iOS 15 test: switching to the apple side is not as difficult as they say

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Pau Monfort
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Summary

Setup Getting Started Settings and Notifications The Back Button Everyday Apps and Features App Store Accessibility What's New Compatible iPhones Release Date Conclusion Feedback

iOS 15 was released on September 20. The opportunity for TechnologiesTips to begin a cycle of interface tests and we begin by delivering our complete opinion on the software experience of Apple iPhones.





The iOS 15 overview page. //

Who says new iPhone says Apple's new interface with its share of new features. It is therefore the turn of iOS 15 to land with the iPhone 13. Often presented as a totally foreign land to Android users, it is enough to confront one week with the interface of the apple to realize that it has actually quite a few arguments against its main competitor. And it's an Android user telling you.

9 / 10

Apple iPhone 13 Pro

Product sheet See the test € 1 149/8

Apple iPhone 13 mini

Product sheet See the test Available at 799 € 9/10

Apple iPhone 13

Product sheet See the test Available at 899 €

In writing, we mostly use Android — at the same time just look at the origin of our site's name. So almost all of us have a clever mix of interest and apprehension towards it, so far does this interface seem to us from our habits.




The fact remains that when the time comes to honestly rate Apple's software proposition, it is important to take stock of what we can appreciate and regret about this software experience. Here is our test.

Configuration d’iOS 15

The configuration of iOS 15 on a new iPhone is relatively classic. When turned on, you can see "hello" written in various languages. After a swipe from the bottom of the screen, you must choose the system language and the country in which you are using the phone.

Here are all the colors of iPhone 13


If you have a SIM card, you will be asked for its code. There you can start setting up your iPhone. The latter begins by asking you for your Wi-Fi credentials. After a quick load where Apple collects the phone's hardware identifier, you can set Face ID, the iPhone's facial recognition system. You are then prompted to enter a code to lock the smartphone. There, you are offered to recover data from an old device from iCloud or start from scratch. For those who wish to transfer their data from an Android device, we have a dedicated tutorial on this subject.


In case you leave iCloud or don't want to transfer your data, you are asked for an Apple ID. Of course, you can create one on the spot. You are then offered to configure Apple Pay, iCloud Keychain and Siri.

At the end of the configuration, Apple asks you if you want to share data on the operation of your iPhone. This is also the only time an authorization related to privacy is requested. Not bad compared to some Android competitors. Just swipe up and away you go!

If you have recovered an iPhone that has not yet been updated, simply go to Settings > General > Software Update to start the download and installation of iOS 15, provided that your device is compatible (iPhone 6s and following).

Difficult first steps

Let's be clear, if you've been an Android user so far, it's a safe bet that your first moments with iOS 15 are not going well. It's a safe bet that you're struggling to find your bearings and your hard-won automatisms over the years. This is a normal phenomenon that everyone can expect when launching a new OS. What interested me then was to know how long the adaptation was going to take me and especially how hard I was going to have to row.

This will no doubt happen to you if you're browsing on an iPhone for the first time, but the abundance of the first few hours can be a little confusing. On the one hand, your brain wriggles in front of the fluidity of the truly exemplary animations. Although I use a Samsung at 120 Hz in my everyday life, the iPhone at 60 Hz on which I carried out my iOS test often seemed to me just as fluid, or even more so, given the concern for detail and comfort of use is pushed to the extreme.

Some design choices are simply hard to understand

On the other hand, and this is where the shoe pinches, some design choices are simply difficult to understand. Here are some examples to better understand.

When I got to the iOS 15 home screen, if I swiped my middle finger up the screen, it tended to take me to the left. It doesn't sound like much, but it does seem a bit odd at first. (After surveying friends who use iOS on a daily basis, I realized that this means nothing to them. It's probably just a helping hand.) Similarly, I put some time to figure out that by swiping up and down, I could open different drop-down menus, depending on whether I was doing it to the right or left of the notch, or from the middle of the screen. The latter is titled Spotlight. It offers an application search bar as well as application suggestions by Siri or actions to take based on your recent or frequent use at that time of day.

By swiping down from the left of the notch, you will access your notifications. Finally, a last gesture down, from the right of the notch this time, displays the control center.

Note that I know that this one is called control center and that it holds a prominent place in the iOS ecosystem, simply because I did some minor research on the subject. But at no time does the system present me with the name of the feature or how to access it. Too bad for the newcomer.

In favor of iOS, a small application called Tips is there to guide you in navigating the system if you are a beginner, but it remains fragmented. For example, we would have liked iOS to take the time to explain Haptic Touch, a super practical function that allows you, by keeping your finger pressed on an app, to access a whole bunch of shortcuts to its most used features. . For example, by holding down Settings, I can go directly to the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi menu.

Settings and Notifications

Another choice that raises questions in the early stages: having created a Settings application to gather all the parameters does not necessarily make sense when you discover the machine. We tend to look for a menu more than an application. Similarly, the settings of the applications that are stacked in this application / settings menu remain a design choice that does not come naturally to me. I would like to be able to tune an application directly.

Last example of difficult acculturation: I was not far from pointing out to my esteemed colleague Melinda, an Apple specialist, that Tim Cook had forgotten to integrate the notifications on a locked screen into his new OS as I sometimes struggled to find them. I didn't understand that you had to make a small gesture upwards for it to appear on the lock screen. A strange choice.

The back button

Let's start with the basic navigation. Here, exit navigation by gesture, but also exit the three buttons at the bottom of the phone that many users still choose. When you want to go back, most of the time you only navigate with two buttons: the central bar which allows you to quit an application (or to switch from one open application to another by sliding your finger over it towards the right or left) and the back button that each application will offer you. This is in my opinion one of the weaknesses of this system, because each application will place this back button in a different place.

The craziest thing is that there is a backspace function similar to gesture navigation, where one can drag the current tab from the left of the screen to go back. But this is never properly presented.

Another concern related to this famous back button: I often found myself stuck, because I could not find it anymore. Simply because he had disappeared. Yes, on iOS, or rather on many iOS applications, we find this annoying habit of making the back button disappear when navigating down. It's a very good idea to save space, but by the time we realize that we have to make an upward gesture – what's more, fast enough – for the back button to reappear, we often have tendency to close the application and relaunch it to go faster. This may seem laughable to anyone who knows iOS, but you don't measure the ergonomics of a system by how easy its experienced users are to use it, but rather by how well its new owners take hold of it.

iOS 15 everyday

Stopping the test here would probably be dishonest. Because it is really only after some time spent in contact with iOS 15, about a week for me, that we grasp its appeal. If his many choices may seem strange the first hours, we must admit that they end up making sense after a time spent in contact with him.

For the first few days, I would have liked, for example, to be able to organize my apps in the App Library in groups that I would have defined, rather than having to undergo an automated categorization. Then, once I got used to it, I started to find my Android app storage a bit messy.

Of course, we sometimes regret the lack of customization options. The options in this area are dwindling. It is for example impossible to customize the status bar, result we are constantly obliged to open the control center to know its battery level. The brightness and display menu offers to modify the size of the text, but the few options offered are frankly laughable.

But it is also the rather brilliant bet of this interface. What it loses in personalization, it definitely gives back to you in clarity and ability to act. Because once my brain was wired properly to use it, the feeling of fluidity and ergonomics that all Apple fans evoke began to win over me.

If you're a person prone to anxiety or distraction, iOS is unique in that by removing the many options, it allows you to focus entirely on what matters in using a laptop, without feeling constantly disturbed. Let us add that this would probably not be possible without a fairly incredible level of finish which seems to whisper to you constantly: there will be no problem, here it is without danger.

We can even draw a parallel with Apple's hardware policy in recent years. A bit like the increasingly proposed M1 chips and the A15 Bionic present on the entire iPhone 13 range, there are no more questions to ask. We buy a smartphone with the promise that it works, not to have control over all its configuration down to its amount of RAM. Well that's kind of the idea there too. We are not on iOS to multiply strange fonts, bad taste and to assert our identity. We are on iOS so that everything is in its place. So it's up to you whether it's right for you or not.

Applications and features

On the core installed apps front, iOS 15 offers a pool of 35 house apps. If configured offline, only 12 of them are installed: Phone, Safari, Messages, Clock, App Store, Health, Maps, Settings, Photos, Camera, Locate and Calculator. Even Files isn't installed out of the box, which is pretty amazing. Among this pool, we salute the total absence of bloatware, this pre-installed software that rots the user experience in the first hours.

The other applications are still presented to you on your home screen. A way to suggest you download them. After all this is installed, iOS 15 occupies 8,02 GB of storage. So that seems reasonable.

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But the features of iOS 15 do not stop at the presence of basic applications, quite the contrary. The control center is full of little shortcuts like Audition which checks that you are not listening to too loud music, Apple TV Remote which proposes to replace your daily remote control (if you use Apple TV of course), or Shazam, integrated directly without even going through the app.

Let's also mention the widgets, which appeared with iOS 14, and more particularly the stacks of widgets, which are a pure joy to use. Thanks to them, you can keep an eye on important data at any time, or even quickly launch your favorite applications, all with an impeccable presentation.

For the rest, we find all the traditional features of modern smartphones, such as dark mode, animated wallpapers, a complete Health monitoring application.

App Store and installing new apps

If you want to have other applications, you will have to go through the App Store, since it is the only channel authorized on iOS 15. Overall, it is a store little less crazy than the Play Store, it must be admitted, but which is not free from flaws. Starting with his need to constantly confirm his identity to be able to download any app (or then use Face ID to validate more quickly and accept a deadline without having to confirm his identity). Some will no doubt appreciate the security it provides, however. Note also the presence of Apple Arcade as a mandatory tab on the App Store, even if you have no interest in it or subscription.

Since we are talking about security, let's stop for a moment on one of the very good points of iOS 15. For each app installed, you are offered to authorize or not the application to "follow your activities in apps and on other companies' websites. You can then choose “Ask the app not to follow me”. Where the installation of any app on Android often comes down to an authorization list that we feel obliged to give for the app to work, this barrier is very pleasant. Apple has also forced developers to provide all the information they want about you and for what purpose.

Accessibility on iOS 15

The lack of customization options proves to be more than compensated by the wealth of accessibility options offered by iOS 15.

You can go much further than what most Android phones offer. Animations can be changed, touch, how Face ID facial recognition works, how to type on the keyboard or on the back of the device for options, display, sound rendering, person detection thanks LiDAR, surrounding noise, etc. In short, iOS 15 is an example to follow in this area.

To learn more
Accessibility: 7 apps to make life easier for people with disabilities

What's new in iOS 15

Let's take a look at the major new features of this latest version of iOS. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Private life : with iOS 15, Apple has introduced many new privacy features. For example, there is the possibility of masking your IP when you send emails. Safari also offers to hide your IP when you browse. You can also record app activity to check for any privacy breaches.
  • Moving texts and photos: a few options make it easier to move photos and copy and paste them. You can now directly drag and drop a copy-paste. Similarly, when you select a photo, whether in your files, on the internet or in your messages, you have the possibility of stacking photos together to move them rather than sticking them one after the other. It's stupid, but it's a welcome option that will undoubtedly simplify everyday use. In addition, if the photos saved in the files come from a contact, their name is automatically added and clearly visible. Convenient.
  • FaceTime : it was one of the big announcements from Apple's WWDC 2021. FaceTime, their video calling application no longer plays a private game. You can now share a FaceTime link with a Windows user, for example, who can join the call on a Chromium-based browser, or even — sacrilege — call an Android device.
  • Live text : a new icon appears when using the camera. This allows you to scan text, and even extract it from an image, or even translate it. Note that Apple did not invent anything. Google Lens has offered this option for Android for a long time.
  • Improved recording: the dictaphone has been improved. It now offers the ability to enhance recordings and ignore silences. Very practical when you have to transcribe an interview.
  • And so many others: we could mention the concentration mode, a real gold mine for anyone looking to concentrate a little, the summary of notifications, authorizing to cut while remaining informed or the new organization of the tabs on Safari and its address bar located at the bottom (parameter which can be changed).

iPhones compatible with iOS 15

Here is the complete list of devices compatible with iOS 15:

    • iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max ;
    • iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max ;
    • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max ;
    • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X ;
    • iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus ;
    • iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus ;
    • iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus
    • iPhone SE (1st generation), iPhone SE (2nd generation)
    • ipod touch.

iPhone tracking software

On this, Apple is certainly the champion in any category compared to its competitors. Coming from Android, I'm always surprised at how many of my friends still cling to smartphones like the iPhone 6s or iPhone 7 Plus for example, relatively old models that I would logically expect not to are not updated.

If it is difficult to have a fixed figure, we can at least say that iOS 15 supports Apple smartphones from the very recent iPhone 13 to iPhone 6s, released in 2015. By choosing an iPhone, you can therefore at least expect a software follow-up for five or even six years.

IOS 15 release date

iOS 15 is available in stable version since September 20, 2021.

To update your iPhone, nothing could be simpler. If you have set your iPhone to automatic updates, the update is probably offered to you as a notification. If not, you can go to Settings > General > Software Update.

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