Make Forbes your destination for all-things iOS. Stay ahead of the curve with Anthony Karcz when each version hits public beta. Read full details of what’s in the release from me the moment it lands. Kate O’Flaherty looks at the security considerations of each new release. And then read Gordon Kelly’s analysis of whether you ought to install or wait.
Out of the blue, there’s another iOS update. While most of us had been focused on the upcoming iOS 15.2, with plenty of new features expected (including one that’s awesome), Apple has been working behind the scenes to deliver one crucial fix, and that’s what’s landed today. Read on for how to get it and what’s in the update.
Which iPhones can run iOS 15.1.1?
This update is aimed squarely at iPhones from 2020 and 2021, specifically the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series handsets. If you don’t have one of those phones, you won’t see this update—it’s not for everyone. Similarly, there’s no iPadOS 15.1.1.
How to get it
Go to the Settings app on the device and then choose General, then Software Update. Once you’ve clicked on Download and Install, it’ll work its magic. This is a smallish update—385MB on my iPhone 13 Pro Max—so shouldn’t take long to download and install.
What’s in the release
Apple is just saying that this update is here to fix one thing, but it’s a super-important one: call dropping. Sure, we use our iPhones for much more than just phone calls now, but they still need to make and receive calls, right?
Apple says: “iOS 15.1.1 improves call drop performance on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models.”
Personally, I haven’t had any call drop issues since I updated to iOS 15, nary a one, but that’s not the case for everyone, it seems. Assuming it works, this update will mean you don’t get call drop issues on your iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro or 13 Pro Max.
This was released on Monday October 25, 2021. It included SharePlay, to share experiences in real time in FaceTime. Lossless audio arrived for the HomePod and there were two changes to the camera are ProRes video capture on iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, something mostly of interest to the most keen of enthusiast and professional photographers. And the Macro Mode for iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max can be set so it doesn’t automatically switch to the Ultra Wide camera when you get up close to your subject.
Covid-19 Vaccination card support came to Apple Wallet. There were also fixes for issues such as the Photos app reporting storage as full when it’s not, the Weather app will hopefully not show the wrong temperature for the current location and several other fixes.
Released on Monday, October 11, this was a bug fix update that sorted issues where photos were erroneously deleted from Messages saved to Photos, fixed connection issues with the Leather Wallet with MagSafe and sorted CarPlay problems.
This update came out on Friday, October 1, fixed the failed Unlock With Apple Watch feature that happened when iOS 15 came out. It’s a highly useful element, so getting this back was a big deal.
Additionally, a Settings app issue where an alert that storage was full was incorrectly displayed, has now been fixed, it seems.
And Audio Meditations could start a workout on Apple Watch, apparently, though I never saw this. That’s been sorted now, hopefully.
Released on Monday, September 20, the first version of iOS 15 was full of innovation and upgrade. FaceTime updates are among the most extensive, and in some ways the app is changing out of all recognition.
Apple’s Messages has always been a powerful app, but it’s now redesigned to allow you to share stuff more easily. Share a favorite music track in Messages and it’ll show up in Apple Music in a special Shared with You section. This new section will also be in Safari, Apple News, Podcasts, Apple TV and Photos.
iCloud+ is an addition to the services you get through iCloud but better and these premium services, iCloud+ Private Relay, Hide My Email and better HomeKit Secure Video come at no extra cost over your current iCloud subscription. Note that this means you have to be paying for iCloud, it’s not included in the free 5GB level, only 50GB for 99c a month and above.
iCloud+ Private Relay is one of the keenest privacy features, though right now it’s only in beta. It’s an internet privacy service which means you can connect to most networks in a more secure way, Apple says.
Hide My Email is along the same lines, meaning that you don’t have to reveal your true email address in a form on the web, for instance. Apple creates a random email address which it forwards to your inbox.
HomeKit Secure Video Recording in iCloud+ lets you connect up to an unlimited number of security cameras, and none of the video footage counts towards your iCloud storage.
Custom email domain is the other feature in iCloud+ and means that if you have a domain that you control, once you’ve configured iCloud as the email provider for your domain, you can set up up to three personal aliases for your iCloud email address using your domain.
Focus takes do not disturb to the next level, letting you choose times, locations and more for specific ways notifications come through.
That’s not all when it comes to Notifications. These have been redesigned, too, so it can group them together, offer a summary of relevant stuff and mute notifications as you wish.
New features for Memoji include body language with everything from high fives to yoga poses, now that upper body depictions are included, as well as new clothing headwear and glasses. Oh, and if you want your Memoji to have eyes where each is a different color, you can do that, too.
Weather has been upgraded. Apple bought the brilliant Dark Sky app a while back and some of the granular detail that that has is now on the Weather app. The app itself has been updated with significantly more realistic backgrounds and details of next-hour precipitation—a Dark Sky specialty.
Maps now looks stunning, in selected cities at least, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London. Well, where else do you need? Joking. But it’s a good start with gorgeous-looking improvements and additions. I’ll be honest, I don’t like the new Maps app icon, but there we are.
Safari is one of the big ones, thanks to the controversial redesign that put the address bar at the bottom instead of the top. There was a lot of pushback against this and Apple did what it did when it introduced natural scrolling on the Mac: it made it optional. If you like the simplicity of a tab bar at the bottom where you can scroll back and forth just with your thumb, then the new design is for you. If not, the classic version is still there.
Live Text is another biggie. If there’s text in the camera view, you can tap on it to, for example, dial a phone number or copy text. And it can translate text into English, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Siri is certainly a capable voice assistant but now it’s more private. With iOS 15, it can process speech on the device.
More features are coming in the next weeks and months such as Universal Control to iPadOS 15 which will let you control an iPad and Mac from the same mouse and SharePlay which lets you share your screen while you’re enjoying a song or video, for instance, with someone else. Stay tuned for these additions as they arrive.