iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 take giant step toward release [Updated]

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iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 take giant step toward release
The OS upgrades for almost every Apple device are nearly ready. But an important one is missing.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

The moment we’ve been waiting for since June is almost here. Apple seeded Release Candidates for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and tvOS 15 to developers on Tuesday. This means the beta testing process is almost over.

The final versions will reach users in under a week. Apple promised the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch updates will launch on Monday, September 20. And the Apple TV one could be out the same day.

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Personalized ads popup in iOS 15
This is what you'll see when you open the App Store.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Latest iOS 15 beta is stable enough to try, but hold off on macOS Monterey

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9 great features you might have overlooked in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey
Feeling brave? You can try the latest betas for iOS 15 or iPadOS 15. But stay away from testing macOS Monterey.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

It’s been a very weird summer for Apple’s beta program, with major changes happening months after the initial unveiling of the operating system upgrades. But iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 have finally reached the point where they’re stable enough for average users to try them out. The same goes for watchOS 8.

But that’s not true of macOS Monterey.

iCloud Private Relay won’t be part of initial iOS 15 release

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Private Relay makes paying $1 a month for iCloud a bargain
Private Relay protects your online privacy. It’s the best part of Apple’s new iCloud+.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A major new privacy feature of iOS 15 won‘t be ready when the update goes out to iPhones. iCloud Private Relay will mask users’ IP addresses so they can’t be tracked. But it needs additional time for beta testing.

It’s one of several high-profile new iPhone and Mac features that won‘t launch as soon as Apple first promised.

Apple plans to hold back SharePlay from initial OS 15 releases

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The FaceTime feature SharePlay won't be coming out with the initial OS 15 releases.
The FaceTime feature SharePlay won't be coming out with the initial OS 15 releases.
Photo: Apple

The anticipated SharePlay feature in FaceTime syncs up TV shows, movies, music and more across devices so people can experience them together. But the features in upcoming beta releases and the major official OS 15 updates this fall won’t include it, Apple told developers today.

A little iPadOS 15 change brings big improvement

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A little iPadOS 15 beta 5 change brings big improvement
App icons are larger and easier to use in iPadOS 15.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Sometimes in life, it’s the little things. iPadOS 15 makes one of those small changes that bring a big result. For the first time, you can increase the size of the application icons on the iPad Home Screen.

This setting debuts in iPadOS 15 beta 5, released on Tuesday. This is one of a few other tweaks in the latest pre-release version.

How to get a warning if you forget your Mac, iPad, etc.

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How to get a separation alert warning if you forget your iPhone, Mac, iPad, etc.
Here’s how to get a separation alert if you leave behind your Mac, iPhone or other Apple gear.
Image: Cult of Mac

With iOS 15, your iPhone can warn you if you’ve left your Mac at the office. Or in a hotel room, restaurant, plane… wherever. Separation alerts are one of the better features of Apple’s operating system upgrade.

It’s easy to set up these up. Here’s how.