Among the most important updates for iPhone and iPad users is FaceTime, a fitting nod to the time we’ve spent on video calls over the past 18 months. FaceTime Group mode now supports a grid view that allows users to see more faces at the same time and users to listen to music or watch Apple TV, Hulu, Disney + and stream other services together during a call. Android and Windows users can also participate.
For people still frequently glued to their screens, a new tool called Focus encourages users to select what types of notifications they want to receive, and from whom, at certain times of the day. For example, a user can set their phone to “work” mode and choose to only receive notifications from coworkers, emails and Slack messages. When other notifications are turned off, users can set a “do not disturb” automatic response for messages.
The Health app now supports vaccine status and test results; Health care providers or US states can provide QR codes that can be downloaded and stored directly on the app. Health data sharing is also now available, so that a family member can better track and manage the health data or needs of a child or elderly parent.
Other notable updates to iOS 15 include the ability to pin messages to messages that users might not want to forget and a bunch of new security features, including one called ” Messaging”. The email app on Apple devices will hide users ‘IP addresses and their location, so businesses sending emails cannot link this information to other users’ online activity.
To download the new software, visit the Software Update section in Settings. However, the first release of next generation mobile software updates can often contain bugs; users may want to back up important photos or files before uploading them or wait until the second version rolls out probably in the coming weeks.
CNN Business’s Clare Duffy contributed to this report