Apple announced iOS 16 during the WWDC 2022 keynote. The upcoming software for iPhones is full of new features, but there are a few that are going to be extra nice when you can get your hands on iOS 16 later this fall. Here are the five best features of this upcoming operating system.
Edit, unsend, and unread Messages on iOS 16.
iOS 16 is bringing some major improvements to iMessage. When it’s available to all users, you’ll have 15 minutes to edit or unsend any messages. This is very useful for when you misspelled a word or send the wrong message to the wrong person.
Unread, on the other hand, is useful to help you keep track on what messages you want to answer later. It’s important to notice that at least edit and unsend message features will need all devices to be running iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13 Ventura, or watchOS 9.
A brand new Lock Screen to your current iPhone
The most important feature of iOS 16 – or at least the most noticeable – is the new Lock Screen. It offers a handful of new customization, letting you edit the Lock Screen almost any way you want.
It’s easy to customize the font, color, or placement of elements on your Lock Screen by tapping them. With multilayered photo effect, photo subjects are dynamically displayed in front of the time to make the subject of the photo pop.
In addition, you can also add, for the first time, widgets to the Lock Screen in iOS 16 — and not only widgets made by Apple, but third-party widgets as well.
Live Text in video is groundbreaking.
Live Text was already great with iOS 15. You could grab information from a photo by selecting the text available, a telephone or address, for example.
Now, with Live Text in videos, text is completely interactive in paused video frames, so you can use functions like copy and paste, lookup, and translate.
In addition, Live Text with iOS 16 adds recognition of Japanese, Korean, and Ukrainian text. Last but not least, data detected in photos and videos is actionable with a single tap. Track flights or shipments, translate foreign languages, convert currencies, and more.
Focus Mode is getting even more useful in iOS 16.
With iOS 15, I said Focus Mode was the most important feature of the update. Now, this function is getting even better.
For example, the Lock Screen can link with your Focus Mode. So if you’re working, your Lock Screen will reflect the Focus set.
With Focus filters, you can set Apple apps like Calendar, Mail, Messages, and Safari to draw boundaries for each Focus you enable. In addition, you can have a Focus turn on automatically at a set time or location, or while using a certain app, which is more useful than just a particular time.
For a passwordless future, meet Passkeys in iOS 16.
Passkeys plans to replace passwords with an easier and safer sign-in method by using your face or fingerprint with Face ID/Touch ID.
It’s protected agains phishing and website leaks, since passkeys never leave your device and are specific to the site you created them for, making it almost impossible for them to be phished or hacked.
In addition, Passkeys syncs across devices and lets you sign in to other devices. Apple says that it is trying to reach an industry standard so you can sign in to websites or apps on other devices, including non-Apple devices, with your saved passkey by scanning the QR code with your iPhone or iPad and using Face ID or Touch ID to authenticate.
One day after seeding iOS 15.6 beta 1 to developers, Apple is now releasing the public beta version to users enrolled in the Apple Beta Software Program. Alongside the first public beta of iOS 15.6, Apple is also making available the new versions of tvOS 15.6, macOS 12.5, and watchOS 8.7.
Today’s iOS 15.6 beta 1 build is 19G5027e. Different from past versions, Apple hasn’t made available any important features so far. This will likely be the latest iOS 15 major update before the release of iOS 16 later in the fall.
Here’s what Apple announced with iOS 15.5 early this week:
Wallet now enables Apple Cash customers to send and request money from their Apple Cash card
Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones
Fixes an issue where home automation, triggered by people arriving or leaving, may fail.
Alongside iOS 15.6 beta 1, Apple is also seeding macOS 12.5 beta 1 (build 21G5027d), tvOS 15.6 beta 1(build 19M5027c), and watchOS 8.7 beta 1 (build 19U5027c) to public testers.
In a few weeks from now, Apple will hold its WWDC 2022 event, where the company will announce the next milestone for iOS, macOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Rumors so far believe iOS 16 will bring nice improvements.
According to recent rumors, iOS 16 is expected to bring significant improvements to notifications as well as a new interface for iPadOS multitasking. Reported earlier this year that Apple has been working on adding expanded settings for Focus Mode in iOS 16.
After over a month of beta testing, Apple has released iOS 15.5 RC to developers and public beta users. This suggests that the updates could be released to the public as soon as sometime next week. Head below for the full release notes…
iOS 15.5 new features
Apple says that iOS 15.5 makes enhancements to Apple Cash, with support for more easily requesting and sending money from the Apple Cash card in the Wallet app. There’s also a new feature in Apple Podcasts to help preserve your iPhone’s storage space and some bug fixes for HomeKit.
Here are the full release notes for iOS 15.5 according to Apple:
iOS 15.5 includes the following improvements and bug fixes:
Wallet now enables Apple Cash customers to send and request money from their Apple Cash card
Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones
Fixes an issue where home automations, triggered by people arriving or leaving, may fail
As a reminder, the “Release Candidate” name usually indicates that this will be the final beta of iOS 15.5 before it’s released to everyone. This is why Apple also concurrently publishes the full release notes of the update.
Here are some other changes in iOS 15.5 we’ve spotted so far, not mentioned in Apple’s release notes:
iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features: Wallet updates & handy new HomePod feature [Video]
iOS 15.5 includes support for apps with external purchases
iOS 15.5 hints at Bancomat and Bancontact on Apple Pay
Apple to rebrand iTunes Pass in Wallet app with iOS 15.5
iOS 15.5 beta blocks ‘Sensitive Locations’ for Memories in Photos app
iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features: Wallet updates & handy new HomePod feature
Apple released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 beta to developers, and it’s likely that the public beta release isn’t far behind. While not packed with new features and changes like iOS 15.4, this latest beta release comes with a modest amount of updates and enhancements.
What’s new in iOS 15.5 beta 1?
New Request and Send buttons for Apple Cash in Wallet app.
Physical Apple Card now called ‘Titanium Card’ in Wallet settings.
Apple Pay has been rebranded as ‘Apple Cash’ Messages app.
Rebrand of iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card” in the Wallet app.
New Wi-Fi signal bars for HomePod connectivity in Home app.
Home app now features a permissions notification for Critical Alerts.
Universal Control on iPadOS 15.5 requires all devices to be updated to latest betas.
Video: iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features
iOS 15.5 is largely focused on Wallet app-related enhancements and changes, so there are no huge standout user-facing features to be found here. However, having Wi-Fi signal strength indicators within the Home app for HomePods is a nice improvement. This change could make it easier to decide on how best to arrange a physical network and corresponding HomePod devices scattered around a home. It can also help with troubleshooting HomePods that aren’t properly connecting to the network.
Even if your HomePod is running 15.4, and not the latest 15.5 beta, you can still see the Wi-Fi signal strength within the Home app. Previously, the Wi-Fi network section of the HomePod preferences only showed the SSID. For HomePods in a stereo pair, you’ll have to venture into the Speakers panel to access the settings for each individual HomePod. If there are any connectivity issues, that will be reflected by an exclamation point on the Wi-Fi signal indicator, as shown below.
iOS 15.5 includes support for apps with external purchases to satisfy regulators, code confirms
Apple was recently required to let developers redirect users to third-party payment platforms instead of using the App Store’s in-app purchases system.
The latest beta version of Apple’s operating system has full support for the new entitlement used by apps to indicate that they let users make external purchases. For instance, if the user deletes an app that offers external purchases, iOS will show an alert saying that it is not possible to manage purchases and subscriptions through the App Store.
While the App Store lets users manage all their purchases in a single place, Apple has no control over what users buy outside of its platform – so it’s important to have a reminder to users.
External purchases from [app’s name] may still exist. You cannot manage or cancel any external purchases through the App Store. For more information, contact the developer.
Apple is implementing another alert that will show up when the user opens an app that offers external purchases for the first time. However, it’s worth noting that this feature won’t be available for every app.
The App Store guidelines make it clear that “External Link Account Entitlement” is only available for “Reader apps,” which are apps that offer digital content such as magazines, books, songs, or video. Another requirement is that the app can’t offer in-app purchases using Apple’s platform. Still, each request must be approved by Apple.
In the Netherlands, dating apps can continue to use Apple’s in-app purchases system along with a third-party payment system or an external link due to a requirement from the Dutch regulator.
iOS 15.5 beta 2 hints at Apple Pay support for Bancomat and Bancontact networks
Apple released the second beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while the update doesn’t bring any significant new features, it does hint at some changes Apple has been working on under the hood.
For those unfamiliar, Bancomat (an Italian company) and Bancontact (from Belgium) are interbank networks similar to Mastercard and Visa. Right now, cards issued by these networks are not compatible with Apple Pay, but it seems that this is about to change.
Internal codes from iOS 15.5 beta 2 reveal that Apple is working with both networks to make their cards compatible with Apple Pay, which is Apple’s digital payments platform. It’s unclear when exactly support for these cards will be announced to the public, but we assume it will happen sometime after the release of iOS 15.5.
Apple is also working to rebrand iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card.” This card will be shown in the Wallet app with the balance on the user’s Apple ID, and it can be used for purchases in the Apple Store, App Store, and app subscriptions.
With today’s beta, more code related to the Apple Account Card has been added to the system, which corroborates that this feature will also be introduced soon.
Apple to rebrand iTunes Pass in Wallet app with iOS 15.5
Apple has just released the first beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while we’re still looking for what’s new in today’s update, Apple has been working to rebrand iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card” in the Wallet app with iOS 15.5.
If you buy an Apple Gift Card or add money to your Apple ID, the balance can be used to buy products in the Apple Store as well as apps, songs, movies, and subscriptions.
Currently, users can check this balance by going to the App Store or by adding the iTunes Pass to the Wallet app. At the same time, this pass has a QR Code that can be used to purchase products in Apple Retail Stores. With iOS 15.5, Apple is finally revamping the iTunes Pass.
iTunes Pass will become a new card called “Apple Account.” This card will be displayed in the Wallet app just like the Apple Card and the Apple Cash card. This way, instead of having to show the QR Code when shopping at an Apple Store, the user will be able to complete the purchase using Apple Pay.
Your account balance can be used to buy products, accessories, apps, games and more online or in store with Apple Pay.
Interestingly, the Apple Account card will have a parallax effect in the Wallet app, just like the Apple Card and Apple Cash card. The feature is currently disabled even for beta users, but it will likely be officially announced with the public release of iOS 15.5.
iOS 15.5 beta blocks ‘Sensitive Locations’ for Memories in Photos app
Apple released the third beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while the update doesn’t seem to have any significant changes, Apple has made an interesting tweak to its native Photos app. The system will now block “Sensitive Locations” for Memories in the Photos app.
For those unfamiliar, Memories is a feature of the Photos app on iOS and macOS that recognizes people, places, and events in your photo library to automatically create “curated collections” with a slideshow. Since this feature is entirely based on machine learning, Apple has now made some changes to the app to avoid creating some unwanted memories.
The Photos app now has a list of “Sensitive Locations,” so that any photos taken there will never be added to a memory. Interestingly, all the places banned in this version are related to the Holocaust.
Here’s the list of places that are blocked from the Memories feature in the Photos app with iOS 15.5 beta 3:
Yad Vashem Memorial
Dachau concentration camp
US Holocaust Museum
Majdanek concentration camp
Berlin Holocaust Memorial
Belzec extermination camp
Anne Frank House
Sobibor extermination camp
Treblinka extermination camp
Chelmno-Kulmhof extermination camp
Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp
Each location has latitude, longitude, and radius assigned, so that the Photos app will ignore images taken at these locations when creating new memories. Of course, Apple can update this list with new places with future iOS updates.
iOS 15.5 beta also brings changes to the Wallet app and reveals upcoming changes to Apple Pay.
Apple could very well never adopt the Touch ID sensor on its flagship iPhones again, but since the pandemic started more than two years ago, rumors about this possibility ramped up. Now, with iOS 15.4 set to be released in a few weeks now, Apple shows how it could focus on Face ID for the indefinite future.
Don’t get me wrong, Touch ID was a breakthrough feature when it launched with the iPhone 5s: fast, secure, and easy to use, but everything changed when Apple introduced Face ID with the iPhone X.
At the time, the company said it was two years ahead of the competition, but five years since the iPhone X launched, it still looks like Apple is, at least, half a decade ahead of its competitors about facial recognition.
Sure, the embedded fingerprint sensor has gotten better, but the easiest – and the safest – way to unlock your device is by looking at it. And although Apple took a while, it’s finally launching a simple solution that makes Face ID usable again with eye recognition.
It’s funny to think that while iOS 14.5 was a big update to iPhone users – as it brought the ability to unlock the iPhone with the Apple Watch – it’s once again launching an important software feature as. a mid-year release. This upcoming operating system will give users the ability to unlock their iPhones while wearing a mask, without the need for an Apple Watch or other device in addition to your iPhone.
As Apple explains, the TrueDepth system tries to “recognize the unique features around the eye to authenticate” your face. With the Apple Watch unlock feature, on the other hand, the TrueDepth system recognizes someone is wearing a mask, that the Apple Watch is near, and then the iPhone is unlocked. Since it only recognizes a mask and not the person, this is why you couldn’t authenticate third-party apps or pay with Apple Pay before.
Face ID with a mask works – and it’s great
Now, with the beta version of iOS 15.4, You can use Face ID again on the street. You can access email app, WhatsApp, and other apps that require facial recognition with ease. Not only that, but I can also pay with Apple Pay again using my phone.
Of course, in the perfect world, Apple still recommends you use full facial recognition, but as we still have to wear masks everywhere, it’s very convenient to have the TrueDepth system scanning your eyes.
The new Face ID function continues to be as reliable as always. No one can unlock your iPhone by mistake, and the TrueDepth system usually recognizes your eyes rapidly.
It finally looks like Apple found the right approach to deal with Face ID and masks.
Touch ID rumors will die. Even though it was reported that Apple tested an embedded fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 13, Face ID is one of the functions that makes Apple shine when compared to its competitors.
Not only that, but the company keeps pushing for Face ID recognition. Rumors for the iPhone 14 show that Apple is planning a new notch by hiding some TrueDepth sensors. It shows that the company is indeed improving its facial recognition method as the only way for iPhone users to securely unlock, pay, and store information on their devices.
With iOS 15.4 being released a few weeks from now, users that don’t like to update their iPhones with beta versions will see how much this operating system makes our everyday tasks seamless again, as we shouldn’t have to worry whether we’ll be able to unlock our iPhones as fast as we used to.
Facebook was one of the main companies affected by Apple’s new privacy policies, which now require iOS apps to ask users if they want to be tracked by third parties. During the Q4 2021 earnings report on Wednesday, CEO of Meta (Facebook’s parent company) Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook is “rebuilding” its ads infrastructure due to the iOS changes.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook’s ad infrastructure is being rebuilt so that the company can continue to deliver “high-quality personalized ads” to iOS users.
Ever since Apple implemented App Tracking Transparency in iOS, Facebook has been openly criticizing Apple as the social network’s revenue relies heavily on advertisements that are based on data collected from users. However, that’s not the only thing that worries Zuckerberg.
As regulators around the world are investigating Facebook for privacy concerns, the company has been forced to change how it delivers ads based on user data. Earlier this year, lawmakers in the European Parliament voted to ban online advertising platforms from showing content based on “intimate information” such as health, religion, or sexual orientation.
Zuck: "With Apple's iOS changes and new regulation in Europe, there's a clear trend where less data is available to deliver personalized ads….So we're rebuilding a lot of our ads infrastructure so we can continue to grow and deliver high quality personalized ads."
As reported by CNBC, Facebook shares dropped more than 20% after the announcement of last quarter’s results due to “disappointing” results. The company reported revenue of $33.67 billion, which was above expectations of $33.4 billion for the quarter. However, the number of monthly active users was 2.91 billion, down from the previously predicted 2.95 billion users.
While Meta insists heavily on the “metaverse,” the company continues to lose money on the segment. The Reality Labs division, which is responsible for the Meta Quest virtual reality headset, lost more than $10 billion in 2021. Executives at Meta have already said that it may take more than 15 years before the metaverse business becomes profitable, but it’s hard to imagine that investors will wait that long.
The full transcript of Meta’s investor call can be found here.
Headlined by new Face ID improvements while wearing masks and Universal Control on iPadOS, iOS 15.4 beta 1 is a noteworthy update that will surely catch the interest of even casual iPhone users. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough as we explore some of the best iOS 15.4 beta 1 changes and features.
What’s new in iOS 15.4 beta 1?
Face ID while wearing a mask
One of the most frustrating aspects of using an iPhone during the COVID-19 era involves authenticating with Face ID. Apple tried to address this issue by implementing support for Apple Watch unlock, but not everyone owns an Apple Watch, and the implementation wasn’t as fast or as capable as regular Face ID. Hands-down, the most practical change to appear in iOS 15.4 beta 1 is the ability to unlock your iPhone using Face ID while wearing a mask, no Apple Watch required.
iOS 15.4 beta 1 addresses the mask issue by ushering in periocular support for Face ID. Instead of relying on the whole face for authentication, which hindered Face ID’s capabilities while wearing a mask, new periocular support authenticates using the area surrounding your eyes.
After the initial face scan, a new Use Face ID With a Mask splash screen appears. There, you’ll find two primary options: Use Face ID With a Mask and Don’t Use Face ID With a Mask. If you opt to skip using Face ID with a mask, the initial scan is all that’s needed, and you’ll receive a message that Face ID is now set up.
If you select the option to use Face ID with a mask, you’ll be asked to scan your face for a second time. If you’re wearing a mask during this step, iOS will ask to remove the mask when you’re in a safe area to continue setting up Face ID.
Once the second scan is completed, the Face ID setup process is finished… unless you happen to be wearing glasses. If you’re wearing glasses, iOS will ask you to remove your glasses and perform a third scan before the process completes. You can also add additional scans for different pairs of glasses in the Face ID & Passcode preferences.
Unlike the Apple Watch unlock feature in previous versions of iOS, which didn’t work with Apple Pay or third-party apps, mask compatibility in iOS 15.4 provides users with the full Face ID experience. In iOS 15.4 you can make purchases with Apple Pay, or unlock apps like 1Password while wearing a mask.
New auth screen when invoking Apple Pay before unlocking
Double-pressing the Side button on a locked iPhone would previously reveal items stored in your Apple Wallet in preparation for an Apple Pay transaction. Although you’d still need to authenticate with Face ID or a passcode before completing a transaction, wallet items could still be seen without unlocking.
Apple has fixed this potential privacy issue in iOS 15.4. If you invoke Apple Pay before unlocking your iPhone, you will now be presented with a blank page instructing you to use Face ID or a passcode to open the wallet.
Add notes to keychain passwords
After adding the ability to support two-factor authentication in iOS 15, Apple continues to build on keychain features. When you go to Settings → Passwords in iOS 15.4 beta 1, you’ll find a new feature to add notes to keychain passwords. Not only can you add notes, but the notes strings are searchable using the search box.
Last September we got a preview of the new emoji scheduled to hit our phones, and iOS 15.4 is the version of iOS that implements these new emoji 14.0 changes. In all, iOS 15.4 adds over 37 new emoji characters, such as the new peaking face, heart hands, tears of joy, and many more.
Apple Wallet widget
There’s a new Apple Wallet widget that allows users to add their Apple Card balance, spending power, and spending activity on the Home Screen. The widget has one customizable setting that lets you select between a weekly, monthly, or yearly spending activity graph. As of now, the Apple Wallet widget is for Apple Card users only.
Run Shortcuts Automations without notifications
Finally! Apple is letting us run Shortcuts Personal Automations in the background without requiring a pesky banner notification. A new toggle lets you switch off notifications for Personal Automations in iOS 15.4 beta 1.
To disable notifications for automations, opt out of Ask Before Running when creating your automation, and you’ll see a new Notify When Run Option appear. Disable Notify When Run, and your automation will run without the annoying banner notification. Now I can make it so that my wallpaper changes at random whenever connecting to power without ever receiving a notification!
Select camera in Magnifier app
Eligible iPhone models now gain access to two additional camera modes in the Magnifier app. Users can now toggle between auto, telephoto, macro, and selfie cameras in iOS 15.4.
Reset Safari experimental features
Messing around with the experimental Safari settings buried deep within Safari’s preferences can quickly get out of hand if you don’t know what you’re doing. In iOS 15.4, it’s now possible to reset the experimental settings back to default with the tap of a button. Go to Settings → Safari → Advanced → Experimental Features, and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page where you’ll find the handy new Reset All to Defaults button.
Configure App Store notifications
A new Notifications panel can be found in the App Store after tapping your avatar in the upper right-hand corner. Inside of the Notifications Panel, you’ll find a New Features & Updates and Recommendations & Offers switch.
iCloud Mail preferences consolidation
In previous versions of iOS, iCloud preferences featured a Mail toggle switch for enabling or disabling iCloud email. In iOS 15.4, Apple has merged the toggle with iCloud Mail settings, an area previously buried at the bottom of iCloud preferences.
New Custom Email Domain UI in iCloud settings
Apple has begun baking in its iCloud+ custom email domain UI into iCloud Mail settings in iOS. Previously, all such settings were found exclusively on iCloud.com, although Apple still pushes people to iCloud.com to fully configure custom email domains.
Although it doesn’t appear fully operational, Apple has started to lay the groundwork for a provision that will let users disable iCloud.com access for mail, calendar, photos, contacts, notes, reminders, files, and documents. When you visit Settings → iCloud → Password & Security, you’ll see a new Access iCloud Data on Web toggle at the bottom of the page. When you disable the toggle, a panel appears with a Don’t Access button to confirm your decision, but the button doesn’t currently do anything.
Notes and Reminders get Live Text integration
A new Scan Text option appears directly in the Notes and Reminders app, allowing you to quickly add text directly from an image to a note or reminder.
New AirPods Pro accessibility glyph
Instead of a generic headphone glyph, the Accessibility preferences for the AirPods now come with a proper AirPods Pro glyph. It’s all in the details…
Updated AirPods status
When opening AirPods or AirPods Pro near your iPhone, the status window now shows a redesigned (L)/(R) indicator when both buds and case are being shown
TV app Up Next Display
Users can now choose between a still frame or poster art for the Up Next watchlist in the TV app.
Tighter SharePlay integration
SharePlay from ShareSheet
SharePlay albums and songs directly from Music app
Developers can use the new API in iOS 15.4 to initiate FaceTime calls directly from their apps
Not to be left out, iPadOS gets several updates, including the most-anticipated public beta arrival of Universal Control.
Notes preferences Corner Gestures
The Notes app preferences gain the same Corner Gestures panel normally found in Settings → General → Gestures. It is here where you can toggle iPadOS corner gestures, which allow you to invoke a screenshot or a Quick Note by swiping diagonally from the bottom-left or right corner of the screen.
Keyboard brightness control toggle
Magic Keyboard users will appreciate having a new Keyboard Brightness shortcut available in Control Center. Once added, you can use the brightness slider to adjust the brightness of the Magic Keyboard. Keep in mind that brightness controls will not be available unless your iPad is in a dark environment, causing the automatic backlight to engage.
Last, but certainly not least, there is Universal Control, which can be enabled via Settings → General → AirPlay & Handoff. In the iPadOS 15.4 beta, Apple refers to Universal Control as Cursor and Keyboard (Beta). Note: You will need to be running the macOS Monterey 12.3 beta as well.
As its name states, Universal Control is all about control. It lets you control your iPad with the same mouse and keyboard that you use for your Mac. Indeed, using the same mouse and keyboard that I use to navigate Final Cut Pro on my MacBook Pro, I can scroll through my Tweetbot timeline or Apollo on my iPad Pro.
Universal Control is all about controlling two or more separate devices with the same input hardware. Thus, it doesn’t cause your iPad to function as an external display, where you can move a Mac app to your iPad, and vice versa, although the iPad is capable of doing that as well with Sidecar. But Universal Control does allow you to drag and drop files between macOS and iPad OS, which can prove to be handy in some circumstances.
iOS 15.3 arrived with crucial security updates, but relatively little in the way of user-facing features. iOS 15.4 is the substantial mid-cycle software update for iPhone that we’ve been waiting for, and it doesn’t disappoint. Practical features, like Face ID support while wearing masks, will appeal to the masses, but smaller updates, like the ability to silence notifications for shortcuts automation, will surely please a sizable swath of iPhone power users.
But if there’s one feature that worth’s upgrading for, it’s Universal Control. Similar to Apple SVP Craig Federighi’s demo back at WWDC, Universal Control is dead-simple to use, and that’s one of the things that makes it brilliant.
After over a month of beta testing, Apple has made the iOS 15.2 Release Candidate available to developers. Head below for the full release notes on everything new in this update, which will be released to the public as soon as next week.
Update: Now available to public beta testers as well.
Today’s new release of iOS 15.2 RC is available to developers via an over-the-air update in the Settings app. As usual, if the update does not immediately appear for download, keep checking, as it sometimes takes a few minutes to roll out to all registered developers. The build number of iOS 15.2 RC is 19C56.
As a refresher, iOS 15.2 brings a few notable changes for iPhone and iPad users. Most notably, it adds the full “App Privacy Report” feature to the Settings application. With this, users can now see the data accessed by applications, including third-party apps and Apple apps.
Below are the full release notes, directly from Apple.
iOS 15.2 adds Apple Music Voice Plan, a new subscription tier that provides access to music using Siri. This update also includes the App Privacy Report, new safety features for children and parents in Messages, and other features and bug fixes for your iPhone.
Apple Music Voice Plan
Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
Just Ask Siri suggests music based on your listening history and likes or dislikes
Play it Again lets you access a list of your recently played music
App Privacy Report in Settings lets you see how often apps have accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts and more during the last seven days, as well as their network activity
Communication safety setting gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos that contain nudity
Safety warnings contain helpful resources for children when they receive photos that contain nudity
Siri and Search
Expanded guidance in Siri, Spotlight, and Safari Search to help children and parents stay safe online and get help with unsafe situations
Digital Legacy allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your iCloud account and personal information in the event of your death
Macro photo control for switching to the Ultra Wide lens to capture macro photos and videos can be enabled in Settings on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
Store tab lets you browse, buy, and rent movies and TV Shows all in one place
Enhanced city map in Apple Maps with road details like turn lanes, medians, bike lanes, and pedestrian crosswalks for supported cities
This release also includes the following enhancements for your iPhone:
Hide My Email is available in the Mail app for iCloud+ subscribers to create unique, random email addresses
Find My can locate iPhone for up to five hours when in Power Reserve
Stocks allows you to view the currency for a ticker and see year-to-date performance when viewing charts
Reminders and Notes now allow you to delete or rename tags
This release also includes bug fixes for your iPhone:
Siri may not respond while VoiceOver is running and iPhone is locked
ProRAW photos may appear overexposed when viewing in third-party photo editing apps
HomeKit scenes that include a garage door may not run from CarPlay when your iPhone is locked
CarPlay may not update Now Playing information for certain apps
Video streaming apps may not load content on iPhone 13 models
Calendar events may appear on the wrong day for Microsoft Exchange users
Google is rolling out a trio of productivity updates to its iPhone and iPad productivity apps. Notably, Gmail will get a homescreen widget, while iOS Picture-in-Picture is now available for Google Meet.
Gmail is getting another widget on iOS after the original was quietly removed sometime in the past year. The screenshot Google shared today shows your inbox with three recent emails that note the sender and subject.
What account they originate from is highlighted in the top-left corner by your profile picture, while there’s a compose FAB at the left. Functionality-wise, it’s identical to the Android version, which is due for a Material You overhaul. The iOS widget will be available in Gmail over the “next few weeks.”
Meanwhile, Google recently added Picture-in-Picture support to Meet. It’s a fairly standard implementation with the ability to resize the window. A PiP is also coming to the integrated video calling experience in mobile Gmail over the “next few weeks.”
For example, you might want to forward an email, share a document or just look something up while you’re chatting. Simply navigate out of the Google Meet app, and your meeting will be minimized in a window that you can move around your Home Screen.
The last upcoming update will see Google Sheets add support for shortcuts — hold down the command key to see a list of available ones:
Shortcuts make it easier to complete common and advanced tasks on Google Sheets using a small keyboard — like selecting a whole row or finding and replacing certain values.
One of the features Apple announced for iOS 15 is Legacy Contacts, a way to ensure that your digital life outlives you – if you would like it to.
The company hasn’t yet launched it, saying only that it is “coming in a software update to iOS 15,” but there are signs that Apple is preparing for its introduction …
As we store more and more data digitally, a growing concern is that all of it could be lost in the event of our death. We’ve outlined in the past the risk to family photos in particular.
We’ve previously detailed some steps you can take today, including leaving device passwords and Apple ID credentials with a lawyer, alongside a copy of your will.
First of all, you may want to think about including your device passwords in a letter with a will. Without that, all the data on them may be rendered inaccessible. That could well include things with huge sentimental value, like family photos or that novel you’ve been working on […]
Your Apple ID also holds the key to everything you’ve ever bought from iTunes. Think about that. In the old days, your family could continue to enjoy your music, books and movies simply by reaching onto the shelf for a CD, paperback or DVD. But every app, every piece of music, every TV show, every movie, every book or audiobook you ever bought through iTunes is inaccessible to them without your Apple credentials. That’s a huge volume of valuable assets they can’t easily access.
But Apple is aiming to make the process a little easier with a new feature called Legacy Contacts.
The Digital Legacy programme allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your account and personal information in the event of your death.
The way the feature will work is this. If you want one or more friends or family members to be able to access your iCloud data after your death, you will be able to name them, and provide them with a security key. The key will not be usable while you are alive – Apple will only activate it if supplied with proof of your death, which would normally be a copy of your death certificate.
It’s worth noting that not all of your data will be accessible, as some of it is protected with end-to-end encryption. This includes Apple Card transactions, health data, keychain entries, and browser history.
Macworld spotted two signs of readiness for launch. First, the company has updated the iCloud usage agreement.
With Digital Legacy, you can choose to add one or more contacts to access and download certain data in your account after your death.
If your designated contacts provide proof of death to Apple and have the required key, they will automatically obtain access to that certain account data and activation lock will be removed from all your devices. Thus, it is your responsibility to keep your Digital Legacy contacts up to date.
Second, Apple has a microsite for Legacy Contacts to request access to your account and devices after your death.
Request access to a deceased friend or family member’s account. If you are the legacy contact for a deceased person, you can request access to their account and have the activation lock removed from their devices.
There are links there to two support documents, but these currently redirect to the main support page.
Every year, new iOS releases arrive with headline-grabbing features like SharePlay and Focus. Likewise, every year, iOS includes under-the-radar improvements that aren’t likely to generate headlines. In this hands-on video I consider the top hidden iOS 15 features that I’ve stumbled upon.
While a few of these low-key features were demonstrated in my top iOS 15 features overview, the majority are enhancements that I haven’t yet showcased for the public version of iOS 15. Here’s a full list of all of the sleeper features covered in this video, along with a brief commentary on why I think each feature is beneficial.
Return of the editing loupe
The editing loupe was a staple feature of iOS for years, but was inexplicably removed. The loupe magnifies the immediate area around the cursor to help with precise movement. Needless to say, it’s an iOS 15 features that I welcome back with open arms.
Mute notifications for individual apps
You can now mute notifications via Notification Center on a per-app basis. Simply swipe on the notification, select Options, and mute for 1 hour or for the entire day.
Reorder Home Screen pages
You can now quickly reorder Home Screen pages by going into edit mode and tapping the page dots to enter the page editor.
Delete Home Screen pages
Within the page editor, it’s now possible to outright delete hidden Home Screen pages, sending all of its apps to the App Library.
Drag and drop support
iPadOS has enjoyed true drag and drop support for several years now, and iPhone users can now join in on the fun. Try dragging an image from the Photos app to a Messages app thread, or drag a URL directly from Safari into Notes.
Live Text shortcut
Live Text is one of the headline features in iOS 15, and if you tap in a text field to open the copy paste menu, you’ll see a new capture text shortcut to quickly insert live text from anywhere.
Reduce Bass on HomePod
If you’re an apartment dweller, this is a feature that you’ll surely appreciate. Open the Home app, invoke your HomePod, and flip the Reduce Bass switch.
I often listen to ambient sounds on Apple Music at night to help me sleep. With iOS 15, ambient background sounds are built right into iOS. Simply go to Accessibility → Audio/Visual → Background Sounds.
Voice memos skip silence and adjust playback speed
iOS 15 lets you speed through voice memos with the adoption of skip silence and playback speed adjustments.
Long-press on the Shazam shortcut in Control Center to access Shazam listening history.
Playback speed with default video player
Press the ellipsis button in the bottom right-hand corner of the default video player to access awesome new playback speed options.
Zoom in with Quick Take
When taking a video with Quick Take, slide up or down to zoom in and out.
New QR code UI
A new AR-centric QR code UI appears in the stock camera app when a QR code appears in the viewfinder.
Photo picker order
iOS 15 will now respect the order of your selections when picking photos via the Photo picker.
Markup immediately available when editing photos
No longer are the markup options hidden behind a menu when editing photos in the Photos app.
iCloud Backup Over Cellular
Users on fast cellular connections now have the option to perform backups even when not connected to Wi-Fi. This option is perfect for those connected to speedy 5G cellular service.
Prepare for new iPhone on reset
iOS 15 helps you get ready for the iPhone 13 with a new Prepare for New iPhone checklist.
iCloud Data Recovery service
This service can help you recover data that is not yet end-to-end encrypted, such as photos, notes, and reminders.
Account Recovery Contact
It’s a good idea to establish an account recovery contact just in case you forget your device passcode and Apple ID password.
Use Groups with Files app
You can now group files in the Files app by Kind, Date, and Size.
Hybrid Time Picker
iOS 15 lets you cycle through the time picker old school style, complete with haptic feedback, but it also allows for direct time input with just a tap.
Updated AirPrint interface
An updated AirPrint UI comes with a new presets panel and the ability to select media and quality.
Built-in OTP authenticator
Finally! iOS 15 now supports one-time-passcodes for two-factor authentication. It will also auto-fill your one-time-passcodes for a totally seamless login experience. To set up one-time-passcodes, go to Settings → Password.
Pull to refresh in Safari
Safari gets tons of new additions like Tab Groups, and a new bottom address bar with built-in swipe gestures. But Safari gets an additional swipe gesture by finally bringing support for pull-to-refresh to Apple’s default browser for the first time.
Definitely don’t sleep on Safari’s new extensions capability, which lets users integrate apps and utilities such as Apollo or 1Password like never before. To activate available extensions, open Safari, tap the ‘Aa’ button, and click Manage Extensions.
Per-app accessibility settings
In the past, enabling an accessibility setting like Smart Invert would apply to iOS as a whole. In iOS 15, it’s now possible to apply accessibility settings on a per-app basis. Simply visit Settings → Accessibility → Per-App Settings.
If you’re multi-lingual, you’ll no doubt enjoy being able to search through all available keyboards in Settings → General → Keyboard → Keyboards → Add New Keyboard.
Download from Spotlight
A refreshed UI allows you to download apps from Spotlight directly without invoking the App Store.
Modified App Store search results for installed apps
If your App Store search results include apps that you already have installed, iOS 15 will present a minimized view of the app icon with no corresponding screenshots.
Spotlight web image search
You can now easily search the web for images via Spotlight.
Lock Screen access for Spotlight search
You can also access Spotlight search directly from the Lock Screen on an unlocked iPhone.
Uninstall apps via Spotlight
In iOS 15, it’s now possible to search for an app via Spotlight, long-press on the result, and delete the app right from Spotlight.
Continuous Siri dictation
iOS 15 affords users the ability to continually dictate text well beyond the limits of previous versions of iOS.
Share On Screen items with Siri (Screenshot)
You can ask Siri to share on-screen content with a friend.
Control Smart Home Devices at a Specific Time
You can also ask Siri to control Smart Home devices at a certain time, which will create an automation within the Home app.
Find My after power off
Finally, for devices logged in to the Find My network, you can now find your iPhone running iOS 15, even if the device has been powered off.