As Apple continues beta testing of iOS 14.5, speculation is beginning to mount about a potential release to the public. Currently, all signs point to a release sometime in the spring. Read on as we summarize everything we know so far about iOS 14.5.
What’s new in iOS 14.5?
The biggest change in iOS 14.5 is a new feature that allows you to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch when wearing a face mask. This feature also requires watchOS 7.4, which we expect to be released to the public along with iOS 14.5.
After updating and activating this feature, your iPhone will automatically unlock with your Apple Watch the next time you wear a face mask. When your iPhone is unlocked, you will receive a haptic feedback message on your Apple Watch informing you that your iPhone was unlocked by the Apple Watch. There is also the option to quickly “Lock iPhone”
iOS 14.5 also includes a major privacy upgrade in the form of app tracking, a feature planned for the first release of iOS 14, but delayed until now.
Transparency in app tracking is a new feature that requires apps to ask users for permission before being tracked across other apps and sites. Under Settings, users will also be able to see which apps have requested permission to track so that they can make changes that they deem appropriate.
For example, when this requirement takes effect, you will see a popup when you open the Facebook app and say that Facebook would like to track you across other apps and sites. There will be two options to choose from: “Ask the app not to track” or “Allow.” The feature has already raised anger from Facebook.
Next, iOS 14.5 brings a new Siri intelligence feature that helps the virtual assistant customize your favorite music application. Apple has explained that because there is no specific setting in iOS where users can configure a “standard” music service, so this feature is designed specifically as a Siri intelligence feature.
This means that when you ask Siri to play a song for the first time after installing iOS 14.5, Siri will ask you which app you want to use. After tapping on one of the settings, it becomes the default for the next commands. This works for apps like Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Music.
iOS 14.5 also includes notable changes to Siri. Apple says the voice assistant will no longer be standard for a female voice starting with this release. There are also two additional voting options to choose from.
Other new features in iOS 14.5:
iOS 14.5 release
Apple has not usually announced the release of iOS point updates in advance, but this year we got a tip on when we expect iOS 14.5 to be released.
As mentioned earlier, one of the most important new features that comes with iOS 14.5 is the new privacy feature for App Tracking Transparency. Apple has said that App Tracking Transparency will “spread widely in the early spring with an upcoming release of iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and tvOS 14.” In a recent interview, Tim Cook said that App Tracking Transparency is “several weeks” away at this point.
By comparison, Apple released iOS 13.4 last year on March 24 following the announcement of the Magic Trackpad for the iPad. iOS 13.4 passed five developer and public beta tests.
iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 can also be linked to the release of new hardware products from Apple. Rumors have it that Apple could release AirTags and new iPad Pro models in April, and AirTags is specifically dependent on new features in iOS 14.5.
This means that Apple could announce AirTags and subsequently release iOS 14.5 to the public with the new Find My features. What is unclear, however, is when Apple will release these new products to the world, and whether it will hold a virtual event to do so.
As you can see, we’re getting close to the official release of iOS 14.5, watchOS 7.4 and iPadOS 14.5. In fact, we could be within a few weeks of release. What are you most excited to see when iOS 14.5 is released to the public? Are you planning to use the new Apple Watch Unlock feature? Let us know in the comments!
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