Here are all the new features to expect in iOS 15
Apple’s 2021 Worldwide Developers Conference is just around the corner on June 7, which means the company is set to announce a slew of new operating systems for its products. From iPadOS and macOS to watchOS and tvOS (and more), WWDC will give us an inside look at what Apple has been cooking up over the past year.
But we all know the one OS update everyone really cares about is iOS 15. While we’ll have to wait until WWDC officially kicks off to find out what’s in store for the iPhone’s next OS, there’s a lot we can glean right now solely off of rumors.
However, it’s worth noting that there aren’t that many rumors this year, which could mean iOS 15 might not include all that many notable changes. Seeing as how iOS 14 was a fairly massive update, it won’t come as too much of a shock if Apple keeps it low-key this year.
Regardless, here’s a list of all the new features that are rumored to be coming to iOS 15.
New iMessage features
Last year’s iOS 14 introduced a bunch of new iMessage features including the ability to pin conversations, tag individual people and customize notifications in group chats, as well as reply to specific messages to create a thread.
But Apple is apparently coming back with more in iOS 15. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman:
“The company is planning a new feature that will allow users to set different notification preferences, such as if the phone makes a sound or not, depending on their current status. The enhancement will come in the form of a new menu that lets users select if they are driving, working, sleeping or custom categories of their choosing. The menu will be shown on the updated Lock Screen and in Control Center, the iPhone and iPad’s menu for quickly accessing settings.”
And depending on your status, Gurman also claims users will also be able to set automatic replies. You know, like the out-of-office replies you set up before leaving for vacation. But this time, it’s for your iPhone.
As Gurman notes, auto-reply already exists within Do Not Disturb and Sleep Mode. But we could see more status options with the upcoming OS.
Food tracking with the Health app
Currently, the Health app allows users to track their nutrition by logging a variety of data including caffeine, water, and carbohydrate intake, along with different vitamins and minerals. With iOS 15, you might also be able to track the food you eat as well.
In a report from iMore, a source says the feature will be similar to MyFitnessPal — a food diary app where you can track your meals and calories on a daily basis. But there aren’t any details as to what those similarities will be.
MyFitnessPal is easy to use, considering it offers a food database of over 300,000,000 items. The app makes it super easy to log what you eat throughout the day. It remains to be seen whether the iOS Health app will offer somewhat of an extensive database or if users will have to manually enter specific food and calories consumed.
As 9to5Mac notes, Apple also sent out a survey back in May that asked users if they had any apps installed for monitoring eating habits, among other things like blood glucose levels and medications. While it’s highly likely the survey could be geared towards the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7, it’s also possible the company was simply gathering feedback for its own food-tracking feature.
In a tweet that was picked up by publications like 9to5Mac, MacRumors, and Tom’s Guide, a user who claims they saw iOS 15 also mentions the presence of a food-tracking feature (among the other new features listed above).
When I said I’d seen some iOS 15, I’m not going to disappoint:
◼️- Dark Mode UI tweaks
💬- Messages app tweaks
🍴- Food tracking and other new features in Health
🔧- Confirmation of UI changes from previous screenshot rumor
🔴- New notification settings and look on lockscreen
— Connor Jewiss (@connorjewiss) May 25, 2021
The fork and knife emoji in the above tweet also appeared in a tweet from MacRumors reporter, Sami Fathi, who decoded the hidden emoji message within Apple’s WWDC invitation.
Sure, this might be somewhat of a stretch, but I can’t help but think it’s a bit too coincidental. I mean, how often do we see the fork and knife emoji being used within the context of WWDC? I’d say … never.
A new privacy app menu
It’s no secret that Apple made a huge push for privacy with iOS 14. At last year’s WWDC, the company introduced “Nutrition Labels” that inform users how an app uses their data in a way that’s easy to understand.
Additionally, with iOS 14.5, Apple also released App Tracking Transparency (ATT). The feature requires developers to ask users for permission to track their data across other companies’ apps and websites.
With iOS 15, Apple is rumored to be working on a new menu geared towards privacy, Bloomberg reports. It will allow users to see and track which apps are collecting data about them.
More accessibility features
Of all the features on this list, Apple’s new accessibility features are the only ones that have been confirmed.
The company announced the new capabilities in May, but remained vague on a release date aside from “coming later this year.” But since iOS 14.5 was stacked with updates, it’s safe to assume Apple is saving these for iOS 15.
Some of the new features for iOS, specifically, include:
VoiceOver: For those who are blind or have low vision, VoiceOver describes details in a photo like objects and a person’s position. With the Markup tool, users can also manually add image descriptions to their own images.
Background Sounds: The iPhone will soon have a built-in feature that allows you to play different sounds to help soothe you. If you ever find yourself in an environment with sounds that are overwhelming or uncomfortable, you’ll have the choice to play either balanced, bright, and dark noise, or rain, stream, and ocean sounds.
Access to audiograms: Included within Headphone Accommodations via Settings, users will be able to customize audio based on their hearing test results that are imported from an audiogram.
Inclusive Memoji: Soon, iOS users will be able to customize their Memoji with oxygen tubes, a soft helmet, and cochlear implants.
Hopefully, we’ll hear more details about these during WWDC.
What iPhones will make the cut?
With the release of every new version of iOS, Apple alters its list of iPhones that support it.
Back in January, MacRumors reported that iOS 15 wouldn’t be compatible with the iPhone SE (2016), iPhone 6S, and the iPhone 6S Plus. Since those are the oldest devices supported by iOS 14, and all three iPhones use the same A9 Bionic chip, it makes sense for Apple to remove them from the list for its upcoming OS update.
The iPhones that will likely support iOS 15 should include:
iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone XS Max
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone SE (2020)
iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Of course, also included in this list, will be the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup that’s set to be announced this Fall.
Don’t forget about iPadOS 15
For the most part, some of the features coming to iOS 15 will most likely also apply to iPadOS 15. But according to Bloomberg, there’s also a new change rumored for the home screen: the ability to add widgets.
The feature was first introduced with iOS 14, allowing users to place widgets — such as the weather app, Screen Time, Files, Shortcuts, Maps, and more — on their home screen. However, on iPadOS 14, users are only able to add widgets to the ‘Today’ tab.
With iPadOS 15, the home screen might finally get the iOS 14 treatment (one year later). Now, iPad users might finally be able to transfer those widgets over to their main screen.
As per usual, we won’t know if any of these features are definitely coming to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 until WWDC next week. But as I said before, based on rumors, it seems like this year’s operating systems won’t be all that intense.
But who knows? Maybe Apple has just been really good at keeping most of its new features under wraps this time around.
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