Ten “It’s About Time!” Features from WWDC 2021

Originally published at: Ten “It’s About Time!” Features from WWDC 2021 - TidBITS

At its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, Apple shared numerous new features that cut across most of its operating systems. But what caught our attention for this article was how many of them caused us to exclaim, “Finally!”

What about the private relay, Apple’s implementation of a super secure VPN? I don’t know if it’s only for Safari and mail, or all apps, but it’s an important security service. Also the security implementation in email that will stop tracking pixels.

“Many of us are already pondering which elderly relatives need to enable this feature once it’s available.“

Many of you might also want to think twice before publishing that comment. I’m 83 and my kids come to me for computer assistance. :joy:


I don’t think I want to hand my phone to a policeman, but for other ID uses it would be fine. Particularly when traveling with just a phone. Already have ApplePay. In fact I have my drivers license in my phone case.

I wish it was only Home Depot who doesn’t accept Apple Pay (or even my digital Bank of America card). It happens to me all the time that I can’t pay with my phone. That’s even more striking after returning from Australia a year ago where I hardly needed a card at all.

Not available in China, unsurprisingly.

The older the nerd, the bigger the geek.

When you had to bring everything to the machine as opposed to the machine being the bringer of everything to you.

Me either…in fact the likelihood of me handing my unlocked iPhone to law enforcement or anybody except my wife…is pretty much zero. There’s way too much info on there that other people have no need or right to know…and handing your phone to a cop for ID means he can check out your texts or emails to see if there is any indication of a crime…that’s unreasonable search and seizure the way I see it. I wouldn’t let them search my vehicle either…even though I’m quite sure there’s nothing illegal in it. Back in my Navy days…we took an oath to uphold and defend and I’m pretty partial to enforcement of constitutional rights…even those that I don’t particularly care for based on my political point of view…but not caring for them doesn’t mean they’re not rights that should be defended and protected.


If we need to use the iPhone as an ID device, Apple should set up a section that is not locked for information you don’t mind handing to someone. The rest of the phone stays locked. I expect that can be done reasonably simply. I’M with Neil WRT handing over an unlocked phone to anyone except my wife!

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I think we’re at least a revision or two away from this being a real-world issue, but Apple could deal with it by displaying the digital driver’s license much like it does the Medical ID from the Lock Screen. Nothing else is accessible from that mode, and the iPhone requires a passcode to unlock again.

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I think one of my wish list favorite’s hasn’t been announced (yet). :wink: I’d really like to be able to set current weather to appears on my lock screen. Just a tiny icon and temp would be enough. I spend a lot of work time in a heavily shielded area under ground. Would be nice to know at a glance if I should bring a coat before I make the long way out of the bunker.

(secretly hoping somebody will tell me it’s been there all along)

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We haven’t seen Apple opening up the Lock Screen much, but it’s not inconceivable. Personally, I’d just glance at the Carrot Weather widget on my Apple Watch if I were in your shoes, er, bunker. :slight_smile:

So only those who have iOS 15 will be allowed to store their DL & other IDs in Wallet? Those of us who are limited to iOS 12 & iOS 14 are SOL?

Apple very seldom extends new features to old operating systems, so yeah, you’ll probably have to upgrade to iOS 15. It works on the iPhone 6s and up and is of course free, so it’s no great hardship. Though I understand that for you, maintaining access to an old app takes precedence.

One interesting note is that Apple is changing the update mechanism so you’ll be able to stick with iOS 14 more easily.

iOS now offers a choice between two software update versions in the Settings app. You can update to the latest version of iOS 15 as soon as it’s released for the latest features and most complete set of security updates. Or continue on iOS 14 and still get important security updates until you’re ready to upgrade to the next major version.

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That is typically how adding features to OSes works.

limited to iOS 12 & iOS 14 are SOL?

Every device that can run iOS 14 (or iPadOS 14) will be able to run version 15. By the time iOS 15 is released, the iPhone 6s will be six years old and yet will run it.

The iPhone 6 was four years old when the last version it support was released (iOS 12 in 2018). Not as impressive a lifespan but to me, acceptable for a phone.

This is a very welcome feature! :slight_smile: :+1:

Any app can create cards for Wallet. That’s why I’ve got cards for my Walgreens bonus card, my AAA membership card and my United Airlines frequent flyer number.

There’s no technical reason why someone can’t create an app that creates a card with your driver’s license information. It should be trivial to just snap a picture of both sides of your physical card and then create a Wallet card with the results.

And after a quick web search, it appears someone has already written an app for creating arbitrary Wallet cards.

Note that I have not actually used this app, so all I know about it is what I just found a few minutes ago. If someone here has personal experience with the Pass2U Wallet app, I’d love to hear some first-hand information about it.

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I don’t know - I don’t think I ever met Neil’s wife, but I’d still be hesitant in handing her my unlocked phone.

Thanks, Adam, Curtis, & David

I want to put my DL in the Wallet so I’ll have a backup if I leave my real wallet at home like I did today! Fortunately I wasn’t stopped by the police, but it would have been nice to have my DL on my iPhone.

My backup phone is an iPhone 6 so it can’t go past iOS 12; my main phone is an iPhone 10 which might be able to run iOS 15 (they didn’t cover the minimum hardware in the keynote), but I can’t go past iOS 14.4.2 due to 14.5 and above killing a crucial to me app. While that app runs just fine on the iPhone 6, I’d then have to carry BOTH iPhones if I go past iOS 14.4.2 on the iPhone 10.

Adam, I’m guessing this new update option was added with iOS 14.5? I don’t see anything like it in the Software Update setting in 14.4.2.

I agree—not having to carry my license with me at all times would be a big win, if there was a good way to show it to a police officer. (As a middle-aged, middle-class white guy with nothing much to hide, I have to imagine that lots of people would be MUCH more concerned about that than I am.)

I don’t know what the Software Update option to stick with iOS 14 will look like. It’s possible it will appear only once iOS 15 becomes available, and it may only be in whatever version of iOS 14 is the latest at that point. I don’t see anything different in iOS 14.6 now.