iOS 15: The upcoming iPhone update of 2021

iOS 15, the new iPhone update, is coming soon this fall.

This update will feature changes to notifications, redesigns for apps like Maps and Weather, and new features for sharing and FaceTime. And that’s only scraping the surface. Like always, Apple increased privacy and customization tools.

Apple announced the software changes for the year in WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) back in June. Software developers received the update shortly afterwards, but sometime in September, iOS 15 will be released to the general public.

Craig Federighi presenting iOS 15 features at the 2021 WWDC keynote. [Photo credit: MobileSyrup]

Check out some of the highlights of the upcoming software:


FaceTime is getting a major update. Now a partially new interface is updated with more traditional online-meeting features like a grid view for multiple speakers and links to join a call at a scheduled time.

Now you can send friends and family a link to connect on FaceTime — even if they’re using Windows or Android. And it’s still end-to-end encrypted, so your call is as private and secure as any other FaceTime call.

Apple on links to FaceTime

FaceTime will also have spatial audio, so based on a person’s position in the grid view, their audio will seem to be coming from the same direction. And voice isolation allows you to block out background noise, so your voice is clearly heard.

Portrait mode is another feature, which will blur the background and present the face of the speaker with clarity.

And last but not least, FaceTime’s latest major feature allows for those calling to share their screen, listen to music, and stream movies or shows together.

The volume will automatically adjust, so you can still hear speakers. In addition, to share music, the entire group will have access to edit the synced queue of songs.

Photo recognition

Using machine learning, your phone will soon be able to recognize, look up, copy, and translate text found in Photos.

And Photos can do more than just text— a new featured called Visual Look Up can intelligently find resources about the objects in your photos.


Notifications have been updated to include the profile photo of the person sending the message, along with larger app icons to easily identify from where the notification is coming.

Along with that, users with many notifications streaming in from separate apps can now have a notification summary. Whenever the number of notifications surpass a certain point, the notifications will group together into a Notification Summary block that summarizes and sorts your notifications by importance.


Now in iMessage, when a person sends a large collection of photos, they will show up in a compacted view, reducing the amount of time it takes to scroll through numerous pictures.

The photos will show up as a stacked collage, and with a tap, you can access all of the photos and download them easily.

In addition, all media shared in iMessage will have a mini-download icon next to it, making it now simpler to download files shared with you.

Outside of iMessage, all media shared with you will now appear in that app under a new category—Shared with You.

For example, if your friend shares a link to a website, you can visit Safari and find access to the link and identify the user who shared it with you. The same works for Apple Music, Photos, Podcasts, and more.

Examples of the new Notification Summary and Focus features. [Photo credit: Engadget]


Apple is also dropping Focus, which is in simplest terms, Do Not Disturb, but with more customizable options. You can create different Focuses for different scenarios, such as studying, driving, fitness, and more. Your Focus will also be shown in iMessage, but you will still be reachable for urgent situations.


Maps is getting a redesign so the interface has a more three-dimensional look.

Maps now offers drivers incredible road details like turn lanes, crosswalks, and bike lanes; street-level perspectives as you approach complex interchanges; and a new dedicated driving map that helps you see current incidents and traffic conditions at a glance.

Apple on the new Maps interface

There are also new features for transit riders and walking instructions that use augmented reality.

And more

iOS 15 will also include:

  • Safari ‘s new tab bar design and tab groups that sync across your other Apple devices
  • Additional customizable Memoji options for outfits, headwear, and more
  • Extensions and searching-by-voice capabilities in Safari
  • ID cards and keys in Wallet
  • Improved Spotlight Search that uses Live Text and Visual Look Up
  • Interactive Photo Memories that syncs with a song of yours or your phone’s choosing
  • Updates to the Health app that monitors trends in your fitness and health patterns
  • More privacy through a feature that hides your email from third parties
  • Increased app-specific customization in text size, light or dark mode, contrast, and so much more.
  • New widgets for feature apps

For more information about iOS 15 and other software updates for 2021, visit the official Apple website.

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