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The 6 most exciting new iPhone features coming in iOS 15

Published Sep 16th, 2021 9:16AM EDT
iOS 15 Features
Image: Apple

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A few days before the iPhone 13 arrives in stores on September 24th, Apple will officially release iOS 15 with a ton of new features. iOS 15 will arrive on September 20th and will be available as a free update for both iPhone users.

Originally introduced at WWDC earlier this year, iOS 15 is chock-full of new features and a myriad of performance enhancements. And while iOS 15 may arguably lack a singular killer feature, the update still has several compelling new features to make it an exciting release. And seeing as how WWDC was more than three months ago, there’s a good chance you may have forgotten what iOS 15 brings to the table. In light of that, we’ve put together a list highlighting some of the more exciting iOS 15 features coming to the iPhone.

iOS 15 top 5 features

Improved text selection

Thankfully, the magnification loupe is making a triumphant return with iOS 15. Apple got rid of it with iOS 13 and the alternative was a step backward in user design. With iOS 15, Apple writes that users will be able to select exactly the text they want “with an improved cursor that magnifies the text you’re looking at.”


SharePlay is arguably the most anticipated iOS 15 feature of all. Unfortunately, it won’t arrive with the first iteration of iOS 15. Instead, it will ship a few weeks later so that Apple can iron out a few outstanding kinks and performance issues.

Once it does drop, however, SharePlay will certainly change the way you use your iPhone. The feature will allow users to FaceTime together and share media across devices. In other words, iPhone users will be able to watch movies and listen to songs with other Apple users at the same time. Note that the feature is cross-platform, which is to say that iPhone users will be able to share content with Mac and iPad users.

When SharePlay finally arrives, apps that will offer built-in support for the feature include Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, MasterClass, Paramount+, Pluto TV, TikTok, Twitch, and more.

Additionally, SharePlay will finally allow users to share their screens with trusted users. This will mercifully make customer support calls with friends and family exponentially less frustrating.

Focus Mode

Focus in iOS 15

could very well be the iOS 15 feature you end up using the most. As the name somewhat implies, the Focus feature enables users to set up various Focus modes for certain types of use-case scenarios. For example, you might set up a “work mode” for your iPhone that temporarily doesn’t show you push notifications from EPSN, Facebook, or other recreational apps. In a similar vein, you could set up a “sleep mode” wherein work notifications are turned off and only texts from family and friends show up.

Apple adds:

Customers can set their device to help them be in the moment by creating a custom Focus or selecting a suggested Focus, which uses on-device intelligence to suggest which people and apps are allowed to notify them. Focus suggestions are based on users’ context, like during their work hours or while they’re winding down for bed, and when Focus is set on one Apple device, it automatically applies to their other Apple devices.

Drag and drop between apps

The ability to drag and drop files between apps on iOS 15 is a game-changer of a feature. At long last, iPhone users will be able to do basic tasks like dragging a picture from the Photos app and pasting it into an email.

An example of this feature in action can be seen below:

FaceTime Voice Isolation

With iOS 15, Apple is definitely trying to outflank Zoom. During the COVID pandemic, Zoom quickly became a household name. In turn, it also exposed just how lackluster FaceTime was in comparison.

Consequently, Apple is adding a number of new features to FaceTime in iOS 15. One of the more intriguing new features is Voice Isolation. In short, Apple has added technology capable of isolating a user’s voice during a phone call. The feature relies upon machine learning and can minimize surrounding background and ambient noise.

FaceTime in iOS 15 will also make it possible for iPhone users to video chat with Android and Windows users.

Live Text

OCR isn’t new, but its incorporation into iOS 15 will certainly feel like magic. With the Live Text feature in iOS 15, users will be able to select text from photos and copy and paste it. Live Text will not only work on new photos but also on existing photos in your photo library. The feature will work in seven different languages, including English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Apple adds: “There is so much rich information in your photos, from memorable places you’ve visited to handwritten family recipes.”

What iPhones will run iOS 15?

Apple does a good job of ensuring new iOS updates work on older iPhone models. iOS 15 is no different in that regard. The forthcoming update will run on the following devices:

  • Phone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (original model)
  • iPod Touch (seventh-generation)
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone Xs
  • iPhone Xs Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2020)
  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
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.