Apple has released the first public beta version for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 after unveiling them at WWDC 2021. The new updates bring along features like upgraded FaceTime, improved Focus modes, and better use of on-device intelligence that allows for offline Siri, and Live Text, which is similar to Google Lens. The final version release will begin alongside the launch of the new iPhones in September. Ahead of that, Apple will release a multitude of beta updates for testing purposes.
In order to install these public betas, users will have to first enrol in the Apple Beta Software Program with their Apple ID. Apple has some detailed guides about this in the FAQ section for the Beta. As mentioned, both these updates (iOS 15 and iPadOS 15) are in public beta at the moment and may have unknown bugs and glitches. It is recommended that you do not download this onto your daily driver. Users must also backup their data before beginning the download process on their iPhones and iPads.
Once you've enrolled into the Apple Beta Software Program, head to Settings > General > Software Update from your chosen device to download the update. It is advisable to have at least 50 percent battery and a strong Wi-Fi connection before beginning the process.
iOS 15 can be downloaded on iPhones 6S and later phones, including both the iPhone SE models. The new iPadOS 15 public beta is compatible with iPad Pro 12.9-inch (first to fifth generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (first to third generation), iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 9.7-inch, iPad (fifth to eighth generation), iPad Mini (fourth and fifth generation) and iPad Air (second to fourth generation) devices.
iOS 15 brings along improvements to iMessage and FaceTime. FaceTime gets spatial audio support, portrait mode, and grid view, among other changes. FaceTime users also get the ability to generate links to invite others. There's also a feature called SharePlay that lets you synchronise watching videos or listening to music with everyone in a FaceTime call. iMessage in iOS 15 will let users quickly find articles, photos, and more that are shared in chats and group chats.
Notifications get a fresh new look with contact photos for people and larger icons for apps to make them easier to identify. A new Notification Summary can be customised and scheduled to appear at any time you choose, letting you deal with unimportant notifications all in one go. You can also define periods in the day when you want to be totally focused on work, and enable one of several Focus modes. On-device intelligence will allow for Live Text to be detected and extracted from photos. There's also the addition of Photo Memories that can curate captured moments into heartfelt movies.
Photos as well as text in photos are now searchable through Spotlight in iOS 15. The Weather app is also getting an update with new data and layouts that change based on conditions such as rain, or air quality, with thousands of variations in the graphics. There are more privacy-related features, and new ways to leverage on-device intelligence.
iPadOS 15 brings the ability to place widgets among app icons on all home screens. There's also a larger format for Game Centre, Apple TV, Photos, Files, and others. App Library comes to the iPad and there's ease in access of split screen or slide-over view. Multitasking will be easier to discover and use. Notes in iPadOS 15 will let users tag other people with @ mentions and see what's changed in shared notes with a new activity view.
iPadOS 15 now also gets a Translate app that lets people practise handwriting with Apple Pencil and work in Split View. Hashtags can be used anywhere, and referenced to help quickly find notes. Read our detailed piece on all the changes that are coming with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.