Apple pulled back the curtain on the next major iteration of software for the iPhone, iOS 15, during its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote. While the major changes involve FaceTime, Messages, Focus and Notifications, and more, there was also plenty coming in iOS 15 that wasn't talked about on stage.
Here are some of the most important features that are coming in iOS 15 that didn't get the spotlight.
Safari redesign, customization, and one-handed use
While Apple did talk about Safari changes, it was more of a focus in the macOS Monterey section of the keynote, rather than in iOS and iPadOS. However, the changes coming to Safari in iOS are worth noting.
In iOS 15, Safari will be getting a brand new design that puts content at the front and center. It also moves the universal URL, search, and tab bar at the bottom of the screen, so it's easier to use with a single hand. It also moves out of the way when you scroll, but appears again with a tap. And navigating between tabs is done just by swiping.
To make life easier, there will now be Tab Groups. You can organize tabs into groups for things like traveling, work, shopping, and just your frequently visited pages, so it's easier than ever to access. These will also sync across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Safari is also becoming more customizable by letting users change up the start page with a background image, and even new sections to display, such as Privacy Report, Siri Suggestions, and Shared with You. There will also be web extension support from the App Store, voice search, and pull to refresh.
Siri works offline and more
Though Siri isn't the best digital assistant out there, it is getting some nice improvements in iOS 15. One of the biggest changes for Siri that wasn't talked about is the fact that it will now have offline support. That's right — you can now use Siri even if you don't have an internet connection. The types of requests are limited, but it's still considered better than nothing.
The requests that you can do without an internet connection include: Timers & Alarms, Phone, Messaging, Sharing, App Launch, Control Audio Playback, and Settings.
Speaking of Sharing, you can now share items onscreen with others just by asking Siri. This includes photos, web pages, content from Apple Music or Podcasts, Apple News stories, Maps locations, and more. Just say "Send this to Robert" and it will be shared. If it cannot be shared, Siri offers a screenshots instead. You can also ask Siri to control your HomeKit devices at a specific time.
Package detection for Home
If you do a lot of online shopping or just get a lot of packages sent to you, then this feature is sure welcome to HomeKit users. With HomeKit Secure Video, your HomeKit-enabled security cameras and HomeKit video doorbells will detect and notify you when a package arrives on your doorstep.
No more missed deliveries for you (hopefully)!
Drag and drop support
iOS 15 brings drag and drop support across apps, which was previously something that you could only do with iPadOS. With drag and drop, you can pick up images, documents, and files from one app and drag them into another.
You get a choice with software updates
There will now be a choice when it comes to software updates on iOS 15. In the Settings app, you'll be able to choose between two software update versions. If you want to have the latest version of iOS 15 as soon as it's released for the best new features and latest security updates, then you can update to the latest version of iOS 15 as it's released. Or you could choose to continue on iOS 14 and still get the important security updates until you're ready to upgrade to the next major iteration.
Voice Memos playback speed and skip silence
Voice Memos is a good built-in app to quickly capture a voice memo for yourself, or even for other things like interviews. With iOS 15, you can now change the playback speed of voice memos, either speeding it up or slowing down the playback of your recordings. Another big improvement is that Voice Memos will now analyze your recordings and automatically skip over silent gaps in your audio with a single tap with "Skip Silence."
Find My bringing Separation Alerts and more
One of the problems with AirTags was that Apple didn't support "leave behind" alerts like competitors Chipolo and Tile. This will change with iOS 15, as the Find My app will have support for Separation Alerts for your Apple devices, including AirTag and other third-party items. These alerts will alert you with a notification and give you directions to locate your item.
Other big Find My changes include the ability to locate your devices through the Find My network even if powered off. This helps you find an item that may have been on low battery or even turned off by a thief.
The Find My network will also have support for AirPods. This means that you can use the Find My network to get an approximate location of your missing AirPods Pro or AirPods Max. Once you are within reasonable Bluetooth range, you can play a sound from the AirPods to locate them.
What are you most excited about in iOS 15?
Even though these weren't talked about on the stage, they're still pretty big changes that are coming in iOS 15. What are you excited to see? Let us know in the comments!
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
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