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Feature Articles

Here are our favourite new features in iOS 15

By Liu Hongzuo - 21 Sep 2021

Apple Maps, Apple Wallet, Authenticator, Focus

Note: This feature was first published on 4 August 2021 and it's republished today because iOS 15 is now available to download and update.

With the next iPhone season upon us, thinking about the phones' new features is a natural question. Apple’s already showcased iOS 15 at WWDC 2021, and more functionalities have come to light as creators and developers continue to build tools for its next phones and operating system.

Here are some of our favourite iOS 15 features we look forward to. If you want the full list of iOS 15 features, Apple has it right here.

 

Apple Maps detailed city experience

Let’s be honest; even if you’re on an iPhone, you’re probably also using Google Maps because it offers greater detail for navigation. So an iOS 15 update that can make Apple Maps more detailed would certainly turn heads.

As seen at its initial announcement, Apple Maps gets new road details, like turn lanes, medians, crosswalks, and more. These changes would help to make Apple Maps much easier to understand. 

While Apple announced this feature for U.S. cities, we’re sure it’s only a matter of time before Singapore gets added to the mix.

Besides prettier maps, Apple is offering Immersive Walking Directions for the truly lost, which combines your iPhone camera and the phone’s navigation components to provide augmented reality-guided guides.

 

Apple Wallet: Digital Keys useable even in Power Reserve

Apple Wallet doesn’t just hold debit or credit cards for the sake of Apple Pay. Also, with an iPhone that has the UWB chipset, it can carry digital keys to your house, car, hotel room, office, and more when iOS 15 rolls out. But, that’s not the feature that gets us going.

A neat feature is Power Reserve, where the digital keys mentioned above are still usable from Wallet - up to five hours - even if the iPhone is low on battery or seemingly out of juice. It draws on the remaining power within to complete those taps. Currently, this feature is supported for other types of cards, like transit cards or student IDs, when Express Mode is enabled.

 

Built-in code-generating Authenticator for logins

Google Authenticator app.

Google has the Google Authenticator app, where you can pair your online accounts to it. The app offers another layer of code authentication that only you can access physically. The equivalent of this for iPhones will come in iOS 15, but Apple's one is built directly into the iPhone.

The iOS 15 version of Authenticator can auto-fill verification codes, just like how it auto-fills 2FA found in your SMSes. Also, if a website offers 2FA, you can set up the iPhone as the code generator instead of giving out a phone number, email address, or downloading other authenticator apps. Simply find it under Settings > Passwords. 

 

Focus to declutter

With smartphones getting more features and more capabilities, it can get overwhelming to check your phone at times.

Apple’s answer to decluttering is Focus. Unlike most other mental wellness features in Android, where they offer two-dimensional decluttering (work versus not-work), Focus can be customised to filter out notifications based on your current mindset or task. For example, you can create a Focus for video gaming or exercise, and even give it a name of your choice.

There are a few parts to Focus. First, iOS 15 will use on-device intelligence to recommend Focus based on your past activities. You are also free to create Focus tabs even without iOS 15 prompting you to - controls are found within the Control Centre.

Next, Focus also re-organises your Home Screen to suit the task or moment at hand. Examples given by Apple include a Focus for work, where work apps are front and centre, and a Focus for personal time, where the Home Screen will change over to prioritise apps and widgets for unwinding, socialising, entertainment, and more. This is on top of the notification decluttering. 

Another iOS 15 feature that works well with Focus is a change in how the iPhone handles notifications from the Lock Screen. Previously, you had to mute app notifications either via Settings, or via each app’s independent notification controls. Apple iOS 15 now offers muting of notifications directly from the Lock Screen (swipe left on the notification, tap Options). So, there’s no need to go into Settings to fiddle with controls when you’re already temporarily disengaged from the group chat. Existing options only have Deliver Quietly (pop-ups but no sound and no Lock Screen tab) and Turn Off (with no time limit)
 

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