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What is iOS 15?

When it comes to pocket-sized wonders there are few more incredible devices than our smart little mobile phones. With such amazing functionality is there anything they can’t do? So, there are few things more likely to get a nation of tech-lovers excited than a new software update from everybody’s favourite tech giant Apple.

The latest update due to hit the UK’s iPhones is iOS 15. Available for download in the Autumn, it promises to deliver a lot. These include major updates to FaceTime, new Focus features to reduce distraction, developments to notifications and messaging, and yet more ways to explore the world.

Whenever such updates hit, they make us painfully aware of how indispensable our mobile phones truly are. So it’s more vital than ever that both iPhone devotees and Android obsessives have the right insurance for a mobile phone. Making sure your tech is safe from theft or accident is a big part of staying connected.

iOS 15

Top new features from iOS 15 to get excited about

New versions of iOS usually launch in mid-September alongside any new iPhones. If the rumours about a possible iPhone 13 (or iPhone 12s) are to be believed then we should see the iOS 15 update land in September 2021.

So, as we prepare for iOS 15 to become available for download, here’s a quick overview of just some of the most exciting new features to explore.

FaceTime

Apple has introduced lots of great new features to FaceTime in iOS 15, making FaceTime even more user friendly, comfortable and lifelike. These changes include:

  • Spatial Audio
    This makes the voices of participants in a video call seem to come from where they are on the screen. Helping group conversations flow more naturally.
  • New microphone modes
    Voice Isolation now focuses on your voice alone, and blocks out other background noise (great for conference calls in a busy office). But if you want your listeners to get a better sense of your environment then Wide Spectrum will allow more unfiltered background noise.
  • Grid View
    For group FaceTime calls, this lets participants see more faces at the same time. The feature automatically highlights who is talking.
  • Portrait Mode
    Inspired by camera Portrait Mode, this feature blurs the background so viewers can focus more on you.
  • FaceTime Links
    If you want to set up a scheduled FaceTime call then this will generate a unique web link to share. Similar to how a Google Meet or a Zoom link works.
  • SharePlay
    Probably our favourite new FaceTime feature. SharePlay lets you keep conversations going as you watch movies together, listen to music or share screens. With synced playback and controls you’ll see everyone reacting to the same jumps and scares at the same time! What a great way to share experiences with friends and family no matter what the distance separating you. Supported services such as Disney+, Twitch, Hulu, TikTok and more will use SharePlay. Unfortunately, there’s currently no Netflix.

Messages and memoji

There are plenty of improvements in terms of messaging and some nice tweaks if you’re as partial to a cute memoji as we are.

First up is the Shared with You feature that lets you see links, images and other content that’s been shared with you in Messages. This works across apps so you can even reply straight from the app you’re enjoying it in without having to come out and go into Messages. It just makes everything flow more easily.

Next is a tweak so multiple photos in Messages now appear as a stack. Another massive improvement making it much easier to display and view multiple images. It’s also simpler to save them to your library.

And last, but by no means least, those wonderful, quirky memojis! Apple has added over 40 new outfits for you to choose from, new glasses and eye colour options and 15 new stickers. So you can send a shaka, a handwave or even a lightbulb moment!

Sports fans will love the fact you can now wear multicoloured headgear to suit your favourite team. While there are also new accessibility customisations to include cochlear implants, oxygen tubes and soft helmets.

Notifications

Rather than the past history of tweaks and refinements characterising Apple’s previous approach to notifications, iOS 15 boasts a complete redesign. Notifications now have a new look, including contact photos and larger app icons to make them easier to recognise.

Users can quickly access a swish new Notification Summary at a time of their choosing. Here they can view all those non-urgent notifications, helpfully arranged according to priority by Apple's own in-device machine learning algorithms.

Apple hopes this will result in better management for all your iPhone notifications. Although urgent messages and time-sensitive notifications will continue to be delivered immediately.

Focus

Dealing with the constant stream of distractions for modern mobile phone users is a big ask for any software update. But Apple is taking on the challenge with the new Focus tool. This machine learning tool lets you filter notifications and Home Screen pages so you can focus on particular activities at certain times of day.  

So, whether you’re at work, at play or winding down for bed you won’t be interrupted with distractions. Whether you want to stay in the zone at work or want to enjoy a distraction‑free family dinner, Focus is there to keep you in the moment. But don’t worry about missing something vital, the tool will still let urgent notifications through.

Focus also lets you signal your status to other users so they know you’re busy and aren’t left wondering why you haven’t responded.

Safari

Apple's trusty web browser has also seen a substantial redesign in time for iOS 15. The address bar and controls have now been brought to the bottom of the screen making them easier to use one-handed on a mobile. You can now easily swipe between different tabs, switch to full screen view, and pull down to refresh web windows. You can also use Tab Groups to save and organise often used tabs, which can be synced across devices.

There's a new customisable home screen, the option to search the web using just your voice, and the ability to install Safari extensions on your iPhone, just like on your Mac.

iOS 15 features new privacy protections, including Intelligent Tracking Prevention. This stops trackers from profiling you using your IP address.

Live Text

There’s still a huge amount of useful information floating around the real world today. Rather than having to input it all into our iPhones, the new Live Text tool uses images to unlock this vast store. Simply take a photo of something with text in it and the Live Text tool will highlight it, copy it into a document, or even translate it! It understands English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Spanish. So it’s great for holidays, wherever you are in the world!

It allows you to even make a call, send an email or get directions by simply tapping on part of the highlighted text in a photo. Super-convenient and super-smart!

Visual Look Up

And it’s not just the text in photos that iOS 15 can help you with. Simply swipe up or tap the new information button on any photo and you can quickly learn more about it. From art, landmarks, nature and a whole variety of other subjects simply tapping a photo on your device or on the web opens up a world of opportunities to learn.

Spotlight

Spotlight has become even more useful and can now search intelligently for photos by location, people, scenes, or objects with even richer results. Great for finding out even more information on your favourite celebs!

Photos

As well as the developments in Spotlight, there are also improvements to photo Memories. This is a new interactive and immersive interface to let you create new slideshows and carousels of photo collections with music. What a great way to view your own personal story. And with tens of millions of songs available in Apple Music, there’s bound to be a suitable soundtrack!

iPhone 12 Camera

Apple Wallet

The Apple Wallet app continues to expand with the iOS 15 update. As long as you’ve got the right technology in place, the app could give you access to your home, garage, office, work or even hotel room! It also lets some users lock, unlock, or even start their car.

It’s not just iPhones that have such great features, other mobile phone manufacturers are also getting in on the act. That’s why mobile phone insurance arranged through Gadget Cover covers a range of eventualities for even those who don’t have an iPhone. Whether you’ve gone with Samsung, Huawei or any other, if your gadget is accidentally lost or stolen, we will refund the cost of unauthorised transactions made using your e-Wallet facility up to a maximum of £500.

Maps

The Maps app is an incredibly useful part of the iOS offering and Apple has now provided some great improvements to it. The iOS 15 update features enhanced details so you can view roads, neighbourhoods and landmarks with even more accuracy.

Drivers using the app will also enjoy a more refined look, making it even easier to look ahead to complex junctions, upcoming traffic conditions and current incidents.

And if you like getting around by foot or on public transport there are also helpful options for you, too. View immersive step-by-step walking directions in augmented reality, or keep updated on public transport travel times. Getting the optimum journey from A to B has never been easier!

Weather

The world of weather apps is getting ever more competitive and Apple is doing all it can to challenge the likes of the BBC and Accuweather. The fresh, new iOS weather app now provides users with even more detailed and more accurate weather, dynamic animated backgrounds that change based on weather conditions, and high-resolution weather maps so you can see what’s happening with the weather near you. Even the most avid weather watcher will be pleased!

If you can’t wait for the iOS 15 update, then see our Gadget Cover list of the best weather apps available today.

Health

If you like to keep track of your health and fitness with your phone, iOS 15 is for you. Updates to the Health app in iOS 15 promise to give you new ways to share data with their friends and family, a tool to help assess your risk of falling, and in-depth trend analysis to help you understand health changes.

How to download iOS 15

It’ll come as no surprise that downloading iOS 15 will be pretty straightforward when it arrives. If you’ve downloaded iOS updates before then it will be typically straightforward and intuitive. However, if you need a reminder, here’s how to do it:

  • Check compatibility. Providing you’ve got an iPhone 6S or above (pretty much anything released since 2015) there should be no problem.
  • Backup your device.
  • Connect to the internet through Wi-Fi and go to Settings > General > Software Update. Tap Download and then Install.
  • If you can’t update wirelessly then you will be able to update manually via a trusted computer.

Mobile phone insurance from Gadget Cover

While iOS 15 adds even more value to iPhones, many other mobile phones are also incredibly valuable and sought-after.

From Samsung and Huawei to many other rival makers of mobile phones, the helpful team here at Gadget Cover can set you up with a mobile phone insurance policy that suits your device, needs and budget.

Policies arranged by Gadget Cover include protection for accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage. And for an extra premium we will even cover it against loss, too.

Choose a policy from Gadget Cover and it can be extended to your immediate family.

Cover is also automatically extended to include use of your phone anywhere in the world, up to 180 days in any one year.

So, even if you’re not waiting for the iOS 15 update it’s still well worth getting a quote for mobile phone insurance today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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