iOS 15.1 for iPhone: Everything to know about Apple’s first major update

iOS 15 is getting a couple of highly anticipated features in its next update.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple just publicly released iOS 15 for iPhones last month, alongside four new phones, the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, and the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. And a new OS update might already be around the corner. The dedicated operating system for all iPhone devices, iOS 15 brought a variety of new and improved features when it launched. We’ve had a couple of small patches so far, including a security fix, but no major updates yet. 

That said, iOS 15.1 — which would be Apple’s first major upgrade to the new OS — has been in beta, so we’ve got some idea of what’s coming. Here’s what to expect based on our experiences with the iOS 15.1 beta.

When is the iOS 15.1 release date?

Apple hasn’t announced an official release date for 15.1. However, the first 15.1 beta released a month ago on Sept. 21, and the latest beta was the release candidate — the final version of the beta before the public release. We could get iOS 15.1 as early as next week.

What’s in iOS 15.1 for iPhone?

We expect iOS 15.1 to finally add support for SharePlay, as well as ProRes video recording for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. The 15.1 beta also includes the ability to upload your vaccination card to Apple Wallet. (Here’s how to store your COVID vaccine records on your phone now.) The usual bug fixes should be in there, too.

What is the FaceTime SharePlay feature?

Apple built a lot of hype around its SharePlay feature — an upgrade to FaceTime that allows you to share your screen during the call, letting your friends and family stream the save television and music as you at the same time. However, the feature didn’t launch with iOS 15 last month, leaving many iPhone owners wondering when they could use SharePlay. Fortunately, SharePlay was a part of the 15.1 beta, so expect it to arrive with the 15.1 update.

iOS 15.1 for iPhone: Everything to know about Apple's first major update

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What will ProRes support do?

The biggest draws of the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max are their stellar cameras. The ProRes video feature helps you get the most out of them by minimizing the amount your videos are compressed, helping to protect the image quality in your videos. It’s great if you like to do creative editing before sharing your captures. ProRes was included in the third beta for iOS 15.1, which means it’s likely to launch with the live update. 

How can I download the iOS 15.1 beta?

In order to test the beta versions of Apple software, you first need to sign up for Apple’s Beta Software Program. Note that beta versions of software are buggy and not optimized, so we only recommend downloading betas on extra devices, not your primary phone, tablet or laptop. Once you’re participating in the program, you’ll need to download the configuration profile from Apple. Then you should be able to find the latest beta version by going to Settings > General > Software update and selecting Download and Install

For more about iOS 15 and the new iPhones, check out our iOS 15 review. You can also read about all the essential privacy features and our guide to whether you should upgrade to iPhone 13.

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