Some iOS 15 features like Spatial Audio, Live text, and more will only work on iPhone XS or newer iPhones

Even though Apple promised iOS 15 to old iPhones, the update might not appear in its entirety to all the models.

Story highlights
  • iOS 15 updates around FaceTime, Maps and others will be restricted to iPhone XR and newer.
  • These features will only work on iPhones with Apple A12 Bionic chip.
  • Some features will be limited to the iPhone 12 series.

Apple announced a series of features for iOS users at its Worldwide Developers Conference that concluded last week. The features have started rolling out to users with the iOS 15 package. Though Apple had confirmed that the iOS 15 would support iPhone 6s and above, some features will be limited to the latest iPhones.

Most of the devices that enjoy this exclusivity include iPhone XS or newer models. There are some functions that support iPhone 7 or later variants and don't run on iPhone 6s and first-generation iPhone SE. These, however, are limited to Walking Steadiness and Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking through AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. While the health feature will run on iPhone 8 or newer, the latter will even work on iPhone 7 series.

As pointed out by 9to5Mac, there is a whole list of abilities on the iOS 15 that require Apple's A12 Bionic chip to work and hence are limited to the devices powered by them. These iPhone models include iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone SE (2nd gen), iPhone 12, and iPhone 12 Pro.

FaceTime, for instance, won't get the Spatial Audio or the Portrait Mode feature on iPhone variants not mentioned in the above list. Spatial Audio is meant to give a more surround sound experience during FaceTime calls, while Portrait Mode will let users blur the background to focus on themselves during a call, much like Portrait Mode in cameras.

Maps on iOS 15 for such devices will miss out on Interactive globe, the new interactive 3D globe that details mountain ranges, deserts, forests, oceans, and more. Immersive walking directions that show step-by-step directions in augmented reality will also work on only A12 powered iPhones.

Other such features include Live Text in photos, Visual Look Up, and the On-device speech processing through Apple Neural Engine that is meant to increase user privacy. The Weather app will miss out on new animated backgrounds while Wallet would not support Keys.

Some features are even more limited in nature and will only work on the iPhone 12 series. These include Panorama pictures and enhanced connectivity options like faster 5G connectivity and 5G preferred over Wi-Fi.

Other than the obvious hardware restrictions, it is possible that Apple decided against the rollout of some features to maintain the overall performance of old iPhones. These features might draw more battery juice than what was available or require more screen area to work. Owners of such iPhones shouldn't be disheartened, though, as there are many features that are set to appear on their phones with iOS 15 soon.

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