Apple’s latest iPhone operating system, called iOS 15, launches Monday with new privacy enhancements that help cloak consumers’ web activity and can block email tracking by advertisers and others. Other features include a version of FaceTime for the web and a new “Focus” addition that could help users control the daily flood of notifications on their devices. The free updates will be available Monday around 1 p.m. ET for iPhone, Mac, iPad and Apple Watch.
Here’s how to download and install iOS on your iPhone:
- Tap the Settings app
- Navigate to General
- Tap Software Update
iPhone and iOS 15
At the core of iOS 15 are a series of privacy updates designed to block ad trackers, cloak web browsing in Safari, and enhance user privacy by reducing the amount of information popular apps like Facebook can gather about user behavior.
- Mail Privacy Protection: Ecommerce, social media sites and newsletters often embed a so-called “tracking pixel” in marketing messages. This pixel allows senders to monitor information such as what other apps you use, how long you spend reading through email, and other personal information. Mail Privacy Protection blocks these pixels and obfuscates your email behavior.
- Hide My Email: This long-requested feature allows Apple email users to generate new and random email addresses for social media and ecommerce sites. If you purchase something from a new website, the Hide My Email feature will mask your identity to the sender, but still allow you to get every important message.
- iCloud Private Relay: This feature hides unencrypted web traffic going to and from Apple’s browser, Safari. Similar to a VPN, the service runs traffic through two Apple relay servers which allows it to mask identifiable data like a user’s browser profile, web history and IP address. This feature is designed reduce the amount of data that websites and browsers harvest about users.
iOS 15 is visually redesigned and introduces a handful of new sharing and productivity features, including:
- Focus: Apple knows that iPhone users are routinely buried in notifications. The iPhone’s new Focus mode groups notifications and will send you custom updates in the morning and evening, based on your behavior and preferences.
- FaceTime on the web: During the pandemic Apple’s video calling app has never been more popular. It’s on every iOS device and is drop-dead simple to use. But before today the service was limited to iOS devices. This gave apps like Zoom an edge in the marketplace for messaging for work and for families. With the new iOS updates, FaceTime is now available on the web for Android and Windows users.
- SharePlay: The iPhone-maker will introduce a feature called SharePlay that brings FaceTime video calls to apps like Apple TV and Music.
- MacOS Monterey, to be released later this fall, is the hub at the center of the Apple device ecosystem. The new software will make it easier to share work to and from your iPad, and streamlines video and audio controls with updated AirPlay features.
- Apple continues to position the iPad as an educational tool and productivity device. This year’s software update is designed to make multitasking easier with features like Slide Over, which allows apps to be displayed and hidden quickly, and picture-in-picture updates that allow you to join a video call while simultaneously composing an email or browsing the web.
- WatchOS is visually redesigned to match larger screen sizes on the Apple Watch Series 7. The biggest change is a full-size keyboard that greatly improves typing on the tiny screen.