Apple presented its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week, focusing on new software updates that will power its devices. This year saw several big improvements and changes coming to iOS, and while the company may not be making any wholesale changes to the core look and feel of its operating system, there are several big changes that should offer great improvements to the overall user experience.
In a pandemic-stricken world that is relying heavily on video communication, the company understandably placed a lot of emphasis on upgrading the FaceTime experience, with features like spatial audio that reflects the speaker’s location on-screen, and voice isolation to help reduce distracting background noise. Users can now also use blurred backgrounds and share music during video calls. And perhaps in helping people to spread their love of both family and Apple, users can now also add Android users into 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 bigger app icons. A new filter mode in iOS 15, called Focus, will allow people to customise which notifications appear during different activities, like while you’re working, and sync across all devices. You can also set a custom homescreen page with widgets and apps appropriate for your chosen Focus mode, extending the experience to allow you to have access to what you need most at certain times.
Do Not Disturb
Even though few people use traditional messages outside of the US, iOS15 will allow other people to see when you’ve enabled a Do Not Disturb mode, where you will not get notifications for any messages received though people can override this should they deem the message urgent enough when sending it. Though, take note, that your kids will likely take advantage of this feature and make asking what’s for dinner an urgent message, even in the most important of meetings.
Other big features include a new Live Text mode, which will digitise text in your photos and allow you to easily copy and paste them from a photo into a document, allow you to capture numbers you see on billboards, a quote on a meme or capture all that crucial information from the now non-existent wite board sessions in a team meeting. Additionally, all photos shared in messages are automatically grouped into collages or stacks and will appear in other places like your photo gallery and memories.
One of the more innovative features coming to IOs15, though something which will only work at a limited number of US airports, for now, is having your iPhone act as your ID at an airport. The company is making changes to its Apple Wallet, which will let people store a digital form of their US ID that can then be scanned at participating airports. It’s not going to be a widely used feature for now, given its limited acceptance but it’s definitely a feature that can grow over time and perhaps start a new revolution of digital ID documents that can be stored securely through people’s phones.
Speaking of privacy, Apple Mail will block tracking pixels with Mail Privacy Protection to ensure emails are kept completely secure, with safari also hiding IPS, prevent sites from knowing specifics of the devices access their site. There will also be a new App Privacy report with a seven-day summary of how often apps accessed location information and your phone’s microphone or camera. With the hope that this information promotes better awareness of privacy risks and promotes better behaviours in both users and app developers.
Family Health and Siri
The last of the important features announced for iOS 15, include the ability for family members to see on another’s health data and Siri finally working without a required internet connection. Meaning it can now still misunderstand what you are trying to say in your South African accent, this time without draining your data in the process.
So, in the end, there might not be too many people would consider revolutionary in the latest version of iOS, but its changes that are relevant enough to the many things people do on a day-to-day basis should keep Apple users happy for the next year.
Last Updated: June 9, 2021