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Technology: Hands-on: Top iOS 15 sleeper features for iPhone [Video]

– Sep. 22nd 2021 10:50 am PT

Every year, new iOS releases arrive with headline-grabbing features like SharePlay and Focus. Likewise, every year, iOS includes under-the-radar improvements that aren’t likely to generate headlines. In this hands-on video I consider the top hidden iOS 15 features that I’ve stumbled upon. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for even more iOS 15 coverage in the days and weeks to come.

While a few of these low-key features were demonstrated in my top iOS 15 features overview, the majority are enhancements that I haven’t yet showcased for the public version of iOS 15. Here’s a full list of all of the sleeper features covered in this video, along with a brief commentary on why I think each feature is beneficial.

The editing loupe was a staple feature of iOS for years, but was inexplicably removed. The loupe magnifies the immediate area around the cursor to help with precise movement. Needless to say, it’s an iOS 15 features that I welcome back with open arms.

You can now mute notifications via Notification Center on a per-app basis. Simply swipe on the notification, select Options, and mute for 1 hour or for the entire day.

You can now quickly reorder Home Screen pages by going into edit mode and tapping the page dots to enter the page editor.

Within the page editor, it’s now possible to outright delete hidden Home Screen pages, sending all of its apps to the App Library.

iPadOS has enjoyed true drag and drop support for several years now, and iPhone users can now join in on the fun. Try dragging an image from the Photos app to a Messages app thread, or drag a URL directly from Safari into Notes.

Live Text is one of the headline features in iOS 15, and if you tap in a text field to open the copy paste menu, you’ll see a new capture text shortcut to quickly insert live text from anywhere.

If you’re an apartment dweller, this is a feature that you’ll surely appreciate. Open the Home app, invoke your HomePod, and flip the Reduce Bass switch.

I often listen to ambient sounds on Apple Music at night to help me sleep. With iOS 15, ambient background sounds are built right into iOS. Simply go to Accessibility → Audio/Visual → Background Sounds.

iOS 15 lets you speed through voice memos with the adoption of skip silence and playback speed adjustments.

Long-press on the Shazam shortcut in Control Center to access Shazam listening history.

Press the ellipsis button in the bottom right-hand corner of the default video player to access awesome new playback speed options.

When taking a video with Quick Take, slide up or down to zoom in and out.

A new AR-centric QR code UI appears in the stock camera app when a QR code appears in the viewfinder.

iOS 15 will now respect the order of your selections when picking photos via the Photo picker.

No longer are the markup options hidden behind a menu when editing photos in the Photos app.

Users on fast cellular connections now have the option to perform backups even when not connected to Wi-Fi. This option is perfect for those connected to speedy 5G cellular service.

iOS 15 helps you get ready for the iPhone 13 with a new Prepare for New iPhone checklist.

This service can help you recover data that is not yet end-to-end encrypted, such as photos, notes, and reminders.

It’s a good idea to establish an account recovery contact just in case you forget your device passcode and Apple ID password.

You can now group files in the Files app by Kind, Date, and Size.

iOS 15 lets you cycle through the time picker old school style, complete with haptic feedback, but it also allows for direct time input with just a tap.

An updated AirPrint UI comes with a new presets panel and the ability to select media and quality.

Finally! iOS 15 now supports one-time-passcodes for two-factor authentication. It will also auto-fill your one-time-passcodes for a totally seamless login experience. To set up one-time-passcodes, go to Settings → Password.

As outlined in our iOS 15 top features overview, Safari gets tons of new additions like Tab Groups, and a new bottom address bar with built-in swipe gestures. But Safari gets an additional swipe gesture by finally bringing support for pull-to-refresh to Apple’s default browser for the first time.

Definitely don’t sleep on Safari’s new extensions capability, which lets users integrate apps and utilities such as Apollo or 1Password like never before. To activate available extensions, open Safari, tap the ‘Aa’ button, and click Manage Extensions.

In the past, enabling an accessibility setting like Smart Invert would apply to iOS as a whole. In iOS 15, it’s now possible to apply accessibility settings on a per-app basis. Simply visit Settings → Accessibility → Per-App Settings.

If you’re multi-lingual, you’ll no doubt enjoy being able to search through all available keyboards in Settings → General → Keyboard → Keyboards → Add New Keyboard.

A refreshed UI allows you to download apps from Spotlight directly without invoking the App Store.

If your App Store search results include apps that you already have installed, iOS 15 will present a minimized view of the app icon with no corresponding screenshots.

You can now easily search the web for images via Spotlight.

You can also access Spotlight search directly from the Lock Screen on an unlocked iPhone.

In iOS 15, it’s now possible to search for an app via Spotlight, long-press on the result, and delete the app right from Spotlight.

iOS 15 affords users the ability to continually dictate text well beyond the limits of previous versions of iOS.

You can ask Siri to share on-screen content with a friend.

You can also ask Siri to control Smart Home devices at a certain time, which will create an automation within the Home app.

Finally, for devices logged in to the Find My network, you can now find your iPhone running iOS 15, even if the device has been powered off.

What is your favorite under-the-radar sleeper feature for iOS 15? For me, it’s the addition of one-time-passcode support and Safari extensions. Such features bring a measure of convenience to iOS that we haven’t had before.

What do you think? Sound off down below with your thoughts.

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Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my