iOS 15: the best features coming to your iPhone when new software releases tonight

iOS 15 Best New Features Apple iPhone Download Update Now

Here are the best new features coming to your iPhone when you update to iOS 15 (Image: APPLE • GETTY )

iOS 15 is scheduled to launch worldwide tonight, with iPhone owners set to be treated to a bucket load of new features for free. Apple doesn’t reveal exactly when it will flip the switch on the hotly-anticipated update, but in previous years, we’ve started to see the software roll-out around 6pm BST.

If you want to find out whether your current iPhone is compatible with the latest version of the mobile operating system, you can find a complete list of iPhone models eligible for the upgrade here. If your iPhone isn’t compatible with iOS 15, it might be time to check the latest iPhone 13 deals.

If you’re waiting to upgrade, or have started the download and need to kill some time, has rounded-up the greatest features in iOS 15. Here’s everything you need to know about the new version of iOS that’ll be powering your iPhone over the next year…

Video Calls

Over the last year, you’ve probably spent a lot of time chatting with friends, relatives and colleagues over video call apps. And it seems the folks at Apple have had the same experience. As such, the teams at Apple have decided to bring a dizzying number of upgrades to FaceTime, which is preinstalled on all iPhone, iPad and Mac devices.

First up, the end-to-end encrypted video call app will now benefit from Spatial Audio, which is only available with Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. This feature, which is already available inside blockbuster movies in Apple TV+, positions the voices of those on the call in relation to where they appear on-screen. So, if your daughter is on the right side of your iPad screen, with your mother on the left… their voices will sound as if they’re coming from the right and left, respectively. These positions will remain in place even as you move your head. Apple believes this tweak, which will be relatively subtle, will make its video calls more immersive.

iOS 15 Best New Features Apple iPhone Download Update Now

Like Portrait Mode in photos, FaceTime callers can now blur their background too (Image: APPLE • GETTY )

Not only that, Apple is also using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enable “Noise Isolation”, which strips-out distracting background noise and focuses on the callers’ voice. There’s also a new grid view, similar to what you’ll find on rival apps like Zoom and Google Meet. If you’re calling dozens of people, this is sure to be a popular layout to keep track of who is on the call.

FaceTime is also adding Portrait Mode, which adds blur behind the subject of the call – so you won’t have to worry about people snooping on every title on your bookcase. FaceTime Links will allow users to create a URL that launches a new call with anyone with the correct link included. Intriguingly, this works on Windows and Android using the web browser – with the video call still using end-to-end encryption.


Apple has boosted its Do Not Disturb mode in iOS 15. Dubbed Focus, the new feature is designed to help you achieve a better iPhone-life balance and will let you create multiple categories for your device – Work, Home, Sleep, and more. For example, when set to Work within the Focus setting, notifications from work messaging platforms, like Microsoft Teams or Slack, will fill your Lock Screen …but other apps can be silenced, like shopping services like eBay and Amazon.

It’s not just notifications either. You can completely overhaul your homescreen, with a completely different grid of app icons for each of your Focus modes. That means you won’t have to worry about swiping through endless pages of apps to find a specific work app.

Apple says Focus will rely on on-device intelligence to suggest which people and apps are allowed to notify you. When your specific Focus mode is blocking incoming notifications, that status is displayed to contacts in Messages – so those sending messages will know there’s a reason you’re not replying to their messages.

iOS 15 Best New Features Apple iPhone Download Update Now

iPhone owners can now customise their homescreen and notifications based on the ‘Focus Mode’ (Image: APPLE • GETTY )


If you rely on iMessage to keep in touch with friends and family, there are a number of new tricks coming to the messaging app. Like WhatsApp, when you send multiple photos in a chat, these will now be grouped together into a nice stack design. Recipients will be able to swipe through all of the pictures in the bundle without the images taking over your entire screen too, which is nice.

Not only that but news stories sent inside Messages will now be displayed in the Apple News app under a “Shared With You” tab. So, you won’t need to worry about scrolling back through dozens of messages to find a single link. And it’s not just news stories. Apple Music and Apple Podcasts also supports the feature, which Apple says is designed to stop links sent in busy group chats from being lost forever.

Photos sent within Messages will also automatically populate the Apple Photos app. Apple says its AI algorithms are smart enough to exclude screenshots or photos without you. Provided the AI is smart enough, you won’t have to worry about seeing other people’s wedding snaps filling your photo library – but you won’t need to stress about downloading each image sent to you in Messages to keep a copy in Photos.

iOS 15 Best New Features Apple iPhone Download Update Now

Live Text lets you copy-paste and interact with text in the real-world as if it was typed on the web (Image: APPLE • GETTY )

Live Text

Ever wished you could copy and paste text from a real-life document? Well, now you can. iOS 15 brings a new feature called Live Text that relies on on-device intelligence to recognise printed or handwritten text in a photo – and lets you take action. For example, you can search for and locate the picture of a handwritten family recipe, capture a phone number from a sign in a shop window and immediately jump into a call.

This feature works both inside the Photos app as well as the Camera app. You can quickly recognise and copy text in the moment, such as the Wi-Fi password displayed at a local coffee shop. With Visual Look Up, you’ll be able to learn more about popular art and landmarks around the world, plants and flowers found in nature, breeds of pets, and even find books.


iOS 15 brings the biggest update ever to Memories – the AI-curated slideshows that re-surface photos and video clips from a certain trip, one particular person, or a theme – with a fresh new look, an interactive interface, and integration with Apple Photos. Yes, you’ll be able to drop-in tracks from your favourite artist to provide the soundtrack for your latest Memories slideshow. Of course, you’ll need to be an Apple Music subscriber to use this feature, which Apple says uses the beat of the track to time transitions between snaps. And if you can’t think of a specific track yourself, the feature will select a song based on its own algorithmic tastes.


The Weather app has also enjoyed a dramatic overhaul, with detailed maps to show ongoing weather patterns around the world, new metrics to judge the weather, and some slick new animations that show the current conditions on-screen.

…And There’s Even More To Come

Apple has confirmed that one of the biggest features revealed for iOS 15, dubbed SharePlay, won’t be available at launch. Instead, the functionality has been delayed until later this year. For those who don’t know, SharePlay lets anyone share their music or video with everyone on a FaceTime call. Playback is synced across everyone’s devices, so friends can add new songs to a queue or skip a bad choice on everyone’s iPhone or iPad. Disney+, TikTok, and a number of other streaming apps have already committed to implementing the feature.

You’ll also be able to share what is happening on your screen.

“For many customers, iPhone has become indispensable, and this year we’ve created even more ways it can enhance our daily lives,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “iOS 15 helps users stay connected while sharing experiences in real time, gives them new tools to help reduce distraction and find focus, uses intelligence to enhance the photos experience, and, with huge upgrades to Maps, brings new ways to explore the world. We can’t wait for customers to experience it.”

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