Tris Bates

Engineering Manager & iOS Lead

What's new in iOS15


While Android leads the charge in the majority of the world’s markets, Apple’s iOS holds sway in a handful of key territories. The US and Japan see the best uptake for the tech giant while it almost achieves parity in the UK – some of the key battlegrounds in the online gambling industry.

While this year’s update doesn’t hold as many pertinent developments for igaming as perhaps some of its predecessors, some notable features of iOS 15 will impact the industry.  mkodo’s Engineering Manager and iOS lead, Tristram Bates, explains.

Many of the new incoming features plug gaps between Android and iOS and are user-related, perhaps unsurprisingly, in response to the isolation that many have endured during the pandemic. There’s also a raft of changes that support Apple’s infamous continued drive to bolster platform lock-in and bolstering the ever-growing perimeter of the walled Apple garden.

iOS 15 sees a redesign of notifications with enhanced aesthetics but crucially, to reduce distraction, a notification summary collects alerts together for delivery at an appropriate time and arranges notifications by priority, rather than allowing them to hit the screen as they arrive. This will be a boon for users trying to enjoy a slots, sports betting or lottery experience on their device as they can now do so without the constant interruption of multiple messages.

Focus, as the new feature is called, filters notifications and apps based on what a user wishes to focus on at a certain time. iOS can suggest a Focus for a variety of occasions, such as work hours or but users can also create a custom Focus which automatically applies to all other Apple devices the user may own.

In other developments, later this year, users in participating US states will be able to add a driver's license or state ID to the operating system’s Wallet app which could be of huge benefit to operators of online gambling sites should Apple decide to roll it out globally. It has the potential to do away with scanning in IDs and streamlining sign-up requirements where jurisdictions require this.

I can see a future where IDs held on devices is commonplace and apps can read this, verifying that a user has the right to wager would be a significant tool in regulated lottery and gaming markets. Even before any potential global rollout, mkodo works with a host of North American clients so there are big possibilities for maximising the customer experience on apps. This of course opens the door to the opportunity for passports to be held digitally too.

Most current modern passports have an NFC chip built into them, as do phones, so we already have the capabilities of reading NFC-based passports. Since the technology is already in place and as society increasingly shuns physical documents, many see it as only a matter of time before the phone is the only device needed to provide all of our official ID and paperwork requirements.

From a consumer standpoint, the new update maintains Apple’s lock-in focus – keeping users within the Apple ecosystem. Existing features such as Photos, Music have long been key tools for Apple in this regard, but now FaceTime too is enhancing its functionality to avoid losing users to the competition. Apple’s proprietary audio and video calling service will allow users to generate shareable links to a scheduled FaceTime call, which can also be opened on Android and Windows devices.

Like Google, Apple is devoting more of its focus toward privacy in iOS15. A new App Privacy Report will be available that details how often apps use the permissions they have been granted. A new built-in VPN service will also feature effectively funnelling all browsing data through Apple and granting users an anonymous IP address. The big impact here for the gambling industry is that companies will no longer be able to rely on IP addresses to identify where a user is playing from and will have to switch to relying solely on geolocation. Location knowledge of players is crucial in the regulated market space, since there is high pressure on operators to ensure that players are exactly where they say they are, particularly when close to state/country boarders. mkodo already offers its clients a reliable geolocation service to help them comply with this regulatory mandate. 

So, while an enhanced range of user-selectable privacy options will no doubt please the majority of phone owners, the gambling industry’s legislation and jurisdictional compliance overseers will have a more difficult time in keeping track of who’s playing what and from where. But like so many similar issues, the developing world of tech and the minds behind the companies that develop products for it will have to adapt and evolve.