For iPhone users, the new iOS 15.2.1 update resolves a problem with sharing photos in Messages using iCloud links, as well as issues that some users have been having with third-party CarPlay apps crashing and becoming non-responsive.
Since the iPad doesn’t support CarPlay, iPadOS 15.2.1 only addresses the Messages bug, which caused photos to sometimes fail to load on the recipient’s device when they were sent using an iCloud Link.
Although individual photos shared via iMessage are normally sent directly to the recipient, iCloud Links are used when sharing larger numbers of photos at once, or when sharing something from the Sharing Suggestions in the Photo app’s For You section.
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Since this is a minor sub-point release, small bug fixes and performance improvements are the norm, so iOS 15.2.1 and iPadOS 15.2.1 don’t offer any other significant new features, although there are likely a few other minor bugs that have been fixed that weren’t worth mentioning in the release notes.
For example, we encountered a problem in IOS 15.1 and iOS 15.2 when adding multiple COVID-19 Vaccination Cards to Apple Health and Apple Wallet. It’s not possible in either of those versions to add a second proof-of-vaccination record for someone who received doses of the same vaccine on the same dates as a record that’s already stored — even though the name and date of birth are different.
This could easily be an issue for members of the same family who need to store their vaccination cards on a single device. This was already fixed in the first iOS 15.3 beta that was released last month, but sadly, it does not yet appear to be resolved in iOS 15.2.1.
iOS 15.3 Marches On
Apple has also pushed out the second beta of iOS 15.3 to developers, which may incorporate some of the same fixes from iOS 15.2.1. However, the original iOS 15.3 beta didn’t appear to add any new user-facing features.
Likewise, at first glance there don’t appear to be any obvious changes in the second beta, but we’ll definitely keep you posted if we find anything of interest.
The iOS 15.3 cycle is likely focused on under-the-hood improvements. Since there are a few features that were promised for iOS 15 that have yet to arrive, Apple is likely laying the foundation for these.
This includes Universal Control for the Mac and iPad, which missed the cut for macOS Monterey 12.1 last month, and has since officially been pushed into this spring, according to Apple’s macOS Monterey page.
The timeframe has us questioning whether iPadOS 15.3 will even include Universal Control, as there’s been no new evidence of it in iPadOS 15.3 or macOS 12.2, which also received its second beta update today. Furthermore, It’s likely that both of these updates will see public releases before the spring, in which case Universal Control may not arrive until iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 come along.
Of course, there’s still a remote chance Apple could surprise us by delivering the feature ahead of schedule. It would be a nice change after missing the previously promised fall deadline.
The other feature we’re still waiting for is Digital IDs, and while these depend on various state and federal government agencies getting their collective acts together, the TSA is expected to roll the feature out at two airports next month, which suggests that Apple plans to have everything ready to go by that time. We expect that iOS 15.3 will put the finishing touches on Digital IDs.
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