iOS 15
Version of the iOS operating system
IOS 15 logo.png
iOS 15 home screen
iOS 15 home screen on an iPhone 12 Pro
DeveloperApple Inc.
Source modelClosed with open-source components
General
availability
September 20, 2021; 16 months ago (2021-09-20)[1]
Latest release15.7.3[2] (19H307)[3] (January 23, 2023; 4 days ago (2023-01-23)) [±]
Update methodSoftware Update
Package managerApp Store
Platforms
Kernel typeHybrid (XNU)
Default
user interface
Cocoa Touch (multi-touch, GUI)
LicenseProprietary software with open-source components
Preceded byiOS 14
Succeeded byiOS 16
Official websiteiOS 15 at the Wayback Machine (archived September 6, 2022)
TaglineIn touch. In the moment.
Support status
Supported with widespread third party app support
Articles in the series
iPadOS 15 (derivative for iPad)

iOS 15 is the fifteenth major release of the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple for its iPhone and iPod Touch lines of products. It was announced at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7, 2021, as the successor to iOS 14, and released to the public on September 20, 2021.[4]

On June 6, 2022, at WWDC 2022, its successor, iOS 16, was announced. iOS 15 was officially succeeded by iOS 16 on September 12, 2022.

iOS 15 is the final version of iOS that supports the iPod Touch, as its successor, iOS 16, drops support for the seventh-generation iPod Touch.[5]

System features

Focus

Focus is a new feature that allows a user to change their "state", such as work, sleep, do not disturb or a custom focus. Based on the selected state, users can set the type of notification they want to receive and from which application. It is also possible to choose which pages and then apps to show on the Home based on the state. The state can change automatically based on where the user is or a time.[6]

Focus also controls the interactions with Contacts, so it is possible to decide which specific contacts can "disturb" the user.[7]

Some Lock Screen settings can be controlled based on the state: for example, the Dim Lock Screen feature, which darkens the lock screen from not showing notifications on that screen, can be automatically turned on or off based on the state.[8]

Focus is synchronized automatically across different iOS and macOS devices on the same iCloud account, as well as any paired watchOS devices.[9]

Notifications

Notifications receive a new look with contact photos for all communication apps and larger app icons. When the notification arrives, the user can mute the corresponding app for one hour or all day.[10]

The Summary allows the user to group and postpone the notifications coming from the chosen apps, delivering them at a scheduled time in a single big notification called summary notification.[11]

Live Text

Devices with an A12 chip or later support Live Text, which uses optical character recognition to recognize text in images, allowing copy-and-paste, look-up, and translation in Photos, Screenshot, Quick Look, Safari, and Live Preview with Camera. This feature uses artificial intelligence text recognition using the Neural Engine.[12]

Smart stacks with suggested Widgets

The Widgets in iOS 15 are now more dynamic: depending on the context, the system can add or remove widgets to existing stacks. For example, near the start of a certain event in the Calendar, the system can decide to add the Calendar Widget to an existing smart stack, if it is not already present, and then remove it at the end of the event.[13]

Cross-App Drag and Drop

Pictures and text can be dragged from one app and dropped in another. This feature was previously only available in iPadOS.[14]

Home

The various Home screens can be reordered, deleted, hidden, or limited using Focus mode.[15]

Per-App Text Size

From the Control Center, the text size can be set per app.[14]

Spotlight

The global search function has been enhanced and it is also available on the lock screen by pulling the page down.[16]

Dictation

Formerly limited to 60 seconds, the Voice-To-Text dictation available in the keyboard is unlimited.[17]

System-wide translation

System-wide translation allows the user to translate text in all apps by selecting it and tapping on the Translate option.[18]

Adjust video playback speed

The system default player, used for videos and by many apps, supports changing playback speed.[19]

Video Effects and Mic Mode

The Control Center supports Video Effects, adding Portrait effect to the camera, and Mic Mode to implement microphone Voice Isolation.[20]

Accessibility improvements

iCloud

Backups to iCloud can now also be made on 5G cellular networks.[17]

RealityKit 2

The new version for augmented reality (AR) uses new APIs to capture objects faster, and supports custom shaders, dynamic assets, custom systems and character control.[24][25][26][27]

Accounts for School and Work

User accounts managed by an organization, such as work or school accounts, can be added without requiring external apps or profiles.[28]

StoreKit 2

StoreKit 2 allows apps to implement the "Request a Refund" option in-app. The users can tap this option, select a specific in-app purchase and identify the problem that led to the refund request.[29] It also allows developers to monitor the purchases made by their users without using third-party solutions.[30][better source needed]

App features

FaceTime

iOS 15 adds several new features to FaceTime including:[31]

Memoji

Memoji in iOS 15 have more customization options, including new clothing, two different eye colors, new glasses, new stickers, multicolored headwear, and new accessibility options.[32][33]

Messages

Maps

Apple Maps receives several new features:[37]

Photos

The Photos app can now manually set the time, date, and location of a photo. The app also allows the user to view information about the photo such as the camera used to take the photo and the photo's file size.[39][40] In the Photos app, the user can now look up places that are inside images, however, this feature only works on the Apple A12 chip or later.[41][42][43][44]

Camera

Improved panoramic shooting mode on iPhone 12 and above: less geometric distortion in panoramic shots with elongated fields of view, noise and banding reduction that are formed in the image due to changes in brightness and contrast when moving the camera from side to side, a less blurry and clearer image even when capturing moving subjects within the panorama.[45]

Safari

Safari was completely redesigned, moving the tab bar and address bar to the bottom of the screen, but there is an option to keep the legacy layout. It now has tab groups, allowing users to organize tabs and share entire groups of tabs. The user can now use a pull to refresh gesture to refresh a webpage.[46] Browser extensions are available for the first time in Safari for iOS; they are the same extensions available in Safari for the Mac.[47] Safari will automatically upgrade HTTP URLs to HTTPS if compatible. The WebM audio codec is supported.

Safari opens with a new start page; it is possible to have a custom page on startup that contains sections including favorites, most frequently visited sites, Siri suggestions, etc.[48]

App Clips more discoverable: it is possible to show a full-screen preview of the app clip in Safari.

Weather

Weather received an overhaul, with new animations and weather maps in full screen, and the weather icon was updated. The app also has a next-time precipitation notifications feature which allows the user to get a notification whenever rain or snow is going to start or stop within the next hour for the user’s current location and each saved location, independently.[49]

Siri

Siri can now work offline on device with an A12 Bionic chip or later, responding faster to common requests supported locally without need for Internet connection.[50][51]

News

Apple News has been completely redesigned, featuring more rounded corners.[52][failed verification]

Share with Siri

Siri responds to requests such as "Hey Siri, share this with [name]" or "send this to [name]" to share screen content using Messages. Items such as images, web pages, Apple Music or Podcasts, Apple News stories, and Maps locations will share the actual content (or a link to it). For content Siri cannot share, Siri will send a screenshot, notifying the user.

Announce Notifications: with announce notifications update in iOS 15, Siri can read all incoming notifications aloud and allow users to speak a response to them. This can be enabled for specific apps.

Health

Health data can now be shared.[53][better source needed][54][55][56]

A new monitored parameter called "Walking Steadiness" has been added, which determines the risk of falling using gyroscopic sensors that measure balance, stability, and coordination.[53][better source needed][54][55]

Added the Trend analysis i.e. horizontal lines that show the trend of the various parameters over the long term.[53][better source needed]

Lab Results allows the user to import laboratory results into the Health app from a healthcare provider.

Files

Groups is a new view mode that groups files of the same type.

The built-in PDF editor can insert pages from existing files or scans, remove pages, and rotate pages. PDFs can also be locked with a password.[57]

Notes

New #tags allow classifying, organizing, then finding the user's notes faster. Smart Folders automatically group various notes based on tags. Ability to share notes with other collaborators and work on them together. The activity view shows a summary of the changes made by other collaborators before the user's last reading and a day-by-day list of the activities carried out by each collaborator. It is possible to mention @someone in the notes, who will be notified.

Reminders

Ability to insert #tags in reminders to classify them.

Shortcuts

Voice Memos

Added new playback options to adjust speed and skip silence.

Wallet

Security and privacy

App Privacy Report

By activating this app logging, the user can save a 7-day summary of the times when the various apps access certain data and the domains or websites they visit. This feature was called "Record App Activity" until iOS 15.2, when its functionality was extended.[61]

Siri Improved Privacy

On devices with an Apple A12 chip or later, Siri now converts audio into words on the device itself instead of sending it to Apple servers.[62]

Hide IP address for trackers in Safari

Safari's anti-tracking now prevents known trackers from reading the user real IP address.[63]

Hide IP address for external content in Mail

In the Mail app, the user can enable the setting to hide their IP address when downloading external content that may be present in a mail message. In this way it is possible to privately download this external content without being tracked by spammers or commercial companies that have inserted them without the user's knowledge.

Hide My Email

Hide My Email creates random email addresses that forward to the inbox so e-mail can be sent and received anonymously.

iCloud Private Relay

Private Relay masks the user's IP address in Safari, preserving the region without revealing the actual location. It also protects the DNS query resolution and insecure HTTP traffic in all apps.

Built-in one-time password authenticator With Autofill

The built-in authenticator allows iOS devices to be used to generate verification codes for additional sign-in security of accounts. There is no need to download a separate app because it is integrated into the OS. The verification codes are automatically filled when a user signs in to the site.

WPA3 Hotspot

Hotspot connections now can also use the WPA3 security protocol.[64]

Tethering to/from older iOS devices is not possible as WPA2 compatibility is not fully supported.

Apple Support have said that if enough people put in a feature request they might fix this issue.[citation needed]

CSAM detection

CSAM detection identifying known Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) in photos stored iCloud Photos was originally intended to be included. Implementation of CSAM detection was delayed indefinitely,[65] and cancelled altogether in December 2022.[66] This recognition is based on a perceptual hash called NeuralHash.[67]

Siri and Search were updated to intervene when users perform searches for queries related to CSAM. The Messages app will warn children when receiving or sending sexually explicit photos, blurring sent and received photos.[68] It was originally planned to also notify parents of children under 13 if they choose to view flagged messages anyway, but this was removed due to concerns about abusive parents.[69]

Hardened memory allocation

Main article: iOS § Hardened memory allocation

iOS 15 introduced kalloc_type in order to advance memory safety in the XNU kernel. This is primarily to mitigate privilege escalation vulnerabilities.[70]

Other changes

iOS Notes
15.0
  • New widgets have been added: Mail, Contacts, Game Center, Find My, App Store, Sleep, Apple Card
  • iOS 13 wallpapers were removed in the first beta of iOS 15.
  • iOS 15 features a new wallpaper in two modes: light and dark.
  • "Other" storage was renamed to "System Data".
  • Passkey technology added.[71]
15.1 SharePlay was officially released in iOS 15.1. It was initially present in the iOS 15.0 betas but was disabled and hidden behind a developer profile before the final release.[72]
15.2
  • Emergency SOS improved.[73]
  • On iOS 15.0–15.1, Face ID was disabled on the iPhone 13 series after a third-party screen replacement. This is no longer the case starting from iOS 15.2.[74]
15.4 Additions:
  • New Emojis.
  • Game Controllers Support for App Store.
  • SharePlay support.
  • Support for Italian and Chinese (Traditional) for Safari webpage translation.
  • New gender-neutral voice option for Siri.
  • ‘Cosmetic Scan’ Trade-In Tool for iPhone.
  • "Corner Gestures" for Notes in Settings.
  • The option to turn off notifications for Personal Automations in Shortcuts.
  • Face Mask and Glasses for FaceID.
  • Vaccination Records in the Health app.
  • Keychain Notes to iCloud.
  • Custom Email Domains for iCloud Support was expanded and added.

Changes:

  • Emergency SOS settings were changed to "Call with Hold for all users" and "Call with 5 Presses".
  • TV App Customization will choose "Preferences" and choose "Still Frame" or "Poster Art" options for the "Up Next" display that was added in iOS 15.4.

Removals:

  • A broken toggle to disable iCloud data access on the web was removed from Settings.

Fixes:

  • FaceID was fixed and re-enabled.
  • Issue with 120Hz animations not fully working on iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max was fixed.
15.5
  • Weather: its much more prominent new feature called "Report an Issue" was added instead of just text, and the Weather app design was tweaked and improved.
  • SharePlay UI button was updated and more easily enabled.
  • Apple Pay in the Messages app was renamed to "Apple Cash".
  • Podcasts received a new setting to limit episodes stored on user's iPhone and iPad and automatically delete older ones.
  • Support for "External Link Account Entitlement" was added.
  • iTunes Pass was revamped, rebranded and renamed to "Apple Account Card".
  • Apple Account Balance card received a new image.
  • Apple Store includes a new feature "Pay with your iPhone in the Apple Store, shop online, or buy apps, subscriptions, and other services"; support for this feature was added.
  • Emergency SOS "Call with 5 Presses" setting was removed and disabled from Settings.

Supported devices

All the devices supporting iOS 14 support iOS 15. However, devices with an A9, A10 or A11 chip, such as the iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone SE (1st generation) and the iPod Touch (7th generation), all have limited support. The following is a list of devices that support iOS 15:[75]

Release history

Further information: IOS version history § iOS 15

The first developer beta of iOS 15 was released on June 7, 2021, and the first public beta was released on June 30, 2021, six days after the release of the second developer beta.[76][77] iOS 15 was officially released on September 20, 2021.[78]

Previous release Current release Current beta release
iOS 15 releases[79]
Version Build Codename Release date Release notes
15.0 19A341[a] Sky September 24, 2021 Release notes

Security content

19A346 September 20, 2021
15.0.1 19A348 October 1, 2021 Release notes

Security content

15.0.2 19A404 October 11, 2021 Release notes

Security content

15.1 19B74 SkyB October 25, 2021 Release notes

Security content

15.1.1 19B81 November 17, 2021 Release notes
15.2 19C56

19C57[b]

SkyC December 13, 2021 Release notes

Security content

15.2.1 19C63 January 12, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.3 19D50 SkyD January 26, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.3.1 19D52 February 10, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.4 19E241 SkyEcho March 14, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.4.1 19E258 March 31, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.5 19F77 SkyF May 16, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.6 19G71 SkyG July 20, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.6.1 19G82 August 17, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.7 19H12 SkySecuritySydney September 12, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.7.1 19H117 SkySecuritySydneyB October 27, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.7.2[c] 19H218 SkySecuritySydneyC December 13, 2022 Release notes

Security content

15.7.3[c] 19H307 SkyUpdate January 23, 2023 Release notes

Security content

See Apple's official release notes, and official security update contents.

  1. ^ Initial release on the iPhone 13 lineup
  2. ^ iPhone 13 series only
  3. ^ a b Only available for devices not supported by iOS 16:
    • iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
    • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
    • iPhone SE (1st gen)
    • iPod Touch (7th gen)

See also

Notes

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Preceded byiOS 14 iOS 15 2021 Succeeded byiOS 16