iOS 15: New features, compatibility, release date
iOS 15 will be the next major milestone release of Apple’s operating system for the iPhone. The update will be introduced in June and released to the public in September. Here’s everything we know so far.
Table of contents
What will this year’s iOS update be called?
In late March, 9to5Mac reported that Apple’s WebKit code included references to the unreleased build of iOS 15. The marketing names of future Apple operating systems don’t necessarily reflect what’s used in code, but WebKit code usually calls future versions “TBA” to hide their actual version numbers.
This provides a strong piece of evidence that this year’s release of iOS will be iOS 15.
New features in iOS 15
With the release of iOS 14 in 2019, Apple introduced a variety of new features, such as home screen widgets, the App Library, and more.
Over the years, Apple has made changes to its internal development process for iOS updates that make it easier for the company to add and remove new features. This makes each yearly release more stable because the company can remove features that aren’t ready for primetime.
Redesigned lock screen
A report from Bloomberg in April offered a handful of details about what to expect from iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. The report says that the iPhone will get a redesigned lock screen user interface. The iPhone 13 is rumored to gain an always-on display, so it’s likely that Apple will redesign the lock screen to take advantage of this new technology.
New notification controls
Apple is also reportedly working on new notification controls for iOS 15. Bloomberg says these new features will give users the ability to customize notification settings depending on current activity, such as driving, working, sleeping, or other categories.
Apple is also reportedly working on a smarter automatic reply system for notifications. Currently, iOS can automatically respond to messages when a user is driving with the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature enabled. With iOS 15, this could expand to other categories as well.
iMessage has become a tentpole feature of iOS over the years, and Apple is reportedly working on ways to make it even more powerful. Details here are sparse, but Bloomberg says Apple is plotting new features that would make iMessage more closely compete with WhatsApp. This project is said to be in its early stages, however, and may not make the cut for iOS 15.
Keeping with Apple’s focus on privacy, iOS 15 will allegedly include new alerts to tell users when apps are secretly collecting data about them. This comes on the heels of the App Tracking Transparency feature, which Apple officially launched as part of iOS 14.5 in April.
Widgets on the iPad Home screen
Finally, with iPadOS 15, Apple will reportedly expand the iPad home screen. iPadOS 14 limited users to placing widgets in the sidebar of their iPad’s home screen, but that could change with iPadOS 15. Bloomberg has described this as “the biggest change to the iPad home screen ever.”
For an idea of what Apple could have in store for iOS 15 this year, be sure to check out the full 9to5Mac concept right here.
iOS 15 will drop compatibility for some of the most popular iPhone devices of all time, according to a pair of reports. This includes the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus were originally introduced in September of 2015, followed by the iPhone SE in March of 2016. This means they have each received over four years of software support from Apple.
This year’s iOS update will likely be compatible with the following iPhones:
- 2021 iPhone lineup
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPod touch (7th generation)
Release date: When will iOS 15 come out?
iOS 15 is expected to be introduced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC. This year, the event will likely be completely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. WWDC is traditionally held during the first or second week of June, but that could change this year because of the pandemic.
The iOS 15 developer beta program will start after the update is announced at WWDC. A public beta testing program will begin in July, followed by a release to the general public in September.