The WWDC 2021 Developer Conference kicked off by announcing the new iOS 15 operating system for the iPhone. The upcoming update will feature such innovations as improved FaceTime calling with Spatial Audio support and end-to-end encryption, SharePlay technology for fast transfer of any media content in communication, more functional iMessage, simplified group notifications, and more.

Facetime

With iOS 15, FaceTime has a new grid-like interface for group calls and a blurred portrait mode for video calls. Audio calls now offer Spatial Audio support and AI-based adaptive noise cancellation. In addition, users will be able to generate a shared link to a scheduled video call from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac – even Android and Windows users will be able to connect.

The new SharePlay feature will allow iOS 15 users to stream music and videos, share movies and projects while on a call, and show the device’s screen. Third-party developers will have access to SharePlay as an API and will be able to integrate universal content delivery into their applications.

iMessage

For the built-in iMessage messenger in iOS 15, the exchange of various content has been expanded – now it will be possible to send images in stacks and collages, music linked to Apple Music, podcasts, or articles from the Apple News service. Users will also be allowed to pin something important in the chat and display the status “Do not disturb” or others in the “Focus” mode.

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Notifications

Notifications in iOS 15 received several changes aimed at focusing and reducing distractions. The iPhone will now have a unified notification summary that presents notifications based on what the user wants to focus on at the moment.

Users’ Do Not Disturb status will now be displayed for contacts in messages. Additionally, alternative statuses will be available as part of the “Focusing” function, customizable by the user independently, taking into account their preferences. Each status syncs across devices in the Apple ecosystem, showing desktops and notifications individually.

Using the information on the device, iOS notifications will be prioritized, moving up the most relevant ones and lowering the non-critical ones down. Important messages from contacts from iMessage will now always appear at the very top so that the user sees them first.

Safari

Like macOS Monterey, Safari in iOS 15 will have a new design that makes it easier to access controls with one hand and puts content in the spotlight. The shrunken tab bar will move to the bottom of the screen so that users can navigate faster between open websites. Tab groups will also appear: they will allow you to save tabs and access them anytime on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

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Apple also announced that similar to Safari on Mac, iOS 15 will customize the start page and finally integrate extensions into the browser on the iPhone.

Photos

The default Photos Gallery app in iOS 15 will learn to recognize text in images thanks to the Live Text feature. The latter will work in other OS (camera, browser) and Apple applications (for example, Apple News) with instant copying and searching through the dedicated Internet.

With the update, full-fledged photos will appear in Spotlight search, and Apple Music songs will be integrated into memories – that is, literally captured events of the past. Collections of memories with music will be created automatically, synchronized with the music you listen to.

Other innovations

  • Supports ID ID IDs, Corporate Badges, Hotel Room Keys, and Smart Home Locks Keys in the Wallet app.
  • Redesign of the Weather application with a built-in map and new background animations.
  • Globe mode, more detailed 3D city maps, new road details, public transport information, and automatic geolocation tracking while on the bus with drop-off notification in the Maps app.
  • Better tracking of a user’s gait with notifications of potential problems and the ability to share real-time data with relatives to track their health in the Health app.
  • Voice search in Safari.
  • New set and customization of Memoji stickers.
  • Improved Spotlight Search: Use AI to search for photos by location, people, scenes, or objects, search for images on the web, redesigned results for actors, musicians, movies, and TV shows, more detailed results for contacts with recent chats, shared photos, and even geolocation marks.
  • Enhanced privacy protection in the form of hiding the user’s IP address, geolocation, and email address by default.
  • Significantly accelerated work of the voice assistant Siri, data processing occurs locally on the device.
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