iOS 15: The best new features and how to update your iOS

There are two types of iPhone users. The early adopters who can’t get enough of new features and products. And everyone else who rolls their eyes at having to do another software update.

But regardless of what type of user you are, iOS 15 has a slew of new features that everyone will want to try. Keep reading to see what those features are. And what other reasons should get you excited about upgrading your iPhone.

Before you install the iOS 15 update

There are a couple of things you should keep in mind and do before you start downloading the update. Check out what those are and get ready for all those new features.

1. Free up storage on your iPhone

Whenever you do a software update, it’s always recommended that you have twice as much free space available on your iPhone. That said, iOS 15 takes up just under 3.5 GB, which means you’ll need to have about 5 GB free.

If you’re looking for space to free up, the best place to start is with your pictures. Things like duplicates and blurry photos can take up valuable space and be annoying to clear off your phone. Fortunately, you can use the app Gemini Photos to help you free up space quickly.

Once you download Gemini Photos from the App Store, just follow these steps to remove your duplicates:

  1. Open Gemini Photos on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Duplicates.
  3. Select each grouping of pictures and choose which copy you want to delete.
  4. When you’re finished, hit Delete [X] Duplicates at the bottom.
  5. Tap Delete again to confirm.

That’s really all there is to it. See how much faster it is rather than going through your pictures one at a time. And if you tap Your Library in the top-left corner, you’ll be able to clean up the other categories of images like Blurred, Similar, Notes, Screenshots, etc.

Since you’re cleaning your library to make space for an update, you should keep in mind that Gemini Photos doesn’t permanently delete your pictures. As a safety precaution, the app only moves your pics to the Recently Deleted album. Then, after 30 days, the images will be automatically removed. But you can instantly delete them by opening up the Photos app and tapping Albums > Recently Deleted > Select > Delete All.

2. Make sure you have an iOS 15 supported device

While Apple tries to support as many of their iPhone models as long as possible, sometimes the phones just can’t keep up. On the bright side, iOS 15 has the most extensive supported device list to date. But, just so you’re sure, here’s a list of iPhones that can run it:

  • iPhone 13 & iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro & iPhone Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 & iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro & iPhone Pro Max
  • iPhone SE 2020 & iPhone First Generation
  • iPhone 11 Pro & iPhone Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 & iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus

3. Back up your data

Whenever you’re installing considerable amounts of software — like an iOS upgrade — you should always have a backup. You just never know when things will go sideways, and you could end up losing important info.

The easiest way to have a consistent backup is with iCloud. It automatically backs up as long as your phone is connected to WiFi and power. Here’s how you can make sure iCloud backups are enabled on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup.
  3. Make sure iCloud Backup is turned on.

How to upgrade to the new iOS 15

Now that you’ve freed up space, confirmed that you have a supported device, and backed up your iPhone, it’s time to upgrade to iOS 15. All you have to do to start the upgrade is follow these steps:

  1. Plug your iPhone into power.
  2. Make sure you’re connected to WiFi.
  3. Launch the Settings app.
  4. Tap General > Software Update > Update.

Depending on how fast your internet connection is, the process can take anywhere from a few minutes or go up to an hour. The most important thing is to let the installation finish before trying to do anything on your phone.

The best new features in iOS 15

As you read earlier, iOS 15 is jam-packed with a ton of new features. It has everything from better ways to connect with friends to increased control over your focus times. Check out some of the best features of iOS 15.

FaceTime is more fun

As everyone is finding new ways of communicating and staying in touch, FaceTime got a much-needed update. You can now share links to FaceTime sessions just like you would with Zoom or Google Meets. And iOS 15 brings the popular Camera feature, Portrait Mode, to FaceTime as well. So, now your face will stay in focus while everything behind you is blurred out.

More ways to Focus

Do Not Disturb has been a widely loved iOS feature, but it wasn’t without its limitations. In iOS 15, that feature is now Focus. And it lets you decide which app allows notifications and alerts to come through. But the best part is that you can have different presets for different times of the day. It comes default with settings for Work and Personal time.

Safari redesign

As iPhone screens grew larger with each model, it became harder for some people to use Safari one-handed. But the Apple browser got a significant update and redesign in iOS 15. The address bar moved to the bottom of the screen, along with all the other browser controls.


iOS 15 is filled with new and thoughtful ways to stay connected with friends and family. One of those ways is with the new SharePlay feature. Now, you can listen to music or podcasts or even watch a TV show or movie simultaneously with friends. It will sync up whatever you’re watching or listening to, so everyone gets to the shocking plot twist at the same time.

Shared with You

If you’re anything like us, you probably receive dozens if not hundreds of links, pictures, and/or videos sent to you every week. It can be a bit overwhelming and cumbersome to go back through them all to try to find a specific thing you were sent just a couple of days ago. Now, iOS 15 has a Shared with You section on your phone.

Not every iOS update boasts so many significant improvements, but iOS 15 is loaded with new and exciting ways to stay connected. Even though our iPhones are like tiny computers in our pockets, they’re still communication devices. And with this new iOS update, communicating has become a lot more fun. iOS 15 also gives you a lot more control over when and how you communicate.

If you have an iPhone that can run iOS 15, you don’t want to miss out on these features. Update your phone today.

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