Apple’s iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 updates are now live for all users, so you can go update your devices and reap the benefits these updates bring. Speaking of which—here are some more details on the new features.
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Face ID Unlock with Apple Watch
Wearing a mask most of the past year has made it difficult to unlock Face ID compatible phones. But now, with this update, you’ll be able to unlock your iPhone while still wearing a mask … if you’re wearing an Apple Watch. However, you’ll need to update your Apple Watch to watchOS 7.4, which was also released today. You can enable this feature through the Settings app on your device—just choose ‘Face ID,’ then ‘Passcode,’ then tap ‘Unlock with Apple Watch.’
The impressive update will also notify you via the haptic feedback on your apple Watch alerting you that it unlocked your iPhone. Furthermore, the update also lets you lock your iPhone from the Apple Watch notification.
App Tracking Transparency
The other most impressive part of the 14.5 update is Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency feature. This will now require all applications to ask you for your permission before tracking what other websites and apps you use. You’ll have options to choose from, like “Ask App not to Track” or “Allow.”
At any time, you can also double check the list of apps that have requested tracking permission from you via the ‘Privacy’ section within the Settings app. You can also make changes to your permissions whenever you want.
Podcast App Improvements
The new Apple Podcasts Subscriptions feature is set to launch in May, and the 14.5 update is bringing other new improvements to the Podcasts app. The most noteworthy updates here are the total redesign of the Podcasts Show Page and the Top Charts and popular categories in Search, which should both make it easier to find something to listen to and start listening.
You’ll also gain the option to save and download episodes, which will then automatically add them to your Library for faster access to the shows you love. You can also go in and customize notification settings and specific download behavior for your podcasts on a show-by-show basis.
New Apple News Features
The update is also bringing a facelift to the Apple News app. A new dedicated Search tab makes it easy to look up the channels, topics, or stories you care about most. Meanwhile, a redesigned Apple News+ tab makes it easier for subscribers to find and manage both magazine and newspaper issues.
Brand New Emoji
Both iPhone and iPad users will now be able to enjoy more than 200 brand new emojis. There are multiple new face emojis and heart emojis, along with support for separate skin tones for each individual in every couple kissing emoji and couple with heart emoji.
As we mentioned earlier, this update is where Siri’s new voice options are formally rolling out. Now, you can change Siri’s voice from the default female voice, with multiple other voices and accents to choose from. You can check out the new Siri voice options in the Settings app, under ‘Siri.’ Improvements are also being made to the Siri voice in Ireland, Italy, and Russia, which upgrades them to neural text to speech.
A new Siri intelligence feature helps it adapt to your preferred streaming music app, with supported options like Spotify or Pandora. Once updated, Siri will ask you which music app you want to use the first time you ask the assistant to play a song. Once you select an app, Siri will remember it as the default for all forthcoming music-related commands.
Additionally, Siri now has support for Group FaceTime, so you can easily set up calls with multiple people. Siri can also now announce incoming calls through AirPods or compatible Beats headphones, and make emergency calls if the user needs assistance and can’t make the call themselves.
Other Small, but Notable, Updates
While the features listed above are the most important features to roll out in the 14.5 update, there are other smaller features rolling out as well that are worth briefly mentioning:
- AirTag support
- Report an Incident in Apple Maps
- Battery recalibration tool for iPhone
- PS5/Xbox Series X controller support
- AirPlay 2 support for Fitness+ workouts
- Music app updates including a share lyrics feature, Messages snippet, and swipe gestures
- Dual SIM support for iPhone 12 models for 5G connectivity and Smart Data Mode enhancements for device optimization
- Voice control for accessibility, letting users get comprehensive navigation using their voice
How to Update Your Device to 14.5
Updating your iPhone or iPad to the latest version is a cinch, and you can have them up and running 14.5 in no time. Simply open up the Settings app, choose ‘General,’ then select ‘Software Update.’ Voila—you’re all set!