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iPadOS and iOS 15 Review

Apple has released version 15.0 of its iPad and iPhone operating system. Learn more about the update, whether or not you should upgrade just yet, or if you should start looking at getting a new device.

New Features

Both iPadOS 15 and iOS 15 provide users with a range of new in exciting features. Below are some of the top features that we feel will be most beneficial to our clients and things our clients need to be aware of:

FaceTime

FaceTime has some of the most exciting features now available to it. Are there are some features like portrait video (background blurring) and other enhancements. The biggest upgrade is the ability to schedule FaceTime calls in your calendar and invite non-iPhone users to a FaceTime call. This is such a compelling upgrade that we have now started using FaceTime for our business calls. You can read up on these latest changes here. Caveat is that screen sharing is still not available at the time of release for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. It is expected to be released sometime soon in an upcoming update.

Live Text

Live Text is a feature for copying and pasting, looking up, or translating text within photos or with the camera. It’s hard to explain but anything from screenshots to pictures can make the text within the images selectable.

It has made all sorts of things simpler to do and more efficient around the office. Using the Screenshot feature and then selecting the text within the screenshot is the killer feature. Just make some hard to select items like PDFs super simple to copy and paste elsewhere.

Siri

Siri also saw a major upgrade with off-line dictation and some other locally processed actions happening on device. It’s amazing how great the dictation on Airplane Mode works and how accurate and fast it is compared to using the server processing in iOS 14.

Safari

The latest version of Safari for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 includes a redesigned navigation bar. While the iPad update is benign, but the iOS update is very drastic. See in the screenshot below the navigation bar can either be put on the bottom or on the top. There’s also some pretty cool “swipe to the left” gestures that open up new tabs if you’re using the bottom navigation bar version of Safari.

Depending on how close you follow Apple, you may or may not be aware of the drastic changes between the initial betas and the final release. Erik McNair did an extensive write up on the Safari changes here.

Bugs Galore

One of the reasons why we didn’t post our review the day of launch is due to the widespread bugs present within iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. The Mail app has had a persistent bug since the beginning of the beta releases. This bug makes your emails disappear for hours at a time. Other issues persist with autocorrect wreaking havoc with text you just typed. And while the final release of iOS 15.0 has the least number of bugs, it is still unbearable on an iPhone 12.

Older Device?

Another thing that was quietly revealed at the launch of iOS 15 is that many Devices that are getting iOS 15 or not receiving some of the standout features announced. You’ll need an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, or newer for these iOS 15 features:

  • Portrait mode in FaceTime, which blurs your background and puts the focus on you.
  • Spatial audio in FaceTime, which makes voices sound like they’re coming from the direction in which the people are positioned on the call.
  • Voice Isolation mode in FaceTime, which uses machine learning to block out ambient noises like a leaf blower outside or a dog barking in the next room during calls.
  • Wide Spectrum mode in FaceTime, which amplifies ambient noises during calls.
  • An interactive 3D globe of Earth in the Maps app.
  • Immersive walking directions with step-by-step directions shown in augmented reality in the Maps app.
  • More detailed maps in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and London in the Maps app.
  • Live Text for copying and pasting, looking up, or translating text within photos.
  • On-device speech processing of Siri requests.
  • The ability to make Siri requests offline without an internet connection for timers, alarms, phone calls, messaging, sharing, launching apps, controlling audio playback, and opening settings.
  • The ability to swipe up or down while taking a QuickTake video to zoom in or out.
  • The ability to add home, hotel, and car keys to the Wallet app.
  • On-device keyboard dictation that performs all processing completely offline.
  • Continuous keyboard dictation, rather than a limit of 60 seconds per instance.
  • New animated backgrounds in the Weather app that more accurately represent the sun position, clouds, and precipitation.

Live Text is the single best feature of iOS 15. If you can’t get this feature, it’s not worth upgrading until some of these bugs are addressed. Upgrading to iPadOS 15 may be worth in that you can get the new app drawer and widgets, but that’s about it.

Conclusion

It’s quite interesting that Microsoft and now Apple have released updates to their popular operating systems that puts feature limits on older hardware. The reason for this could be to have increased ability of the operating system but in the case of Apple, stability is poor and even last year’s phone. Erik’s opinion is that iOS 15 suffered from bugs and feature drop off due to the Safari design debacle and how Apple scrambled to appease its critics. Godless of the reasons, our recommendation is that you avoid the initial release of iOS 15 and stay on iOS 14 until the operating system becomes more stable.

The pleasant things this time about this release is that security updates will continue to iOS 14. To avoid installing iOS 15 yet, follow the instructions below to stay on iOS 14:

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad
  • Go to the General menu
  • Tap Software Update
  • Tap Automatic Updates
  • Disable the options to automatically download and install iOS updates.

Have you upgraded to iOS 15 yet? We would love to hear your thoughts and if you’re experiencing any of the bugs that we have seen. Leave a comment below!

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