Following the public beta, the true release for all devices was September 20, 2021.

This update is 100 percent free. As long as your device is compatible (see below), Apple pushes the update to your phone like other updates.

iOS 15 Features

There are several new and exciting features in iOS 15. Here are some examples:

  • Siri: Your personal assistant gets faster with on-device speech processing and personalization. Offline support means using Siri with Phone, Messaging, audio playback, Settings, and more can be performed entirely on your phone.
  • FaceTime: Spacial audio, voice isolation, shareable links, portrait mode, and web calling for non-users is available in FaceTime. SharePlay lets you share your screen and music with your friends during calls, and even sync playback so that everyone's on the same page.
  • Messages: Shared with You is featured in several apps, including Safari, Apple News, Photos, and Apple Music. Things shared with you over text appear in a new section in the corresponding app for easy, automated management.
  • Health: You and your family's health data—including heart health, vitals, labs, and more—can now be shared with each other and your doctor, and you can receive alerts for things like high heart rate and irregular heart rhythm. Trends gives you an overview of how a health metric is progressing over time.
  • Live Text: This is an OCR feature new to this version of iOS that lets you pull out text, email addresses, numbers, and more from pictures. Use it from the Camera app, Photos app, or Safari.
  • Notifications: A personalized summary of your notifications can be bundled up and delivered to you at a later date, while still letting time-sensitive notifications be delivered immediately. They're also getting a design refresh, with photos for people and larger app icons. Some other additions will be the ability to mute apps and message threads.
  • Focus: This new mode automatically filters notifications and Home Screen apps and widgets based on your current activity, such as work, sleep, reading, or driving. It can be set across all your devices at once. Contacts who message you during focus mode are told that your notifications are silenced.
  • Safari: The built-in web browser has a Smart Search field, streamlined tab bar, tab groups, customizable start page, new privacy features, and web extensions.
  • App privacy report: A new addition to Settings lets you view the frequency at which your apps are accessing personal things like your camera, mic, photos, and location.
  • iCloud+: Random, unique email address can be created with Hide My Email, useful for when you don't want to share your personal address. You can also create email addresses with a custom domain name.
  • Offline 'Find My' Tracking: Find My has worked in other iOS versions only if the iPhone can send its location, meaning that when it's off, you can see only the last known location. iOS 15 allows iPhone 11 and newer to work more like AirTags, where always-on, short-range communications can still deliver accurate location results even if the phone is off.

Other changes are available with widgets, Account Recovery, Apple ID, Maps, Home Screen pages, Wallet, Memoji, Mail, dynamic head tracking in Apple Music, and more. Something else is the ability to install OS updates with less space than what was required in earlier iOS versions—this means more storage for your apps and other personal data. Plus, the new cross-app drag and drop feature looks set to be a big time saver.

iOS 15 Supported Devices

Every device that runs iOS 14 can also install iOS 15:

iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro
iPhone 13 mini
iPhone 13
iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12
iPhone 11
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone XS
iPhone XS Max
iPhone XR
iPhone X
iPhone 8
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone 7
iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 6s
iPhone 6s Plus
iPhone SE (1st gen)
iPhone SE (2nd gen)
iPhone SE (3rd gen)
iPod touch (7th gen)

The Latest News About iOS 15

You can get more smartphone news from Lifewire. Here are some of the latest stories and early rumors surrounding iOS 15:

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