When it arrived in September this year, Apple’s iOS 15 was already a major talking point among fans and tech-savvy crowds alike. You can now download it to your compatible iPhone for free and get instant access to exclusive upgrades in a number of Apple’s apps.  Alternatively, it's available on the new iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

We’ve already seen a lot of new features brought out this year by Apple in iOS 14. We’ve seen an update that allowed Face ID to work even while wearing a mask. We’ve seen updates that prevent apps from tracking your online activity for advertising. We’ve even seen an update that gave users the power to choose between a number of different Siri voices.

But the new iOS 15 is now here and includes even more exclusive features. From FaceTime calls with Android users (via your phone's browser) to improved directions in Maps, read on for all the new features appearing in Apple’s latest iOS 15.

Notifications: Focus filter, summary, and contact photos

Redesigned to add photos for notifications from contacts and larger icons for apps to give a more aesthetically pleasing appeal, iOS 15 is all about making your display sleeker and nicer to look at.

It even comes with an improved notification summary which will collect notifications together for delivery at the best time, even arranging notifications by their priority so you only have to glance.

Another feature brought in is called Focus which will filter notifications and apps depending on what the user wants to focus on during a certain time. When a user is blocking notifications for an app, such as Messages, Focus will display this status to contacts to give a subtle hint that you either don't want to be disturbed or may not reply immediately.

Apple Maps: AR walking directions, weather warnings, and 3D street data

With increased data for elevation, coloured roads, 3D landmarks, richer design labels, and even a far improved night mode, Maps is looking like a gaining winner for Apple vs Google Maps. With the new update, it’s even possible to pin nearby public transport stops and station information to your devices. This will give you automatic updates as you ride or approach your stop.

For pedestrians, an augmented reality feature allows you to scan nearby buildings and determine your precise location. Weather warnings for flash floods and extreme weather will alert you to dangers in the area and suggest alternative routes.

iMessage: New sharing features

Adding new sharing features for news articles, playlists, and photos, the iOS 15 iMessage will create dynamic collages from multiple received pictures. For ease of access, there is a new Shared with You folder storing all the photos you’ve been sent over iMessage. You can also access this same folder in News and Apple Music.

Safari: Compact tab bar, customisable start page, and web extensions

iOS 15 updates the Safari browser with a bold new design. Changing the layout of the controls, the app is now much easier to use one-handed and allows more focus on the webpage’s content so you don’t get distracted by pesky control bars ever again.

They’ve also introduced a better, more compact tab bar that will float along the bottom of the screen, allowing you to swipe easily between different open tabs. Tab Groups allows for the new grouping and saving of certain tabs in collections that will make them easily accessible across all Apple devices.

On this new update, Safari also comes with a customisable start page for the first time, allowing you to suit the app to your use. New web extensions also put Safari apart from many other browsing apps.

Wallet: Facial recognition selfies can now validate digital ID

The new support in the Wallet app allows users to upload digital versions of government-issued identification (such as driver’s licenses) onto the iPhone. For a post-contact society, this is a feature that will let you present your ID to retailers and relevant bodies without having to fumble around in your pocket for the right card.

Like existing banking apps, the iOS 15 will use facial recognition selfies to validate the digital ID cards you add to your wallet, smoothing the process and making it as easy as possible for you to keep all of your cards together, all in one place.  One step closer to not having to carry around any plastic cards in our pockets and bags.

FaceTime: Share play, shareable links, and new spatial audio

After lockdown, we know how important video chatting features are. So does iOS 15 which is coming with all new features and updates to the FaceTime app.

With new spatial audio, people’s voices can appear to come from their position on the screen, making video calls feel realistic and lifelike in a way that they certainly haven’t in the past. Now, it can feel like you’re talking to people right in the room with you. Kinda.

SharePlay is the latest feature that will enable users to share media together even whilst in a FaceTime call together. This includes watching videos together, listening to music together, and being able to share screens all during the call.

Plus, with shareable links, FaceTime is finally accessible to Windows and Android users through their web broswer.

It’s safe to say that the new iOS 15 is hitting Apple devices with plenty of new features to boot.

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