Despite the financial investment it requires to get a highly capable smartphone, many people fail to invest the time and effort it takes to learn even a fraction of what it can do. But in my mind, it only makes sense that if you prioritize owning an advanced phone, you should also prioritize learning how to make the most of it. (Otherwise, what’s the point?)
And while I wouldn’t consider myself a tech wizard by any stretch of the imagination, I do try to stay abreast of what’s new with the major iOS updates for iPhone. And the release of iOS 15 back in March included a lot of features that can make your life easier, and maybe even more fun too.
If you have an iPhone 6s or newer, your phone can support iOS 15, and it may have already updated automatically depending on your settings. To check, go to Settings > General > Software Update.
Now, without further ado, here are 9 features that came along with the iOS 15 software update you may not have noticed!
9 New iPhone Hacks You Need To Know After iOS 15
1. Live Text In Photos
With a single tap of a photo, you can make a call, send an email, look up directions, or even translate a foreign language. Simply view an image that has text in it and tap the Live Text icon in the bottom right corner of the screen (a rounded square with three horizontal lines in it).
One useful application for Live Text is the ability to copy text from an image and paste it into another app. Just select all or part of the text in an image, then copy and paste it into Messages, Notes, Maps, or wherever else you need it.
In addition to the Photos app, Live Text also works in the Camera app, so you can point your camera at a sign or words on a page and tap the Live Text icon to bring up the options for using or sharing the information. I foresee this feature being a huge time-saver for me!
2. Enjoy Things Together With SharePlay
The introduction of SharePlay made it possible to stream TV shows and movies, listen to music, and share your screen from within a FaceTime call. That means you can hop on a FaceTime call with someone and watch your favorite show together, show off photos from a recent trip, or share a new song you’ve been dying for them to hear.
Not only is it fun to have a new way to connect, but third-party apps like Hulu, Disney+, and TikTok have announced they’re working to integrate the SharePlay feature and expect to roll out support for it later this year.
3. FaceTime With Anyone
Finally, iPhone users can send friends and family a link to invite them to a call on FaceTime, even if they’re using a Windows computer or Android phone. To set up a link and share it with your friends in Messages, Mail, or third-party apps like WhatsApp, just open FaceTime and tap Create Link.
You also have the option to schedule a FaceTime call and even create an event in Calendar to share with everyone who will be joining the call.
4. New Notification Options
Notifications now have bigger app icons and include contact photos so you can see who is contacting you, even for third-party apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. You also have the ability to mute notifications for a certain app for as long as you want, while time sensitive notifications are still delivered right away.
If you’re bothered by constant notifications, you now have the option to set up a Notification Summary with all notifications from specific apps and have it delivered to you at a certain time of day. To set it up, go to Settings > Notifications, turn on Notification Summary, then answer a few questions. (And don’t worry, notifications from apps you don’t add to your Summary will still be delivered as usual.)
5. Useful New Notes Features
You can now add tags to your Notes by typing the hashtag symbol followed by the word you want to use as a tag (like “work” or “onegoodthing”). Once you add a tag, you’ll see a Tags section on the Notes menu where you can view every note that has a specific tag.
In addition to tag, shared notes now include an Activity View option that shows a summary of the changes made to the note since the last time you opened it. This is sure to be useful for figuring out who added what to a shared note.
And finally, you can now mention people in Notes using the @ symbol, which will send a notification to their phone. This can be a useful way to remind someone in a shared note to add whatever information is needed from them.
6. Face ID With A Mask
With iOS 15, iPhone 12 and later can enable the new Face ID with a Mask feature, which works by focusing on the unique characteristics around your eyes. That means you can unlock your iPhone, authorize app downloads and passwords, and even use Apple Pay while you’re wearing a mask.
To enable this feature, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode, turn on Face ID with a Mask, then follow the onscreen instructions. Personally, I’m thrilled about this development (especially since I don’t have an Apple Watch and couldn’t use the Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch feature!)
7. Shared With You
When people send you links or images in Messages, they’ll show up in a new Shared with You section in the corresponding app. You can even send your reply right from the app in question, too.
As an example, say someone texts you a photo you want to pull up again later on. Instead of scrolling back through the conversation in Messages to find it, you can open Photos, tap the For You tab, then scroll down to Shared with You. (This works similarly in Podcasts, Music, News, and Safari too.)
The new Focus options have taken the old “Do Not Disturb” feature to new heights. Focus has several options for silencing notifications and eliminating distractions, including Personal, Sleep, Work, Driving, and even Gaming or Reading, all of which are customizable.
For each of the options, you can choose which notifications or contacts, if any, to allow while that Focus setting is enabled. This gives you a Focus option you can turn on in any situation without fearing you’ll miss important messages or notifications. We all need a break sometimes!
9. Improvements To Maps
The Maps app has gotten a number of upgrades, including an interactive 3D globe, 3D views of landmarks, and even an enhanced view that makes complicated interchanges easier to navigate when you’re driving.
I’m particularly interested in the new Immersive Walking Directions, which show you how to get to your destination with step-by-step directions that you can view in augmented reality. (So far just four cities are included, but I’m sure that’s just the beginning!)
These are just some of the useful updates that came along with iOS 15—here are plenty more to learn about on Apple Support!
Want Even More Smartphone Hacks?
- For even more clever hacks that can make your smartphone more useful and easier to use, check out the other posts in this series!
- Click here to explore the “iPhone Hacks” series archive.
What’s your favorite iOS 15 update?