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iOS 15: Release date, new features and everything else Apple told us at WWDC

CNET logo CNET 23 hrs ago Alison DeNisco Rayome
a bunch of different foods: iOS 15 includes a ton of new features for your iPhone. Apple © Provided by CNET iOS 15 includes a ton of new features for your iPhone. Apple

It's official: iOS 15 is on the way. Last week, we got a first look at Apple's next major operating system update at the company's virtual Worldwide Developers Conference. While we just recently saw a lot of new features arrive with iOS 14.5 in April, including being able to unlock your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask, stop apps from tracking you for advertising purposes and choose from four Siri voices, iOS 15 adds even more. 

a man standing in front of a sign: Will iOS 15 look a lot like iOS 14? We aren't sure yet. © Patrick Holland/CNET

Will iOS 15 look a lot like iOS 14? We aren't sure yet.

New iOS 15 features include spatial audio and Android and Windows support for FaceTimeeasier sharing in iMessage and better directions in Maps. Keep reading for everything we've learned about iOS 15 so far, including when it will be released, how to download it and some of the new features. 

Read moreiOS 14: All of the hidden iPhone and iPad features you need to know

iOS 15 release date: Fall 2021

Apple revealed iOS 15 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, as is typical. This year WWDC 2021 is all virtual, as it was last year, and took place June 7 through 11. The new OS is now available for developers to test. It will be available to download as a public beta in July. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the final version of iOS 15 will launch in the fall. It's likely that this will happen in September, alongside the launch of the iPhone 13

iOS 15 new features

graphical user interface, application: Apple's iOS 15 gets a bunch of new features. Apple © Provided by CNET Apple's iOS 15 gets a bunch of new features. Apple

Here are a few of the key new features coming to iOS 15, unveiled at WWDC 2021. (And here's an overview of all of the new features in iOS 15.)


Video: FaceTime on iOS 15: See ALL the new features revealed (CNET)

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FaceTime upgrades: Spatial audio, support for Android and Windows

FaceTime will offer spatial audio to make people's voices appear to come from their position on the screen, making your video chats feel more natural and lifelike. FaceTime will also start to look more like Zoom, allowing you to see all participants in a grid view, schedule calls and share links to calls that can be accessed via browser on Google Android and Microsoft Windows devices.

iMessage sharing features

iOS 15 adds some new iMessage sharing features for photos, news articles and playlists. When a friend sends you multiple photos over iMessage, they'll appear in a dynamic collage formation that allows you to swipe through them or tap through to view the whole bunch in your photos app. If you want to access the same photos later, you'll find them stored in a new Shared with You folder, as well as mixed in with your own featured photos and memories. You'll also find news articles and playlists shared through iMessage in new Shared with You tabs in your News and Apple Music apps. 

Apple Maps gets 3D street data, AR walking directions

Apple Maps gets an upgrade, with more elevation data, road colors and driving directions, rich labels, 3D landmarks and improved night mode. In terms of public transportation, you can also pin nearby public transit stops and station information to your iPhone and Apple Watch devices, and receive automatic updates and notifications as you ride and approach your stop. When traveling on foot, a new augmented reality feature lets you scan nearby buildings in the area with the iPhone's camera to determine their precise position for more accurate walking directions, which are also presented in augmented reality.

Read more: iOS 14's best new iPhone features

How do you download iOS 15?

If you're part of Apple's developer program, you can download the iOS 15 developer beta now to test your apps. The OS will be available to download as a public beta in July, so you could download it then if you like, but be warned: Betas are usually buggy, and we don't recommend that you download them on your primary device. But if you want to, here's how to download the iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 betas

Once iOS 15 is generally available in the fall (likely in September), Apple will probably send a notification letting you know you can update. Or you'll be able to do it manually, by going to the Settings app > General > Software Update

For more, here's every iPhone 13 rumor we've heard so far

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