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Apple Previews iOS 15

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple is previewing iOS 15, the latest version of its mobile operating system.

The “major update” to iOS by Apple is intended to “enhance the iPhone experience,” according to the company last week.

Apple has created “even more ways” the iPhone can “enhance our daily lives,” said Craig Federighi, SVP of software engineering, Apple.

“We can’t wait for customers to experience it,” Federighi said.

The public beta of iOS 15 will be available to users in August. 

iOS 15 is designed to help users share experiences in real-time and “reduce distraction and find focus.”  

There are several key updates across the OS: on-device intelligence; privacy; Wallet; focus; notifications; Maps; FaceTime; Safari; Weather; and more.

See below for details on many of the new features in iOS 15:

On-device intelligence

  • Live Text recognizes text in a photo and allows users to take action 

  • Camera app recognizes and copies text in the moment through Apple Neural Engine

  • Visual Look Up allows users to learn more about popular art and landmarks, nature, pets and books

  • Spotlight searches for photos by location, people, scenes or objects

  • Spotlight offers web image search 

  • Enhanced results for contacts show recent conversations, shared photos and location if shared 

A FaceTime group running on iOS 15 on an Apple iPhone 12 Pro. Photo via Apple.

A FaceTime group runs on iOS 15 on an Apple iPhone 12 Pro. Photo via Apple.

Privacy 

  • With on-device speech recognition, audio of Siri requests is now processed entirely on iPhone by default and performance improves

  • Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from learning whether an email has been opened and hides IP addresses, so senders can’t learn a user’s location or use it to build a profile on them 

  • App Privacy Report offers an overview of how apps use the access that has been granted to location, photos, camera, microphone and contacts in the last seven days as well as which other domains are contacted

Wallet

  • Adds support for additional types of keys

  • Support for Ultra Wideband technology, so users can securely unlock and start their supported vehicle without removing their iPhone from a pocket or bag

  • iPhone can be used to unlock a user’s home, office or a hotel room

  • Later this year, users in participating U.S. states able to add their driver’s license or state IDs

Focus

  • Focus is a new feature that filters notifications and apps based on what a user wants to focus on 

  • Create a custom Focus or select a suggested Focus

  • Focus suggestions use on-device intelligence to suggest which people and apps are allowed to notify a user

  • Focus suggestions are based on users’ context, like work hours or bedtime

  • When Focus is set on one Apple device, it automatically applies to other Apple devices 

  • Create home screen pages with apps to only display relevant apps and reduce temptation

  • Focus sets status in Message to not currently reachable

Notifications 

  • Re-designed with contact photos for people and larger icons for apps

  • Notification summary that collects non-time-critical notifications for delivery at more opportune time, such as in the morning and evening 

  • Arranged by priority, with the most relevant notifications rising to the top, and based on user’s interactions with apps 

  • Urgent messages delivered immediately

  • Temporarily mute any app or messaging thread for the next hour or the day

Maps

  • Enhanced details in cities for neighborhoods, commercial districts, elevation, buildings, new road colors and labels, and custom-designed landmarks 

  • New night-time mode with a moonlit glow

  • When navigating using iPhone or CarPlay, features a three-dimensional city-driving experience with new road details to better see details like turn lanes, medians, bike lanes and pedestrian crosswalks

  • Transit riders can find nearby stations more easily and pin favorite lines 

  • Automatically follows along with a selected transit route, notifying when it’s nearly time to disembark

  • Hold up iPhone and Maps to generate position to deliver detailed walking directions in augmented reality

FaceTime

  • Extends calls beyond Apple devices. Users can create a link and share it through Messages, Calendar, Mail or third-party apps

  • Share experiences with SharePlay, including listening to songs together with Apple Music, watching a TV show or movie from Apple TV+ or other streaming services or sharing the screen to view apps together

  • Using spatial audio, voices in call sound as if they’re coming from where a person is positioned on the screen 

  • New microphone modes separate user’s voice from background noise

  • Portrait mode is available and designed for video calls. Users can blur their background and put themselves in focus

  • New grid view enables Group FaceTime participants to see more faces at the same time

Safari

  • New design makes controls easier to reach with one hand and puts content “front and center”

  • New tab bar is compact and lightweight and floats at bottom of the screen for users to swipe between tabs 

  • Tab Groups to save tabs and access them at any time across iPhone, iPad or Mac 

  • Customizable start page 

Weather

  • More graphical displays of weather data, full-screen maps and dynamic layouts that change based on conditions

  • Re-designed animated backgrounds more accurately reflect the sun’s position and precipitation

  • Notifications highlight when rain or snow starts and stops

Android 12 

In May, Google released the latest version of its mobile operating system, Android 12.

The beta of Android 12 is available on Pixel and other "select" devices.

Android 12 was developed to be "secure by default and private by design" and make all of a user's devices "work better together," according to Sameer Samat, VP of product management for Android and Google Play, Google.

Samat says the version is the "biggest design change in Android's history."

Android 12 features a number of updates across the OS: personalization; fluid motion; animations; privacy; security; and more. 

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Apple, IOS, iOS 15