iOS 15.5 is now available, and judging by the nature of the changes in this update, Apple is ready to move on to iOS 16.
The new update, widely available to the public after a beta testing period, mostly features under-the-hood changes, with a minimum of user-facing enhancements. That's a far cry from previous iOS 15 updates, which have ushered in a host of new features. The last big update to Apple's phone software, iOS 15.4, added the ability to use Face ID when you're wearing a mask plus a new voice for Siri, just as example.
Still, iOS 15.5 promises a few notable changes. Here's an overview of what the update delivers.
Episode management tools for Podcasts
Podcasts listeners who find themselves short on storage space for their iPhones will welcome an update to Apple's built-in Podcasts app for iOS 15.5. You can now specify how many episodes of each show you want to keep on your iPhone at any one time. As part of the update, older episode will get automatically deleted from your phone.
Before iOS 15.5, podcast episodes could pile up on your device, eating away at your on-device storage. That's particularly burdensome if you bought an iPhone back before Apple bumped the minimum storage to 128GB. Now, you can use a new setting to make sure that only recent episodes are staying on your device.
The new control is a little difficult to find as it's located in the Settings app. Go to Settings and scroll down to Podcasts. After you select Podcasts, tap the Automatically Download option. By default, the feature is turned off, but you can specify that it downloads anywhere from the latest episode to the last 10 episodes. You can also specify downloads by time or just have the Podcasts app download all new episodes.
Putting a limit on the number of episodes you keep around can pay dividends right away. I set Podcasts to only download the three latest episodes, and ended up clearing off 56 episodes from my device. If you watch the following video you can see how it helps immediately with your storage.
Easier payment methods for Apple Pay Cash in Wallets
Apple Pay Cash is a great way to send money to friends and family (or to receive money, which frankly, is even better). But its use in the Wallet app was so clunky, I often found myself heading to Messages when it was time to repay someone for dinner or tickets.
In iOS 15.5, it's much easier to request or send cash using Apple Pay Cash from within the Wallet app, as Apple has added buttons labeled Request and Send. Tap on either and you're prompted to pick a sender/recipient; from there you can enter an amount.