Apple took to the stage this week to announce new products, namely the new iPad Pro, the new Apple iMac with M1 chip, new Apple TV 4K, and the new AirTag. The company even sneaked in a small announcement for iOS 14.5‘s rollout next week. iOS 14.5, as the naming would imply, is expected to be an incremental update to the mobile OS, with most of the focus being on App Tracking Transparency. If you’re hoping to get more substantial user-facing changes, you’d have to wait up until WWDC 21 for iOS 15, codenamed “Sky”. A new report now shines some light on what we can hope to expect from the next upgrade to Apple’s mobile OS.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple is readying a “major revamp” for iOS, including an upgrade to notifications, a redesigned iPad Home Screen, an updated Lock Screen, and more privacy protection features. Minor updates are also planned for macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.
User Status Menu in iOS 15 — Notification Changes
In iOS 15, Apple is expected to allow users to set different notifications preferences. Users will be able to choose if the phone makes a sound or not, depending on the user status. These user statuses can be selected from a new menu, which will include options like driving, working, sleeping, as well as custom categories. This menu will be shown on the updated Lock Screen and in the Control Center.
User Status Menu in iOS 15 — Other Changes
The user status menu will also have options to allow automatic replies to messages to be set up for different user statuses. Currently, Apple allows for auto-reply when driving, so this will be an upgrade.
Privacy Protection Changes in iOS 15
Another new expected feature is a new menu related to privacy. This menu will show users which apps are silently collecting data about them. This will be in addition to the App Tracking Transparency disclosures that apps make, and we presume that this will likely be tapping into the privacy labels that apps disclose to the Apple App Store.
Home Screen Changes to iPadOS 15
The report from Bloomberg mentions that Apple is also planning “the most significant update” to the iPadOS Home Screen. One of those changes is the ability to place widgets onto the homescreen, much like what iOS users could finally do a decade after their Android counterparts.
There’s no mention of whether iOS/iPadOS will finally allow users to place app icons on the bottom of the screen without needing to fill up the top. Users have to resort to filling in empty widgets on the top of the homescreen, just so that their usable icons can occupy more comfortable positions on the bottom.
iMessage as a Social Network
The report also suggests that Apple’s eventual goal with iMessage is to reach the status of a social network. While the goal is set for a few years away, users can expect changes along this development direction, allowing the app to compete better against the likes of WhatsApp. The report unfortunately did not shed light on any concrete changes to iMessage under this strategy.
While the list of expected changes seems small, keep in mind that we are a few days away from iOS 14.5 and a few months away from iOS 15. You can expect many more changes by the time the software is ready for release.