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iOS 15.2 and macOS 12.1 add several previously delayed features

iOS 15.2 and macOS 12.1 add several previously delayed features

 December 13, 2021 at 11:06 pm   |     Author:   |     Technology  

The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light.
Enlarge / The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light.

Samuel Axon

As is customary, Apple has released new OS updates for virtually all of its devices in one giant volley today. The releases include iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2, macOS Monterey 12.1, watchOS 8.3, and tvOS 15.2

All of these updates are now publicly available on supported devices. All but tvOS are x.x feature updates, meaning that they actually add new features instead of just fixing issues.

Depending on the OS, those features may include SharePlay, Apple Music Voice Plan, the App Privacy Report panel, and more.

macOS Monterey 12.1

macOS 12.1 is a substantial update that brings several new features and fixes numerous bugs. Most notably, it adds SharePlay, a flagship feature that was intended for the original release of Monterey but which slipped to this update.

SharePlay allows you to engage in live video and audio calls via FaceTime synced with streaming music or video content on supported services. Participants can access shared controls to pause, play, or skip around content. SharePlay also allows for screen sharing over FaceTime.

Other new features in this macOS release include redesigned Memories in Photos, a new family safety options for Messages, and support for the Siri-driven Apple Music Voice Plan.

There is, however, a major exclusion from macOS 12.1: Universal Control, the previously promised feature that was supposed to allow seamless side-by-side use of an iPad and a Mac using a single mouse or trackpad. That feature was expected by the end of the year, but it didn’t appear during the iOS 12.1 beta. Sure enough, it’s not in the final release, either. Apple’s website now says the feature is coming in spring 2022.

iOS and iPadOS 15.2

Since iOS and iPadOS already had the big SharePlay feature that was added to macOS today (it hit iPhones and iPads in iOS 15.1), the mobile OS updates are smaller in scope. But there’s still a bit going on here.

iOS and iPadOS 15.2 add support for the Apple Music Voice Plan, and they introduce a new App Privacy Report panel in Settings that allows you to see which apps have accessed your information.

iOS 15.2 also adds macro photo control for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, providing relief for some of the headaches caused by those phones’ default behavior at launch. There are also numerous bug fixes and smaller tweaks, plus a feature that allows you to designate “Legacy Contacts” who can manage your iCloud data in the event of your death.

Along with iOS 15.2 comes new software for the HomePod, enabling the Apple Music Voice Plan. Apple has also released a new app for Android called Tracker Detect to coincide with iOS 15.2’s release. The app addresses the main concern we had with Apple’s AirTag geolocation device in our review earlier this year—that Android users didn’t have a way to see if an AirTag had been placed on their person or in their belongings.

watchOS 8.3 and tvOS 15.2

Finally, there are updates for the Apple Watch and Apple TV devices. These are smaller releases. watchOS 8.3 adds support for the App Privacy Report and for the Apple Music Voice Plan, while tvOS 15.2 has no publicly shared, detailed release notes, suggesting that it offers bug fixes and performance improvements at most.

All of these software updates should be available to supported devices globally starting today. Below, you’ll find the release notes in Apple’s own words.

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