Technology

iOS 15 take a look at: Apple focuses on the little issues

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Enlarge / Some apps that received significant updates in iOS 15.

Samuel Axon

Every year Apple releases a major update of its operating systems for iPhone and iPad, which creates the conditions for a year of change. This year iOS 15 brings new FaceTime and messaging functions, optimizations to existing apps and notifications and, most importantly, a new way of managing apps and notifications called Focus.

In all fairness, this is a relatively modest update compared to what we saw last year. This is compounded by the fact that some key features that Apple originally announced back in June weren’t included in the first version of iOS 15. However, today we’re going to investigate whether a modest update means a bad update. Should you bother upgrading to the new version of iOS if the main thing is to tune and paint?

As always, let’s start with a look at which devices are still supported.

Supported Devices

Sometimes Apple cuts support for an older iPhone or two with the release of a new version of iOS. But that doesn’t happen this time; iOS 15 supports the same phones as iOS 14 last year. The same goes for iPadOS and the supported tablets.

Here is the full list of supported devices for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. (We’ll focus on the iPhone in this article, but we’ll be posting a brief addendum turning to the iPad over the next few days.)

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Supported iPhone Models

  • iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st and 2nd generation)

Supported iPad models

  • iPad Pro 12.9 inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11 inch (1st and 2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5 inches
  • iPad Pro 9.7 inches
  • iPad (5th, 6th and 7th generation)
  • iPad mini (4th and 5th generation)
  • iPad Air (2nd and 3rd generation)

Supported iPod models

  • iPod touch (7th generation)

Functional restrictions

While iOS 15 can be installed on all of the above devices, a handful of specific new features and improvements only work on certain iPhones. Here is the list.

iPhones with A12 chip and higher

  • FaceTime: portrait mode
  • FaceTime: Speech Isolation
  • FaceTime: Spatial audio
  • FaceTime: broad spectrum mode
  • Maps: Interactive Globe
  • Maps: Detailed new city experience
  • Maps: Immersive driving directions
  • Weather: Animated backgrounds
  • LiveText
  • Siri: speech processing, personalization and performance improvements on the device
  • Siri: offline support
  • Keyboard: On-device and continuous dictation

iPhone 8 and above

  • Health: walking safety

iPhone 7 and above

  • Music: Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking

Equipment used for this check

The screenshots, information, and impressions in this review are based on using iOS 15 RC and iPadOS 15 RC, as well as the public releases for both. Devices used included the iPhone XS, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, and the 2021 11-inch iPad Pro. We haven’t tested iOS 15 on an iPod touch.

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