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Apple iOS 15 cheat sheet: Everything you need to know


Apple’s latest mobile operating system has been announced. Learn all about the new features of iOS 15, find out if it will work with your devices and learn how to install it.

The latest version of Apple’s operating system for mobile devices, iOS 15, was announced on June 7, 2021, at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference. The beta version of iOS 15 was released the same day to developers, with a public beta expected in the summer of 2021. 

This new version of iOS includes many new features relevant to consumers and developers alike, including: an emphasis on communication changes, the ability to focus on specific aspects of your life, on-device intelligence and exploring the world.

Apple is expected to release iOS 15 to the public in Fall 2021.

SEE: Hiring kit: iOS developer (TechRepublic Premium)

What is iOS 15?

iOS 15 is Apple’s latest mobile operating system that supports iPhones and iPod touch devices. It was announced at Apple’s 2021 WWDC and includes many new features and services that will be available for iOS devices (see the section below to find out if your device is supported).

SEE: WWDC 2021: MacOS Monterey, iOS 15, iPadOS 15, WatchOS 8 among the essentials for business pros (TechRepublic)

This new version of iOS includes many new features that are relevant to consumers, developers and enterprise customers. These features include additions to communication, improvements for users to be able to focus on specific tasks and contacts at hand and world-interaction features.

Will iOS 15 work on my device? 

Most hardware that supported iOS 14 will also support iOS 15, including the following Apple devices that are available at the time of this writing: 

  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (first generation)
  • iPhone SE (second generation)
  • iPod touch (seventh generation)

SEE: How to migrate to a new iPad, iPhone, or Mac (TechRepublic Premium)

What are the key iOS 15 features?



FaceTime is receiving a substantial update with iOS 15, to make video chatting more natural, comfortable and lifelike. This starts with the FaceTime app supporting Spatial Audio that Apple pioneered with AirPods Pro. This means that audio will sound as though it’s coming from the device when wearing Spatial Audio-compatible AirPods. 

FaceTime will also receive an update that lets you block out ambient noise through a feature called Voice Isolation. Machine learning will power this feature that isolates your voice and blocks all other noise.

In iOS 14, Apple unveiled a new view for multi-person video calling that supported live tiles that increase in size based on who is speaking. While many users liked this feature, many did not. Apple is making a change that lets you pick between the live tiles view and a grid view that will show all video participants in the same size grids so you can easily see all participants at the same time. 

The biggest announcements for FaceTime revolve around two new features: FaceTime Links and Share Play. 

SEE: WWDC 2021: The 5 best iOS 15 features for business pros (TechRepublic)

FaceTime links will allow you to schedule a FaceTime meeting in advance, then send the link out to participants via email, iMessage, or a calendar invite. When a user clicks the link, it will automatically open FaceTime if their device supports it, and if the participant is on Windows, Android or another device incapable of using FaceTime, a web browser will open that lets them securely join the call without the FaceTime app. 

Share Play is another notable FaceTime feature that unlocks three new features for users: Listening to music together, watching videos together and screen-sharing together. 

Listening to music and watching videos together will synchronize the audio so that all viewers are watching at the exact same moment while also being able to video chat at the same time. Utilize Picture in Picture to accomplish other tasks while this is going on, or AirPlay to an Apple TV or other AirPlay compatible display to get a split view where the video appears on the larger screen and video chat occurs on the device screen. 

In addition, Share Play also supports the ability to share your screen with other FaceTime participants to give help to someone or to demo something on your screen. 


Messages introduce a few new niceties that will allow for better searching, better app integration and photo management. 

The first new feature is when your device is in Do Not Disturb mode, Messages will display that status to anyone attempting to contact you. They will be alerted that you’re in Do Not Disturb mode before sending the message. They can still choose to interrupt you for important messages, however, and you will be notified of them despite being in Do Not Disturb mode.

SEE: Apple’s credit card gets a family plan with new Apple Card Family program (TechRepublic)

If you share a lot of photos with the Messages app, then you know that sending a lot of photos involves spamming the chat with each photo on its own chat line. With Photo Stacks, Messages will resolve this by combining multiple sent photos into a single carousel view that can be flipped between or tapped to get a grid view of all the photos. 

The Photos app can also pull in photos that include those sent in Messages by others. You will no longer need to manually pull out photos individually from the Messages app. 

The last major feature to Messages is the ability to pin items in a chat, which can be more easily found when searching in Messages. This is great for coming back to a video, link or photo later on when you have time.


One Apple platform in 2021: The year iPad and Mac begin to converge (TechRepublic)

Focus Mode

Focus mode lets you create a space to focus on (for work, for personal, workouts, etc.). Creating a Focus Mode lets you specify which apps, Home Screens and contacts you will have access to while in that mode. When swapping between modes, any irrelevant apps or contacts will be ignored. 

Getting started with iOS development (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How do I get iOS 15?

To get iOS 15 now, you must be a member of the iOS Developer Program. As a member, you can log into Apple’s Developer Downloads page and install a profile that will allow you to check for updates and install the iOS 15 betas by performing these steps (after the profile is installed): 

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select General | Software Update. 
  3. Select Download & Install when the iOS 15 beta appears. 
  4. Your device will download the update, install and restart automatically after you agree to the terms and conditions.

You should only install iOS 15 beta on devices dedicated to running the beta. Betas typically have bugs that could impact day-to-day work, and as such, you should proceed with caution. 

I expect Apple will release a public beta program later in the summer of 2021 that will allow users to sign up to get beta releases at

What’s the release history of iOS 15?

June 7, 2021:

Apple unveils iOS 15 to developers at WWDC and releases a beta for developers to download and begin creating apps. 

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