After a few weeks of testing, Apple released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 to developers today. The latest updates aren’t as feature-packed as previous versions, focusing instead on under-the-hood adjustments, but there are a few minor tweaks that we’ve listed below.
The Apple Podcasts app includes a setting that allows users to limit the number of episodes stored on the iPhone or iPad. It will also remove previous episodes automatically to prevent the program from taking up too much space on iOS devices.
Apple Pay Cash
“Request” and “Send” buttons have been added to the Apple Pay Cash feature of the Wallet app to make managing cash easier.
Apple Pay in the Messages app has also been renamed “Apple Cash.”
There now are WiFi signal bars that let you ensure the HomePod has a connection in the Home app.
In iPadOS 15.5, Universal Control is no longer in beta. That means the feature is fully, officially launched, and that the bugs have been worked out.
First introduced in iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3, Universal Control is designed to allow you to use one mouse/trackpad and keyboard across multiple iPads and Macs.
Apple now refers to the physical Apple Card as the “Titanium Card” in the Wallet app.
External Links in Reader Apps
iOS 15.5 adds support for the “External Link Account Entitlement” that is designed to allow reader apps to add a link to an external website for account creation and management purposes. An external link will allow an app like Netflix to offer a way to sign up for an account outside of the App Store in-app purchase system.
Reader apps include those that provide digital content like magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, or video as the primary functionality of the app, with Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, and other apps serving as an example.
Apple in iOS 15.5 added a list of “Sensitive Locations” to the Photos app, which means those locations are blocked from showing up in memories. Included on this list are various concentration camps and holocaust memorials.
Apple Music Playback API
iOS 15.5 reintroduces an Apple Music API that allows third-party Apple Music players to change the playback speeds of songs. The API was removed in iOS 15.4, but it is being put back in iOS 15.5.
Apple Classical References
In the beta, there were references to the upcoming “Apple Classical” app that Apple has in development to complement Apple Music, but the app did not launch as part of the iOS 15.5 update.
There are “Open in Apple Classical” and “Open this in the new app designed for classical music” in the Music app code, however, which suggests that a launch could be coming in the not too distant future.
In August 2021, Apple announced that it had purchased classical music streaming business Primephonic and that it will be creating a new classical music experience for Apple Music. Apple plans to release a new standalone app specialized to classical music that will combine Primephonic’s user interface and classical music specialties with Apple Music and features like Lossless and Spatial Audio. Apple has not stated when the app will be released, but preparations are certainly underway.
Apple is continuing to build out its “SportsKit” support as it following the launch of Friday Night Baseball, and there are TV app mentions for reporting scores for different baseball innings.
iOS 15.5 addresses a bug that could cause home automations triggered by people leaving or arriving to fail.
Communication Safety in Messages
The Communication Safety in Messages feature in iOS 15.5 is now available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Communication Safety in Messages, which was previously only available in the United States, scans incoming and outgoing iMessage images on children’s devices for nudity and warns them that such photos could be unsafe. If nudity is detected in a photo that’s received by a child, the photo will be blurred and the child will be provided with resources from child safety groups. When a child sends a photo that contains nudity, a warning appears, encouraging the child not to send the image.
Communication Safety is an opt-in, privacy-focused feature that parents must enable. It is limited to children’s accounts and is detected on-device; it is unrelated to Apple’s anti-CSAM capability, which is in development and may be released in the future.
iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 also include more than 25 security fixes, as outlined on Apple’s security support site. None of the fixes were actively exploited, but it is still worth updating right away.
There are fixes for WebKit, the kernel, Wi-Fi, AppleAVD, and more.