After a few weeks of testing, Apple released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 to developers today. The new updates aren’t as feature-rich as previous updates and instead focus on under-the-hood changes, but there are a few minor tweaks that we’ve outlined below.
Update on Podcasts
The Apple Podcasts app includes a setting that allows users to restrict the number of episodes that can be stored on their iPhone or iPad. It will also delete older episodes automatically, preventing the app from taking up too much storage space on iOS devices.
Apple Pay Cash
There are now “Request” and “Send” buttons in the Apple Pay Cash section of the Wallet app to make it easier to manage cash directly from Wallet.
Apple Pay has also been renamed “Apple Cash” in the Messages app.
App for the Home
In the Home app, you can now see WiFi signal bars to ensure the HomePod is connected.
Control Across the Board
Universal Control is no longer in beta in iPadOS 15.5. That means the feature is now fully operational and all bugs have been resolved.
Universal Control, first introduced in iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3, allows you to use a single mouse/trackpad and keyboard across multiple iPads and Macs.
The Apple Card
In the Wallet app, Apple now refers to the physical Apple Card as the “Titanium Card.”
Reader Apps with External Links
iOS 15.5 includes support for the “External Link Account Entitlement,” which allows reader apps to include a link to an external website for account creation and management. An external link allows an app, such as Netflix, to provide a way for users to sign up for an account outside of the App Store’s in-app purchase system.
Reader apps are those that offer digital content such as magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, or video as the primary functionality of the app, such as Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, and others.
Apple added a list of “Sensitive Locations” to the Photos app in iOS 15.5, which means those locations are no longer visible in memories. Various concentration camps and Holocaust memorials are included on this list.
API for Apple Music Playback
iOS 15.5 reintroduces an Apple Music API, allowing third-party Apple Music players to change song playback speeds. The API was removed in iOS 15.4, but it has since been reinstated in iOS 15.5.
Classical Apple References
There were references in the beta to Apple’s upcoming “Apple Classical” app, which is being developed to complement Apple Music, but the app did not launch as part of the iOS 15.5 update.
However, there are “Open in Apple Classical” and “Open this in the new app designed for classical music” in the Music app code, implying that a launch is imminent.
In August 2021, Apple announced the acquisition of classical music streaming service Primephonic, with the intention of creating a new classical music experience for Apple Music. Apple intends to release a new standalone app dedicated to classical music, which will combine Primephonic’s user interface and classical music specializations with Apple Music and features such as Lossless and Spatial Audio. Apple has not specified a release date for the app, but preparations are clearly underway.
Following the launch of Friday Night Baseball, Apple is expanding its “SportsKit” support, and there are TV app mentions for reporting scores for different baseball innings.
Automation Fix iOS 15.5 fixes a bug that could cause home automation triggered by people leaving or arriving to fail.
Message Communication Security
The Communication Safety in Messages feature in iOS 15.5 is now available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Communication Safety in Messages, which was previously available in the United States, scans incoming and outgoing iMessage images on children’s devices for nudity and warns them that such photos may be harmful. If nudity is detected in a photo sent to a child, the photo will be blurred and the child will be given resources from child safety organizations. Nudity in a child’s photo will result in a warning encouraging the child not to send the image.
Communication Safety is an opt-in, privacy-focused feature that parents must enable. It is limited to child accounts, with detection performed on-device, and is unrelated to the anti-CSAM functionality that Apple is developing and may release in the future.
According to Apple’s security support website, iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 include more than 25 security fixes. Although none of the fixes were actively used, it is still worth updating right away.
WebKit, the kernel, Wi-Fi, AppleAVD, and other components have been updated.