Yes, You Should Absolutely Update to iOS 15

Even if Apple isn’t going to make you

Key Takeaways

  • Apple won’t force users to update to iOS 15 when it releases later this year, and will instead continue to offer security updates for iOS 14.
  • While you could stay on iOS 14, iOS 15 brings several new security features experts say users shouldn’t miss out on.
  • Chief among the new security features coming to iOS 15 is the ability to hide your IP from email trackers, as well as the new Privacy Report.
iPhone on white fabric

David Grandmougin / Unsplash

Apple isn’t going to make you update to iOS 15 when it releases, but experts say users looking for the best privacy features may want to download the new version as soon as they can.

iOS 14 added several consumer-focused features that put more control in consumers' hands, and Apple plans to add even more with iOS 15. One way the company is letting users control how they use their phone is by not forcing them to update to the latest version of iOS when it releases. Instead, Apple still plans to let users continue using the previous version, as well as provide additional security updates for it. However, experts say the added privacy benefits that come with iOS 15 are worth updating for.

"The new privacy updates really give more control to users. The improvements demonstrate a level of transparency for consumers and provide them with insight into how their information is being shared," Kim Komando, a digital lifestyle expert with a focus on privacy and consumer tech, told Lifewire in an email. "Customer privacy is a large issue today, and Americans already have little confidence in the tech Industry."

Hiding in Plain Sight

Since the introduction of more privacy-focused features in iOS 14, Apple has continued to update its operating systems with more ways to limit how data is tracked and collected. App Tracking Transparency, which added a prompt to help users understand what data was being collected by new apps, was just the start. With iOS 15, Apple plans to introduce new privacy features users are going to want to make use of.

First, Apple is finishing its plans to put all of Siri’s speech recognition systems directly on the phone. That means your voice requests won’t need to leave your device, providing additional protection for any voice requests you make. With reports in 2020 showing that Siri was being used 25 billion times per month, this is a huge step towards protecting the things you say to your phone, especially if you use Siri to dictate messages, emails, or other important text.

"Customer privacy is a large issue today, and Americans already have little confidence in the Tech Industry."

Mail Privacy Protection, one of the biggest features highlighted by the company, stops senders from being able to track whether or not you’ve opened their emails, and even hides your IP address so they can’t learn your location or use it to build a profile of you. Email trackers have been a problem for online privacy for a number of years now, and one that many aren’t fully aware of.

"The mail privacy feature, which will have tracking blockers designed to keep senders from knowing if you opened an email, is absolutely a feature that many users will be taking advantage of," Komando explained.

Reporting for Duty

Another big addition coming to iOS 15 users will want to keep track of is the new App Privacy Report. It works similarly to Android 12’s Privacy Dashboard, and will help users track which apps are using features like the camera, location, microphone, photos, and more.

Essentially, this is a one-stop shop to see what information apps are accessing. It shows reports for the past seven days, meaning you’ll be able to check back every week to see the behavior of apps you’ve decided to trust. If you don’t like what you see, you can revoke that access and cut off the flow to that particular data.

The App Privacy Report as it appears on an iPhone

Apple

On top of all the privacy-related features, iOS 15 also adds a ton of other quality-of-life updates, like the ability to make FaceTime calls to users with Android or Windows phones, as well as additional audio and video features for the calling application. 

If you really want to remain on iOS 14, Apple isn’t stopping you. But, if you choose to wait on the update, you’re missing out on a lot of great features designed to protect you and make how you use your phone easier.

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