Tuesday, Jun 15, 2021, 15:47 iOS: Software

iOS 15: Features Apple Says Require iPhone XR Or Newer

When iOS 15 is finally released this fall, certain users may not be able to take full advantage of all of the operating system's announced features. There are two reasons, the first of which being rather simple – not all of the announced innovations will be immediately available upon release. The announcement of notifications via CarPlay and Privacy Report are two components that are likely to be added to iOS 15 in later updates. However, users of some older iPhones will also not be able to take advantage of all of the new features coming with iOS 15.

Which iPhones & iPad Will Be Compatible With The New Features?
Some viewers of Apple's WWDC presentation last week already foresaw the possibility that older iPhones and iPad might not be compatible with all of iOS 15's announced innovations. It's likely that Apple is reserving some features for chips with a neural engine, found in Apple's handheld devices since the A11 bionic chip used in the iPhone 8 (and later) as well as the iPhone X. However, Cupertino is tightening the border this time and many of iOS 15's newer functions will require a device with an A12 bionic chip or newer. In other words: users will need an iPhone XR (or newer) or XS (Max) for some of the innovations. iPads compatible with the new features are listed below:

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  • iPad (2020)
  • iPad mini (2019)
  • iPad Air (2019 or newer)
  • iPad Pro (2018 or newer)


Features Only Compatible With The iPhone XR (Or Newer)
FaceTime is about to offer more for the eyes and ears: thanks to 3D audio, users will hear sounds as if they are coming from the direction of their device (when also using compatible headphones). In addition, "Portrait Mode" – useable with FaceTime and other apps that make use of the device's camera, will blur everything behind the silhouette of the user. This means that you could undergo a FaceTime business call from your house, blurring the background of the room you are sitting in for privacy so that only you and your body are visible to other members of the call. However, these two new features will only work on an iPhone XR or newer, or one of the iPads mentioned above.


Other Added Components of iOS 15 Incompatible With Older Devices
Other innovations, such as the interactive 3D globe and augmented reality assisted directions will also only be available with devices equipped with an A12 chip or newer. This also applies to several practical features of the Photos app – for example, iPhones and iPads will be able to sample important content in photos and provide further information, or in the case of live text, recognize and capture text in photos – similar to one of Google Translate's features allowing users to take an image of and translate text on the spot. Furthermore, only newer devices will be able to process voice commands or inputs without the use of a server. House, hotel, and office keys stores in the Wallet app will also require at least an iPhone XR. Even the newly animated background in the weather app won't be available on the iPhone 8, X, or older.

Exceptions To The Rule: Optimized Panorama Mode For iPhone 12 & More
There are, however, exceptions for some of the new features and compatibility with older phones. The improvements to 5G will of course require at least an iPhone 12 (the first 5G compatible iPhone) although only the current flagship devices will receive the improved panorama mode. Improved 3D audio with dynamic head tracking will be compatible with an iPhone 7 or newer and the new Health app feature "walking steadiness" will be compatible with the iPhone 8, X, and newer.

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