Kids music

Apple’s iOS 15.2 update brings new iPhone features for kids, music and your digital afterlife

Apple released its latest software update, iOS 15.2, on Monday, bringing with it a new Apple Music plan, more security and privacy tools, and other improvements.

The latest version of iOS 15 lets you set up legacy contacts who can access your iCloud account in the event of your death. It offers a cheaper, voice-only, Siri-controlled Apple Music plan. The software includes the launch of the anti-sexting tool which will warn minors in the United States before they send or open messages containing nude photos. There’s also a new app privacy report that explains how apps access sensitive data on your phone.

Google’s Android is the most widely used smartphone software in the world, but iOS remains more popular in the United States. Along with updated features, the latest software releases usually contain bug fixes and other tweaks that improve the iPhone user experience.

However, sometimes it pays to wait a few days to upgrade. Installation may take longer than expected, especially at launch when many people are trying to download it at the same time. And if there are any problems in the software itself, these usually appear a few days after the release of iOS.

When you’re ready to install iOS 15.2 on your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update. From there, choose Download and Install, then follow the instructions.

iPad and Mac users are getting similar updates. (Mac users can now access the SharePlay feature to watch videos, listen to music, or practice with friends on FaceTime.) You can download macOS Monterey 12.1 by going to System Preferences > Software Update > Update updated now. For iPads, you can follow the same process as on iPhone to get iPadOS 15.2.

Here are the notable additions in the software updates:

A new $4.99 voice subscription tier for Apple Music lets users control playback via Siri, through devices like HomePod Mini and AirPods.



Apple Music voice plan

Apple’s new $4.99 subscription tier for Apple Music lets users control playback via Siri. The monthly plan does not include access to touchscreen controls, lyrics, music videos, or offline playback, but does give you access to the full library through Siri-enabled gadgets including iPhones, iPads and the HomePod Mini.

You can subscribe to the Apple Music Voice plan by saying, “Hey Siri, start my Apple Music Voice trial.”

Legacy Contacts

A big issue today is what happens to your digital life when you die. Family members will want to access your photos and other files, and this allows them.

Apple will let you tag five people you’d like to have access to your iCloud data, including your photos, notes, and messages. Let these people know that they are your old contacts, and Apple will give them a digital key that will only work once you are successful.

Apple’s new Messages feature notifies children if they receive a text message containing a nude photo, scrambles it and prompts them to message an adult.



Security and privacy tools

A new tool for Apple’s Messages app will warn children under 18 before they send or open messages that contain nude photos. Parents enable it in Family Sharing settings. Once enabled, flagged photos will appear blurry and present warnings before allowing users to continue.

Apple won’t notify parents when this happens, however, as our colleague Julie Jargon noted in early December. See its column for more information on how the tool works.

Apple has also updated ways to get help in an emergency. You can now press the side button multiple times or simultaneously hold the side button and the volume button to trigger an emergency call.

iPhone users who download iOS 15.2 will also have access to an App Privacy Report detailing how often apps access their sensitive data such as photos, contacts and location. The opt-in report also indicates where this information is shared. The report builds on Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature, which it rolled out in April.

Apple’s polishing cloth turned heads online when the tech giant started selling it for $19. But it’s far from the only Apple add-on sold at this price. The WSJ’s Dalvin Brown explains why. Illustration: Raphaël Garcia

Write to Dalvin Brown at [email protected]

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Appeared in the December 14, 2021 print edition as “Apple iOS Update Brings Features for Kids, Music”.