iOS 15.5 is available now, and judging by the nature of the changes in this update, Apple is ready to move on to iOS 16.
The new update, which is generally available to the public after a beta testing period, mainly contains changes under the hood with a minimum of user-side improvements. That’s a far cry from previous iOS 15 updates, which introduced a host of new features. Apple’s last major phone software update, iOS 15.4, added the ability to use Face ID when wearing a mask, as well as a new voice for Siri, just for example.
Still, iOS 15.5 promises a few notable changes. Here’s a rundown of what the update brings.
Podcast listeners who are short on storage for their iPhones will welcome an update to Apple’s built-in Podcasts app for iOS 15.5. You can now specify how many episodes of each show you want to keep on your iPhone at once. As part of the update, older episodes will be automatically deleted from your phone.
Prior to iOS 15.5, podcast episodes could pile up on your device and eat up your device storage. This is especially troublesome if you repurchased an iPhone before Apple raised the minimum storage to 128GB. Now you can use a new setting to ensure only recent episodes remain on your device.
The new control is a little tricky to find since it’s in the Settings app. Go to Settings and scroll down to Podcasts. After selecting Podcasts, tap on Download automatically option. By default, the feature is disabled, but you can choose to download from the most recent episode up to the last 10 episodes. You can also specify downloads by time, or just let the Podcasts app download all new episodes.
Limiting the number of episodes you keep can pay off immediately. I set Podcasts to download only the 3 most recent episodes and ended up deleting 56 episodes from my device. If you watch the video below (and follow Tom’s guide on TikTok (opens in new tab)) you can immediately see how it helps with your save.
@tomguide (opens in new tab)
♬ Never go wrong – Nicky Youre & David Hugo (opens in new tab)
Easier payment methods for Apple Pay Cash in wallets
Apple Pay Cash is a great way to send money to friends and family (or receive money, which, to be honest, is even better). But using it in the Wallet app was so cumbersome that I would often go to Messages when it came time to pay someone for dinner or tickets.
In iOS 15.5, it’s much easier to request or send cash with Apple Pay Cash in the Wallet app because Apple added buttons labeled Request and Send. Tap on either one and you will be prompted to select a sender/recipient; There you can enter an amount.
Apple account card
Speaking of the wallet app, starting with iOS 15.5, it gets another new feature. You now have the option to add an Apple Account Card to your digital wallet to consolidate funds associated with your Apple ID.
The Apple Account Card revitalizes and replaces iTunes Pass, adding the ability to pay for Apple Store purchases from your Apple Account balance as well. That means you can buy Apple gear alongside apps, music and other downloads.
Other iOS 15.5 changes
The other reported changes in iOS 15.5 are pretty minor or just Apple cleaning things up. The most important of these is not aimed at users at all, but at app makers who want to offer subscriptions outside of the App Store. iOS 15.5 adds a way for those app makers to add links to external websites where users can create or manage subscriptions. Aimed at magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music and video services, the feature appears to be a way to keep any regulatory heat away from Apple and its closed ecosystem.
Other iOS 15.5 additions include:
- A sensitive places list is now part of the Photos app to keep visits to places like Holocaust memorials out of the Memories slideshows the app automatically generates.
- The Home app adds Wi-Fi signal bars to show a HomePod is connected.
- For iPadOS 15.5, Universal Control is now officially out of beta. This feature allows you to use input devices on your iPad and Mac.
Code discovered during the iOS 15.5 beta process referred to Apple Classical, a rumored classical music-centric streaming app. However, you won’t find the app in iOS 15.5, meaning Apple could lay the groundwork for a new addition to iOS 16.
iOS 15.5 arrives three weeks ahead of Apple’s WWDC 2022 event in June. At this event, we’re expecting an iOS 16 preview as Apple shifts its development efforts to the next major update to its iPhone software. That’s not to say Apple won’t update iOS 15 in the future — in fact, Apple released an iOS 15.6 beta for developers and beta program participants after the publication of this article. Future iOS 15 updates will likely be more focused on bug fixes and security patches. For example, the initial iOS 15.6 beta has no release notes about new features, suggesting it’s a maintenance release.
How to get iOS 15.5
Assuming you are not part of the iOS public beta and already have the software update on your phone, to download iOS 15.5 you simply need to go to Settings, tap General and select Software update. The new version should be there waiting for you to download.
Apple is also currently testing iOS 15.6 beta for developers. This update brings some minor tweaks ahead of the launch of iOS 16 at WWDC 2022.