As of today I have tested the first iOS 15 Beta for a few weeks. And overall, I am quite happy with the new features added. But a few of them stood out for me:
Apple markets it to be reimagined for the way we browse today. The tab and search bar dropped from the top of the screen right to the bottom where it is easier to reach with only one hand. Swiping across the bar will switch between all opened tabs. At first I wasn't a fan of the new UI, it took quite some time to get used to the new gestures.
But to be fair, Safari did get lots of other great new functionalities. A customizable start page, privacy protections with iCloud+ Private Relay (although I wasn't able to use it in the beta version yet), the ability to add web extensions and a grid-like tab overview.
Additionally, long requested changes to the notification system were made. Notifications are now ranked by priority to make sure that the most urgent ones are always at the top. A helpful notification summary can now be delivered daily at various times so you can quickly see whats new.
Strongly connected to notifications is the all new Focus mode. It is basically an extension to the already existing "Do not disturb mode" which silences all incoming notifications. Focus can automatically filter notifications to your liking. But thats not all. You can even specify which homescreens will be shown when Focus mode is activated.
Last but not least, the already beloved spotlight search got a complete revamp. It is now faster, more detailed and the new live text feature adds so much more functionality to it. You can now search for text which appears in your images. Especially for people who take lots of screenshots, this can be a huge time-saver.
I definitely see the problems people might have with the updated Safari UI but I do think that they will quickly get used to it and in the end appreciate having the ability to use Safari one-handedly.
For me personally, the best feature in iOS15 is the Focus mode. I already set up a Learning mode which automatically changes my homescreen to only display relevant apps and widgets (e.g. Notability, Calendar, Reminders, Files, and other university related apps). Also any messages which weren't sent by my fellow students or professors will not be displayed. It helps me get less distracted when learning or working.
As I said in the beginning, iOS15 gave us lots of small upgrades which will enhance the overall experience with your Apple devices. Nothing big, but great nonetheless.