IOS 15 review: New Features and Design changes

September. 21, 2021

IOS 15

IOS 15 finally got a public release yesterday, the 20th of September. IOS 15 does not have the biggest visual changes, however it has several small features that make a more complete upgrade. IOS 15 will truly change how we all use our iPhones. And again, IOS 15 is available for all Apple iPhones, starting from the iPhone 6s upwards.

In this article, we’ll be sharing our favorite and – in our opinion – the most significant feature changes.

Increase your productivity with “Focus Mode”

Focus Mode is definitely the best feature upgrade for me. The idea is creative, well-executed, and not your typical “do not disturb” button. IOS 15’s new Focus Mode allows you to filter out incoming messages, calls, and notifications based on your preferences.

IOS 15 comes with 4 starter presets:

  • Do Not Disturb, which silences all messages and notifications regardless of the sender.
  • Personal, which can be customized to silence apps from work, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, and only allow notifications from Social Media or Games for example. It can also be set to silence incoming messages and calls from colleagues and co-workers, and only show friends and family.
  • Work, is the literal opposite of the “Personal” preset. It can be customized to mute notifications from Social Media, Games, or messages from friends.
  • Sleep, is very similar to the “Do Not Disturb” preset, but can also be customized based on your personal needs and preference.
IOS 15 Focus mode

You can also add custom Focus Modes of your own, such as “Gaming” or “Fitness”. The customization does not stop there. Focus Mode allows you to share your “Focus Status” with your contacts, so people around you can know when you are busy or away. Sharing your Focus Status is currently supported on iMessage and Slack. WhatsApp and other third-party apps to catch up later.

You can also set some Focus Modes to automatically turn on based on the time or location. Which is useful – as for example –  work mode can automatically turn on when at work, and automatically turn off when at home. You can also setup different Home Screens for each Focus Mode.

The best part about the new Focus Mode is how seamlessly it syncs with your other Apple devices, like MacBooks and iPads. Focus Mode has increased my productivity when at work, or when at home, it’s a huge productivity booster and time saver!

New notifications design and Notifications Summary

The average iPhone user has about 80 different apps installed. It can be difficult and time-consuming to go through all incoming notifications every day. Though the biggest problem is that important notifications get mixed up with irrelevant ones.

This is where IOS 15’s new Notifications Summary comes in. Notifications Summary allows me to combine notifications from my most important apps, and get them presented to me at once. Which app’s notifications get added to the Notifications Summary is fully customizable, and can be changed at any time.

IOS 15 Notifications

By far the best feature is the “Scheduled Summaries”. I set mine to 6:30 AM, so I get a recap of all notifications I got while I was asleep, which is extremely convenient.

The notifications themselves now have round edges and large icons, and are overall presented in a sleeker way. Notifications finally got their long awaited glow up!

Facetime’s HUGE upgrade

I personally think of Facetime as a Trademark of iPhone users. It has become much better over the years, and I can confidently say it has the best quality video/audio calls on any device. Guess what… IOS 15 just took Facetime to a whole ‘nother level.
Some of the new features include:

  • Spatial Audio which has finally come to Facetime, and as Apple says “helping conversations flow more naturally”
  • Grid View was a common feature found on Zoom, Teams, and more. It has finally come to Facetime, and it is much better than the older moving faces style.
  • Taking inspiration from the camera app, portrait mode comes to Facetime.
IOS 15 Facetime links

All the features above are minor upgrades, compared to what’s coming up next. Perhaps the best feature Facetime has ever had: Facetime Links. Who would have imagined Facetime to work on Windows or Android, however it really is happening. Facetime now allows you to share an encrypted link to your call, allowing user on both Android and Windows to join in. This has a very positive impact on me, as my colleagues, friends and I can now use Facetime, without the worry of one not having an iPhone.

The Power of “Live Text”

Though not the most significant upgrade, it really is a flex of how good Apple’s processors have gotten over the years when it comes to Text Recognition and AI. Live Text has many uses, and it all happens in an instant.

In the Photos app, you can now long press text in your photos, and it will be highlighted. You can copy, share, or look up your text. It’s actually pretty intelligent in recognizing different fonts and types of text, for example: addresses and emails are recognized, and can be used in Apple Maps or the Mail App.

Not only in the Photos app, but in the camera as well. If you point your camera at any text, it is instantly recognized. This feature is most useful for instant translations via the Translate App.  I did not use Live Text that much yet, but I’m sure it will be of convenience in the near future.

IOS 15 Live text

Other Minor changes

There are also many smaller changes in design and UX. The most noticeable of these features are:

  • A redesigned Weather App, and it’s actually pretty clean looking
  • A more detailed Apple Maps experience (depending on where you live)
  • All Safari controls moved to a bottom tab bar for easy reach and more convenience
  • Photos App now combines your older photos into a “Memories” video with music
  • New Memoji outfits and Styles
  • Apple Wallets now supports Driver’s license, State ID, Home Keys, and Hotel Keys (not all Keys are supported yet)
IOS 15 Safari

IOS 15 is a fresh upgrade for all iPhones and has brought several new features to our hands. IOS 15 is a convenient, productive, and sleek upgrade. Download it now…


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