We were recently pleasantly surprised by the older iPhones that iOS 15 will still support. But as it turns out, it doesn’t mean all features will be compatible.
At Apple’s WWDC last week, we discovered that the older iPhones supported by iOS 14 will continue to be supported by iOS 15. This is a pretty big deal (and a surprise), because it means iPhones going back six years will still be compatible.
But Apple also announced a suite of new features that won’t actually work on some of the older devices. And this makes sense – phones have come a long way in six years.
In fact, some of the new features will only work in iPhones that have an A12 Bionic chip or newer.
This means they will only be compatible with:
- iPhone XR
- iPhone XS
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Mac
- iPhone SE (2020)
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Mini
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- The upcoming iPhone 13 series
Okay but what iOS 15 features are restricted to A12 Bionic iPhones?
Here’s a list of the iOS 15 feature that will only work with the above A12 Bionic and better devices:
- Spatial Audio on Facetime: this spreads out sound so voices come from the direction they are on screen
- Portrait Mode on Facetime: this blurs the background and places focus on the person
- Immersive Walking: step-by-step directions in Maps using AR
- 3D Globe: this adds enhanced details to maps
- Live Text in Photos: you can scan text from a photo and allow you to copy and paste it, look up more info and even directly call a phone number that appears. It can translate from seven languages.
- Visual Look Up: this lets you tap on info on any photo to get more information about objects or the scene in general. For example, the flower you’re looking at, or a specific dog or cat breed
- Animated weather backgrounds: these reflect the IRL weather outside
- Siri On-Device Processing: this means your iPhone won’t need an internet connection or to be sent to the Cloud for assessment. And the process will apparently be faster
- Digital Keys: This will allow for certain car keys, house keys, work passes, hotel hotels and even digital identification be stored on-device. Don’t expect all this in Australia anytime soon though.
There are also a few features that require an iPhone 7 or later: walking steadiness (which tracks your fall risk) and Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking (which allows more immersion for Dolby Atmos with AirPods Pro and Max).
Some features are available on iPhone 12 and later only
And if that wasn’t enough exclusivity for you, some iOS 15 features will only be able on iPhone 12 and, presumably, the yet-to-be-announced iPhone 13 devices:
- Enhanced Panorama photographs: reduced noise and banding, improved geometric distortion)
- Enhanced 5G connectivity
- The option to prefer 5G over Wi-Fi if the connection is slow