iOS 15.2, the latest iOS 15 software update, is here. The new iOS 15.2 software includes a number of updates, including a new App Privacy Report, Improvements to Hide My Email, Legacy Contacts, Apple Music Voice Plan, and more.
iOS 15.2 also makes it easy to reset your iPhone if it crashes, and includes macro photography controls for iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro maps.
Here’s a closer look at the most important changes for your iPhone. (iPadOS 15.2, Apple’s tablet software update, introduces similar changes to iPads.)
Apple introduced the Notification Summary when iOS 15 launched in the fall, but it’s a disaster. iOS 15.2 fixes things by condensing everything onto a single card instead of the current multi-card method. The idea is to keep the summary more relevant and less overwhelming.
Apple is addressing the concern of what happens to our data when we die. With Digital Legacy, iPhone users can designate a person who will receive their data when they pass away.
This includes everything from messages to photos to contacts. The designated person can even obtain backup copies of your device.
Nudity detection in Messages
Gurman specifically mentioned Apple’s latest attempts to curb child abuse online. After the CSAM detection fiasco, Apple instead spent time on other methods that raise fewer privacy concerns.
In a November beta, Apple added the ability to detect nudity in Messages for kid-owned iPhones. According to Gurman, when Messages detects a sexually explicit photo in Messages, it blurs the image and warns the child. If the child keeps trying to view the image, Messages will warn him one more time.
Regardless, the child will be able to alert a parent within Messages. Parents will need to opt for this feature on an account shared by the family. It also appears that the iPhone will scan messages for explicit images on the device, so it appears that this will not be a privacy issue.
I’m sure there are adults who would appreciate this feature too.
Face ID and third-party repairs
We’ve reported this before, but Apple is changing its stance on third-party, non-partner repair shop repairs. When iFixit did its iPhone 13 teardown, it learned that replacing the screen can disable Face ID permanently.
Apple confirmed that it had reversed this stance and that a future software update would allow Face ID to continue working with all third-party fixes. We think the update is iOS 15.2 as the software update adds a Parts and Services screen that shows if the replacement parts used in your phone are Apple Certified.
Macro mode controls on iPhone 13 Pro
The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max have a macro photography mode that activates automatically when you get close to a subject. While it’s a nifty feature, it can be annoying in some situations and Apple has confirmed that it will add an option to disable macro mode.
Gurman says this comes in iOS 15.2 with a prominent button that allows you to better control your photography experience.
Find my improvements
iOS 15.2 also has improvements to Find My network and AirTag compatibility. You will be able to actively search for nearby AirTags rather than passively beforehand. It used to be that if an unknown AirTag was on your person, your iPhone would alert you. But now you can check before you go, for example, to make sure you are not accidentally taking an unknown AirTag with you.
And in the next update, Find My will be able to find an iPhone in battery saver mode for up to five hours.
Apple Music Voice Plan
In October, Apple announced a voice-only plan for Apple Music that would allow you to use Apple’s music streaming service at a lower rate than your usual $ 9.99 / month subscription. The problem is, the $ 4.99 voice-only Apple Music plan only works through Siri.
We have worked with the Apple Music voice plan and it is actually quite good.
App privacy report
One of the biggest additions in iOS 15.2 will be the App Privacy Report that Apple first promised when it previewed the iOS 15 update over the summer. This panel shows which apps are tracking you and what permissions they are using. Specifically, you will be able to see if the apps tried to use your contacts, microphone, camera, and location in the last week.
The App Privacy Report is a good step in the right direction for smartphone privacy. If you don’t like what the report shows, you can adjust the permissions or decide to remove the app entirely.
Hide my email
During the iOS 15 announcement, Apple said that Mail was getting a Hide My Email feature. This would allow you to spoof your email address to maintain some privacy. Simply touch the cc field when composing a new email and the option will appear.
Don’t worry about missing out on receiving emails to that spoofed address. Apple will create a new address at the end and forward the messages to you. It’s definitely a welcome and much-needed feature in most, if not all, email services.
Emergency call shortcut
On iPhones with home buttons, you can activate an emergency call by pressing the home button five times. That feature never translated to iPhones with Face ID, but it looks like iOS 15.2 will finally tackle it.
Pressing the power button five times in a row will trigger an emergency call, with a delay of 8 seconds to prevent accidental calls.
Easier iPhone Restart if Locked
Resetting a locked iPhone or iPad has been a pain, but the new iOS 15.2 update makes things easier. As seen by 9to5MacApple now allows users to erase or reset a locked iPhone or iPad without having to connect it to a Mac or PC first.
So if your iPhone 13 is locked due to too many password attempts, users can now erase and reset the device from the lock screen. All it requires is an active network connection.
IOS 15.2 conclusion
Overall, iOS 15.2 offers many welcome updates for iPhone users along with important security fixes. And there are enhancements worth trying, like the ability to rename or remove tags in Notes and see year-to-date performance on stock charts. We will update as soon as possible.