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All the best new iOS 15 features that Apple didn’t reveal at WWDC

Published Jun 14th, 2021 10:53AM EDT
iOS 15 Update Features
Image: Apple

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When Apple kicked off its WWDC keynote last week with some impressive new FaceTime enhancements, I assumed that the company, as in years past, was going to save the best for last. And seeing as how the FaceTime enhancements were genuinely cool, I figured that the rest of the keynote was going to be exciting and chock full of surprises.

But as it turns out, I was dead wrong. The WWDC 2021 keynote was exceptionally boring compared to what we’ve seen in years past. However, that’s not to say that iOS 15 is poised to be a dud of an update. On the contrary, developers over the past few days unearthed a plethora of awesome iOS 15 features that Apple simply didn’t get around to mentioning during its keynote presentation last week. Suffice it to say, iOS 15 is a lot more compelling of an update than you might otherwise think.

In light of the above, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best new iOS 15 features that Apple didn’t mention last week, so let’s dive right in.

Security updates without updating – Because new iOS releases can be buggy, some people hold off on updating their OS for weeks or sometimes months. And while this may keep things running smoothly, avoiding an iOS update has historically meant that users can’t install important security updates. With iOS 15, however, users will be able to update security updates separately.

Better text selection – The magnification loupe for text cursor selection is finally back with iOS 15. As Apple notes, you’ll be able to “select exactly the text you want with an improved cursor that magnifies the text you’re looking at.

No limit for on-device dictation – iOS 15 now allows users to dictate messages with no time limit. Under iOS 15, on-device dictations maxed out at 60 seconds.

New scheduling options in Apple Maps – This feature is long overdue, but it’s better late than never. Apple Maps under iOS 15 will allow users to access travel directions while specifying what time they’d like to leave at or what time they’d like to arrive by.

Push notifications for rain – iOS 15 includes support for push notifications for when it’s about to start raining, snowing, or hailing.

Drag and drop between apps – A standard desktop feature is finally coming to the iPhone. As evidenced in the example below, you can drag an image from the Photos app directly into the Mail app.

Pull to refresh functionality for mobile Safari – Not a gamechanger, but certainly helpful.

Adjust time and dates of photos – Sorting photos can sometimes be frustrating when your device believes an old photo is actually new, which can happen when importing photos in some circumstances. With iOS 15, you’ll be able to manually adjust the date and time of any photo in your photo library.

Temporary increase in iCloud storage when backing up your device  – Apple writes: “Now when you buy a new device you can use ‌iCloud‌ Backup to move your data to your new device, even if you’re low on storage. ‌iCloud‌ will grant you as much storage as you need to complete a temporary backup, free of charge, for up to three weeks. This allows you to get all your apps, data, and settings onto your device automatically.”

Separation Alerts – Apple notes: “If you leave a device, AirTag, or compatible third-party item behind, your iPhone will alert you with notifications, and Find My will give you directions to your item.”

Mute alerts for FaceTime – If you’re trying to talk via FaceTime and the mute option is accidentally toggled on, you’ll receive an alert allowing you to unmute yourself.

Enhanced Spotlight – With iOS 15, you can activate Spotlight search from the Lock Screen and Notification Center.

Locate your iPhone even if it’s been erased – Apple notes: “The Find My network and Activation Lock can locate your device even after it has been erased. To help ensure that nobody is tricked into purchasing your device, the Hello screen will clearly show that your device is locked, locatable, and still yours.”

Set up a Legacy Contact – Not to get too morbid, but the harsh reality is that when a loved one dies, accessing their iPhone can be impossible if the device is secured. With iOS 15, people can designate a “Legacy Contact” that will be able to “access your account and personal information in the event of your death.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.