iPhone and Apple Watch include a wide range of valuable health features and a couple of them that don’t get much attention include measuring ambient and headphone noise levels. Read along for a look at how to protect from hearing loss by checking decibel levels on iPhone and Apple Watch.
In the US, an estimated 37.5 million adults have trouble hearing, and men are believed to be twice as likely to experience hearing loss as women (via the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders).
Thankfully, iPhone and Apple Watch feature both ambient (environmental) and headphone decibel monitoring that are quick and easy to use, including noise threshold warnings. That makes it much easier to prevent hearing damage and loss by knowing when to turn down the volume, use ear protection, or leave a loud environment.
How loud is too loud?
So what’s a harmful decibel level? That depends on the amount of time you’re exposed along with the level of noise. Here’s what Apple says:
Repeated, long-term exposure to sounds above 80 dB can lead to permanent damage. Consider using hearing protection or moving to a quieter area.
Apple Watch also shares examples of noise levels/time exposure that can lead to temporary hearing loss:
80 db: Around 5 hours and 30 minutes a day
85 dB: Around 1 hour and 45 minutes a day
90 dB: Around 30 minutes a day
95 dB: Just 10 minutes a day
100 dB: Even a few minutes a day
How to check decibel levels with iPhone and Apple Watch
Decibel levels with iPhone and iPad
Interestingly, Apple doesn’t make its watchOS Noise app available on iPhone and iPad, so here’s how to check decibel levels:
Open the Settings app and choose Control Center
If it’s not already showing under the “Included Controls,” swipe below and look for the green + icon next to Hearing
Connect headphones to your iPhone
Now open Control Center (swipe down from the top right corner of your screen) and look for the ear icon to see headphone dB levels
To turn on alerts for loud headphone audio, head to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Headphone Notifications and tap the toggle
And you can limit loud sounds in headphones by heading to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Headphone Safety > toggle on Reduce Loud Sounds
If you’re playing music with headphones connected, you’ll see the decibel meter appear in the Hearing tile in Control Center
Green desinates “OK” levels and yellow marks “Loud” levels that can damage hearing
Tap the Hearing icon to learn more about your headphone noise levels
With music paused, you can use the microphone of your headphones to measure the ambient decibel levels
Tap the microphone icon that says Live Listen in the bottom left corner (or tap the Live Listen rectangle)
Finally, you can also check your hearing history of both ambient and headphone decibel levels in the Health app
Tap the Browse tab at the bottom
Now choose Hearing
Check decibel levels with Apple Watch
You can measure both ambient and headphone decibel levels with Apple Watch and the former works with the dedicated Noise app. One neat option with the wearable to have quick-access readings is with the Noise app complication.
To check ambient decibel levels, open the Noise app on Apple Watch (you can also turn it on via iPhone in the Apple Watch app > Noise)
If you haven’t used the Noise app before, choose to Enable the feature
You can learn more about the decibel level you’re exposed to by tapping Learn More at the bottom of the Noise app
If you want fast access to decibel levels on Apple Watch, make a watch face with the Noise app compliation
If you don’t enable Noise app notifications when setting up the feature, you can head back to the Watch app on iPhone > Noise > Noise Threshold to change the limit/noise notificiations
To check headphone decibel levels on Apple Watch, open Control Center on your watch (swipe up from the bottom of the screen from your watchface)
Swipe down to the bottom
Tap the ear icon
And here’s a look at how Noise warnings look on Apple Watch:
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.
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.
Following the release of iOS 15.2.1 earlier this month, Apple on Thursday stopped signing iOS 15.2 for all iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad models. This means that users can no longer downgrade their devices to iOS 15.2.
iOS 15.2 was released to the public on December 13, 2021, with a few notable changes, which include Apple Music Voice Plan, new App Privacy Report in the Settings, safety alerts for children using Messages, Digital Legacy, and more.
iOS 15.2.1 came a month later on January 20 to fix a CarPlay bug and also a security exploit found in HomeKit that could cause iPhone or iPad to repeatedly crash.
Reverting to older iOS builds is often used by those who jailbreak their iPhones. Restoring an iPhone or iPad to a previous version of iOS can also sometimes be helpful for users who experience significant bugs after upgrading to the latest version of iOS.
If you have experienced any serious issues with iOS 15.2.1, unfortunately, you’ll now have to wait until a future update rather than downgrading to iOS 15.2. Users running the iOS 15.3 beta can no longer downgrade to iOS 15.2 either.
Apple confirms it is ramping up efforts to get more iOS 14 users to update to iOS 15 [U]
Update:Apple reached out and pointed out a support page from September 2021 saying the company intended to offer “important security updates” for iOS and iPadOS 14 users for “a period of time.”
Last week, reported that Apple wasn’t letting users stay on iOS 14 with security updates as it had removed the ability to update to iOS 14.8.1. Now, the company confirmed its efforts to make the iPhone userbase update to iOS 15 instead.
While it was once rumored that it could be a bug, Apple told Ars Technica that it didn’t intend to let users stay forever on iOS 14. In fact, the company wanted this to be only a “temporary” option.
Apple told Ars that it always intended the iOS 14 security update option to be temporary. Essentially, people could have a short grace period while Apple worked out the worst of the new operating system’s early bugs, but you would always eventually have to upgrade to stay patched.
This statement from Apple is very different from what we heard during WWDC21. At the time, the company was very serious about giving users the option to stay in an old version of iOS while still giving users occasional security patches.
As a matter of fact, this was the first time Apple had spoken about continuing to support an old version of its iPhone operating system, as the company had released security patches for iOS 12 and even older software versions every now and then.
Last year, even before Apple announced the possibility to stay on iOS 14 during WWDC21, 9to5Mac had discovered that the company was planning that during the beta tests of iOS 14.5:
A new section added to the iOS software update menu indicates that Apple will provide standalone security updates for iPhone and iPad users. Users would be able to choose whether they want to install only security updates or full iOS updates.
Although we don’t yet have more details about this change, macOS already offers a similar method of updates. When you have a Mac running an older version of the operating system, such as macOS Mojave, Apple delivers separate security updates so that users can get security patches and bug fixes without having to install the latest macOS version available.
With this change of mind, Apple is pushing users to update to iOS 15, as they can take advantage of security patches and new features, which includes the ability to find the iPhone even when turned off, using Focus Mode settings, and more.
It’s a weird decision Apple has made. Coincidence or not, just last week the company said iOS 15 adoption was lower than usual. According to Apple, iOS 15 is currently installed on 72% of iPhones released in the last four years, which is lower than previous iOS updates.
Here is the current breakdown of iOS adoption among “devices introduced in the last four years,” according to Apple:
72% iOS 15
26% iOS 14
When comparing to iOS 14 numbers shared by the end of 2020, 81% of all iPhones in the last four years were already running the operating system, while, this time, Apple took more time to provide its first update on iOS 15 adopters and with fewer users running the latest software available.
Of course, you can still take advantage of your iPhone with iOS 14, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be as secure as someone running the latest version of iOS 15.
With the holiday season officially here, there’s nothing better than learning some tips for your brand new iPhone. Even if you already own a shiny iPhone 11, 12, or 13, there’s always more you can learn about them.
In a video shared by the Apple Support channel on YouTube, the company gives “helpful tips for getting the most out of your iPhone.” Even though has tons of how-tos, thanks to our colleague Michael Potuck, it’s interesting when Apple also shares some tips as well.
Here are some of the tips Apple is sharing for iPhone users in the five-minute video:
Swipe to erase a digit in Calculator
One of the classic “pro” tips is the ability to erase a digit in the Calculator app. Just swipe left or right on the top of the screen to erase or re-add a number. It’s that simple, and many people still don’t know that.
Pin shared content in Messages
Starting with iOS 15, you can pin shared content in Messages so it’s easier to find when you need it. In a messages thread, touch and hold the info you want to pin, and then tap “Pin.” It can’t be any easier than that!
Stack widgets on your Home Screen
Ever since Apple introduced widgets on the Home Screen with iOS 14, the company has been improving it with the latest software updates. Now, you can easily create a stack with up to 10 widgets. As you arrange apps on the library, do the same with widgets putting one above the other. Apple will smartly show you the right widget depending on your iPhone usage or time of the day.
Select multiple photos to add to other apps
Drag and drop has been available for a few years now, but it’s still a mystery why many people still don’t take advantage of it. For example, you can drag a photo, then with another finger select multiple others, and finally swipe to another app, like Photos, to add them there.
Open Camera from the Lock Screen
You don’t have time to open your iPhone and then your Camera? Just swipe left on the Lock Screen to quickly open your Camera app. The best part is that all your photos are protected, so you don’t have to worry about anyone accessing them.
You can take a look at all of the iPhone tips in the video below. Did you know all of them? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max cameras come with a new Macro mode that’s quite impressive. However, it originally shipped with a design that automatically kicked in, with no option to manually control it. Now with iOS 15.2, there’s an easy way to control the feature. Read on for how to enable the Macro toggle on iPhone 13 Pro and also make your preference the default.
After first seeing a disable Auto Macro option with iOS 15.1 in Settings, now Apple has included a toggle option inside the actual Camera app with iOS 15.2. This means it’s much more convenient to manage Macro mode without having to leave the Camera app.
Below we’ll also cover how to customize your Macro mode with the preserve camera option on iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max
How to enable Macro toggle on iPhone 13 Pro camera
Running iOS 15.2 on iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max, open the Settings app
Swipe down and choose Camera
Swipe to the bottom, tap the toggle next to Macro Control
Now you’ll see a flower icon (right in the Camera app) you can quickly toggle off/on after Macro mode kicks in (bring the camera close to something to get it to show up)
In Settings > Camera you can also now tap Preserve Settings
Tap the toggle next to Macro Control
With this on, your Macro on or off preference will be preserved as the default when opening the Camera app
Note: With Macro Control fully toggled off, iPhone 13 Pro will auto switch to Macro mode when you get close to subjects and will not show the manual toggle in the Camera app.
Here’s how the process looks:
Now when using the iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max camera and you get close to a subject, you’ll see this icon after the lens auto enables Macro mode:
And if you’d like to preserve whatever Macro toggle setting you chose (auto on or off), head to Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings > Macro Control:
Samsung’siPhone display business is under growing threat from Chinese competitor BOE, which is gearing up to match the production of the Korean supplier …
When Apple launched the iPhone X, Samsung was the only OLED supplier able to meet the Cupertino company’s exacting requirements for both sophistication and yield. Since then, Apple has added both LG and BOE as secondary iPhone display suppliers, but Samsung has retained the bulk of the orders.
A new report in The Elec suggests that could be about to change.
Chinese display giant BOE was in the process of converting its three factories __ B7, B11 and B12 __ to manufacture smartphone flexible OLED panels for Apple, analyst firm UBI Research has claimed.
Because of this, BOE will likely overtake LG Display as the larger OLED supplier for iPhones by 2023, UBI Research CEO Choong Hoon Yi said at an online seminar on Friday.
The Chinese display giant is aiming to become the second-largest supplier of OLED panels to Apple by converting its three factories, Yi said.
BOE’s total flexible OLED panel production capacity will expand from its current 96,000 substrates per month (Gen 6 substrates) to 144,000 substrates per month by the fourth quarter of next year, the CEO said.
This is level with that of Samsung Display’s current capacity of 140,000 substrates per month.
LG is also aiming to double its own production to 60,000 substrates per month.
Both increases will likely see Samsung’s own orders fall as Apple seeks to balance out supply to reduce dependence on a single company.
There will, however, be more Apple OLED business to come. Reports point to the possibility of OLED iPads in 2024, and OLED MacBooks in 2025, en route to the longer-term switch to microLED. (The latest flagship models of both iPads and MacBooks currently use IPS LCD displays with miniLED backlighting.)
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.
iOS 15 introduces Live Text using on-device intelligence, redesigned notifications, upgrades to Maps, and more.
iOS 15 introduces new ways to stay connected, powerful updates that help users focus and explore, and intelligent features to get more done with iPhone. FaceTime updates provide more natural video calls, Focus helps users reduce distraction, new features like Live Text use on-device intelligence to surface useful information, upgrades to Maps provide brand new ways to navigate the world, and much more. iOS 15 is available today as a free software update.
Enhancements for More Natural FaceTime Calls
FaceTime is more essential than ever, giving users a way to easily connect with the people who matter most. Powerful updates to FaceTime audio and video features make calls feel more natural and lifelike. With spatial audio, voices in a Group FaceTime call sound like they’re coming from the direction in which the person is positioned on the screen.1 Voice Isolation, a new microphone mode, uses machine learning to eliminate background noise and prioritize the user’s voice, while Wide Spectrum allows for every bit of background sound to come through. Inspired by the stunning portrait photos taken on iPhone, Portrait mode in FaceTime blurs a user’s background and puts them at the focus.2 Voice Isolation, Wide Spectrum, and Portrait mode can also be used with third-party apps, such as Webex, Zoom, and WhatsApp. Group FaceTime gives the option to display participants in same-size tiles in a new grid view.
With iOS 15, Group FaceTime displays participants in same-size tiles in a grid view.
FaceTime calls now extend beyond Apple devices, so people using an Android or Windows device can join from their web browser. FaceTime calls on the web remain end-to-end encrypted so privacy is not compromised. To initiate the call, iPhone, iPad, and Mac users simply create a FaceTime link and share it through Messages, Calendar, Mail, or third-party apps, making it easier than ever to connect with friends and family.
Later this fall, SharePlay will deliver a new way for users to share experiences with friends and family while on a FaceTime call, such as listening to songs together, watching a TV show or movie, completing a workout together, or sharing their screen to view apps. SharePlay will work with apps like Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple Fitness+, as well as Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, MasterClass, Paramount+, Pluto TV, SoundCloud, TikTok, Twitch, and many others. SharePlay can be accessed through iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and with shared playback controls, anyone in a SharePlay session can play, pause, or jump ahead. SharePlay even extends to Apple TV, so users can watch shows or movies on a big screen.
More Ways to Stay Connected with Messages
Shared with You is a new section that appears in Photos, Safari, Apple News, Music, Apple Podcasts, and the Apple TV app that displays the photos, articles, music, and other content shared by friends and family in Messages. Shared with You automatically displays shared photos in the Photos app, news stories in Apple News, and other relevant content in the corresponding app. The Shared with You section shows who sent the content, and makes it easy to view the associated message and restart the conversation.
In iOS 15, Memoji brings even more ways for users to express themselves with multicolored headwear, more glasses styles, and new accessibility options including cochlear implants, oxygen tubes, and a soft helmet. Memoji stickers can be customized with more than 40 outfit options and nine new sticker poses including a shaka, hand wave, and light bulb moment.
The Shared with You section in Photos displays the photos shared by friends and family in Messages.
Powerful Tools to Find Focus in the Day
iOS 15 introduces Focus, a new way to help users reduce distraction by filtering notifications based on what a user wants to focus on in that moment. For example, the Work Focus can be set during work hours to only allow notifications from coworkers and apps that are used for work, the Personal Focus can be used when taking a break with friends and family, or the Fitness Focus can help a user stay in the zone while completing a workout. Users can create a custom Focus or select a provided Focus, which uses on-device intelligence to suggest which notifications from people and apps are allowed. To further extend the ability to focus, users can create dedicated Home Screen pages with relevant apps and widgets to match a specific Focus.
While using Focus, a status is automatically displayed to contacts in Messages and supported third-party communication apps like Slack, so they know not to interrupt. Users will even receive suggestions to turn on a Focus based on factors like time of day or location, and when Focus is set on one Apple device, it automatically applies to all of a user’s Apple devices.
Focus helps users filter notifications to reduce distractions, using a custom Focus or a suggested Focus like Work or Fitness.
A Fresh New Look for Notifications
Notifications have been redesigned, adding contact photos for people and larger icons for apps that make them even easier to identify. The notification summary is a collection of notifications delivered each day at scheduled times determined by the user. Using on-device intelligence, the summary is arranged by priority, with the most relevant notifications rising to the top based on how a user interacts with apps. Time-sensitive notifications, messages, and phone calls will be delivered immediately, so users won’t miss timely alerts, and it’s easy to temporarily mute any app or messaging thread for an hour or for the day.
iOS 15 introduces the notification summary, a collection of notifications delivered each day at the times selected by the user.
On-Device Intelligence Delivers Live Text, Advanced Spotlight Search, and Memories
Live Text makes text in photos interactive. Using on-device intelligence, Live Text recognizes text in photos across the entire system including the web, and allows users to take action, such as copy and paste, look up information, and translate. Users can even tap the image of a phone number to make a call, or the image of a web address to open a page in Safari. With the power of the Neural Engine, the Camera app can also quickly recognize and copy text in the moment, such as the Wi-Fi password displayed at a local coffee shop. With Visual Look Up, users can learn more about popular art, landmarks, and books, plants and flowers found in nature, and breeds of pets.
Spotlight is the universal way to start searches on iPhone and now it can be accessed directly from the Lock Screen, and includes the ability to search photos by location, people, scenes, or objects. Using Live Text, Spotlight can find text and handwriting in photos.
iOS 15 delivers the biggest update ever to Memories. With a fresh new look, interactive interface, and integration with Apple Music that uses on-device intelligence to suggest music tracks, new cinematic Memories makes it easier to relive favorite or forgotten moments.
Live Text uses on-device intelligence to identify text and enhance the photos experience.
Spotlight now searches photos by location, people, scenes, and objects.
Redesigned Browsing with Safari
Safari introduces a newly designed browsing experience that makes controls easier to reach. By default, the new tab bar is positioned at the bottom of the screen, so users can easily swipe between tabs with one hand. Tab Groups allow users to organize tabs and easily access them at any time across iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and a customizable start page and web extensions on iOS make Safari more powerful and personal than ever.
Safari is redesigned with a new tab bar and Tab Groups for an even better browsing experience.
Navigate and Explore with Apple Maps
Maps in iOS 15 introduces a whole new way of looking at the world. A visually stunning map offers unprecedented levels of detail for neighborhoods, commercial districts, buildings, as well as custom-designed landmarks, and a new night-time mode with a moonlit glow. Navigation features a new three-dimensional driving view with road details that help users more easily identify turn lanes, medians, crosswalks, and sidewalks. The enhanced map is available in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, with more to come. A beautifully designed interactive globe provides rich detail for mountain ranges, deserts, rainforests, and bodies of water.
Transit riders can get one-tap access to all departures near them and pin their favorite lines. Maps automatically follows along with a selected transit route, notifying users when it’s nearly time to disembark, and riders can even keep track on Apple Watch. By simply holding up iPhone, users can receive detailed walking directions in augmented reality.
Maps automatically follows along a selected transit ride and now notifies users when they are nearing their desired stop.
A three-dimensional city navigation and exploration experience comes to Apple Maps with more realistic and colorful details.
With iOS 15, users can access even more places with just a tap of their iPhone with new home, hotel, office, and car keys in Wallet. Digital car keys get even better with support for Ultra Wideband technology, so users can securely lock, unlock, and start their supported vehicle without removing their iPhone from a pocket or bag. iPhone can also be used to unlock a user’s home, office, or even a hotel room — all through keys stored in Wallet. Additionally, users will be able to add eligible state IDs and driver’s licenses to Wallet on iPhone as this option becomes available in their state in the future.
House and hotel room keys as well as ID cards come to Wallet for a simple tap-to-unlock experience for everyday places.
Redesigned Weather Experience
Weather includes an all-new design with full-screen maps, graphical displays of weather data, and dynamic layouts that change based on conditions. Beautifully animated backgrounds more accurately reflect sun position, clouds, and precipitation, and notifications indicate when rain or snow is about to start or stop.
The Weather app has been redesigned to include full-screen maps and dynamic layouts that change based on weather conditions.
Organize and Collaborate in Notes
Notes adds user-created tags that make it easy to quickly categorize notes and mentions that allow members of shared notes to notify one another of important updates. An all-new Activity view shows the recent history of a shared note, and Highlights reveals details on who made the changes. Quick Notes created on Mac and iPad can be viewed and edited in Notes.
Notes adds user-created tags that make it easy to quickly categorize notes in line with relevant content.
More Privacy Controls
New privacy features provide even more transparency and control over the data users provide to apps. Mail Privacy Protection prevents senders from learning whether an email has been opened, and hides IP addresses so senders can’t learn a user’s location or use it to build a profile on them. Siri’s protection of user privacy goes even further with on-device speech recognition as users’ audio requests are now processed entirely on device by default, enabling more personalization, offline requests, and faster performance.6
Siri adds Announce Notifications on AirPods and the ability for users to share what’s on their screen just by asking. Siri can now be enabled in third-party HomeKit accessories, so HomePod and HomePod mini users can easily and securely ask Siri to send a message, set a reminder, or broadcast an Intercom message to the family from more devices in the home.7
iCloud+ combines everything users love about iCloud with new premium features, including Hide My Email, expanded HomeKit Secure Video support, and an innovative new internet privacy service, iCloud Private Relay.8 Current iCloud storage subscribers will be upgraded to iCloud+ automatically at no additional cost. All iCloud+ plans can be shared with people in the same Family Sharing group, so everyone can enjoy the new features, storage, and elevated experience that comes with the service.
The Health app gets a new sharing tab that lets users share their health data with family, caregivers, or a care team, trends give users a way to focus attention on meaningful changes in personal health metrics, and Walking Steadiness is a new metric that empowers people to proactively manage their fall risk. Users also have the ability to store verifiable COVID-19 vaccination or test result records directly in the Health app, so they can easily access them at any time.
Translate adds a new Auto Translate feature that automatically detects when a user begins speaking and translates speech without tapping the microphone button, allowing for conversation across languages to flow more naturally. Systemwide translation makes it possible to translate text anywhere on iPhone by selecting it and tapping Translate.
New iPhone setup makes it more seamless than ever to get started with iPhone. Existing iPhone users can temporarily back up data to iCloud — even without a subscription — to easily transfer their data to a new iPhone.9 For those moving to iPhone for the first time, an improved Move to iOS experience easily transfers photo albums, files, folders, and Accessibility settings, so iPhone feels personal right from the start.
Accessibility features include the ability to explore people, objects, text, and tables within images in more detail with VoiceOver, and new background sounds play continuously in the background to mask unwanted environmental or external noise. Sound actions customize Switch Control to work with mouth sounds, and users can customize display and text size settings on an app-by-app basis. Apple is also bringing support for recognizing imported audiograms — charts that show the results of a hearing test — to Headphone Accommodations.
Hide My Email lets users share unique, random email addresses that forward to their personal inbox any time they wish to keep their personal email address private.
Trends in the Health app enables users to easily see how a given health metric is progressing over time.
Translate goes systemwide, allowing users to translate text anywhere on iPhone.
Pricing and Availability
iOS 15 is a free software update that is available starting today for iPhone 6s and later. For more information, visit apple.com/ios/ios-15. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.
The all-new iPhone 13 lineup is officially here. As has become the norm, the lineup is split into the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. On the surface, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro are very similar phones. They both feature a 6.1-inch display and the A15 Bionic processor inside, but look closer and you’ll notice some key differences.
If you’re trying to make a buying decision between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, head below for everything you need to know about the iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro comparison.
In this comparison, we focus specifically on the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 and the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro. There are many similarities between the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but there are also some key differences. Stay tuned to 9to5Mac over the coming days and weeks for additional comparisons between Apple’s iPhone lineup as it stands today.
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Display
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro feature 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR displays using OLED technology with a resolution of 2532 x 1170 pixels. This equals 460 pixels per inch. The iPhone 13 Pro, however, features a max brightness of 1000 nits, compared to the iPhone 13’s at 800 nits. For HDR content, however, both can reach a max brightness of 1200 nits.
There is one major difference between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro displays: ProMotion technology. Exclusive to the iPhone 13 Pro, Apple’s ProMotion display technology brings adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz to the iPhone for the first time. This means the refresh rate of the iPhone 13 Pro’s screen can scale between 10Hz and 120Hz depending on what you’re doing on your device.
In real-world usage, this should mean things like scrolling and animations are significantly smoother. ProMotion also makes the display more efficient because it can scale all the way down to 10Hz when you’re doing something such as reading.
Other display features on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro include:
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
True Tone display
Wide color gamut (P3)
In terms of design, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro are similar, with flat edges and nearly edge-to-edge displays. Both devices also feature slightly smaller notches at the top, which measure in at roughly 20% smaller in terms of width.
One major difference is that the iPhone 13 is made out of what Apple refers to as “aerospace-grade aluminum” while the iPhone 13 Pro is made from “surgical-grade stainless steel.” This means that the iPhone 13 has a brushed aluminum finish, while the iPhone 13 Pro features a shiny stainless finish.
The difference in materials makes the iPhone 13 Pro slightly heavier than the iPhone 13. The iPhone 13 weighs in at 6.14 ounces (174 grams), while the iPhone 13 Pro weighs in at 7.19 ounces (204 grams).
The dimensions are the same between the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 :
Height: 5.78 inches (146.7 mm)
Width: 2.82 inches (71.5 mm)
Thickness: 0.30 inches (7.65 mm)
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro are both rated for IP68 splash, water, and dust resistance. Under this rating, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro can withstand submersion to a maximum depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes.
Performance and battery life
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro are both powered by an A15 Bionic processor, packing a 6-core CPU with 2 performance and 4 efficiency cores. The A15 Bionic processor also features a new 16-core Neural Engine to power machine learning and artificial intelligence tasks.
One difference between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro is that the former features a 4-core GPU, while the latter features a 5-core CPU. It remains to be seen what kind of difference this leads to in real-world performance, but it is a notable change for Apple to be segmenting the iPhone 13 lineup in this way for the first time.
Apple has not made any changes to the RAM configuration this year, with the iPhone 13 packing 4GB of RAM and the iPhone 13 Pro packing 6GB of RAM.
Both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro feature notable improvements in battery life this year compared to their predecessors. The iPhone 13 Pro is able to edge out the iPhone 13 in some areas, according to Apple’s claims.
iPhone 13 battery estimates:
Audio playback: 75 hours
Video playback (streamed): Up to 15 hours
Video playback: Up to 19 hours
iPhone 13 Pro battery estimates:
Audio playback: 75 hours
Video playback (streamed): Up to 20 hours
Video playback: Up to 22 hours
Both devices support fast charging, for getting up to a 50% charge in 30 minutes with a 20W power adapter. There’s also support for 7.5W Qi wireless charging and 15W wireless charging when using a MagSafe wireless charger.
Have you heard the great news about 5G? Just like their predecessors, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro both feature support for 5G. Apple says this makes for “superfast downloads and high-quality streaming.” This includes support for mmWave 5G connectivity in the United States, as well as sub-6GHz 5G in the United States and other countries.
Where you really start to notice differences between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, however, is the camera technology. The iPhone 13 features a dual 12MP camera system with Wide and Ultra Wide cameras on the back. On the front, you’ll find a 12MP f/2.2 aperture selfie camera.
Here are the full camera features for the iPhone 13:
Dual 12MP camera system: Wide and Ultra Wide cameras
Wide: ƒ/1.6 aperture
Ultra Wide: ƒ/2.4 aperture and 120° field of view
2x optical zoom out
Digital zoom up to 5x
Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High‑Key Mono)
Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 Pro features a triple-lens camera system on the back plus a LiDAR Scanner. The triple-lens camera setup features Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide cameras. On the front, you’ll find the same 12MP camera with an f/2.2 aperture.
Here are the full camera features for the iPhone 13 Pro:
Pro 12MP camera system: Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide cameras
Telephoto: ƒ/2.8 aperture
Wide: ƒ/1.5 aperture
Ultra Wide: ƒ/1.8 aperture and 120° field of view
3x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 6x optical zoom range
Digital zoom up to 15x
Night mode portraits enabled by LiDAR Scanner
Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, High‑Key Mono)
Dual optical image stabilization (Telephoto and Wide)
Sensor‑shift optical image stabilization (Wide)
Six‑element lens (Telephoto and Ultra Wide); seven‑element lens (Wide)
True Tone flash with Slow Sync
Panorama (up to 63MP)
Sapphire crystal lens cover
100% Focus Pixels (Wide)
Smart HDR 4
Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
Lens correction (Ultra Wide)
Advanced red‑eye correction
Auto image stabilization
Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG
In terms of video recording, both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro support up to 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps as well as HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps. Both devices also feature Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field at 1080p at 30 fps.
One notable difference, however, is that the iPhone 13 Pro packs support for Apple’s ProRes video recording standard at up to 4K at 30 fps (1080p at 30 fps for 128GB storage). This is a major feature for professional videographers looking to get the highest quality and lowest compression possible.
Colors, storage, and pricing
The iPhone 13 is available in five different colors: midnight, starlight, blue, red, and pink. The iPhone 13 Pro is available in four different colors: silver, graphite, gold, and sierra blue.
In terms of pricing, the iPhone 13 retails for:
$799 for 128GB of storage
$899 for 256GB of storage
$999 for 512GB of storage
Pricing for the iPhone 13 Pro is as follows:
$999 for 128GB of storage
$1099 for 256GB of storage
$1299 for 512GB of storage
$1499 for 1TB of storage
Citing environmental concerns, Apple is no longer including headphones or a charging brick in the iPhone 13 box this year. Here are some accessories you might consider picking up to help fill that gap and complement your new iPhone.
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro features
iPhone 13 Pro
6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
Up to 19 hours video
Up to 22 hours video
Optical zoom range
Dolby Vision HDR up to 4K at 60 fps
Dolby Vision HDR up to 4K at 60 fps
6.14 ounces (174 grams)
7.19 ounces (204 grams)
128GB, 256GB, 512GB
128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
As you can see, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro share many similarities in terms of size, form factor, and performance. With that being said, there are some notable differences this year in the camera category as well as in the display category.
Unlike last year when the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro featured the same display technology, the iPhone 13 Pro exclusively features the new ProMotion display technology. The iPhone 13 Pro also packs a more impressive camera setup with ProRes video recording, a triple-lens design, and more.
But ultimately, for most people, the iPhone 13 is enough: it can handle virtually any task you throw at it and it features a stunning design available in 5 different colors. The camera, while not as impressive as the iPhone 13 Pro, can still take stunning images and videos.
Those who should opt for the iPhone 13 Pro include people who take professional-level video and can take advantage of the ProRes video recording features. Those people should also opt for higher storage capacities as well.