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8 new features we are most excited about from Apple’s iOS 15 update

What’s new in Apple’s iOS 15 update?

If you haven’t already heard, Apple’s announcements last week involved a slew of new products that aimed to make life even more productive and efficient than ever before. The iPhone 13 and new iPad Air were some of the biggest drops of the year, and with a more powerful neural engine came a massive update, the iOS 15, to complete the user experience.

“For many customers, iPhone has become indispensable, and this year we’ve created even more ways it can enhance our daily lives,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

“iOS 15 helps users stay connected while sharing experiences in real time, gives them new tools to help reduce distraction and find focus, uses intelligence to enhance the photos experience, and, with huge upgrades to Maps, brings new ways to explore the world. We can’t wait for customers to experience it.”

Ready for an upgrade? Here are some of the new features we’ve tried and loved from Apple’s new iOS 15.

SharePlay

Remember how you had to pause whatever you were watching to pick up a video call? SharePlay dumps that inconvenience in the trash by keeping FaceTime conversations going while keeping your TV series, movie, or music playing.

Plus, you can share your screen so that friends and family can enjoy them with you. Synced playback and controls will mean that you can react to the same moments at the same time with whomever you’re sharing this moment with too. Even if you’re simply browsing on the web or viewing a photo album, SharePlay will enable participants to see and talk about it at the same time.

Invite anyone to FaceTime

That’s right, even Windows and Android users. This update to FaceTime is still end-to-end encrypted, so it’s as secure and private as a regular FaceTime call, the only difference is now you’ll be able to connect with even more friends and family. The process is effortless too; simply schedule and share FaceTime calls with a unique web link. Besides, Portrait mode is now available for FaceTime and puts you more in focus than ever before by blurring your background, so you can enjoy a better conference calling experience no matter where you are and who you’re talking to.

Tab Groups

The new tab bar is compact and now floats at the bottom of the screen for easier swiping between tabs, so you can expect even more productivity and ease of use when on the internet. However, the more exciting news here is Tab Groups, which will allow users to save tabs to easily access them across any device, from the iPhone to the Mac.

Interactive Memories

Remember when you could go on holidays? Us neither, which is why Interactive Memories will be particularly useful today. This big update to Photos will mean that you can create new Memory mixes of your favourite vacation shots and even personalise the look and feel of the story with a song and vibe to match. We’re talking tens of millions of songs from the Apple Music library here.

Updated Apple Maps

Expect a whole new user experience with the updated Maps. Besides enhanced details for neighbourhoods, commercial districts, elevation, and buildings, you can also expect custom-designed landmarks and a new night mode — moonlit glow and all — when you’re exploring the city.

Navigation on iPhone and CarPlay will also now feature a three-dimensional layout to better highlight details such as turn lanes, bike lanes, and pedestrian crosswalks. If you’re one to get lost even with a map, simply hold up your iPhone and Maps will deliver walking directions in augmented reality.

Live Text

Ever needed to pull up details on a photo fast? Instead of having to refer back to an image constantly for a phone number, email address, or even a whole recipe, Live Text recognises text (handwritten or not) in images — whether it’s on your iPhone, internet, or in real time via the Camera app. Besides allowing you to do things like copy and paste, make a phone call or open a page in Safari, it’ll also translate any foreign text with ease — especially useful when travel opens up again.

Prioritise notifications

Instead of mindlessly pinging you all day, Apple has now made it easier for you to prioritise information and reduce distractions. Besides showing contact photos of the person texting, for example, app icons will also be larger so you can identify any updates on your phone at a glance. You’ll even get a summary of your notifications for you to easily catch up on them when you have the time. Important communications, however, will still be delivered immediately, but it’s also possible to mute any app if you wished for some proper peace and quiet.

Focus

Focus is a new feature that will filter your notifications and apps based on what you choose to focus on at any time of the day, whether you’re at work or getting ready for bed.

Either a custom Focus or suggested Focus (which uses on-device intelligence to suggest which people and apps are allowed to notify them) can be chosen here, the latter of which will use context to determine what shows up on screen or not. When a user’s Focus is blocking incoming notifications, for example, their status is automatically displayed to others in Messages, reflecting that a user is not currently reachable.

Find out more about the new iOS 15 here.

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Hero and feature images by Apple. The story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore