APPLE recently released the public beta of iOS 15, the latest version of the operating system that powers the iPhone.
It means fans can try out all of the new features months before they roll out to Apple mobiles worldwide in the coming weeks.
Apple unveiled a handful of the headline features coming to iOS 15 during a presentation at its WWDC 2021 conference in June.
The update will introduce a redesigned home screen and some big changes to Apple's messaging app, iMessage.
It will also include an updated Lock Screen and a suite of new privacy and notification features.
The public beta launched June 30, and to try it out for yourself you'll need to sign up to Apple's beta software programme.
What is the iOS 15 beta?
Apple releases a new version of iOS – the software that powers the iPhone – ever year.
iOS 15 is 2021's offering, and is tipped to come out in September alongside the latest iPhones.
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Apple has a beta programme that lets fans download versions of iOS early.
This helps Apple as users can report problems and bugs that the firm can fix before wider release.
How to get the iOS 15 beta
The beta version of iOS 15 is already available for paying Apple developers but as of June 30 is also available to the the public for free.
If you want to try iOS 15 beta then you can sign up on the Apple Beta page and register with your Apple ID.
Then you'll need to log in to the Beta Software Program and click on "Enrol" to sign up your iOS device.
Then you need to download and install the configuration profile.
The beta version of iOS will then be available in"Settings", under "General" and then "Software Update".
The official iOS 15 update should be available for everyone in September and it is likely to launch alongside or just after the new 2021 iPhones.
Don't expect your phone to work perfectly with the beta version of any software as there will still be glitches that need to be resolved before the software is available to everyone.
What's new in iOS 15?
Apple revealed some of the features coming to iOS 15 during the keynote presentation of its WWDC 2021 conference on June 8.
According to the Cupertino firm, one new tool called Focus will let users set different notification preferences depending on what they're doing.
For instance, you will have the option to select if the phone makes a sound or not, or whether it vibrates, depending on your current status.
You’ll be able to use a new menu to select if you’re driving, working, sleeping or a custom status of your choosing.
The menu will be shown on the updated lock screen and in Control Centre, the iPhone and iPad’s menu for quickly getting to settings.
Focus will even notify your iMessage contacts of your status to let them know why you're not responding to their texts.
Apple is also working on major updates to iMessage that will make it more like a social media platform, like WhatsApp.
One way it's doing this is by making it easier to manage and engage with the photos and news articles that your friends share through the app.
The Apple Photos and Apple news apps will have new areas that only store the content shared by your friends.
A number of the company’s other apps, such as Wallet, Safari, Apple Maps and Health, are also getting minor improvements.
FaceTime, for instance, will let you blur the background of your videos.
It'll give your video feed a similar effect to the Portrait mode available on the cameras of recent iPhones.
You'll also be able to upload your passport or drivers license to Apple Wallet, letting you check in at, for instance, airports using your phone.
Another new feature unveiled by Apple is designed to make it easier to show your friends what you're listening to or watching.
Called “Share Play”, it allows you to listen to music or watch a streaming app with members of a call, with the video synced up for all users.
Notifications are getting a new look, and will now be grouped into a helpful collection called Notification Summary.
Apple will use AI to figure out which notifications are most important to you. You can set which time of day you’d like to be reminded to read them.
Apple periodically releases software updates for iOS, the operating system that powers the iPhone.
As well as bug fixes and the patching of security holes, the downloads add new features that Apple's engineers have been working on.
It's unclear precisely when Apple plans to release the update to general users, though it's heavily rumoured to be rolling out in September.
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In other news, Apple experts have leaked some interesting details about the 2022 iPhone lineup.
Facebook is trialling a video call speed dating app called Sparked.
And, Google is bringing out a feature to help Android users avoid collisions while texting and walking.
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