Apple presented its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week, focusing on new software updates that will power its devices. This year saw several major improvements and changes to iOS, and while the company may not be making wholesale changes to the look and feel of its operating system, there are several major changes that should bring major improvements to the overall user experience.
In a pandemic-ravaged world that relies heavily on video communications, the company has understandably placed a lot of emphasis on upgrading the FaceTime experience, with features such as spatial audio that reflects the speaker’s location on the screen, and speech isolation to reduce distracting backgrounds. to reduce noise. Users can now also use blurry backgrounds and share music during video calls. And perhaps to help people spread their love for both family and Apple, users can now also add Android users to their FaceTime conversation with a shareable link that connects them to the call via a device browser.
There will also be some subtle changes to notifications, with contact photos on text notifications and larger app icons. A new filtering mode in iOS 15 called Focus allows people to customize which notifications appear during different activities, such as while you’re at work, and sync across all devices. You can also set up a custom home screen page with widgets and apps suitable for your chosen Focus mode, extending the experience so that you can access what you need most at certain times.
Do not disturb
Even though few people use traditional messaging outside of the US, iOS15 will allow other people to see when you’ve turned on Do Not Disturb mode, where you won’t get notifications for messages received, although people can ignore this if they find the message urgent enough at the sending. However, keep in mind that your kids will likely take advantage of this feature and asking what’s for dinner will be an urgent message even during the most important meetings.
Other great features include a new Live Text mode, which digitizes text in your photos and allows you to easily copy and paste it from a photo into a document, capturing numbers you see on billboards, quote on a meme or capture all that crucial information from the now nonexistent whiteboard sessions in a team meeting. In addition, all photos shared in posts are automatically grouped into collages or stacks and appear in other places, such as your photo gallery and memories.
One of the more innovative features coming to IOs15, though something that will only work in a limited number of US airports for now, is that your iPhone acts as your ID at an airport. The company is making changes to its Apple Wallet, which will allow people to store a digital form of their US ID that can then be scanned at participating airports. It won’t be a widely used feature for a while given its limited adoption, but it’s certainly a feature that could grow over time and perhaps spark another revolution of digital ID documents that can be safely stored through people’s phones. .
Speaking of privacy, Apple Mail blocks tracking pixels with Mail Privacy Protection to ensure emails are kept completely secure. Safari also hides IPS and prevents sites from knowing the details of the devices accessing their site. There’s also a new app privacy report coming with a seven-day breakdown of how often apps access location information and your phone’s microphone or camera. With the hope that this information will promote greater awareness of privacy risks and promote better behavior among both users and app developers.
Family Health and Siri
The last of the major features announced for iOS 15 is the ability for family members to see another person’s health data, and Siri finally works without a required internet connection. This means it can still misunderstand what you’re trying to say with your South African accent, this time without straining your data.
So in the end there might not be too many people who would be revolutionary in the latest version of iOS, but the changes relevant enough to the many things people do every day should make Apple users happy for the next year.
Last updated: June 9, 2021