12 January 2022
Apple has released iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1 software updates for eligible iPhone and iPad models respectively. It is the first major update for devices since the iOS 15 release. The team has further pushed a new HomePod update as well as expanded the Apple Fitness+ service to 15 new countries.
The biggest change included in iOS 15.1 update is SharePlay support. It is a feature that Apple first talked about during the iOS 15 unveiling at WWDC. It basically allows users to share their screens, listen to music, and watch movies/TV shows together virtually while on a FaceTime video call.
If you are an iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Pro Max user, the update enables ProRes video recording. It is a new video recording format that was said to be limited to professionals and was used for shooting content like commercials and feature films. Since videos shot in this format take up a lot of storage space, a user will need to enable it manually from Camera settings. For the same reason, it is limited to 1080p at 30fps on 128GB models but all other variants can shoot in up to 4K.
Apple has further added a toggle for disabling the Auto Macro mode. It is a mode that makes iPhone automatically switch to the Ultra-wide sensor while shooting macro shots. Other features include the ability to store COVID-19 vaccination certificates in the Apple Wallet app, Mandarin Chinese (Taiwan) support in Translate, Home app improvements, and fixes for known issues.
HomePod users have finally received Spatial Audio and Lossless music streaming support. It is available with the latest software update rolling out globally. It will work on both HomePod and HomePod Mini devices. Both these options can be enabled by visiting Home Settings -> People -> Tap your name -> Apple Music. The support has arrived just in time as Apple recently announced a Siri-focused Apple Music Voice subscription plan priced at just $5 a month.
Lastly, Apple has updated the Fitness+ service to offer SharePlay support. It is meant to help people work out with their family and friends even from a remote location. It has also been expanded to 15 new countries: Austria, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. It means Apple Fitness+ is now available in a total of 21 countries.