9 ways Apple thinks the new iPhone 15 will make your life easier

Apple’s new iPhone 15 series is made up of four smartphones that focus on performance and photography.

The iPhone 15 series is official, with a quartet of new smartphones unveiled during a September 12 Apple event, which also saw the introduction of the new Apple Watch 9 and Watch Ultra 2.

During a live streamed announcement that lasted more than an hour, Apple revealed its new iPhones, which you’ll be able to get hold of from September 22 (pre-orders open September 15).

While there was plenty said about the new iPhone 15 series, we’ve distilled Apple’s announcement down to the key points, where it highlighted ways in which its new handset could improve your life. If you want to experience the full launch, you can rewatch the Apple event now.

The five iPhone 15 coloursCredit: Apple

1. Four new iPhones

Bigger screens great for larger text

Apple announced four new iPhone 15 models during its September 12 launch event, with the iPhone 15 being the entry-level (aka most affordable) device, all the way up to the ultra-premium iPhone 15 Pro Max (aka the most expensive).


The four new iPhone 15 models

  • Weight: 171g (6oz)
  • Dimensions: 147.6 x 71.6 x 7.8mm (5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3in)
  • Screen size: 6.1in (155mm)
  • Chipset: A16 Bionic
  • Storage: 128GB | 256GB | 512GB
  • Rear cameras: 48MP Main | Ultra Wide
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery life: up to 20 hours video playback
  • Price: from £799
  • Weight: 201g (7oz)
  • Dimensions: 160.9 x 77.8 x 7.8mm (6.3 x 3.1 x 0.3in)
  • Screen size: 6.7in (170mm)
  • Chipset: A16 Bionic
  • Storage: 128GB | 256GB | 512GB
  • Rear cameras: 48MP Main | Ultra Wide
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery life: up to 26 hours video playback
  • Price: from £899
  • Weight: 187g (6.6oz)
  • Dimensions: 146.6 x 70.6 x 8.25mm (5.8  x 3.8 x 0.3in)
  • Screen size: 6.1in (155mm)
  • Chipset: A17 Pro
  • Storage: 128GB | 256GB | 512GB | 1TB
  • Rear cameras: 48MP Main | Ultra Wide | Telephoto
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery life: up to 23 hours video playback
  • Price: from £999
  • Weight: 221g (7.8oz)
  • Dimensions: 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.25mm (6.3 x 3 x0.3in)
  • Screen size: 6.7in (170mm)
  • Chipset: A17 Pro
  • Storage: 256GB | 512GB | 1TB
  • Rear cameras: 48MP Main | Ultra Wide | Telephoto
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery life: up to 29 hours video playback
  • Price: from £1,199

Both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro come with 6.1-inch displays, while the 15 Plus and 15 Pro Max pack in 6.7-inch screens, which Apple notes work really well for those who prefer a larger text size on their iPhone to improve readability.

You can easily change the font size on iPhone (both new and old), and the bigger screen models allow you to really utilise this feature.

2. iPhone 15 charging

Lightning’s out, USB-C is in

One of the big talking points here is around iPhone 15 charging. There’s still a connection port on the base of the handsets that you can plug a charging cable into, but the connection itself has changed.

Out goes the Lightning connection after 11 years featuring on iPhones, and in comes a USB-C port – commonly found on Samsung phones, newer iPads and Macs, and the more recent Amazon Kindles.

Apple’s hand has been forced by EU legislation, which requires device manufacturers to use the USB-C port from 2024 in a bid to reduce the amount of electrical cable waste in the world.

While it may initially be frustrating if you’re upgrading from an old iPhone to one of the new iPhone 15 models, you’ll be better set up for the future, as your iPhone cable will also be able to charge other devices, removing the need to hunt out a specific cable for different products when something needs a top up.

One cable to charge all devices is a really good idea, both environmentally and by reducing hassle at home.

3. Find others in crowds

Navigating large crowds will get easier

The iPhone 15 series will make finding friends or family in large crowds easier, thanks to new ultra wideband technology providing greater accuracy when pinpointing their location.

All four handsets offer the not-so-catchily named “Precision Finding for Find My Friends” feature, and will show on-screen your distance from whoever shared their location with you, and which direction you need to move to find them.

The only caveat here is both phones in the scenario need the ultra wideband chip, so it’ll only work if you and those you’re trying to find both have an iPhone 15 handset.

That’s going to limit the effectiveness of this feature initially, but we expect future models from Apple to also include this – so it’s likely to become more useful as time goes on.

4. Improve call quality

Reduce background noise on voice calls

There’s a handy upgrade for your phone calls too, with a noise isolation feature in the Phone app allowing you to significantly reduce the amount of background noise around you for the person trying to listen on the other end of the line.

So if the person you’ve called is struggling to hear what you’re saying because you’re in a particularly noisy place, you can turn on noise isolation by tapping the option on screen to focus the microphones on your voice, providing clearer audio.


5. Accessibility shortcuts

A new button for the two Pro models

Since the very first iPhone launched in 2007, a silence switch has been included on the side of each handset, allowing you to quickly toggle between silent and ring mode. With the new iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max that changes for the first time in iPhone history.

The switch has been replaced with a button, which by default provides the same function. Press and hold to switch between silent and ring modes – the difference here is you can opt to have it do something different.

You can program this button to do a number of different things, including starting a voice memo, launching the camera app, enabling an accessibility feature such as Magnifier (which turns your iPhone into a magnifying glass, allowing you to zoom in and read real life items), and launching a chosen shortcut.

6. Better Portrait photos

No more forgetting to switch to Portrait mode

Portrait mode is a fabulous way to capture striking pictures of a person, or pet. It puts your subject in focus and subtly blurs the background, for a professional-grade result.

The trouble is, you have to remember to switch to Portrait mode in the camera app before hitting the shutter button. And that’s always been tricky to remember. Until now.

With the iPhone 15 series, the camera will automatically recognise when a person, dog or cat is in frame and capture the additional data required for Portrait mode, even if you haven’t selected it.

This means you can head to your photo gallery after capturing a photograph and apply the blur effect at a later date.

7. Roadside assistance

Get car help even if you breakdown in a remote area

Roadside Assistance via satellite is available across the iPhone 15 range, and can connect you with a breakdown service when you’re in an area with no mobile phone reception.

Instead of relying on traditional phone masts, the new iPhones can connect to satellites in emergency situations. In this case, if you breakdown in a remote location, the feature will guide you to a satellite signal and connect you to a recovery service.

However, this feature is initially rolling out only in the US, specifically to AAA’s roadside assistance. Apple says it will roll out to more providers in the future, but it’s yet to confirm when this feature will be available in the UK.

Something else to note is Apple says you’ll get two years of free service, so there will be some cost involved if you continue to have this option available after 24 months of iPhone ownership.

8. StandBy smart display

Turn the 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max into a smart display

Apple announced its new StandBy feature at its 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference back in June as part of the iOS 17 software update reveal for iPhones.

Plug your iPhone in to charge and rotate the handset to landscape and StandBy turns the screen into a glanceable display with a range of different information that can be shown. 

If you set it up on your night stand, you can opt to have a minimalist clock face that has a lower power mode and red hue when the lights go off so not to disturb you, while those who opt for a desk setup can have key information such as their calendar, events and weather displayed.

The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max get a small, exclusive additional benefit by being able to keep their screens on permanently when in StandBy mode, giving you useful information at a glance anytime.

9. Sustainability

Better for the planet

One of the major themes during Apple’s iPhone launch event was sustainability, with the company eager to show the positive steps it’s making to become fully carbon neutral by 2030.

The iPhone 15 series feature a larger volume of recycled materials, included 100% recycled cobalt in the battery, 100% recycled copper in the logic board and MagSafe charger loop, 100% recycled rare earth elements in all magnets, and 100% recycled gold in the USB-C connector.

It’s also switched its transportation away from aeroplanes to ships, with Apple claiming the latter generates one twentieth of the emissions of the former.

While its iPhones aren’t yet carbon neutral like the Apple Watch 9 and Watch Ultra 2, there’s a little less guilt around buying an iPhone 15 – just remember to recycle your current handset if you do.

Should you upgrade?

Take a moment to consider your options

Before buying a new phone you should always consider how you’re using your current handset, and whether it’s still meeting your requirements. If your current iPhone is still performing well, the argument for upgrading isn’t quite as strong.

If your iPhone is more than three years old, the iPhone 15 series will provide noticeable improvements in performance and camera quality, so if you’re someone who takes a lot of pictures with their phone, the new handsets offer a significant upgrade.

However, that said, last year’s iPhone 14 series and 2021’s iPhone 13 series are still available for less money, will continue to receive software and security years for another couple of years at least, and aren’t a massive downgrade when compared to the iPhone 15.

There are features you can get only with the iPhone 15 series however, and a couple that are available only with the Pro and Pro Max. If these are important to you, then you’ll still find value in upgrading to the latest iPhone offering.

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John McCann

Written by John McCann he/him


John McCann has been a technology journalist for more than a decade, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He’s interviewed CEOs from some of the world’s biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. During his time in journalism, John has written for TechRadar, T3, What Laptop, Windows 8 magazine and Gizmodo UK, and he’s appeared in the Evening Standard and Metro newspapers.

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