Apple sets a date for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and tvOS 15 releases

(Image credit: Apple | YouTube)

We have a date for Apple's slew of fall software releases — well, the versions that are tied to the devices the company unveiled during its September product event today (Sept. 14).

Apple didn't make a big deal about release dates for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and tvOS 15 during its hour-and-a-half presentation. Instead, news of the Sept. 20 release date came amid the various press releases and spec sheets Apple put out in support of its iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7, iPad 9 and iPad mini 6 announcements.

Yes, that means the iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS updates are all arriving this Monday. In the case of the iPad and iPhone software that's in advance of the ship dates for the new tablets and phones. Apple Watch 7 isn't arriving until later in the fall, though the watchOS 8 update has a number of benefits for current Apple Watch owners.

Missing from this spate of software releases is macOS 12 Monterey, which was preview at the same June developer conference as the releases coming this Monday. Don't read too much into that, though — Apple is rumored to be working on new MacBook Pro models, with another fall launch event in the works. It's likely we'll see the macOS update arrive at this time.

Apple's software updates not only power the newly released hardware, but they also support existing devices dating back several years in some cases. The iOS 15 update, for example, will work on iPhones dating back to the iPhone 6s, which debuted six years ago.

We've got closer looks at each of the software updates, but here's a round-up of what each one brings to the table.

iOS 15: Apple's iPhone software brings significant updates to a number of existing apps, including Maps, Safari and FaceTime. (While interface and audio improvements to FaceTime will be part of Monday's iOS 15 release, the marquee SharePlay feature — which lets you watch videos with other people through FaceTime — won't arrive until later.) You can also look for new capabilities powered by artificial intelligence, such as Visual Look Up, which can recognize objects, people and places in photos, and Live Text for capturing text with your iPhone's camera.

Here's our impressions of the iOS 15 pubic beta.

iPadOS 15: It's the iOS 15 update, but for iPads, as Apple continues to split the software for its tablets and phones. iPadOS 15 includes some iPad-specific enhancements such as smarter multitasking, a Quick Notes feature that lets you jot down ideas more easily and home-screen widgets.

We've got a hands-on review of iPadOS 15, too.

watchOS 8: WatchOS 8 adds a new mindfulness app and enhances your Apple Watch's sleep tracking features to measure your respiratory rate. You'll be able to track new exercises with watchOS 8, and during the product event presentation, Apple talked up a new feature for tracking cycling that includes fall detection for when you and your bike take a tumble.

These are the five underrated watchOS 8 features that excite us.

tvOS 15: There's no question that tvOS 15 is the least anticipated in this quartet of software updates, especially since the SharePlay feature is tabled at the moment. But the updated software for Apple TV does include spatial audio support for the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, a new Shared with You section for recommended content from friends and family and HomePod mini integration.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.