Apple has moved on to its fourth round of the current beta cycle with new developer betas of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, tvOS 14.5, and watchOS 7.4 now available for testing.
New builds can be acquired via the Apple Developer Center for those signed up for the test program, or via an over-the-air update on devices running the beta software. Public betas usually arrive within a few days of the developer versions, via the Apple Beta Software Program website.
The fourth round follows after the third, which arrived on March 2 for iOS and iPadOS 14.5, March 3 for tvOS 14.5, and March 4 for watchOS 7.4. The second round arrived on February 16, while the first beta round landed on February 1.
The releases of iOS and iPadOS have been unusual in this cycle, as Apple pulled both the first and third developer betas before reissuing them. No reasons have been offered as to why this occurred.
So far, the betas for iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 have included a number of new features. This includes a requirement for apps to ask for a user's permission before allowing access to the device's unique advertising ID, as part of an upcoming App Tracking Transparency feature.
The Apple Watch gains the ability to assist with Face ID unlocking of an iPhone if the user's wearing a mask. Support for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X game controllers, Apple Fitness+ AirPlay 2 casting support, over 200 new emoji, and refinements to Apple Music have also been spotted.
Apple has also released a new beta of the HomePod operating system. The HomePod runs tvOS and the beta is for version 14.5. This is the first beta released for the device since Apple discontinued the larger HomePod.
AppleInsider, and Apple itself, strongly recommend users don't install the betas on to "mission-critical" or primary devices, as there is the remote possibility of data loss or other issues. Instead, testers should install betas onto secondary or non-essential devices, and to make sure there are sufficient backups of important data before updating.
Update: Public beta versions are also available.
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