For those who love to have the latest, there’s one thing thats better than having the latest phone – that’s having the latest operating system before it’s released. Today, Apple’s iOS15 hits public beta status, meaning if you choose – you can have it on your phone.
Announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference just last month iOS 15 features a suite of updates including new looks, ease of use and perhaps most importantly Focus – a genuine attempt at creating work/life balance.
We’ve been running the developer version of the new iOS 15 since its release, so can give you some insight into what to expect if you jump onto the Public Beta today.
In an attempt to minimise the system functions and maximise content, Safari’s “address” bar has been moved to the bottom of the screen, disappearing completely when scrolling and reading.
If you have multiple websites open, you can now swipe between them on the address bar which sits just above the iOS application switching swipe bar at the bottom of the screen.
Managing tabs is more comprehensive with Tab Groups for easy access to regular sites.
Though I couldn’t find the “Close all” option to just clear my enormous number of tabs.
LookAround – the Apple equivalent of Google’s “Street View” isn’t yet launched in Australia, however in iOS 15 the new look Maps are.
The maps feature a new colour scheme, making roads grey, terrain more clear, and minimising Map features unless needed.
Highlighting items of interest in an area to declutter the map.
AirTags and Find My
It may just be updates Apple is constantly making to the Find My functions of the Apple AirTags, but since updating to iOS 15 I’ve been getting much more responsive alerts when I leave items like keys behind.
The alerts happen in a timely manner and have made the AirTags a much more valuable item since using iOS 15.
QR Code Scanner
This may be a simple one, but Apple has changed the way QR codes work in iOS 15 and I don’t like it at all.
When a QR code is detected by the camera, it is highlighted by a yellow box. However, instead of a notification appearing from the top of the screen – as millions of people would be used to by now – a yellow web link appears underneath the QR code which moves as you move, making it difficult to tap.
That one needs a rethink.
iPad OS Widgets
Happy days for your iPad desktop. You can now add Widgets to your home screens on iPad.
And there’s a new larger Widget which should get some great ideas flowing for developers.
Perhaps the best feature of iOS 15 is Focus.
You can set focus modes for Work, Personal, Sleep, and even create your own.
In simple terms, it’s Do not Disturb on steroids, and it’s smart.
Within any focus mode you can choose which apps notifications will be displayed, and which contacts calls or messages will come through.
This is a gamechanger. I don’t mind getting twitter notifications, but I don’t need them in work hours.
Now when I’m at work, my phone intelligently switches to Focus Work mode based on my location.
Hours and hours of productivity. When I leave, all the messages and notifications are there to see.
At any time in that mode, I can open any app, and see what’s happening, it’s just not “pushed” to me.
Likewise, the temptation of apps are removed. Because I can create a custom Home screen for any Focus Mode.
This minimises the temptation to open apps I should avoid in work hours, brilliant.
It will take some getting used to, you’ll be shocked by how peaceful it can be, and it will impact many apps notification engagement, but we’ll see how people use it.
Overall, a standout feature, well worth giving a go.
Photo & Camera Info
Simple observation, but swiping up on a photo in your library shows you a bunch more info than ever before. Basically displaying the EXIF information for any image, which tells you when and where the photo was taken, and on which device.
Setting a timer or alarm
Oh, one of my pet hates about the Alarm app on iOS 14 – having to TYPE the time. Instead, it appears iOS 15 has gone back to the dials you can flick to set.
CarPlay messages from numbers not in contacts.
Again, this is really simple, but have you ever gotten text messages from people not in your contact list? Siri says “Message from plus six one zero four one two five five five seven six nine” or whatever it is. And then again when you reply.
Now, Siri just says something along the lines of “an unsaved number”. Simple.
We’ll test out more from Focus with forcing notifications, and also SharePlay when more of our friends have iOS 15:)
Trialling software before it is released is risky. In this case, the Developer version I have been using has been very robust. But, that’s not to say it won’t have it’s bugs and frustrations. But, if you’re prepared to give it a go, you can get involved.
Sign up to access the public betas at the Apple Website.