iOS 15 Release Date, Plus New Features & Major Delays

The new iPhone software will be available to download on September 20, but some features will be late to the party.

Apple confirmed during its September 14 "California Streaming" event that iPhone users will have access to exciting new iOS 15 features starting on Monday, September 20. While software updates are usually staggered across multiple days, most users will have an update available within a day or so of initial rollout. So what features can you start playing with right away, and which will you have to wait for? We'll give you the low-down on the update to iOS 15.

Related: iPad OS 15 Features to Use Right Now & Ones We're Still Waiting On

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iOS 15 Release Date & Compatibility

Availability: iOS 15 will be available starting Monday, September 20.

Compatibility: The iPhone 13 will come with iOS 15 pre-installed. Everyone with the following iPhone versions will be able to update to iOS 15, but features including Spatial Audio, the Maps app City Experience, Live Text for Photos and Camera, Visual Look Up, and new Weather app map features require an iPhone with an A12 Bionic Chip or later (iPhone XS or newer).

  • iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (first and second generations)
  • iPod Touch (7th generation)

Image courtesy of Apple

The New iOS 15 Features We'll See Right Away

Every year, those of you who follow Apple news get hints, announcements, and even previews of features and devices that Apple plans to release, and every year certain features are delayed. It's a natural, if frustrating, part of the development cycle for systems as complex as Apple's iOS software. The features listed below will roll out on the initial iOS 15 release date, September 20, and those in the next section will be delayed.

  • Safari's big makeover.
  • Focus mode to keep you on task. 
  • FaceTime with Android or Windows users thanks to FaceTime links. 
  • Live Text in the Photos and Camera apps will change the way you save notes and text. 
  • Walking Steadiness and data sharing in the Health app.
  • Photos app upgrades for easy access to shared content.
  • Siri can now perform more operations without an internet connection.

You'll also see some less exciting but no less practical upgrades to Privacy, Maps, Music, Weather, Accessibility, Memojis, and Apple Wallet. We introduced readers to these new iOS 15 features when they were initially announced at the June WWDC event, but if you're new in learning how to use them, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter to receive a one-minute how-to each day, delivered straight to your inbox!

Which iOS 15 Features Are Not Available Yet?

Unfortunately, with the sweet comes the sour, and I'm personally a little bit salty about some of these delays. These are the features we can expect to be released in subsequent updates, either later this month or in the months to come. All the more reason to stay on top of keeping your iPhone up to date!

  • SharePlay, Apple’s new feature for listening, watching, and enjoying content together through FaceTime. This is perhaps the biggest bummer of them all, as SharePlay was set to make a dramatic debut as Apple's answer to pandemic boredom. When the feature does finally roll out, you'll be able to create collaborative playlists, watch movies together, and much more while on a FaceTime call.
  • Apple Digital Legacy will put you in charge of what happens to your iPhone data when you pass away, allowing you to designate a loved one who at that time will have access to things like your photo library and important files.
  • Apple Maps for CarPlay will not see iOS 15’s exciting improvements to turn-by-turn navigation, 3D views for complex interchanges, or augmented reality for directions until a little later this year. You'll still be able to use all of these features on your iPhone, but CarPlay's updates seem to be stuck in traffic for the time being.
  • App Privacy Reports will provide deeper insight into exactly what data your apps are tracking and how they use it.
  • Your ID card will soon be something you can save in your Apple Wallet.
  • Sharing Health data with your doctor is technically available, but not quite functional yet. As of right now, there are not any available medical providers listed in the Health app when you try to share your data with a doctor. That will change soon as more and more practitioners join the ranks of those who can see your important health updates if you choose to share them!

I have to give it to Apple; the list of functionalities the tech giant's developers were able to successfully manage with the iOS 15 update is astonishing. As such, I can't be too impatient while I wait for the more exciting delayed 2021 iPhone features. Which available or delayed iOS 15 feature are you most excited about?

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Author Details

Erin MacPherson's picture

Author Details

Erin MacPherson

Erin is a Web Editor for iPhone Life and has been a writer, editor, and researcher for many years. She has a degree in communication with an emphasis on psychology and communication, and has spent many of her professional years as a coach in various business and specialty fields. Erin officially joined the ranks of iPhone and Apple users everywhere around nine years ago, and has since enjoyed the unique and customized feel of Apple technology and its many gadgets. When she’s not working, Erin and her son enjoy outdoor adventures, camping, and spending time with their eclectic collection of pets.