These iOS 15 features will only run on these devices

Sharing Photo With Siri In Ios
Sharing Photo With Siri In Ios (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

Apple's iOS 15 launches today, September 20. Unfortunately, not every feature will work on all devices, although they will on the best iPhones currently on the market.

Here's a breakdown of what won't work depending on the circumstances.

iOS 15 restrictions

Certain iOS 15 features won't work on older devices, while others aren't launching until a future iOS 15 update. Among these are the following:

Require Phones with A12 Bionic and later

There are various features in iOS 15 that need the A12 Bionic chip or those produced later to operate, including:

  • Spatial audio: This heavily anticipated new iOS 15 feature creates a sound field during FaceTime conversations. Your friends' voice is spread out like it's coming from the direction in which they're positioned on the call.
  • Wide Spectrum mode: This second new FaceTime feature adds crispness to every single sound in your call.
  • Weather animated backgrounds: The beautifully designed weather animated scenes in the native Weather app in iOS 15 require a little bit of extra processing power.
  • Immersive walking directions: These allow you to see step-by-step directions with augmented reality.
  • Interactive Globe: The feature showcases mountain ranges, deserts, forests, oceans, and more.
  • Detailed new city experience: In Maps, cities like San Francisco and New York include more detail than ever before.

Requires Phones with A12 Bionic and later plus download of speech models

All Siri-based, the following iOS 15 features are limited to newer iPhones that have installed downloaded speech models. This includes on-device speech processing, on-device dictation, continuous dictation, on-device personalization, offline support, and fast on-device processing.

Requires an iPhone Xs or later

Apple is introducing four new types of keys in iOS 15. Home keys allow you to unlock your HomeKit door lock from your Wallet app, while hotel keys do the same with your room at supported lodging locations. All-new office and car keys work in similar ways in supported facilities and vehicles.

Available in the U.S. only

Per Apple, the following healthcare-based iOS 15 features are only supported in the United States:

  • Share health data with your doctor: Securely share the health data you store in the Health app with your healthcare provider. Your doctor will be able to view the data you share in a dashboard in the provider's health records system.
  • Lab results enhancements: When you view your lab results through Health Records on iPhone, you can now see a description of the lab to help you understand what it means. You'll also receive lab highlights in your health summary, including whether they are in range. You can pin labs that are most important to you for quick access
  • Blood glucose highlights: Receive highlights that show your blood glucose levels from a connected blood glucose monitor during sleep as well as during exercise. Interactive charts make it even easier for you to review your blood glucose data.

Drag and drop on iOS 15

Drag and drop on iOS 15 (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

Only available for the U.S., U.K., and Ireland

With next-hour precipitation notifications, you can get alerts when rain, snow, hail, or sleet is about to start or stop.

Requires an iPhone 8 or later

Walking Steadiness is a new health metric that provides insight into your risk of falling. Using custom algorithms, it determines your assessment by looking at your balance, strength, and gait.

Needs an iPhone 7 or later

Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings a more immersive experience of Dolby Atmos music to listens with AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.

Requires a HomePod or HomePod mini with the latest HomePod software

With Siri-enabled accessories, HomeKit developers can enable Siri in their products using HomePod. With this feature enacted, you can ask the voice assistant to send a message, set a reminder, or broadcast an Intercom message to the family from more devices in your home.

Arriving in an iOS 15 update before the end of the year

Apple promises the following announced features will be available before the end of 2021:

  • SharePlay: The highly-anticipated new feature makes it possible to share content with others via FaceTime and Messages.
  • ID in Wallet: You can add your driver's license and state ID to Wallet on your iPhone and a paired Apple Watch and present them securely at TSA checkpoints.

Arrives via a future iOS 15 update

The following features are coming through an iOS 15 update "later":

  • App Privacy Report: The new section in Settings provides information on how often apps have accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts during the last seven days. It also shows you which apps have contacted other domains and how recently they have contacted them.
  • Digital Legacy program: Another highly anticipated new feature, the Digital Legacy program, lets you designate people as Legacy contacts so they can access your account and personal information after you die.

Shared With You Content In Apple Tv App On Ios

Shared With You Content In Apple Tv App On Ios (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

Requires AirPods (2nd generation), AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max

Siri will now announce Time-Sensitive incoming notifications on AirPods. You can also have alerts that are not Time-Sensitive enabled for any app through the Settings app.

Available on AR-supported handsets

With RealityKit 2, AR experiences are further improved to include custom shaders, post rendering effects, and more.

Available on iPhone Xs, iPhone Xr, and later

In iOS 15, the Camera app lets you swipe up or down while taking a QuickTake video to zoom in or out.

Available on the iPhone 12 series only

Apple explains, there's now "enhanced" connectivity on 5G on last year's iPhone lineup:

More app and system experiences are enhanced by faster 5G connectivity, including support to back up to iCloud and restore from an iCloud backup, stream audio and video on Apple and third‑party apps, download higher‑quality Apple TV+ content, sync photos to iCloud Photos, download Apple News+ magazine issues for offline reading, and download machine learning models.

Questions

Do you have questions about iOS 15? Let us know in the comments below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.

3 Comments
  • So what exactly does work on older A9 chipped phones? Why can't Rene and the rest of you do an article/video on this subject for once instead of always concentrating on the latest and greatest?
    I haven't bothered updating to iOS 15 on my 6s. Can anyone tell me if or when it may be worth the risk?
  • I am wondering how many people think these new features outweigh pending CSAM spyware
  • Regarding the Digital Legacy program, can I bequeath my purchased books and movies to my son?