Tackle Your Tech | The New Apple iOS 15 Update: Tips & Tricks to Know

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
woman wearing dark grey jeans, black suede Vince Camuto booties, black maeve sleeveless tank, marley lilly gray monogrammed boyfriend cardigan holding her iphone in her living room getting ready to check out the Apple iOS 15 Update

Since you’ll want to have your phone easily accessible to navigate through some of my Apple iOS 15 update tips, I suggest reading this post on a tablet or computer.

If you’re an Apple iPhone user (approximately 50% of the US population is!), you’ve probably heard about the new iOS 15 update. As always, Apple releases a big update right when they put out a new model of the iPhone; it’s essential to update, so you don’t miss out on vital security and privacy updates.

The Apple iOS 15 Update: First, the Bad News

If you have an older iPhone model (think iPhone 8 or older), you’ve probably noticed that your phone is slowing down and running out of storage space, despite all of those tricks you’ve employed, like getting rid of unused apps, deleting photos you don’t want, etc. Don’t worry! You’re not doing anything wrong! The reason for the slowdown is that every time Apple releases an update, all of the new features in the update take up storage space on your phone! It’s a catch-22! If you don’t install the software updates, you’ll notice your apps glitching and things overall not working well, but if you do install them, eventually, they will render your phone virtually unusable because of the space issue.

The bottom line is that they want you to upgrade your phone to one of their newer models. I did! (Me to Bob: I need it for work!) Hahaha

woman wearing dark grey jeans, black suede Vince Camuto booties, black maeve sleeveless tank, marley lilly gray monogrammed boyfriend cardigan holding her iphone checking out the Apple iOS 15 Update

The Apple iOS 15 Update: Now, the Good News

The iOS 15 update is excellent! It’s available for iPhone 6S and later models. (If you don’t know which model you have, go to Settings>Tap your name at the top>Scroll down to where it says “your name’s” iPhone. It’s at the top of the third group.) Whereas there have been massive visual overhauls in the past, this update includes tools and settings that will make your phone more personalized, organized, and user-friendly. Today, I’m sharing the changes you need to know and giving you some of my best tips & tricks for getting the most out of this new software update!

The Apple iOS 15 Update: How to Update

If you’re not sure if your phone has automatically updated to iOS 15 or not, it’s worth checking! First, be sure you’re connected to WiFi. Then, go to Settings>General>Software Update. Note that you have to update in two steps. The first is to request the update, and the second is to download and install it. Don’t close out of the page after just requesting it — be sure to actually download it.

Before you update, be sure to back up your device using iCloud or your computer!

The Apple iOS 15 Update: Safari Stuff

There is one significant design change that you’ll notice after you update! Apple moved the address bar from the top to the bottom of the screen! Now you can easily see all of your open pages by tapping the pages symbol on the bottom right of your screen. To keep those pages easily accessible and add a new page, click the + icon at the bottom left.

The Apple iOS 15 Update: FaceTime Fun

“Zoomification” of FaceTime

Let’s call it the “Zoomification” effect! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? In an effort to adopt and even improve on some of Zoom’s more popular features, Apple has introduced some great, user-friendly options.

Grid View

Now you can group up to 6 people in a FaceTime call! Just like on Zoom, their faces will appear in little Brady Bunch-style boxes on your screen. To add people, go to the FaceTime app. (It’s green with a video camera icon inside.) Open it and tap “New FaceTime.” Then either tap the faces you see of your frequently-FaceTimed friends & family or put in the phone number of the people you’d like to FaceTime.

Portrait Mode

When you tap the silhouette icon during a call, it will blur your background.

Voice Isolation

When you’re on a call, and you want to reduce background noise like a barking dog or the like, go to the Control Center. (That’s the screen you get when you swipe down from the top right corner of your phone’s screen.) From there, turn on Voice Isolation. It will be at the very top, and you won’t be able to miss it, but it only shows up during video calls. This feature will work on other video call platforms as well — even if you’re wearing headphones.

The Apple iOS 15 Update: Focus Pocus

Sometimes I only want to hear from certain people at certain times. Like, I’d love to hear from my kids at any time, day or night, but when I’m hard at work or when I’m napping, I like to limit who can contact me! The new Focus mode makes that possible! Here’s how to set it up and use it:

  • Go to Settings>Focus>Personal. Add people (or apps you want notifications from) when you’re in Personal Mode.
  • Then, when you’re ready to, well, focus (!), and block out everyone but your most precious ones, go to the Control Center and select Personal. Only notifcaitons from those apps and people will be let through. Everyone sles will see that you have notifcations silenced.

The Apple iOS 15 Update: Camera Coolness

woman wearing draper james yellow gingham sweatshirt nydj distressed jeans and jambu erin sneakers sitting on the armrest of a chair on a patio

Yellow Gingham Lightweight Sweatshirt | NYDJ Ami Jeans | Laser Cut Floral Suede Sneakers | 18K Gold Initial Pendant Huggie Earrings

Camera features got a significant upgrade in the new iPhone 13. I got my new iPhone 13 Pro last weekend, and Bob and I have been having a blast playing with it! The photo above was taken with the new Portrait Mode feature that allows me to blur out the background, creating an almost 3D effect!

Scan Text

This is super fun! Now, whenever you see a text field, you’ll also see a new little “Scan Text” icon pop up. If you tap it, the camera will launch. Point the camera at some words — like a store sign, a newspaper headline, or a Bible verse — and it will automatically convert it to text! From there, you can copy and edit. Here’s how you can try it out:

  • Open your phone’s camera app.
  • Point it at some text in this blog post.
  • Do you see the scan icon — it looks kind of like a bar code — that comes up on the bottom right of your screen? (See image above.)
  • Tap the scan icon and it will give you options for what you’d like to do with the text. If you scanned a phone number, you can even make a call!

Also, in your Photos app, any photos you’ve taken with text or writing in them will automatically have the scan icon in the bottom right corner too!

Spotlight Search

From any page on your phone, swipe down from the top center of your screen. What pops up is called the Spotlight Screen. From there, swipe down again. Tap the Search field and enter a word that might be in one of your photos I searched for the photo I’d taken of my Covid vaccine card by typing in “vaccine card.” Lo and behold! The image of the card appeared below in a section called “Text Found in Photos.” Try this for yourself! (Note: At present, you can’t do this in the actual photo app, which I think is weird! Hopefully, they’ll fix that soon!

Visual Lookup

Look for a photo of an animal, a flower, or a landmark in your saved images. Here’s how to do it.

  • Tap the new “i” button you see along the bottom of your screen. (Left image above.)
  • Tap the icon that appears in the photo or below the photo. For example, you might see a paw print icon for pets and animals or a leaf icon for plants. (Middle image above.)
  • Check out the info on your photo. (Right image above.)
  • Note: If you don’t see the Visual Lookup button (the “i”) on your photo, then Visual Look Up isn’t available for that photo.

Privacy, Please

Have you ever been in a situation where you were asked to supply your email address, but you would prefer not to give it? I have! If you’re an iCloud+ subscriber (if you pay for iCloud storage, you’re one of these), you can WIth the new Hide My Email feature, you can create random email addresses that will forward to your actual inbox. Create as many as you want, and disable them at any time. Here’s how to do it.

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap your Apple ID name (at the top of the screen).
  • Tap iCloud, then Hide My Email.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen. You should see a box called “Forward To.”
  • Note: You might have to set up a new email address in your iCloud account — you can’t just plug in any email address.
  • Tap the Create New Address bar, and go for it!

What’s the Weather?

In  2020, Apple acquired the popular weather app Dark Sky, and they’ve incorporated some of those Dark Sky features into their own weather app. First of all, there’s a lot of new information available. Scroll down to see all of it. As you scroll, you’ll see that you can enable notifications. With notifications enabled for your exact location, you’ll know to get those errands done before it starts raining!

woman wearing dark grey jeans, black suede Vince Camuto booties, black maeve sleeveless tank, marley lilly gray monogrammed boyfriend cardigan holding her iphone

Monogrammed Boyfriend Cardigan (Click HERE to see the other color options.) Runs Large! | Ribbed Knit Mock Neck Sleeveless Tank Top (Click HERE to see the other color options.) | Similar Dark Gray Jeans | Black Suede Booties (Nearly sold out. Similar HERE.) | Crystal Double Pave Hoop Earrings

I hope you learned a lot today! Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but these are the features I was most excited about and the ones I thought would be most helpful to us as empty nesters! If you want to learn about additional features, you can check out THIS article on Apple’s website.

More Resources

  • To learn more about the new iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, or iPhone 13 Pro Max, click HERE.
  • To see if an older iPhone model might be available at a reduced price, click HERE.
  • To figure out which iPhone model might be best for you, click HERE.
  • To find out about trading in your old iPhone for credit towards a newer model, click HERE.

What More iPhone Help?

Since I’m an iPhone user, that’s what I know about—sorry, Galaxy and Samsung peeps! I’ve written quite a few posts about the iPhone in previous Tackle Your Tech posts. , or click the links below to head right to those posts. If you’d like more tech tips in general, click HERE to browse.

You want to keep learning & growing in the empty nest, and these days, that means learning & growing in the tech arena! I’m not a pro, but I am committed to learning and sharing what I know with you all. If you have any tech questions you’d like me to answer, leave me a comment. If I don’t know the answer, I will do my best to find it and get back to you!

Suzy Mighell

Share this post

Similar Posts


  1. I can’t stand the IOS UPDATE. It’s messed everything up on both my devices. I have called Apple 3x.
    I am half sick about all this. I am too old for all this. There should be away to go back to more normal times!

  2. Paula,

    I’m so sorry you’re having trouble. Apple just released another update today (10/5) containing fixes for some of the issues from the first iOS update. This does commonly happen when they release an update, and some experts recommend waiting for the fixes to come out before even downloading the update at all. Hang in there!


Comments are closed.