iPadOS 15 review: Nice improvements, but where’s the ambition?

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iPadOS 15 review
Improvements are nice, but just not enough.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple somehow created the world’s greatest and most disappointing tablet operating system. iPadOS is by far the best you’ll find for larger touchscreens, and yet, it leaves us wanting so much more.

This year’s iPadOS 15 release is an incremental upgrade over its predecessor. It improves upon the split-screen multitasking system, adds some new features like Focus mode, and finally allows us to put widgets anywhere.

But it’s still iPadOS as we know it, and it’s still holding back iPad Pro. We could be doing so much more with the hardware, especially now that the newest models pack even-speedier M1 chips. But Apple won’t let us.

Here’s our full iPadOS 15 review. It lays out what’s good about the new operating system — and explains why we think it’s time for a little more ambition.

Some users see spurious ‘storage almost full’ alerts in iOS and iPadOS 15

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storage almost full alert in iOS 15
Huh?
Photo: @3_Blind_Moose

Some iPhone and iPad users are being plagued by incorrect “storage almost full” alerts after updating to iOS and iPadOS 15. The message leaves a persistent badge on the Settings app icon that cannot be cleared.

In many cases, users seeing the alert actually have ample free storage remaining. A similar bug tells some iPhone and iPad owners that they have more available storage than their device actually shipped with.

Apple breaks iTunes for Windows for anyone who doesn’t speak English

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iTunes for Windows
Avoid the latest update if your system isn't set up in English.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Apple rolled out a new version of iTunes for Windows on Monday alongside iOS and iPadOS 15, but it should be avoided at all costs if your system isn’t set up in English. iTunes no longer works under any other language.

The problem seems to affect the version 12.12.0.6 version of iTunes no matter where it’s downloaded from — the Microsoft Store or directly from Apple — which means it’s not currently possible for some users to sync their devices.

iOS 15 kills one of Do Not Disturb’s best features

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Do Not Disturb
Sad face.
Photo: Apple

Do Not Disturb is still available inside iOS and iPadOS 15, despite the introduction of a brand-new and infinitely more powerful Focus mode. But the feature is now missing a key settings option that didn’t carry over from iOS 14.

Users have quickly discovered that Apple’s newest update kills the ability to activate Do Not Disturb only when a device is locked — one of its best features for many iPhone and iPad users.

First iOS 15.1 beta resumes testing missing features

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First iOS 15.1 beta resumes testing of missing features
That didn’t take long.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple seeded the first beta of iOS 15.1 to developers on Tuesday, just a day after the general public got access to iOS 15. The company also gave devs access to the initial betas for iPadOS 15.1, watchOS 8.1 and tvOS 15.1. These are expected to include some of the features promised earlier but removed from the versions that debuted on Monday to give additional development time.

In addition, Apple released to macOS Monterey beta 7 to developers.

No way back from iOS 14.8 as Apple stops signing earlier firmware

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Apple stops signing iOS 14.7.1
You're stuck with iOS 14.8 or iOS 15.
Image: Cult of Mac

It’s no longer possible to downgrade to iOS or iPadOS 14.7.1 if you’ve already updated your iPhone or iPad to a newer version of Apple’s firmware.

Cupertino stopped signing the update, first rolled out in July, after releasing iOS and iPadOS 15 to everyone on Monday. The move prevents users from reverting to the earlier build, but it won’t affect devices still running iOS 14.7.1.

There’s plenty to enjoy in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 [Updated]

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There’s plenty to enjoy in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8
iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch just got a heap of new features.
Photo: Apple

If you’ve been eagerly waiting for iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 since June, then rejoice! Everyone can finally install them. iPad gets plenty of new features, while iPhone and Apple Watch get a handful of nice improvements.

Here are the cool enhancements you can look forward to, whether you jump on the updates Monday or decide to wait.

Apple delays Find My network support for AirPods until ‘later this fall’

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Locating AirPods with Find My
It's not the only iOS 15 feature we'll have to wait longer for.
Photo: Apple

It seems Find My network support for AirPods Pro and AirPods Max won’t roll out with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 as originally planned. Apple says the feature, which can make lost headphones easier to find, will be available “later this fall.”

Once the Find My network is enabled for the high-end headphones, another iPhone, iPad or Mac owner in the vicinity of the lost item can can passively update your gear’s general location. The Find My network functionality makes the feature far my powerful by tapping the millions of Apple devices in use around the world.

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.