Delayed: Enhanced ‘Find My AirPods’ and More Won’t Be Found in iOS 15.0
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It’s an exciting day for iPhone and iPad users, with the public releases of iOS 15 (and iPadOS 15) finally landing on devices, but even though you’ll have plenty of fun things to check out, there are some features you’re still going to have a wait for until at least iOS 15.1.
At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) back in June, Apple unveiled everything coming to iOS 15, but much like other recent years, this should be seen as a roadmap for the entire iOS 15.x family, rather than a list of what to expect in the first release of iOS 15.
In fact, we found out not long after the June keynote that some features will be coming later, in iOS 15.1 or beyond. That’s not unprecedented, mind you — it’s been par for the course for the past several years. For instance, Apple showed off Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2 when it unveiled iOS 11 back at WWDC 2017, but these features didn’t show up until iOS 11.4 came out in early 2018.
While we’re hoping that Apple’s biggest iOS 15 features don’t take quite that long — most of them have been promised for “later this year” — not only are they not here now, but Apple has added a few more delays to the list.
First, there was SharePlay, which seemed to be on track until mid-August when Apple told developers it was being pushed off until “later this fall.” Now, it looks like Apple has offered up another last-minute change to its iOS 15.0 roster: enhanced Find My AirPods.
Finding AirPods Like AirTags
After Apple introduced its Find My Network last spring, alongside its AirTags item trackers, it actually seemed like an odd omission that its own AirPods couldn’t take advantage of the new Find My technology.
This was especially true considering that one of the first third-party Find My accessories were Belkin’s Soundform earbuds, resulting in a rare case in which another accessory maker supported a new Apple feature before Apple’s own products did.
Apple plans to rectify this in iOS 15 with expanding Find My support for the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. Unfortunately, however, it looks like Apple is going to need a bit more time before it gets here.
While this Find My AirPods support hasn’t worked in any of the iOS 15 betas, most of us just assumed that this was because it also required an accompanying firmware update for the AirPods. Apple did give developers access to AirPods Pro beta firmware for the first time ever this year, but only two betas were released, with the last one at the end of July, and neither enabled the enhanced Find My AirPods feature.
Now, it looks like Apple has quietly updated its iOS 15 Features Page, confirming that, as with SharePlay, “Find My network support for AirPods” isn’t coming until “later this fall.”
Other Delayed iOS 15 Features
There are a few other things still listed on Apple’s iOS 15 Feature Page that you won’t find in today’s iOS 15.0 update, including:
- The Detailed new city experience that lets you explore cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London, with enhanced details, along with showing turn lanes and crosswalks and 3D views for complex interchanges. While that should be on the iPhone and iPad right away, Apple says it’s not coming to CarPlay until later this year.
- ID in wallet is listed even farther out, as “late 2021,” although this isn’t surprising as government agencies need to get everything ramped up. However, there’s no evidence that the underlying iOS 15.0 even supports it yet, so Apple is probably still working on the details with the TSA and other stakeholders.
- App Privacy Report will take Apple’s privacy labels to a new level, allowing you to actually check a section in the Settings app to see how often a given app has accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts over the last seven days. It’s listed as “Coming in a software update to iOS 15” with no actual timeframe listed, so we wouldn’t be surprised if this takes until early next year.
- The Digital Legacy program will allow you to designate individuals who should have access to your account and personal information in the event of your death. It’s also “Coming in a software update to iOS 15” which could just as easily mean iOS 15.4 as iOS 15.1.
It’s not all bad news, however, as it looks like a few features that we weren’t expecting to see in iOS 15.0 will be making the cut after all:
- Digital Keys for your home, office, hotel room, and car appear to be ready to go in the Wallet app, although of course you’ll need to actually have locks to support these.
- Announce Messages in CarPlay has actually been working since beta 2, but of course, we know that’s no guarantee that it will make it into the release. In this case, however, it looks like it’s there and ready to go today.
- Hide My Email is another one that’s been available since the very first betas, and in fact it’s really just an extension of the iOS 13 Sign in with Apple feature. So, we’re not sure why this one had a “Coming later” asterisk beside it back in June, but that’s since been removed, and it should be fully operational for all iCloud+ users today — although you can use it with any email address.
It’s also worth noting that Apple does appear to be working on the new Apple Maps enhancements, but it clearly doesn’t want to commit to them until it’s fully ready. We’ve already been seeing enhanced architecture in Apple Maps in CarPlay, even in places like Toronto that aren’t slated to get the new maps quite yet, so it’s clearly a work in progress.
As usual, not all the new iOS 15 features are going to be available in every country right away. This is particularly true in the case of the new health sharing features, which will be U.S. only for now, including:
- Share health data with your doctor requires a secure channel to be set up with healthcare providers so that it can be sent directly to their health records systems. That’s only rolling out in the U.S., for now at least.
- Lab results enhancements provides more detailed information on various labs to help you understand your reports, but again likely requires Apple to get specific labs on board in the U.S.
- Blood glucose highlights. While this doesn’t mean we’re getting a blood glucose sensor on the Apple Watch anytime soon, the Health app can keep records of this data from third-party blood glucose monitors. For whatever reason, however, this data will only be available to users in the U.S.
In addition, there are several language-related limitations that will be in play with new iOS 15 features. For instance, Announce Notifications will only work in U.S. English for now, so users in Canada, the U.K., and Australia will be out of luck — unless you want your iPhone to stop spelling colour with a “u” that is.
On-device dictation is being expanded to more countries and languages, including Arabic (Saudi Arabia), Cantonese (Hong Kong), English (Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, U.S.), French (France), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Japanese (Japan), Korean (Korea), Mandarin Chinese (China mainland, Taiwan), Russian (Russia), Spanish (Mexico, Spain, U.S.), Turkish (Turkey), and Yue Chinese (China mainland).
Siri’s on-device speech processing, however, remains limited to German (Germany), English (Australia, Canada, India, UK, U.S.), Spanish (Spain, Mexico, U.S.), French (France), Japanese (Japan), Mandarin Chinese (China mainland), and Cantonese (Hong Kong).
A number of new Weather app features, such as Air Quality Indices and next-hour precipitation, will also be limited to those countries where that data is readily available, although your mileage may vary in some urban centres. For instance, Apple notes that next-hour precipitation is only available in Ireland, the U.K., and the U.S., and while it works in Toronto, Apple obviously wants to avoid listing “Canada” since it remains unavailable almost everywhere else in the country.