iOS 15.2 has arrived: here's all the new features coming to your iPhone

A selection of iOS 15 screenshots showing how the software works
(Image credit: Apple)
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iOS 15.2 has arrived and it’s surprisingly packed with features – though mostly smaller ones than those introduced in iOS 15.1.

The headline updates are App Privacy Report and Legacy Contacts, two things that we'll dive into below, but there are also other features and improvements that we've detailed as well.

We've included information on compatibility as well: Long story short, if your phone can download iOS 15, it can get this latest update – but check below to know what those iPhones are.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The latest iOS update
  • When is it out? Now
  • How much does it cost? It's free

iOS 15.2 release date and compatibility

iOS 15.2 is out now. It released on December 13, and to download it head to Settings > General > Software Update. If you don't see it there, check back a little later.

As for compatibility, it's available for every iPhone that can get iOS 15 and iOS 15.1. That means all of them from the iPhone 6S onwards, the iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone SE 2016, as well as the iPod touch (7th generation only).

iOS 15.2 features

Below you'll find all of the features that have been added, improved or changed as part of iOS 15.2.

App Privacy Report

App Privacy Report

(Image credit: Apple)

App Privacy Report is perhaps the biggest feature of iOS 15.2. Head to the Privacy section of the Settings menu and you’ll find an option for this. Enable it and you can see how often apps have accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts and more during the last seven days, as well as their network activity.

Armed with this knowledge, you may well want to lock down what info and features certain apps can access to better safeguard your privacy.

Legacy Contacts

An image showing the Legacy Contact screen

(Image credit: Apple)

One of the other big features that's been added as part of iOS 15.2 is Legacy Contacts. This allows you to assign one or more of your contacts as people who will be able to gain access to your Apple ID, iCloud account and iPhone data in the event of your death.

As well as them having to be assigned by you they’ll also have to provide a copy of a death certificate before they can gain access, but without this they might not be able to access your account at all, meaning that memories, photos, and the like could be lost to time.

Hide My Email feature in the Mail app

An image showing Hide My Email in the Mail app

(Image credit: Apple / 9to5Mac)

Hide My Email isn’t a totally new feature – it allows iCloud Plus subscribers to create random email addresses that forward to your main email and can be deleted at any time. So it’s a way to keep your email private, without needing a second inbox for a throwaway email.

However, with iOS 15.2 you can now generate these emails directly from the Mail app when composing a message, which you couldn't previously, so the process should now be a lot slicker.

Find My improvements

The Find My tool also got a bit better with iOS 15.2, as a new ‘Items That Can Track Me’ toggle has been added. Select that and you’ll see any unknown items in your vicinity that can communicate with Find My.

This is designed so that you can discover items that might be tracking your location. Once discovered by the Find My app, you can make this unknown tracker play a sound so you can locate it, and the app can even provide instructions for disabling it.

Note that these items will only be discoverable if they’re not in range of their owner’s device, which could be up to 50 meters away.

Similarly, there's also now a 'Help Return Lost Items' option that lets you scan for nearby devices that might be lost, then provides instruction on how to get them back to their owner.

And, the ‌Find My‌ app can now be used to locate an ‌iPhone‌ for up to five hours when the device is in Power Reserve mode.

Communication Safety in Messages

Images showing the Communication Safety feature

(Image credit: Apple / MacRumors)

Communication Safety in Messages is a new feature that parents can choose to enable on a child’s device. If they do, then the Messages app will be able to detect nudity in images sent or received through Messages. Those images will then be blurred, and the child will be warned about the content and have to confirm that they want to view it.

The child will be given the option to also contact a parent through the Messages app when nudity is detected, but this will be the child's choice - the parents won't be notified automatically.

Indeed, this detection of nudity is all done on-device, so it doesn’t affect encryption or alert Apple or any other person or organization.

A redesign for Notification Summary

Notification Summary has got a fresh look as part of iOS 15.2, with the notifications now being shown in one card, rather than a collection of cards. It’s not a substantial change but it’s arguably a more stylish look, and further reduces clutter.

TV app updates

Images showing the tweaked TV app

(Image credit: Apple / MacRumors)

As part of iOS 15.2, the TV app has got a new Store tab, so that purchasable content is kept separate from Apple TV Plus content. On iPadOS 15.2 the app is also getting a new sidebar which houses all the sections of the app. This replaces the bar at the bottom of the screen.

A Face ID fix

Previously if you got an iPhone 13 model’s screen fixed by a third-party repair shop the process would break Face ID in the phone, but Apple reportedly planned to stop this happening through a software update.

While the official iOS 15.2 release notes don't mention this change, MacRumors (opens in new tab) claims that it made the cut.

Auto Call changes

An image showing Apple's Auto Call feature

(Image credit: Apple)

The Auto Call feature of Apple’s Emergency SOS call service has got more customizable with iOS 15.2, as users can now choose whether to trigger it through holding the volume and side buttons at the same time, or through rapidly pressing the side or top button five times.

Previously, you wouldn’t be able to pick between these two methods, with the one available to you depending on which iPhone model you have.

The update also extends the countdown before the call is placed to eight seconds (up from three seconds) when using the holding down buttons method.

No more automatic macro

Previously the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max's camera would switch to the ultra-wide lens for macro shots automatically when you got close to a subject, but with iOS 15.2 this can be disabled, giving you more control over when macro mode is used.

Apple Music Voice Plan

An image of Apple Music being controlled with Siri

(Image credit: Apple)

If you want to get Apple Music for less then you can as part of iOS 15.2, as it's added support for an Apple Music Voice Plan. This is the most basic Apple Music plan, and it's designed to be interacted with mostly through Siri. It costs $4.99/£4.99/AU$5.99 per month.

Enhanced CarPlay maps

Some city maps have been enhanced for use with CarPlay, as they will now show details such as bike lanes, pedestrian crosswalks, turn lanes, and medians.

Bug fixes and security updates

As usual with a software update, there are also various bug fixes in iOS 15.2. These include fixes for the following:

  • Siri not responding when VoiceOver is running and your iPhone is locked
  • ProRAW photos appearing overexposed when viewing in third-party photo editing apps
  • HomeKit scenes that include a garage door not running from CarPlay when your iPhone is locked
  • CarPlay not updating Now Playing information for certain apps
  • Video streaming apps not loading content on iPhone 13 models
  • Calendar events appearing on the wrong day for Microsoft Exchange users

There may well be other unannounced bug fixes, as well as fixes for security issues.

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.