Apple’s iOS 15.2 update: how to download, new features and more

iOS 15.2 brings new Apple Music and privacy features to your iPhone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple released the latest version of its iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS 15.2, in December with a massive collection of updates and new features, and now iOS 15.2.1 has arrived to make minor fixes to the operating system. This includes plugs for Homekit security vulnerabilities and fixes for issues on iPhones that prevent messages from loading when sent with an iCloud link, among other things.

iOS 15.2 is Apple’s first major software update since iOS 15.1, which brought features like FaceTime SharePlay and ProRes support to the iPhone. iOS 15.2 update now adds features like Macro Control to the iPhone 13 and a new Apple Music tier for all iPhone users.

Here’s what we’ve gathered on iOS 15.2 so far.

Is iOS 15.2 out yet?

Yes, Apple released iOS 15.2 update on December 13th.

How to download iOS 15.2?

To download the latest update, go to Settings > General > Software Update and select Download and install. Restart your iPhone after the download is complete to start the installation, and once your phone restarts, you’ll be on the latest version of iOS.

App Privacy Report

The biggest new feature in iOS 15.2 is the App Privacy Report. This report is intended to help users control who has access to their data. If you’ve already viewed your weekly Screen Time reports, the App Privacy report is organized in the same way, but instead of telling you how much time you spent in different apps, the report shows the data and the sensors each app can access, network activity for those apps, and other privacy-related data.

The latest version of the beta also changed the wording of the iCloud Private Relay setting. The option is now listed under Cellular and Wi-Fi settings as Limit IP Address Tracking. This is not a functional change, but the new wording should clarify what you can sign up for.

Apple Music voice plan

A surprise addition to iOS 15.2 is Apple Music Voice Plan, a new subscription tier for Apple Music. The Voice Plan tier halves the subscription price – up to $5 (£5, AU$6) a month – but it can only be controlled by speaking to Siri, not manually via the Voice Plan. Music app. Spatial audio and lyrics features will not be available, but you will have access to the full catalog of Apple Music.

A new feature, called Play it Again, lets you see what you’ve recently played so you don’t have to google the chorus of a song you just heard because you don’t know the name of the song.

Finding Apple Music Playlists

If you already have Apple Music, iOS 15.2 now lets you search for a song in a playlist. It’s a little tricky to find at first – you have to enter a playlist and swipe down from the top of your screen to bring up the search bar above your playlist image.

Communications security setting

After delaying the Controversial Messages setting, Apple released it as part of iOS 15.2. This Messages setting allows parents to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos containing nudity. The warnings also show the resources of the children when they receive these photos. Although the intent behind the feature has received strong support, privacy experts believe the the costs of Apple’s methods outweigh the benefits.

Macro control for photos

People with a iPhone 13 Pro or Max can now use the ultra wide lens of these models to take close-up photos and videos in 15.2. To activate it, go to Settings, then Camera, and in this menu there is a toggle marked Macro Control. When enabled, you should see a flower icon on your screen when taking a photo. Tap the flower icon when near an object to enter Macro mode.

More details in Apple Maps

Apple Maps will now show road details such as bike lanes, turn lanes, medians, and crosswalks in supported cities.

Find My updates

The current iOS also brings an update to Apple’s Find My feature. The change, reported by MacRumors, lets you use the Find My app to search for “items that may follow me,” identifying nearby items, such as Air beacons, which can send location data. You can then choose to disable tracking on all devices found.

The update has caused some controversy as it takes the Find My feature in two contradictory directions. The update appears to be designed to help people gain more control over their privacy by preventing unwanted devices from tracking them. However, it also appears to undermine the function of AirTags by potentially giving thieves the ability to disable tracking of any AirTags on stolen items.

Read more: Apple launches AirTags and Find My detector app for Android, aiming to boost privacy

Parts and Service History

The update also lets you view the repair history on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > About > Parts & Service History. The new section will detail any servicing that took place at Apple as well as whether the parts were from Apple or an unknown vendor. However, if you haven’t had your iPhone repaired, the feature won’t show up.

Other New iOS 15.2 Features

The second release of the iOS 15.2 beta added the ability to designate legacy contacts as part of Apple’s Digital Legacy Program. Designating someone as a Legacy Contact gives them access to your iCloud account and personal information after you die.

iCloud Plus subscribers can also use Apple’s Hide My Email feature from within the Mail app itself, instead of bouncing around. The full list of updates is available on Apple’s developer site.


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