Latest iOS 15 Features – WWDC 2021

By Ronak Patel   |   21 June, 2021
Latest iOS 15 Features – WWDC 2021

Apple recently released their iOS 15 software update alongside latest iOS Features & many new Apple updates that took the users and developers by storm. They made overall improvements and added several functionalities across all Apple devices and platforms. WWDC 2021 was a three-day event from June 7, 2021, to  June 11, 2021. The core principles of iOS15 discussed during the WWDC 2021 were – staying connected, finding focus, using intelligence, exploring the world. In the world of iOS app development, all iOS developers were eagerly looking forward to all the new changes and features this update was going to bring their way. If you are one and haven’t gotten the time to go through the Developer Keynote, don’t sweat it, we have got you covered.

We will break down all the cluttered information about new iOS app development possibilities, capabilities and promises by Apple in this detailed overview of the top iOS app development trends for Apple developers and iOS15 features and capabilities.

In this blog, we will cover –

I. Features of iOS 15 for iPhone

In the WWDC 2021, Craig Federighi – SVP Software Engineering, called iPhone the heart of the iPhone to be iOS. Since iPhone is one of Apple’s most popular and initial products, many customers and developers care deeply about what’s new in iPhone regarding accessibility, features and privacy. With continuous updates in Apple iPhone iOS, many new exciting and important changes will redefine the possibilities of what your iPhone can do. Let’s dive deeper to see what Apple’s latest iOS on iPhone has in-store for you –

1. FaceTime calls and other Shared Experiences using Share Play,

FaceTime calls using SharePlay

Extending FaceTime access beyond Apple

In the history of FaceTime, it is the first time Apple is extending its services beyond its closed Apple ecosystem. By using an iPhone, iPad or Mac, users will be able to generate a link and share it through Messages, Mail, Calendars or any third-party messaging app for people with an Android or Windows smart device to open the link from their browsers and join in on the fun. Facetime calls are end-to-end encrypted, so it manages to maintain its credible iPhone privacy settings.

FaceTime Audio improvements

  • Voice Isolation – You must have frequent complaints about too much background noise during a video call, making it difficult to understand what the other person is trying to say. Apple found a workaround for this. Using their machine-learning-based Voice Isolation, Facetime distinguishes the wide spectrum of different noises that your mic captures, block out the ambient noise, and prioritizes your voice. This new iOS feature helps in the communication becoming crystal clear.
  • Wide Spectrum –  Opposite to this, at times, you might want to capture all the noises during a video call; for this, Apple launched their latest iOS feature called Wide Spectrum that captures your voice and everything around you.
  • Spatial Audio –  Audio pinpointing doesn’t get more real than this. Apple introduces another latest iOS features Spatial Audio that makes each participant’s audio contributions feel like they’re coming from where they are seated in their FaceTime call frame.

FaceTime Video Improvements

  • Portrait mode for FaceTime –  iPhone is known for its stunning Portrait photography mode, for clicking some unrealistically aesthetic and pleasing pictures. This year, Apple decided to extend this beloved feature to FaceTime. It is designed especially for video calls, enabling users to blur the background and bring themselves in better focus.
  • New Grid View for Group FaceTime –  Ever got bugged with the inability or hassle to see everyone on a group FaceTime call at once? The new FaceTime has introduced a new grid view that enables participants to see more faces on their screens at the same time. The grid of the individual talking at any point prompts an animation for you to know who’s talking when avoiding confusion altogether.

Engage with friends and family using Share Play

  • Now users can share their experiences with Apple’s latest iOS feature – SharePlay, when they connect with their family or friends on FaceTime.
  • With SharePlay, users can listen to songs together using Apple Music, watch a show using Netflix, or share screens to view their apps.
  • SharePlay works across all Apple devices – iPad, iPhone and Mac.
  • Shared playback control – anyone in the session can pause, play, or jump ahead.

2. Improve your Focus

Improve your Focus

Focus is a brand new iOS 15 feature Apple introduced in WWDC2021. As the name suggests, the feature focuses on allowing users to create various bundles of settings for different segments of their life. If you need to work and want to avoid distracting apps, set your availability, iOS notification settings or arrangement of apps and widgets on your home screen so that it suits your work-life requirements. Apple has pre-set for DND, Personal, Work and Sleep that you can edit to your preferences. Moreover, you can also create your custom Focus profiles for different activities and tasks.

3. Use your Apple Wallet for storing your Keys and State Ids

Use your Apple Wallet for storing your Keys and State Ids

One of the latest iOS Features everyone should be excited about with iOS 15 for iPhone is how apple has extended its Apple Wallet’s capabilities. Apple introduced support for many new ‘Keys,’ making your everyday apps accessible with a single tap. Now using your Apple Wallet on your iPhone, you will be able to unlock your smart homes, hotel rooms and workplaces with ease. Apple Wallet is also adding support for personal IDs for US citizens that will be accepted in airports and other such places. They are using the same Secure Element for ID integration that powers Apple Pay private and secure.

4. Change the way you explore the world with the newly redesigned Apple Maps

Apple Maps

Apple has constantly been working on their map services, and they have made commendable improvements both in terms of design and utility with the new iOS 15. With additional road details, 3D rendering and an attractive nighttime view, it is one treat of an app to use. Apple Maps will also follow your transit route, pushing a reminder to get off as you approach your destination. Moreover, if you feel lost about which way you need to go if you decided to walk, use your iPhone camera through your Maps application to scan the building near you. This will allow Apple maps to create a highly accurate position, with detailed directions delivery in AR. Currently, this feature is functional in London, Los Angeles, New York, Philidaphiea, San Diego, San Fransico Bay Area, Washington DC.

5. Photo Search and Spotlight advancements in iOS 15

Photo Search and Spotlight advancements in iOS 15

Photo search is a handy tool for many users to quickly find the relevant images in the clutter of their personal, work, social life captures in a timely manner. iPhone’s Spotlight feature now will popup photos, including searching for text in the displayed images. This is made possible with the new iOS feature known as LiveText. Once you activate LiveText, it will search and highlight any text in the image, allowing you to select, copy or interact with it in different manners. For instance, if there’s a phone number in the image, you can select it with LiveText, and you will get an option to call that number using your dialer. LiveText currently understands seven different languages. However, these iOS features are not technologically revolutionizing, as Google Photos have had these features for years now, its a step in the right direction for Apple.

II. Features of iPadOS 15 for iPad

iPad users and developers will now utilize the latest iPadOS – iPadOS 15 on their iPads. There are many new features introduced in iPadOS 15. Meanwhile, the hot favorite features of iPadOS 14 have got a massive revamp and push-in capabilities. Here is all you need to know about the new iOS15 enabled iPad capabilities –

1. Rethink iPad widgets with brand new iPadOS 15 widgets

Widgets are not a new iOS feature introduced with iOS 15 but were introduced in the previous iOS iPad version. With the iPadOS 15, Apple has redesigned for better access and utility. Unlike the previous version, where the iPad widgets were locked to the home screen in a panel to the left, now you will be able to place your iPad widgets wherever you want. Apple also has added more widgets for the App Store, Game Center, Find My, Contacts and Mails. They also come in different sizes than before. A prime example is the Photo app widget that shows snippets of pictures you have taken and the Files widgets that are largely sized to access and see many files at once.

2. Swift Playgrounds 4 and new possibilities

 

Swift Playgrounds 4

In the WWDC announcements, Apple announced a monumental change to Swift Playgrounds in iPadOS 15 that has left the iOS developers community shook. Swift is the official iOS programming language. They debuted the all-new Swift Playgrounds 4, stating that it is the easiest and most interactive way to learn how to code. Not only that, with the tools Apple has introduced in Swift Playgrounds 4, developers now have all the necessary tools for creating iPhone and iPad apps right from their iPad and the ability to submit their apps directly to the App Store. This is massive as the ease of developing and submitting apps will motivate many new aspiring iOS developers to take up coding and help experienced developers refine their skills while giving them an easy opportunity to get their apps published on the App Store. Apple developers will also see a live preview of the app they’re building to see how their code translates visually in real-time, to check the app for performance and bugs.

III. Features of WatchOS 8 for Apple Watch

Apple just rolled out their latest Apple watch, iOS – the all-new WatchOS, 8 for Apple, watches for all Apple watch lovers and users. With the new WatchOS 8, you get many commendable communication and health upgrades. With all the new features and improved versions of previous features, WatchOS 8 is truly helping Apple Watch maintain its position as one of the most popular smartwatches of all time. Apple WatchOS 8 is the latest iOS for Apple Watch.  While WatchOS 7 features were impressive, let’s dive deeper into what the new WatchOS 8 has to offer –

From Breathe to Mindfulness

If you have used previous versions of Apple watches running on WatchOS 7 or lower, you might be acquainted with the popular ‘Breathe’ app that helped users monitor their heart rate and other health-related data by connecting the health app on their iPhones. This year, Apple upgraded the beloved breathed app and named it Mindfulness in the WWDC 2021 keynote. Mindfulness app has an enhanced Breathe experience with a new session type called Reflect.  Reflect is Apple’s approach to help users improve their focus for as short as a minute with activities that can be done anywhere, anytime. This brings more value to holistic healing and peace of mind for users.

Improvements in Messaging and Contacts

Improvements in Messaging and Contacts

Using Apple Watch is even easier with the new tools and functionalities in iMessages introduced in the latest Apple WatchOS. Users can now combine dictation, scribble, emojis and all different content formats to truly deliver a message as accurately as possible. For the dictation iOS feature, users can also edit the presented text before sending it as a message. With WatchOS 8, Apple also introduced the Contacts app to Apple Watch. Now users can browse, add, edit and share contacts directly from their Apple Watch.

Focus for Apple Watch

Focus is one of the latest iOS features that Apple introduced for the Apple Watch, which helps users reduce distractions and focus on their activities better. Apple Watch will align with Focus set on any iOS device you use so that your iOS notifications from apps and people are filtered based on the Focus profile and settings you’ve chosen and the task you’re currently doing. Focus makes use of on-device intelligence to make suggestions based on user patterns, making it all the easier to set up.

Monitor your Sleeping Respiratory Rate

Apple Watch assists users in meeting their sleep goals by setting a pre-bedtime routine and tracking important metrics like heart rate, time asleep and blood oxygen. With WatchOS 8, you get more. You can now monitor your overall wellness by a new metric called sleeping respiratory rate, which essentially is the number of breaths per minute. Apple utilizes the built-in accelerometer in the Apple Watch for measuring your respiratory rate while sleeping. You can view the stats and reports on the health app on your iPhone. iOS Developers should note this iOS feature as they can also add this important health feature in their apps by taking permission through HealthKit.

Better Access with your Wallet


Better Access with your Wallet

Like the update with Wallets in your iPhone, Apple has improvised the Wallet Apple Watch app to support adding keys for their home, hotel, and offices and tapping their Apple Watch to unlocking these locations. They are also bringing the IDs to Apple Watch, where participating states in the US, users will be able to add their driving license or State ID to their wallet.

Revamped Home App

Revamped Home App

Apple redesigned their Home App in WatchOS 8 for offering better convenience and easy access to tools, scenes and accessories needed in a particular moment. You also get the ability to control accessories by room. With a HomeKit enabled camera, users can view who is at their doorstep directly on their wrist. Users can also quickly broadcast a message throughout the home or any individual room using any HomePod mini or HomePod devices by tapping the intercom.

IV. Features of Monetery for MacOS

Apple’s MacOS is one of the hottest trending software that catches the eyes and attention of users and developers alike. It powers one of the best computing systems in the world – their iMacs and Macbooks. In the WWDC 21, Apple announced their latest OS of Mac named Monetery for the Mac ecosystem. There are many new improvements, additions and changes that will impact how you interact with your Mac. Let’s dive right into it –

The new Xcode Cloud


Xcode Cloud

Xcode Cloud is a continuous integration and delivery service that is directly built into Xcode. You will be able to use this service to increase the development and delivery of top-quality apps by bringing together all the cloud-based tools needed to build your apps, run automated tests parallelly, distribute the app to the testers and get user feedback once place.

Introducing AirPlay on Mac

Monetery brings AirPlay to Mac, allowing users to play and share music, movies, games, images, presentations and much more from their iPhone/iPad straight to their Mac. You can also use Mac’s sound systems as AirPlay’s speakers. This enables users to use their Mac as a secondary speaker too if they need to.

On-Device Dictation with Monetery

Keyboard dictation is easy to use and also a secure way of getting things done. It protects user’s privacy by performing and processing all functions entirely offline. Monetery macOS allows users to dictate at endless lengths without any timeout.

Portrait Mode on FaceTime


Potrait Mode on FaceTime

This feature is limited to M1 Macs running on macOS Monetery, but they will be able to blur the background while using a video call during their FaceTime sessions.

Live Text in Photos

Live Text in Photos

Similar to the capabilities of Live Text for iPhones, users will be able to interact with text in photos by copy-pasting them, looking them up and translating text too. It will work on Photos, Screenshots, Safari and Quick look.

Maps for M1 Macs

Maps for M1 Macs

Again, exclusive to M1 Macs, users will use the new interactive globe with immensely detailed city experiences. Users will explore cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and New York with intricate details of the roads, trees, landmarks and buildings.

Object Capture in Monetery MacOS

iOS developers will be able to convert their 2D images into a photorealistic 3D AR-based smart object in a matter of minutes with their Monetery MacOS.

V. Privacy Features of iOS15

One primary reason people prefer the iOS operating system over Android is the immense and detailed privacy and iOS security features Apple offers with its devices and services. Apple has been setting the benchmark for security and privacy services since its inception. iOS 15 is no exception; infact, there are some ground-breaking latest iOS features with respect to privacy this year. Let’s have a look at them –

Mail Privacy Protection

Mail Privacy Protection

Apple’s in-built mail app has been getting a lot of attention lately. This will only increase by introducing the all-new Mail Privacy Protection feature introduced in the WWDC 2021. This iOS tracking aims at tracking pixels embedded in many mails. These pixels get activated when you open the mail and can fetch information like your location, choice of software platform, and other such private information back to the sender.

Many newsletters, marketers and fraudsters leverage this method to get such data points unethically from users. With Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection in place, these pixels won’t be able to fetch these data points from you. They don’t block it but route them through a relay that strips out any data gathering while preserving your end experience.

App Privacy Report

App Privacy Report

Apple is also rolling out a detailed App Privacy Report feature that enables users to keep a closer eye on all the apps and the updates they have on their devices. With this latest iOS feature, a user can see how many times an app has accessed your photos, cameras, location, contacts and microphones every week. Not only this, but the privacy report will also be able to tell you why any specific app needs specific permission. Moreover, you get a list of domains the app is in contact with and with what frequency. This will help users get a better picture of how much data grabbing and sharing each app does.

Privacy with the new iCloud+


Privacy with the new iCloud+
iCloud Private Relay

Yes, you read it right, iCloud is now iCloud+ for users that pay for their iCloud storage services. One of Apple’s key tools with iCloud+ is iCloud Private Relay, which acts similar to a VPN. It will encrypt and route your web traffic through many different locations, keeping your location private keeping your data protected from any opportunists.

The main steps in this rerouting are –

  1. Encrypting your URL and deleting identifying data like your IP address
  2. Trusted content provider – publicaly recognized providers will give you a set of temporary IP addresses similar to your region that periodically changes.
  3. Decrypting your URL so it can send you to your desired site or service.

The entire process is placed on with such finesse that even Apple themselves won’t be able to piece all the information together to get access to you.

iCloud Hide My Email

Another interesting and useful iOS feature Apple came up with when introducing iCloud+ was giving the users the ability to generate several unique, random email addresses for signing up to new apps and services. All messages sent to these random email addresses will come through to your main email address. You get the power to trash them anytime you want to cut off the conversation. This feature is going to be built into Mail, Safari and iCloud.

iCloud Home Kit Secure Video

Last but certainly not the least feature that you will get with iCloud+ is the HomeKit Secure Video that will give encrypted, secure storage for storing footage of your home security cameras. All the smart recognition processing will be done locally and not sent to the cloud, adding the assurance of trust and privacy.

VI. Apple Developer Technologies and Updates

Susan Prescott, VP Worldwide Developer Relations of Apple, made announcements about how their new APIs, iOS Swift Features and App Store Features will help iOS developers better connect with their users. There are many newest iOS features for developers. Let us dig deeper into this –

New APIs

Apple introduced many APIs this year. Here is a summary of all the APIs and how you will be able to use them for enhancing your apps and increasing their potential –

List of APIs Description
Share Play API Enabling developers to make shared experiences between iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac.
Voice Isolation API Quickly isolate the user’s voice from all the ambient noises by blocking them for clearer communication.
Wide Spectrum Audio API Helps you include all ambient noise and the main voice to get a whole spectrum of noises if needed.
Portrait Mode API Leverage the much appreciated and liked iPhone Portrait Mode for any video conferencing app with blurred background and focused Portrait Mode.
Focus API Take advantage of the new Focus feature in Apple that allows users to eliminate distracting apps and use your app to complement their activity like an instrumental music app for when they want to meditate.
Extra-large widget size for iPad While this is not exactly an API, it is a useful up-gradation for you to design your iOS widget apps more functionally and operationally by leveraging the extra-large widget area for iPad apps.
Screen Time API Give your users the tools to help parents and guardians supervise their children’s web usage by including Screen Time API in your iOS apps.
SwiftUI Canvas API Take advantage of the new powerful SwiftUI Canvas API for rich programmatic drawing.
Object Capture API Take advantage of this revolutionary new API that uses photogrammetry to turn a series of 2D images into photorealistic AR 3D objects in a matter of minutes to create new 3D content.

App Store Optimizations and Features

App Store Optimizations and Features

Apple leaves no page unturned when it brings its latest iOS features in its annual WWDC keynotes. This year is no exception, as Apple has brought some really promising changes to their App Store for developers and marketers to better market their apps with increased customization options. With the new updates, you can create Multiple Custom Product Pages to change the product description, app logo and snippets according to different segments of your target audience, so they see the one that resonates with them the most. This is a big update as it allows developers and marketers to target many segmented target audiences at the same time without having to create a general app product page that doesn’t speak directly to their customers.

Wrapping up with one big surprise!

This is all that you need to grasp and know from the WWDC 21 keynote and the new possibilities with iOS 15 across various Apple platforms. There are many great changes for all devices and overall software optimization.  One of the latest iOS features that we left for the end was brought to our notice by Ted – Director, Languages and Runtime at Apple, who announced that Apple has finally introduced Concurrency in Swift! Concurrency is a useful feature for developers to write codes that work in parallel, allowing their apps to take full advantage of multi-core processors and more. And with that said, it’s officially a wrap! Did we miss out on something you think is worth mentioning? Comment down below!

Ronak Patel

Ronak Patel is a CEO and Founder of Aglowid IT Solutions, an ever-emerging Top Web and Mobile Development company with a motto of turning clients into successful businesses. He believes that Client's success is company's success and so that he always makes sure that Aglowid helps their client's business to reach to its true potential with the help of his best team with the standard development process he set up for the company.

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