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Update your iPhone! iOS 15 here – These are the best new features

It’s that time of year again. No, it’s not the leaves changing color. It’s Apple’s annual iPhone launch. The device that made Apple one of the biggest companies in the world usually arrives sometime in September, though there have been exceptions in past years.

The iPhone 13 will be available this Friday. It comes in four models: Mini, standard, Pro and Pro Max. Each phone features better performance, improved cameras and longer battery life, among other updates. Tap or click here for more on the next-generation iPhone, along with the new iPads and Apple Watch.

A new operating system comes with the new iPhone. iOS 15 brings new privacy features, more FaceTime tools, camera upgrades, more sharing options for streaming and more. The new OS launches today, and you can check out some of the features below with instructions on how to update your devices.

Features included with iOS 15

Focus

Focus mode helps you concentrate on what you’re doing by filtering notifications and apps. You can set this up yourself for various situations, such as work or relaxation time. For example, you can let email notifications come through but filter out social media and text notifications.

Wallet

You’ll soon be able to add your driver’s license or state ID to the Wallet app, depending on local laws. TSA is working to allow this tech to work for airport security checkouts.

Your iPhone’s Wallet app can unlock your home, garage and hotel room.

RELATED: Should you buy the iPhone 13? Tap or click here to listen to Kim’s take.

Privacy

An App Privacy Report lets you see how apps have used their permissions (location, camera, photos, contacts, microphone) over the last week. You can also see which third-party domains were contacted.

The Mail app has tracking blockers to keep senders from seeing when and if you opened an email. The Mail app, as well as Safari, now hides your IP address.

iCloud+

iCloud+ includes Private relay, which works like a virtual private network, encrypting your activity and protecting your identity.

Hide My Email lets you use a temporary email to sign up for new accounts. This will forward to your personal inbox, which you don’t have to share with others.

RELATED: 5 best weather apps for iPhone and Android

FaceTime SharePlay and spatial audio

Apple

FaceTime gets upgraded with SharePlay, which lets you share your screen or music with others. You can also watch a movie together in sync.

Spatial audio makes the voices you hear seem to come from the person’s position on your screen.

Redesigned notifications

Notifications from a person now include their contact photo. Other notifications have larger icons.

You can arrange notifications by priority based on your activity and how you interact with each app. The highest priority notifications are moved to the top.

City experience in Apple Maps

Apple

The new city experience feature in Apple Maps displays details for roads, neighborhoods, trees, buildings and more. This works in both day and dark mode.

Spotlight

Spotlight gives you more details with rich search results for pretty much anything you search for, from musical artists to TV shows. The feature also works with contacts.

You can search your photos in Spotlight by location, people, scenes or objects. Live Text scans text in photographs, such as restaurant names, Wi-Fi passwords and phone numbers.

New Memoji

Apple

The Memoji function now has more customization choices, including outfits, headwear and accessibility options, including cochlear implants, oxygen tubes and soft helmets.

Safari updates

Safari’s bottom tab bar lets you swipe left or right on the address bar to switch between tabs. Swipe up to open all your tabs. Organize your tabs into Tab Groups, which sync across all your devices.

The new Safari lets you search the web using your voice. You can also add Safari extensions to your iPhone.

How to update your iPhone and iPad

Your iPhone and iPad will let you know when an update is available, at which time you can choose to update immediately or later on.

You can check for and install updates on either device in a couple of easy steps:

  • Go to Settings > General Software Update.
  • Tap Download and Install Now if the option is available.
  • You may want to plug your phone in so you don’t lose power during the update.

New iPadOS is here

iPadOS 15 launches today, and it gets much of the same updates that iOS 15 does. But it also comes with some unique features.

Multitasking lets you split your iPad screen up into different layouts so you can work with multiple apps at once. Tap and hold an email, note, or message to bring it front and center without leaving your current view.

Attach a keyboard to your iPad and view a list of all shortcuts. Find new widgets, Quick Notes and more in macOS 15.

RELATED: Common practice that can ruin your iPhone camera

Don’t forget your Apple Watch

The new watchOS 8 also drops today and lets you put Portrait mode photos from your iPhone on your watch face. Home Key enables you to store a digital key in the Wallet app on your Watch so that you can open multiple locks with just that one key.

Use the Digital Crown to edit dictation messages on the fly. Access your security cameras in the new Camera room, share songs through messages and email with the updated Music app and more.

To update your Apple Watch with your iPhone:

  • On your iPhone, open the Watch app, then tap the My Watch tab.
  • Tap General > Software Update.
  • Make sure to leave your watch on the charger until the update is complete.

To update directly from your Apple Watch:

  • Go to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Tap Install if an update is available.
  • Make sure to leave your watch on the charger during the update.

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