Apple's iOS 15: The reviews are in

Excerpts from the items that caught my eye. More as they come in.

Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge: Foundational Fixes. Some iOS updates bring huge new features; iOS 13 had dark mode(and a lot of bugs) and iOS 14 had widgets. Some, like iOS 12, brought much needed behind-the-scenes fixes to performance and battery life. But iOS 15 (and its companion, iPadOS 15) does neither. It’s the most incremental and iterative iOS release in years, a grab bag of new features that, while nice to have, don’t really move the needle or change your iPhone experience much.

David Nield, Gizmodo: 19 Things You Can Do in iOS 15 That You Couldn't Do Before. iOS 15 is now officially available to download as an over-the-air upgrade for iPhones, and it’s got more than just new wallpapers to try out. Once you install the big update, there are a slew of new features to check out, some of which might just change the way you use your iPhone. Here are 19 ways iOS 15 is a huge upgrade from iOS 14, and how to start using them.

Federico Viticci, MacStories: A quieter release for even stranger times. Surprisingly, iOS 15 doesn’t introduce any notable improvements to what made its predecessor wildly popular last year. In fact, as I’ll explore in this review, iOS 15 doesn’t have that single, all-encompassing feature that commands everyone’s attention such as widgets in iOS 14 or dark mode in iOS 13.

Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal: The iPhone Software Update’s Small Tricks Make a Big Difference. It’s Apple’s AAPL -2.14% ultimate non-choice. If you don’t download, you’ll miss out on vital security and privacy updates. (Just see last week for an example.) Not to mention, you’ll endure Apple’s version of your smoke detector’s low-battery beep: constant alerts until you just can’t take it anymore. So even if you don’t update to Apple’s brand-new iPhone operating system, iOS 15, as soon as it’s available to you on Monday, you will eventually. And that’s not something to fear.

Romain Dillet, TechCrunch: iOS 15 adds all the little features that were missing. The release of iOS 15 should be a major event for mobile operating systems. And yet, this year, there’s no breakthrough feature or overarching theme that makes this release stand out. Apple has focused on quality-of-life updates as well as new features for its own apps. The result is a solid update that is not going to be controversial. Some people are going to take advantage of the new Focus feature. They’ll spend a lot of time customizing their phone to make it as personal as possible. Other people are just going to miss or dismiss the new features

William Gallagher, AppleInsider: A solid update with excellent new features. You know that a lot has been done under the hood to make all of the features of these operating systems better, or faster, or more bug-free. That's not to be ignored, but it's the visible new features that are going to get you looking to update. Chief among those eye-catching new abilities is Live Text. That's going to change how you use your iPhone because as well as meaning you can extract text from photos, it means you can pull that text from the viewfinder — you don't even have to take the shot.

Heather Kelly, The Washington Post: Here’s what you should know. Apple’s iOS update is the annual consolation prize for people not buying the newest iPhone model. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars, you can add a little zest to your perfectly fine older generation iPhone (or iPad) for free.

Dan Moran, Six Colors: iOS 15 does a lot with a little. It might seem like it’s the new kid on the block, but the truth is that iOS has reached the point where any limitations are predominantly choices that Apple has made. And splashy new features are often forays into unexplored territory rather than making up ground. So it is with iOS 15, a release that appears with at least one of its most touted features, SharePlay, delayed until later this year, and another impressive piece of functionality—Universal Control—demoed but never even present in the betas. What’s left is a hodgepodge of interesting ideas and occasionally misguided attempts to prescribe how people should use their mobile devices. It’s an update that’s got a lot to recommend it, but that’s simultaneously tough to recommend, if only because it’s difficult to point to a single big feature that will make a huge difference in the life of the average user.



  1. Clicked & scanned every review above. Only Six Colors gets to the crux of improvements to photography iPhone13 offers. I’ll still buy a Nikon D6 but I’ll earn a % of the funds to do so with my new iPhone 13 Pro. It’s a dream machine for someone invited to photograph spots maintained by Nature Conservancy, Audubon, Key West Women’s Garden Club and national parks of many nations. Waterproof, macro & telephoto capability, multiple focus points, exposures, after I get home. 5G to send the pics everywhere. Oh yeah, most pro video features included, for which I have a DJI OM 5 gimbal in transit. Yikes!
    Can’t wait to photograph my bees up close!

    September 20, 2021
    • Hugh Lovell said:
      My primary photography editing app is Capture One (C1), by Phase One. Phase One have announced they’re working on an iPad version of C1, due out next year. If this is accurate, and if the app’s functionality is acceptable, then instead of upgrading my 13-inch MacBook Pro, I’ll get the larger iPad Pro and use that, with Pencil, for editing images when traveling (when I can travel again). Lack of C1 on iPad had been the reason I’ve not made this switch earlier. Yes, I know there are many other image-editing apps on iPad; I have some. But C1 is my preferred app. I want consistency across the platforms.

      September 20, 2021
  2. David Emery said:
    Live Text is supposed to work with translation, which would have been -very handy- for us when we were in France this summer..

    September 20, 2021
  3. David Drinkwater said:
    I’ve been using Live Text. It’s pretty awesome. I can get an iMessage, look at it on my Mac with my iPhone and find the email address to respond to the iMessage. Naturally, I can then use Continuity to compile the email on my Mac that I start on my iPhone.

    It’s really pretty slick, IMNSH and totally biased Opinion.

    September 23, 2021

Leave a Reply