Hands-on With iOS 15: Top 5 Features I Give a Sh*t About

A first-hand look at an underwhelming iOS 15
Front Page Tech

You might remember my little segment about Android 12 and the features I give a sh*t about; well, this is that but for iOS 15.

I’ll skip the disclaimer about beta software not being the best idea because well, you’re not a child. In fact, you may be a developer and get sick of that disclaimer in every single beta reference. That being said, I did wait a couple of days to download iOS 15 beta to see if sh*t hit the fan lol. Like that kid in the pool who jumps in last because he’s a baby. Yeah, that’s me. Also, I did NOT put it on my daily driver. I installed it on an old iPhone 11 Pro Max with battery capacity at 88%. I can’t say much about battery performance yet, but so far, so good. No major issues.

In no particular order-

Numero Uno: Messages

  • Shared with You: New in iMessage is a feature called “Share with You” that stores links, images, and other content in a section for each corresponding app. You can even reply directly from the app without going back to iMessage. Shared with You is built into the following native apps: Photos, Safari, Apple News, Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and the Apple TV app.
iOS 15 splash screen in Messages App
  • Photo Collections: This one’s really neat as it tidy’s up photo sharing in iMessage by creating what apple calls “an elegant” stack of photos you can easily swipe through. You also get this new Grid View that lets you add a quick Tapback or easily add to your own library.
iOS 15 Photo Collections in Message app

Numero 2: Find My

  • AirTag Like: New in Find My includes a low-power mode for your iPhone that acts like an AirTag by allowing nearby iOS devices to pick up the Bluetooth signal and send back its location. Even if your iPhone runs out of juice or if it’s reset to factory settings with Activation Lock enabled, it will still work. You have the option of disabling this feature in settings if you want your iPhone to turn off all the way.
Find My alert in iOS 15 when powering off your device
  • Widgets: They’ve also added a Widget option for your Home Screen to easily keep track of (or stalk) family and friends.
iOS 15 splash screen in the Find My app and new Widgets for your Home Screen

Numero 3: Notifications

  • Notification Summary: With a redesigned look including contact photos and larger app icons, this neat little feature gives you a summary of your notifications grouped and ordered by priority with the most relevant notifications at the front. iOS 15 gives you the option of setting a specific time for your notification summary that pops up as a morning and/or evening summary.
Resigned look at Notifications in iOS 15
Notification Summary in iOS 15 – Apple

Numero 4: Focus Mode

  • Focus: This little feature is great if you’re a squirrel like me. Think of it as a more intelligent Do Not Disturb. Do Not Disturb on steroids, if you will. Do Not Disturb remains in iOS 15 but is augmented with several Focus Mode settings such as personal, work, and sleep. Each breaks down even further into a variety of other customizations to better fit your busy life.
iOS 15 Focus Mode
  • Signal your status: Focus gives you the option to let others know your status via a small pop-up message. If they’re as*holes, they can still choose to send that message even after seeing your status alert.
Screenshot of iOS 15 status signal in Messages – Apple

Numero 5: Live Text

  • Live Text: Now, I know I said this list is in no particular order; however, this is probably the feature I love the most. By selecting text in a photo – even photos already in your Photo Library- you can make a call, send an email, or look up directions with just a tap.
Screenshot of Live Text in iOS 15 – Apple
  • Live Text in Camera: I call this the “Point and Go” feature because you can easily and quickly point your camera at text and “quickly take action on useful information.” I just realized this sounds like instruction for your toddler boy in potty training. It is not that.
iOS 15 Live Text in Camera – Apple
  • Live Text Translation: Use your camera to translate text or handwriting in seven different languages: English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. I should add that the metadata you get in Photos now is AWESOME.
A look at Jon’s favorite book and Live Text Translation in iOS 15
  • Visual Lookup: This doesn’t really fall under the Live Text capabilities but with similar functionality, I’ll wedge it in. I was surprisingly impressed with how accurate this feature has been; more often than not, correctly displaying the results.
Visual Look Up in Photo Library on iOS 15

Although these features add a TON of functionality, there’s nothing really groundbreaking that would make me take the beta plunge if I didn’t already have a developer account with Apple. It’s very apparent that the beer flu (COVID-19) had a major impact on this year’s development of iOS and so much more. Guess that means it can only keep getting better. I should mention that public beta is “coming soon” if you prefer to wait for that.

So that’s it. That’s the list. I can already hear you screaming about the new FaceTime enhancements, redesigned Safari Tab Bar, and a multitude of other features I missed. Settle down, baby. It’s ok. I’m still poking around the beta and have much more to come. Stay tuned!

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