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iOS 15 & iPadOS 15: Apple's latest Mobile OS


Apple announced the new version of iOS and iPadOS in June 2021. The software is currently available in the form of public beta at the moment but is supposed to get a wider launch in September 2021 with the launch of their next generation of iPhones. A lot of new features were announced with this new version of iOS and iPadOS.


All-New FaceTime

FaceTime has received a major overhaul in iOS 15 with a new look and the introduction to a new feature that Apple calls SharePlay. SharePlay allows the user to their share screen, watch T.V., listen to music/podcasts. Apple has well-integrated the software and hardware allowing SharePlay to work seamlessly. But it cannot be utilized by all applications, developers have the option to choose whether or not they want their application to utilize SharePlay or not.


Even though Apple has introduced FaceTime to other platforms (Windows and Android) via the web, SharePlay only works with Apple devices and all the content that is shared is streamed locally meaning everyone who is watching or listening should have an active subscription to that platform else they won't be able to utilize SharePlay.

Some additional changes to FaceTime include a new design, spatial audio support, grid view while video chatting, a portrait mode, the ability to schedule FaceTime calls using shareable links, and people using Android or WIndows can also use these links to join FaceTime calls using their browser.

Safari's Facelift

Apple has completely redesigned safari in iOS 15 where Apple has emphasized a one-handed design by moving the URL bar to the bottom of the screen, adding swipe gestures to switch between tabs and a tab grouping feature. The new look for sure takes some time to get used to, but luckily if someone does not like the new design they can revert it back from the settings menu.


Focus on Work

iOS 15 has completely revamped notifications look and feel with bigger icons and contact images. Apps whose notifications someone does not care about can now be stored in "Notification Summary" that will be displayed several times a day (as set by the user in settings) instead of pinging the phone.


The best feature, in my opinion, is the new Focus feature which is an expansion of Apple's existing Do Not Disturb feature, but with far more control and customization. Focus allows selecting specific applications and contacts to share notifications at specific times or triggers.

A "Personal" Focus, for example, can be set to activate automatically during a particular time or opening a specific application and will mute all the notifications and phone calls until selected otherwise. These focus modes don't turn the applications off like Apple's ScreenTime feature, but rather disables the notifications. iOS 15 also adds the functionality to add multiple icons of the same application to create a work and personal home screen which can be enabled and disable as per the user's preference.

Notifications have also gotten a new feature that goes along with Focus and morning summary feature, called "Time Sensitive Notification", which can override the specific notifications filtering features. Apple has some rules that the developers can use to add these features to their applications.


iPadOS: Still isn't a Computer

iPadOS 15 has the same improvements that the iPhone gets with iOS 15. iPad gets a few new features as well that were previously present on the iPhones with iOS 14 i.e., App Widgets on the home screen and the App Library.

Widgets work in a similar fashion to that on the iPhone meaning that they can now be placed anywhere on the big screen. Apple has even added a bigger widget size for the iPad which is as big as the iPhone 12 display, but the functionality remains the same they are only used to get glanceable information.


Multitasking has also received a few new updates on the iPad; a multitasking icon (three dots) on the top center of every application which makes it easier to use split-view and slide-over mode. A shelf mode has also been introduced that shows all the open windows of a particular app when the app is opened or the multitasking button is clicked.


Multitasking can now be done by clicking on the multitasking icon and selecting the split-screen option which then takes the user to the home screen from where they can choose the other application and swiping down from the application multitasking button closes that app and allows to choose another in its place.

The next new feature for iPadOS is "Quick Notes" which allows the user to quickly take notes by simply swiping up from the bottom right corner of the screen or hit a keyboard shortcut and simply write down a thought, highlight text on a website, or add a link for later. These Quick Notes are saved in their own category within the notes app.

Other Features

As always iOS 15 has some notable features as well. Starting off with the weather app that has been given a major overhaul. The new UI shows a 10-day forecast, Dark Sky style maps for temperature and precipitation.


Live Text allows the user to point their camera at a handwritten or typed text to grab a phone number or email address, translate it or copy it and paste it somewhere. Live Text is made available in the camera app, photos app, image search on the web, or directly from the keyboard.


The shared with you feature is integrated within the messaging app that shows photos, Apple Music songs, links, Apple TV Plus content, and podcasts in the respective application at dedicated areas. This feature works over iMessage and is currently limited to Apple services, and third-party support is unknown.

Conclusion

iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 come with a lot of new features which give a lot of options to the user to use their device more productively. Focus modes are a welcome addition as they allow to focus on a particular task, and also allows the user to create their own custom focus mode. The live text feature is what I found to be the most impressive along with the new Focus Modes. I am personally a fan of the new redesigned Safari especially after the latest beta update which fixes most of my problems.


Even though iOS15 and iPadOS 15 aren't the most exciting update released by Apple, but they are a welcome addition.

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