What Apple missed out with iOS 15

Aditya Darekar
5 min readOct 1, 2021

So last week iOS 15 finally made its public release. The much-anticipated iOS was in its beta phase since June and there are many useful features in this iOS version that iPhone users have been asking for.

There’s the Live Text feature which works right from your camera and allows referencing to any text visible in photos already present in your Photo Library. Notification got a revamp. Drag-and -Drop is now present throughout the OS. FaceTime SharePlay and Video Conferencing audio and visual effects (Portrait Mode, Voice Isolation, Wide Spectrum) are getting all iOS users excited.

However, I felt that some features weren’t properly implemented and could have been much better if they were done a bit differently. I am gonna talk about the Top 5 in my mind:

  1. Notification Summary
Source: Apple

When I first saw the demo of Notification Summary, I was really excited to test the beta. However, when I did get the beta, I didn’t seem to enjoy the implementation of this feature.

Hear me out: Notification Summary gives you a summary of all notifications from specific apps set by the frequency of summaries you desire throughout the day. So let’s say you set a notification summary for a few apps at 7 AM when you wake up. You wake up to a beautiful notification summary — cool! But now, you get no notifications from that app until the next morning at 7 AM. In a nutshell, there is no way to specify a time range for muting notifications and receiving a summary at the end of them. That’s not cool. This also means you cannot use Notification Summary within any Focus Mode — which was the start feature of WWDC’21.

Now, let’s go over the facts: If you were to choose apps that you want to receive notifications from only once or few times a day — are those apps even useful? And if they are not — would you want a beautiful notification summary for those app notifications? Also most importantly, why is there no notification summary for Focus Modes — getting a summary from all apps we stay away from during that particular focus mode?

Do we really have to wait for iOS 16 or iOS 17 for this functionality?

2. Sharing Photo Memory with Apple Music

Source: Apple

This was again, shocking. With iOS 14, I could never use Apple Music songs on any of my photo memories even though the option was visibly present. A revamp of the Photo’s app this year made me think, Apple was indeed taking a step in the right direction. And indeed, they did. You can now add Apple Music songs for your photo memories in iOS 15.

But… you cannot share it! Now, I get it that sharing a video with copyright music is not permitted. But Apple did come up with SharePlay this year in FaceTime, which allows you to share music with another person on call (assuming the other person has an Apple Music subscription too). So, why is there no way to share a memory with a song from Apple Music in the same way? If this was a year, Apple was focusing on implementing features in iOS 15 that enables sharing and collaborating then they should have definitely found a way for this too.

3. Contacts Grouping

Source: iMore

I had high hopes for this. After watching WWDC’21 and looking at all the new Focus modes along with the Contact widgets in iOS 15, I felt Apple would do this right away. Maybe even push it in the last beta as a surprise. But it did not happen. There is still no way to group contacts based on work, family, friends, etc. (even within Focus Modes). The contacts widget allows you to set a single contact for the small widget or give you the most frequently contacted people in the medium and large widget option. You can enable/disable contacts synced from different e-mails but no customisable groups yet.

4. Interactive Widgets

Source: WidgetPod

With iOS 14 bringing home screen widgets, I thought iOS 15 would bring Widgets 2.0. I expected widgets to be interactive this time — at least for entertainment or music apps. However, Files and Shortcut widgets seem to be the only interactive widgets in iOS 15 allowing you to perform certain tasks without opening the app specifically. For Spotify/Apple Music users, you still would have to use a third-party app like WidgetPod and link your account (and pay for in-app purchases) before getting an interactive music widget on your home screen.

5. Cinematic Mode for all iPhones?

Source: Apple

Now, I get why they wouldn’t allow this on all iPhones. Cinematic Mode was a huge camera feature of the iPhone 13 and Apple would probably use it for marketing their new iPhones than allow it on older iPhones (A12 Bionic and above). This year with iOS 15, they did allow Portrait Mode along with Voice Isolation in Video Calls so I was really hoping for a little more widespread adoption of this feature just like Live Text. However, shooting Cinematic Mode from your camera is only limited to the new iPhone 13 (and above). Psst… can we see this for older iPhones next year, Apple?

So those are the things I believe Apple missed out this year with iOS 15. I am aware of how Apple usually takes a longer time to implement some software features to prevent half-baked verison however a few like the notification summary don’t really make sense to me with their current implementation. That’s my opinion. What do you think? Let me know your iOS 15 experience below in the comments.

~Aditya Darekar

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Aditya Darekar

23 | IT Graduate | Tech Enthusiast | Digital Artist | Bibliophile | Love to write what I read 📚and watch 📺