The back of the iPhone 13.
Apple today pushed out new versions of iOS, watchOS, and tvOS to coincide with the launch of macOS Monterey.
iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1 most notably add SharePlay, a flagship feature intended for iOS 15 that didn't make the annual release's launch last month.
SharePlay is the name of Apple's suite of features allowing the consumption of content with other callers in a FaceTime call, like watching synchronized streams of Apple TV+ shows and Apple Fitness+ workouts. There's also an API to allow third-party applications to offer the same features.
The update additionally brings ProRes video-capture support to the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max—another feature that missed the initial launch window.
Other additions include the ability to store proof of COVID-19 vaccination in the Wallet app, a toggle for automatic camera switching when taking macro photos, and several bug fixes.
Here are the full release notes for iOS 15.1:
iOS 15.1 adds SharePlay, an entirely new way to have shared experiences with family and friends in FaceTime. This release also adds the ability to capture ProRes video using iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, as well as verifiable COVID-19 vaccination cards in Apple Wallet, and includes other features and bug fixes for your iPhone.
- SharePlay is a new way to share synchronized experiences in FaceTime with content from the Apple TV app, Apple Music, Fitness+, and other supported App Store apps
- Shared controls give everyone the ability to pause, play, rewind, or fast forward
- Smart volume automatically lowers the audio of a movie, TV show, or song when your friends speak
- Apple TV supports the option to watch the shared video on your big screen while you continue the FaceTime call on iPhone
- Screen sharing lets everyone on a FaceTime call look at photos, browse the web, or help each other out
- ProRes video capture using iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Setting to turn off automatic camera switching when taking macro photos and videos on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
- COVID-19 vaccination card support allows you to add and present verifiable vaccination information from Apple Wallet
- Mandarin Chinese (Taiwan) support in the Translate app and for system-wide translation
- New automation triggers based on the current reading of a HomeKit-enabled humidity, air quality, or light level sensor
- New pre-built actions let you overlay text on images or gifs, plus a new collection of games lets you pass the time with Siri
This release also fixes the following issues:
- Photos app may incorrectly report storage is full when importing photos and videos
- Weather app may not show current temperature for My Location and may display colors of animated backgrounds incorrectly
- Audio playing from an app may pause when locking the screen
- Wallet may unexpectedly quit when using VoiceOver with multiple passes
- Available Wi-Fi networks may not be detected
- Battery algorithms updated on iPhone 12 models to better estimate battery capacity over time
On the iPad, the update adds the above listed features and support for Live Text in the Camera app. With Live Text, the Camera can detect text, phone numbers, addresses, and more, with the feature available on iPads that have an A12 Bionic chip or later. Live Text was already available on the iPhone.
For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222
Apple also launched watchOS 8.1, which mostly fixes bugs but which also adds the same COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination feature we just saw in iOS. It also includes support for SharePlay on Fitness+ content.
Likewise, tvOS 15.1 is a minor update that fixes bugs and implements SharePlay support in tandem with iOS.
All three updates should be available globally to most users on supported devices today.
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Samuel Axon / Based in Chicago, Samuel is the Senior Reviews Editor at Ars Technica, where he leads the site's gadget and reviews section. He covers Apple and display tech, as well as hardware and software for developers and creative professionals. He has been writing about technology for 15 years, and is an AR and game developer for iOS and other platforms.
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