Bug fixes, Apple SharePlay support, the ability to store your vaccine card on your iPhone and more in iOS 15.1.
Apple released iOS 15 for iPhones in September, alongside four new phones, the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini and the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. And a new OS update has already arrived with iOS 15.1. (We also get a small glimpse at iOS 15.2 with the update's first developer beta.) iOS 15 brought a variety of new and improved features when it launched. In the first month, we saw a couple of small patches, including a security fix, but no major updates.
However, with the launch of iOS 15.1 -- Apple's first major upgrade to the latest major version of the dedicated operating system for all iPhone devices -- we finally get some of the new features we've been waiting for. Here's what you need to know about the launch based on our hands-on experience with the iOS 15.1 beta.
Apple released iOS 15.1 on Monday, Oct. 25.
To download the iOS update, go to Settings > General > Software Update. The download has a file size of about 1.4GB. We recommend backing up your device before you begin the download -- it's the safest move before any major update.
The iOS 15.1 update finally adds support for SharePlay, as well as ProRes video recording for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. The 15.1 beta also includes the ability to upload your vaccination card to Apple Wallet. (Here's how to store your COVID-19 vaccine records on your phone now.) The usual bug fixes should be in there, too.
Apple built a lot of hype around its SharePlay feature -- an upgrade to FaceTime that allows you to share your screen during the call, letting your friends and family stream the same television and music as you at the same time. However, the feature didn't launch with iOS 15 last month, leaving many iPhone owners wondering when they could use SharePlay. SharePlay has now arrived with the 15.1 update.
The biggest draws of the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max are their stellar cameras. The ProRes video feature helps you get the most out of them by minimizing the amount your videos are compressed, helping to protect the image quality in your videos. It's great if you like to do creative editing before sharing your captures. ProRes was included in iOS 15.1.
In order to test the beta versions of Apple software, you first need to sign up for Apple's Beta Software Program. Note that beta versions of software are buggy and not optimized, so we only recommend downloading betas on an extra device, not your primary phone, tablet or laptop. Once you're participating in the program, you'll need to download the configuration profile from Apple. Then you should be able to find the latest beta version by going to Settings > General > Software update and selecting Download and Install.
The latest beta is for Apple's iOS 15.2, and it's available now for testers and developers. The early version of the OS brings a redesigned Notification Summary, updates for emergency calling and a few privacy-related changes with App Privacy Reports, according to GSMArena.
For more about iOS 15 and the new iPhones, check out our iOS 15 review. You can also read about all the essential privacy features and our guide to whether you should upgrade to an iPhone 13.