iOS 15 rumors: Release date, new features, device compatibility and more

Will iOS 15 look a lot like iOS 14? We aren’t yet sure.

Patrick Holland/CNET

We’re still waiting for Apple to release iOS 14.5, but that’s not stopping us from looking ahead to the next new version of the iPhone operating system: iOS 15. As usual, we’ll expect a range of new features in iOS 15, building on iOS 14’s upgrades like home screen widgets and new camera tricks. We’ve also got a decent idea of when to expect the new OS to be released.

Here’s every rumor about iOS 15 we’ve heard so far and every educated guess we can make, including when it may be available to download, and what new features we may see. 

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iOS 15 release date: Likely September

Apple typically reveals new versions of iOS at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Last year’s WWDC started on June 22, and we got our first look at iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and MacOS Big Sur. WWDC 2021 is likely to be a virtual event in June as well, though Apple hasn’t released its plans yet. After the new iOS is announced, it becomes available to developers for testing and, usually later in the summer, as a public beta. 

The final version of iOS 15 is likely to launch in September, alongside the iPhone 13. Even though last year, the iPhone 12‘s release was delayed to October due to the pandemic, we still saw iOS 14 released in September. So it’s a pretty good bet that iOS 15 will follow the same schedule. 

Device compatibility: iOS 15 will likely work on iPhone 7 and later

The only rumor we’ve heard about device compatibility so far is that iOS 15 will require an iPhone 7 or later, according to Israeli site The Verifier and French site iPhoneSoft. That’s not a huge surprise, since the iPhone 6 models are now more than five years old, and run on the A9 chip. It seems that iOS 15 will require devices with an A10 chip, which include the iPhone 7 and beyond, and the seventh-gen iPod Touch

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New iOS 15 features: Changing default apps, making widgets interactive

iOS 14 added widgets that you can customize in smart stacks. iOS 15 will likely add more widget capabilities.

GIF by Jason Cipriani/CNET

We won’t have a good idea of what features are coming to iOS 15 until it’s actually unveiled at WWDC 2021. Since iOS 14 was a larger update, it’s possible that iOS 15 will make fewer changes, and instead build on the base iOS 14 set up and improve its functionality. 

According to the tech site PhoneArena, iOS 15 could allow you to change more default apps. In iOS 14, you were able to swap defaults Safari and Mail for other browser and email apps. The upcoming iOS 14.5 update will also let you change your default music platform from Apple Music. iOS 15 may allow you to make more customizations like this. 

PhoneArena also predicts that iOS 15 will make widgets interactive, the way they are on Android, which would let you do things like change volume or toggle things on and off. We may also see more widget size options, the site reported. 

The iPhone 13 is rumored to have an always-on display, similar to the Apple Watch. While this is a hardware change, iOS would also likely change to accommodate it, possibly by updating the lock screen to display notifications in a different format, according to PhoneArena. 

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iOS 15 download instructions: The same as always 

If you’re part of Apple’s developer program, you’ll likely be able to download the iOS 15 developer beta after the new OS is announced in June to test your apps. The OS will likely be available to download as a public beta later in the summer (it was in early July for iOS 14), so you could download it then if you like, but be warned: Betas are usually buggy, and we don’t recommend that you download it on your primary device

Once iOS 15 is generally available, which we expect to be in September, Apple will likely send a notification letting you know you can update. Or, you’ll be able to do it manually, by going to the Settings app > General > Software Update

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