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The march toward the public release of iOS 15 this fall continues, with Apple pushing out its third developer beta of iOS 15 and its siblings, with a public beta sure to follow very soon.
While almost all the really exciting new iOS 15 features have been around since the first beta, Apple has been dropping in a few changes and refinements over the course of the first few developer betas, and this latest one is no exception.
Now, the third iOS 15 beta is polishing things up even more, particularly when it comes to the big Safari redesign that’s been somewhat controversial.
Safari on iPhone
For one thing, the Safari URL/search entry field has been relocated so that it now appears just above the keyboard, rather than moving up to the top of the screen.
Pre-iOS 15 versions of Safari left the entry field up at the top all the time, however with iOS 15 Apple had moved it down to the bottom — but only when the keyboard was hidden. Before beta 3, tapping on the field to search or enter a URL caused it to pop back up to the top, which was a bit jarring.
Placing it above the keyboard makes it easier for users to figure out where it went.
The new design also notably omits the single-tap Reload button — it’s now hidden behind the ellipsis menu, along with other options for sharing, Reader View, Read Later, and more.
Instead, you can now pull down to refresh a web page — but only if you’re at the top of the page already.
Safari in iOS 15 also packs in a more hidden menu that can be brought up by long-pressing on the actual search/URL entry field. This has been there since the very first beta, and offers options for copying, adding to Reading List or bookmarks, and sharing. With beta 3, Apple has also added a reload button here.
This hidden Safari menu also allows you to activate it and select an option in a single gesture. After you long-press on the address bar to bring it up, you can leave your finger on the screen and simply slide up and release on the option you want.
Safari on Mac and iPad
Notably, these changes are not yet available in the third beta of iPadOS 15, although according to John Gruber, that’s simply because they weren’t ready in time — they’ll likely arrive in beta 4.
The third beta of macOS Monterey also makes refinements to the new version of Safari, most notably switching back to a distinct address bar by default, rather than the minimalist address-bar-in-a-tab design that many folks resoundingly despise.
It’s still possible to get the original design back in macOS Safari by unselecting the “Show Separate Tab Bar” option on the View menu, and Apple has also tweaked this design by adding discrete reload and Reader View buttons. These changes will presumably be reflected in the next beta of iPadOS 15 as well.
More Changes in iOS 15 Dev Beta 3
Beta 3 brings a few other notable tweaks as well:
- Although it’s not functional yet, macOS Monterey lays the foundation for Universal Control, with new options in the Display preferences.
- “What’s New” intro screens now appear in the App Store, Reminders, and Notes, highlighting features like tags, new widgets, in-app events, and Safari Extensions.
- Focus Mode settings have been adjusted, with new colour-matched icons. Focus Status and Phone Calls options can also now be adjusted separately for each Focus Mode.
- The Focus Status settings include a new “How it Works” section that explains what sharing focus status actually does.
- The Apple Music Widget gets some nice design tweaks. The colour of the whole widget now changes to match the artwork of whatever is currently playing, and a “Paused” label shows when a song is paused.
- The old “Reset iPhone” option in the General section of the Settings app has now been renamed to Transfer or Reset iPhone, and includes a prominent “Prepare for New iPhone” section to walk you through transferring your data. The other reset options for things like Home screen layout and network settings are now buried one level deeper under the “Reset’ button at the bottom.
- Apple’s iOS Shortcuts app now includes actions for controlling Background Sounds.
From here on out, it’s likely that we’re going to see things slow down a bit as the beta cycle continues, as Apple begins to lock down all the more significant changes and puts more of an emphasis on polishing things up and fixing bugs.