Apple has released iOS 15.2 and watchOS 8.3, here’s what’s new
Apple has released iOS 15.2 and watchOS 8.3 to the public. The company had been testing them since late October, but the stable releases are finally available to everyone. iOS 15.2 comes packed with changes and tweaks aimed at user privacy and security. These features include some that Apple had teased during WWDC21, such as App Privacy Report, Communication Safety, a tweaked Notification Summary, and more. Here’s what’s new in iOS 15.2 and watchOS 8.3.
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Voice Plan on Apple Music
This release introduces the Voice Plan on Apple Music that the company announced few weeks ago. Users can now subscribe to it, after they upgrade their iPhones to this version.
Tweaks to Macro mode settings
In iOS 15.1, Apple added a new “Auto Macro” toggle to the Settings app. This latest version of iOS renames the toggle to “Macro Control.” The toggle is described as:
Show Camera control for automatically switching to the Ultra Wide lens to capture macro photos and videos.
Search playlists in Apple Music
iOS 15.2 also adds a search bar in Apple Music playlists. You can reveal it by swiping down in any list. This allows you to search for a certain song or artist inside the playlist. Playing a song from the search results will only queue songs that match the search term, not the entire playlist. So this feature works as a filter inside the playlist.
Communication Safety feature
Apple has introduced Messages Communication Safety for minors in this version. This feature detects nudity sent to children’s devices, blurs them, and shows a prompt offering guidance. It’s worth mentioning that the feature is off by default.
Hide My Email in the Mail app
You can now use Hide My Email inside the Mail app. Previously, users could only access it through iCloud settings in the iPhone Settings app. This feature allows iCloud+ subscribers to create random aliases that forward emails to their original iCloud address. This lets users avoid sharing the original one with websites and people for privacy reasons or other concerns.
Legacy Contacts in Apple ID settings
This release also allows users to add Legacy Contacts to their Apple IDs from iPhone Settings. These contacts will get access to your data in case you pass away, and they may download a copy as well.
New Store tab in the TV app
iOS 15.2 adds a new Store tab in the Apple TV app. This tab includes Movies and TV Shows sections that allow users to buy or rent content from the respective category.
App Privacy Report
App Privacy Report is a feature that Apple teased back in June. It allows users to view the data, sensors, and servers apps are individually accessing. This change brings absolute transparency that makes it significantly tougher for malicious apps to secretly contact certain servers or access device sensors without users’ knowledge.
Emergency SOS tweaks
iOS 15.2 updates the Emergency SOS feature that lets you auto-call your country’s emergency line. You can now either rapidly hit the side button or hold the side button and either of the volume buttons for a few seconds. The countdown timer has also been changed from three to eight seconds.
Notification Summary tweaks
The Notification Summary that was first introduced in iOS 15.0 gets tweaked in iOS 15.2. The summary is now presented in a card-style view that makes glancing at the notification contents easier.
iOS 15.2 Changelog
iOS 15.2 adds Apple Music Voice Plan, a new subscription tier that provides access to music using Siri. This update also includes the App Privacy Report, new safety features for children and parents in Messages, and other features and bug fixes for your iPhone.
Apple Music Voice Plan
- Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
- Just Ask Siri suggests music based on your listening history and likes or dislikes
- Play it Again lets you access a list of your recently played music
- App Privacy Report in Settings lets you see how often apps have accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts and more during the last seven days, as well as their network activity
- Communication safety setting gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos that contain nudity
- Safety warnings contain helpful resources for children when they receive photos that contain nudity
Siri and Search
- Expanded guidance in Siri, Spotlight and Safari Search to help children and parents stay safe online and get help with unsafe situations
- Digital Legacy allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your iCloud account and personal information in the event of your death
- Macro photo control for switching to the Ultra Wide lens to capture macro photos and videos can be enabled in Settings on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Store tab lets you browse, buy, and rent movies and TV Shows all in one place
- Enhanced city map in Apple Maps with road details like turn lanes, medians, bike lanes, and pedestrian crosswalks for supported cities
This release also includes the following enhancements for your iPhone:
- Hide My Email is available in the Mail app for iCloud+ subscribers to create unique, random email addresses
- Find My can locate iPhone for up to five hours when in Power Reserve
- Stocks allows you to view the currency for a ticker and see year-to-date performance when viewing charts
- Reminders and Notes now allow you to delete or rename tags
This release also includes bug fixes for your iPhone:
- Siri may not respond while VoiceOver is running and iPhone is locked
- ProRAW photos may appear overexposed when viewing in third-party photo editing apps
- HomeKit scenes that include a garage door may not run from CarPlay when your iPhone is locked
- CarPlay may not update Now Playing information for certain apps
- Video streaming apps may not load content on iPhone 13 models
- Calendar events may appear on the wrong day for Microsoft Exchange users
ECG support in China
User in China with supported Apple Watch models can now take advantage of the ECG feature.
AssistiveTouch on older models
watchOS 8.3 brings AssistiveTouch to older watch models, such as the Series 4 and Series 5. The feature was originally available on the Series 6, SE, and later models. This accessibility tool allows users to interact with and control their Apple Watches by clenching, pinching, and doing other movements.
watchOS 8.3 Changelog
watchOS 8.3 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:
- Apple Music Voice Plan gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
- Support for App Privacy Report to record data and sensor access
- Fixes an issue where notifications may interrupt Mindfulness sessions unexpectedly for some users.
You can download and install these software updates on all of your supported devices right now. Make sure to keep your devices plugged into a power source until the installation process is complete. If the updates aren’t showing up for you just yet, give it a few minutes and try rebooting your devices.
Which of these new features do you like the most? Let us know in the comments section below.