Apple iOS 15 release date confirmed for September 20

Apple will release iOS 15 on September 20, the company has confirmed today. The new update – detailed back at WWDC 2021 – will be preloaded on the freshly-announced iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro series, but for existing iPhone owners it's an opportunity to get new features without having to upgrade.

There's a lot to look forward to, as well. Perhaps most useful will be the change to the notification system, with Apple introducing a number of features to help tame the amount your iPhone bleeps and vibrates.

Focus modes, for example, will allow for a more curated "do not disturb" experience. You'll be able to create specific modes for different scenarios – such as when you're working or when you're relaxing at the weekend – with different levels of access to callers and people sending messages. Focus modes can also change the apps you see on the home screen, tailoring them to what you're likely to be needing first in each scenario.

FaceTime is getting a number of improvements, though some of the updates won't be arriving on day one. One of the more appealing additions was to be FaceTime SharePlay, which would allow people to watch video synchronized together on different devices. However, that's not going to be available when iOS 15 is first released.

In Messages, there'll be an easier way to see the links, images, and other content shared in conversions. A new "Shared with You" section will show a summary of those files: it'll be built into Photos, Safari, Apple News, Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and the Apple TV app. New Memoji are being added, too.

In Apple Maps, there are richer city experiences with 3D landmarks. New driving features will add extra detail too, such as turn lanes, crosswalks, and granular bike lane information. Bette walking directions, and public transit with real-time notifications on when you need to disembark, should make a difference to those not driving or riding as well.

In Safari, there'll be extensions support, a new UI, Tab Groups – with sync across different devices – and all of Apple's new privacy features. That'll help block tracking cookies and the like. In Mail, you'll be able to prevent services from seeing your actual email address.

iOS 15 will be compatible with iPhone models from the iPhone 6s and later. It'll also be compatible with the iPod touch (7th generation). As for the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro, preorders for all four variants of the smartphones are open now. They'll begin shipping from September 24 in the US.