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– Oct 5, 2021 2:01 pm UTC
Every year, Apple releases a major update to its operating systems for the iPhone and iPad that sets the stage for a year of changes to come.  This year, iOS 15 brings new FaceTime and Messages features, tweaks to existing apps and notifications, and most notably, a new way of managing apps and notifications called Focus.
Frankly, this is a relatively modest update compared to what we saw last year. That’s amplified by the fact that some key features that Apple initially announced in June haven’t made it into the initial release of iOS 15. But today we’ll be exploring whether a modest update means a bad one. Should you bother to upgrade to the new version of iOS when it’s mostly a tune-up and a fresh coat of paint?
As always, let’s start with a look at which devices are still supported.
Sometimes Apple cuts support for an older iPhone model or two with the release of a new version of iOS. But that’s not happening this time; iOS 15 supports all the same phones as iOS 14 did last year. The same goes for iPadOS and its supported tablets.
Here’s the full list of supported devices for both iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. (We’re focusing on the iPhone in this article, but we’ll publish a short addendum that turns to the iPad in the next few days.)
While iOS 15 can be installed on all of the above devices, a handful of specific new features and improvements only work on certain iPhones. Here’s the list.
iPhones with A12 chip and later
iPhone 8 and later
iPhone 7 and later
The screenshots, information, and impressions contained in this review were based on using iOS 15 RC and iPadOS 15 RC, as well as the public releases for both. Devices used included iPhone XS, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, and the 2021 11-inch iPad Pro. We did not test iOS 15 on an iPod touch.
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