The New iOS 15 Features Apple Didn't Have Time to Mention

No feature left unturned

Key Takeaways

  • iOS 15 is big on small tweaks to everything from playback to apps, and photos to audio.
  • These small tweaks make it a big year for iOS updates.
  • Apple has included so many updates it couldn't cover them all in the keynote and we can't cover them all here.
iOS 15 and its SharePlay in FaceTime and Live Text features

Apple

iOS 15 is packed with big features and small tweaks that Apple didn’t have time to show off in the WWDC keynote last Monday. Let’s take a look.

For the headline iOS 15 features, either take a look at Apple’s overviews or check out Lifewire’s own posts on the new OS. There’s a lot there, but there’s even more under the hood, from a huge revamp of keyboard shortcuts, to translations everywhere, to the amazing Siri Knowledge. 

“Almost all iOS 15 features that didn’t get any stage time during the keynote were mostly about polishing the rough edges. Probably that’s why they’ve stayed behind the curtain,” San Byn Nguyen, iOS software engineer at Gemini Photos by MacPaw, told Lifewire via direct message.

Instant Replay

Apple calls this feature "Game highlights." If you’re playing a game on your iPhone using a Bluetooth game controller, you can press a button to capture the previous 15 seconds of gameplay as video, ready to share.

This works using a rolling buffer that always keeps the previous 15 seconds available. And is available on Xbox Series X and S Wireless Controllers or the Sony PS5 DulaSense Wireless Controller.

iPhone Apps in Landscape Mode

If you open an iPhone app on your iPad, and your iPad is in landscape orientation, then the iPhone app will appear upright, rather than sideways. You still cannot use an iPhone app in slide over or split view.

Universal Translate

You’ll find the new translate feature everywhere on iOS. Any time you select text, and that familiar black bubble appears with copy/paste, and other options, you’ll now see an option to translate.

This pops open a new panel with the text in your own language. It even works with Live Text that your iPhone finds in photos. 

“Almost all iOS 15 features that didn’t get any stage time during the keynote were mostly about polishing the rough edges."

Find My Separation Alerts

You can choose to have Find My alert you if you leave one of your gadgets behind. For example, if you leave the office without your iPhone, your Apple Watch can ping you to let you know. Or you could have an alert to never, ever leave your AirPods at home. There’s an option to exclude certain locations. You might want this alert when leaving your iPad at the office, but not at home.

Find My can also track your AirPods, just like it tracks AirTags. The AirPods ping out a Bluetooth blip that passing iDevices can pick up. This is pretty great. Also, when the battery on your iPhone is about to die, it switches into an AirTag-style mod, and you can still find it if a thief powers it off. 

Sad Safari

On the iPhone, iOS 15’s Safari appears to be an improvement. Much of the UI is easier and quicker to reach. But when you start to use it, things get bad, fast.

For instance, many previously exposed controls are now hidden. The translation, Reader View, and every other toolbar button are now hidden behind yet another button. If you want to share anything, then it takes two carefully aimed taps to even show the share menu. A page can be reloaded by pulling to refresh, but that also makes it possible to reload a page (and lose anything you’ve typed into it) just by scrolling too enthusiastically. 

If you’re running iPadOS 15, then it’s even worse, with jiggling tabs that never stay still. This is beta 1 though, so hopefully Apple will fix it. 

Siri Knowledge in Photos

This is a killer feature. Any time you’re looking at a photo in Photos app, Siri can recognize what’s in the picture. Just tap the Information button (lowercase, circled i), and little icons appear on the photo.

Similar images and Siri Knowledge on iOS Photos.

A leaf may appear over a plant or a paw print over a dog. Tap these icons, and Siri will show you what kind of dog or flower it is. Perfect for identifying plants, and fun for applying to cat photos from Twitter. 

So. Much. More

There’s plenty more, but we’re running out of space. Wallet now auto-expires outdated passes. Your device can "spatialize" audio to sound more 3D, even if it was never created that way. Voice Memos can strip silence from recordings. Reminders gets tags and smart lists, and on and on.

With the rest of the summer to fix bugs and add polish, iOS 15 is shaping up to be the best iOS update in years.

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