Top 5 iOS 15 Features for School

iOS 15 is officially here, and we could not be more excited. If you’re interested in knowing how to get the most of the new operating system, especially when it comes to school, we’ve got you covered. 

If you haven’t done so yet, back up your phone via iCloud, Finder (formerly through iTunes), or your Windows PC and then go to Settings, General, and Software Update. When downloading the new software, be sure you have a strong wifi connection with at least 50% battery life or your iPhone plugged in.

The features listed below are in no particular order, and some features may not be available on all iPhones due to hardware limitations. Check the chart below to see if your iPhone is compatible with iOS 15.


Photo Credit: Screenshot of iOS 15 Compatability Chart from Apple.com

FaceTime non iOS & MacOS users
Ok, how many times have you wanted to FaceTime a friend or family member but remember they do not have an Apple device to do so, well, that problem is officially solved. When you upgrade to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and or macOS Monterey, these devices can create a FaceTime web link. Once created, you can share the link with people who don’t own an Apple device (Android users, I am talking to you here).

As long as the recipient has access to a web browser, they’ll be able to join your FaceTime without a problem. You’ll find this new feature as soon as you open the FaceTime app on your iPhone.

Drag and Drop Across Apps
This feature is excellent when you are working on the go and is handy for group projects. In addition, you can drag and drop content across various apps within iOS 15, such as web links, internet tabs, text, images, or files.

So if a classmate sends you a link to a research article and you do not have time to look at it right now, you can drag that link to a blank note or drag it to your google doc if you have the app on your phone.

Heads up, you’ll need both of your hands to use this feature. First, select the content and long-press on it, and then switch to the app where you want to paste the content.

Tags in Notes We all use the notes apps, whether to make a to-do list, journal or jot something down real quick to get back to later. You can now organize all those notes with hashtags.


Photo Credit: Screenshot of What’s New in Notes from Apple

For example, if I have a bunch of quick links for a research project and other notes school-related, I can create #school, and then all notes with #school will be grouped for organization and easy access.

This will be a lifesaver when it comes to saving time on trying to find a particular note on a subject area—feeling fancy? In addition, you can add multiple tags to one note. So, for example, if I have a mixture of #business and #school for one note, the same note will go in both categories.

Mute Notifications We’ve all been in a situation where we were in class, and the phone keeps buzzing. The good news, you can mute any app or messaging thread notifications temporarily. You can mute the notifications for the next hour or the day. After that, it is up to you.

Focus Mode
I have saved the best for last because this truly is the best feature. Apple has introduced an improved version of the “Do Not Disturb” mode, called “Focus Mode” which lets you filter out notifications from contacts and apps depending on the activity.

Focus is more customizable than the original “Do Not Disturb” and here’s how. Let’s say you have class every Monday and Wednesday from 11:00 – 12:25 pm, and you do not want anyone to interrupt you unless it’s your parent, for example.


Photo Credit: Screen Shot of Focus Mode on iOS 15 from Apple.com

You can create a focus for “school” and automate so every Monday and Wednesday between 11 am and 12:25 pm, your phone will silence all calls, texts, and notifications from everybody during this time. If a parent calls you, they’re the only notification that will go through (including text).

I have found this extremely handy when working out. I do not like getting notifications while having my music on and then it throws off my workout, so I have set one up for “fitness.” Every morning from 5:00 am – 6:00 am; my phone silences all notifications from all apps and individuals.

If there is an emergency, repeated calls within a certain period will breakthrough focus mode.

You can view the complete list of all the new iOS 15 features by visiting the Apple website. Let me know your favorite feature of iOS 15 by hitting me up on socials @MikeStarkCA on Twitter and Instagram.

Written By: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

iOS 14.5 Brings New Features and Emojis

iOS 14.5 is set to bring over 200 new emojis in the latest update to iPhones and iPads. We breakdown the latest with the upcoming software release from emojis and other cool features.

If you are a heavy texter like me or enjoy emojis, you are going to love the newest update from Apple with iOS 14.5. Emojipedia is reporting that Apple added 217 new emoji characters to their upcoming iOS 14.5 beta release.

A majority of the new emoji represent a more diverse range of couples with various skin tones, allowing users to more relatable characters that represent them. Including the new emoji “Person: Beard.” iOS 14.5 is the first operating system from Apple to have the option to specify a woman or man with a beard.


Photo Credit: Screenshot of person with beard emoji from emojipedia.org

The various couples are not the only exciting changes; there is even with emoji connecting with the COVID-19 pandemic; more on that later.

New Smileys

We are getting three new smiley faces, including Exhaling Face, Face with Spiral Eyes, and Face in the Clouds. I can tell you that I relate the most to face with spiral eyes, especially during some zoom classes.


Photo Credit: Screenshot of new faces emoji from emojipedia.org

New Hearts

In addition to the new smiley faces, we are getting two new heart emojis. A heart on fire and a healing heart. These two are perfect for that new relationship or moving on from a previous one. These two are a great addition along with the broken heart, nice to have some variety instead of using the same full heart and a broken heart.


Photo Credit: Screenshot of heart on fire and healing heart from emojipedia.org

Updated Syringe

These are a few of the exciting changes coming in the new iOS 14.5, so what are the other updated emojis? The syringe emoji is getting an update with the blood being removed and updated to look like a vaccine emoji, which is more relevant today because of COVID.


Photo Credit: Before and After Syringe emoji from emojipedia.org

Updated Over-Ear Headphones

After having the original black over-ear headphones for so many years, we are saying goodbye and getting a new look. The new emoji is representing the new AirPod Max from apple. The new over-ear emoji isn’t the first that represent apple products.


Photo Credit: Screenshot of over-ear phone from emojipedia.org

Currently, we have the Desktop Computer representing the iMac, Laptop representing one of the Macbook models, Mobile phone representing iPhone, and then watch representing Apple Watch.

iOS 14.5 not only brings cool emojis but some relief when it comes to unlocking your iPhone with a mask on your face.

Suppose you have an Apple Watch, an option to enable a feature that allows you to use Face ID with a mask on to unlock your iPhone. Your watch must be nearby and on, and if you have a mask on, the watch will automatically unlock your phone.

Control the Default Music Player

The feature I am excited about the most for the update. Apple Music will not have to be your default music player any longer. 

If you were to ask Siri to play a song by one of your favorite artists, they will open up Apple Music or search your music library to find that song. If you don’t have the song in your library or an apple music subscription, it will not play.


Photo Credit: Screenshot of Siri prompting default music player choice.

In the new iOS 14.5 update, you can select which music player will be your default for Siri. For example, for Spotify users, you can set Spotify as your default music player, so when you say “Hey Siri, play driver’s license by Oliva Rodrigo,” Siri will open Spotify and start streaming. News about the default music player change came from Reddit users using 14.5 beta versions and then MacRumors reporting the information.

Privacy Changes

iOS 14.5 includes privacy changes that require apps to seek user permission before having access to their data and activity, including tracking. The privacy change is an add-on feature from the original release in iOS 14.3. The original feature allows you to see what data apps are collecting before you download the app.


Photo Credit: Screenshot of Apple Privacy Slide from iOS 14 announcement on apple.com

Siri Updates

Siri is getting a cool new feature. The popular digital assistant will have the ability to call 911 for you. Here’s how it works. You say, “Hey Siri, call emergency.” You will then see a countdown of three seconds, giving you the option to cancel the command before the call connects.

iOS 14.5 Device Capability

The new iOS 14.5 will be available on devices running iOS 14. Includes iPhone 6S through the iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone SE, and iPod Touch seventh generation. Here is a list of all devices compatible.

Downloading iOS 14.5

iOS 14.5 will be available for download later this spring. Get your phone prepped, ensuring you are running the most recent software. Go to Settings> Tap General> Software Update. You will know within a few moments if you are running the most recent software.

What feature are you most excited to use? Let me know by hitting me up on socials at @MikeStarkCA on Twitter and Instagram.

Written by: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

Cover Photo: Screenshot of Emoji Demo from Brandon Butch on YouTube