The release of a new version of iOS, the operating system for iPhones, can feel like something of a mixed blessing for many iPhone users.
Yes, there will be no shortage of exciting new features – but at least some of those tend to be limited to relatively recent iPhones that have the technology necessary to support them.
The good news is that iOS 15, which Apple released in September, doesn’t actually feel much different on an iPhone 6s – which, yes, was released back in 2015 – to how it does on an iPhone 13.
Top 5 Features of iOS 15
#1. Improvements to FaceTime
The practice of ‘FaceTiming’ family and friends has taken on a renewed relevance in the pandemic age, so it’s reassuring that many of the new features iOS 15 introduces for FaceTime have made it to older iPhones.
All iPhones on iOS 15 get Voice Isolation, where machine learning is used to eliminate background noise – but the iPhone XS and newer also get spatial audio so that voices in a Group FaceTime call sound like they are coming from the person’s position on the screen.
#2. Lock, unlock and start a car from your iPhone
This is possible because iOS 15 lets you put a digital set of car keys in the Wallet app. This is assuming that your iPhone isn’t any earlier a model than the iPhone XS – in which case, Ultra Wideband technology will enable you to get a vehicle’s engine running without needing to remove your iPhone from your pocket.
You would also need to make sure the vehicle in question is from a car manufacturer that indeed allows you to digitize the vehicle’s keys for inclusion in the Wallet app.
#3. Even tighter privacy controls
It feels like Apple places a strong focus on privacy with every major version of iOS, and iOS 15 is no different – as the new Mail Privacy Protection feature can prevent companies sending you marketing emails from being able to tell whether you actually open any of these emails.
In concealing your IP address from these companies, you can also hinder efforts they might make to build a profile of you for marketing purposes.
#4. Further tweaks to the Health app
Those little improvements include a new sharing tab allowing you to share your health data with caregivers or a care team. There’s also the addition of a Walking Steadiness metric, which you can use to proactively manage your risk of falling.
Ars Technica indicates that you would need an iPhone 8 or newer to get the Walking Steadiness metric – but it’s not necessarily hard to find a cut-price iPhone 8 among the many old iPhones that continue to be sold.
#5. Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
If you have an iPhone 7 or newer you are fond of using to listen to music, you would be able to benefit from this particular spatial audio feature. It’s even an option when you listen to songs on Apple Music, as MusicTech explains– and can help to make music sound a lot more immersive than before.
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