Apple releases major updates for its iPhone and iPad operating systems every fall. Months before, it releases beta test versions for developers and the public. They’re often incomplete and buggy, but it can be exciting to try everything out before it’s pushed to a billion devices in the fall.
Plus, beta testing is a great way to find bugs and issues, and will lead to a more stable version this fall. Just use the Feedback app to submit bug reports.
If you’re interested in running the beta version of iOS 15 or iPadOS 15, learn how to get it here. The developer beta is available now, but the public beta will begin in July.
We strongly recommend not running this beta on a critical device. Yes, you can downgrade to iOS or iPadOS 14, but this is not a quick and easy process, and you may lose some of the information you haven’t backed up or stored in the cloud. We also recommend that you back up your iPhone or iPad before you begin.
iOS 15 release date: fall 2021
Apple unveiled iOS 15 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, as is typical. Like last year, this year’s WWDC 2021 is completely virtual and will take place from June 7-11. The new operating system is now available for developers to test. It will be available for download as a public beta in July.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said the final version of iOS 15 will be released in the fall. It is likely that this will happen in September, along with the launch of the iPhone 13.
How to install iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 developer betas.
If you are not yet registered as an Apple developer, you will need to do so here. Otherwise, you can wait for the free public beta program that will launch in July.
- Using your Mac or PC, create a new backup of your iPhone or iPad in case you want to downgrade your device at any time
- On your iPhone or iPad, go to Apple’s developer website
- Tap the two-line icon in the upper left corner and sign in if you are not already under account
- Tap the two-line icon in the upper left corner again, select Downloads
- Swipe down and tap Install Profile next to iOS 15 Beta or iPadOS 15 Beta.
- Tap Allow to download the profile, click Close
- Go to Settings on your device and tap Profile downloaded at the top
- Tap Install at the top right and enter your passcode if needed
- Read the consent agreement and then tap Install twice more
- Your iPhone or iPad will prompt you to reboot to complete the changes
- After rebooting, go back to Settings> General> Software Update.
- You should see iOS 15 available, tap Download and Install
You can run iOS 15 on any iPhone running iOS 14, and iPadOS 15 on any iPad compatible with iPadOS 14.
Here is the list of supported iPhones for iOS 15:
iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone XS Max
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 6s Plus
iPhone SE (1st generation)
iPhone SE (2nd generation)
iPod touch (7th generation)
iOS 15: Features
iOS 14 was a pretty big upgrade, but there’s a lot planned for iOS 15 as well, as Apple has detailed quite a bit.
New FaceTime features: FaceTime gets some of the most fundamental changes in iOS 15, with the popular video chat getting spatial audio to make the sound feel more natural, as well as voice isolation through machine learning and a wide spectrum to bring in more ambient sounds.
Better yet, Apple is adding link creation (a la Google Meet and Zoom) for group FaceTime calls so people on Android and Windows can participate via the browser. Apple has also added a grid view for group calls and a portrait mode to keep the focus on you.
SharePlay: SharePlay is a new way to share media experiences with your friends and family. If you’re very social and want to share music, videos, and your phone’s screen, SharePlay is a new way to communicate instead of screenshots. For example, you can listen to an album together on Apple Music or watch a Netflix show together while chatting using the picture-in-picture mode in iMessage. SharePlay works on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
Notifications and Focus: A big weak point on iOS is notifications, and Apple is addressing them to some degree. Notifications are now sorted into a category for later deals, and conversations are displayed first. The appearance of the notifications area has received a slight facelift to look a bit more modern.
In addition to the notifications improvements, iOS 15 will introduce changes to Do Not Disturb and add the new Focus mode. With the former, you can easily set a DND status in messages and iMessage will automatically reply to say you’re busy. Focus lets you set up profiles like Work and Home that change the way you use the phone, so you can avoid distractions while working or take time for yourself.
Live Text: Similar to Google Lens, Apple will introduce Live Text in iOS 15. You can copy text from a photo, screenshot or web image.
Lookup: Again, with Google Lens in mind, Apple has added Lookup, which lets you point your camera at something and look it up. It can recognize animals, nature, landmarks, art and more.
Photos Memories: Apple is taking a page out of Google Photos’ book and adding new memories to Photos. These memories curate photos and add music to them to create an entertaining movie. You can change the music and tempo and often create something completely different.
Wallet Enhancements: Wallet is getting some enhancements so you can add car keys (with supported car manufacturers), corporate IDs, hotel keys (at participating hotels), and even government IDs in participating states. Apple said the TSA will allow you to use your iPhone for identification purposes.
Fresh weather design: the weather app is getting a facelift. Apple has added a lot more animations and new infographics. It helps you get more information about what’s going on outside.
Maps changes: Apple is going straight for maps and navigation supremacy with Maps in iOS 15. It now features a globe (a la Google Earth) and adds new city details like elevation, turn lanes, and bike lanes. You’ll also see new street details and traffic conditions. Transit users can pin their favorite lines, and Maps lets you know when it’s time to get off.In the future, Maps in iOS 15 moves into augmented reality. If you leave a train station and get lost, hold up your iPhone and let it scan the buildings around you. It will display the latest directions you need to get to your destination.
Safari: Safari gets a makeover in macOS 12, and some of those changes make their way to the iPhone as well, though the new look takes the iPhone’s smaller screen into account. The tab bar is now at the bottom of the screen – closer to your thumb, Apple notes – and disappears when you scroll. The idea is to make the browser easier to use with one hand.
In addition, features introduced in the macOS Monterey version of Safari, such as group tabs, also appear in the iOS 15 version. Web extensions are now supported on the iPhone and iPad.
Shared with you: Apple’s new way to view everything sent to you by friends and family is called “Shared with You.” This way you can quickly find articles, songs, videos, photos and more in iOS without having to worry about keeping track.
Find My: Apple wants to help you keep track of things with Find My. It allows you to find something that’s been disabled or deleted, livestream locations to friends and families, get disconnection alerts when you leave an Apple device in an unknown location, and add AirPods Max and AirPods Pro to the network.
Translate: Translate has received some quality-of-life features that reportedly allow for seamless translation into multiple languages.
Accessibility: iOS 15 adds or improves accessibility options within the OS, including extensive improvements to VoiceOver.