Apple continues its pursuit of your physical wallet. Last year, it allowed you to add car keys, but in iOS 15, you can add additional keys. Add a home key if you use a smart lock, an access card you might use to get into your office, or a hotel room key — Apple says Hyatt will roll out this functionality at 1,000 properties worldwide, and yes, you’ll be able to tap your Apple Watch to enter your room.
Even better, you can scan your driver’s license with your iPhone’s camera and add it to the Wallet app, although this is only available in participating countries. The airport is one of the first places where you will be able to use your digital identity; Apple says the Transportation Security Administration is enabling checkpoints that support the feature.
Speaking of travel, the improved version of Apple Maps that the company introduced last year is now rolling out to four new countries: Spain, Portugal, Italy and Australia. Apple Maps data is more detailed again in iOS 15. You’ll find more street-level detail in commercial areas, elevation information in cities, as well as custom designs for landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge. When driving, Maps will now display highway intersections in 3D so you have a better idea of exactly which lane you want to take. These features will be available on CarPlay later this year.
If you’re riding public transit, the Maps app will tell you when to get off your stop, and if you don’t know which way the bus is leaving or out of a subway station, just point your phone at the buildings in front of you to have Apple’s augmented reality point the way. It is similar to AR Live View in Google Maps.
Just like every year, iPadOS, the operating system for Apple tablets, includes almost all the same new features that are available in iOS. It’s no different here, but of course, iPadOS gets a few new tricks of its own. The most visual? You can place widgets anywhere on the Home screen just as you would on your iPhone. There are larger widgets to take advantage of the more abundant screen space, and Apple has brought in the App Library so you’re not left dealing with dozens of home pages. You can access the App Library from the iPad platform.
Multitasking finally got a little boost — at the top of the screen, a new menu lets you quickly switch between Split View or Slide Over, without having to swipe over. Tap on it in any app and it will move to the far right, letting you see the home screen to choose a new app to open next to it. Whenever you want to switch apps, swipe down on the app to choose something else from the home screen. If you want to move between multiple application windows, you can put your instances in a new area called the shelf. New multitasking options support new keyboard shortcuts so you don’t need to tap the iPad screen to make use of them.