Apple releases iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 with Apple Watch unlock, App Tracking Transparency

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Apple has released iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5, with some of the biggest new features including App Tracking Transparency and easier iPhone unlocking when wearing a mask.

iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 has seen a sporadic beta period over the past few weeks, but is now available to the public. These updates contain important user-facing features and major changes to privacy control.

While it is available as an automatic update, users can also elect to install the latest version of iOS and iPadOS manually. To do so, users can open the Settings app then select General followed by Software Update to check for the update's availability.

App Tracking Transparency

After months of testing and public debate, Apple has released the App Tracking Transparency feature. It enables users to opt-in to advertiser tracking across apps and websites.

When enabled, users will be prompted with a dialog stating that the app or website would like to track them. Facebook has openly attacked Apple over the feature and warns advertisers of substantial profit loss.

Siri voice changes

Apple released an update to Siri alongside the sixth beta of iOS 14.5. Users will be able to choose from two new English voices, for a total of four, when setting up Siri.

Siri will no longer default to a specific voice during initial setup. Instead, users will choose from the list of voices. Apple also removed the gendered labels of each voice to remove social bias from the user's choice.

Face ID assistance via Apple Watch

Another long-awaited feature has arrived — the ability to unlock the iPhone while wearing a mask. This is accomplished by having an unlocked Apple Watch running watchOS 7.4 or later.

If the iPhone detects a mask, it will authenticate using the Apple Watch, but only when it is nearby.

Other Changes

The rest of the updates in iOS and iPadOS are much smaller than those standout features, but they are still useful. This includes support for the PlayStation 5 DualSense and Xbox Series X game controllers, expanding the iPhone and iPad's controller support.

Apple Fitness+ has been updated to enable AirPlay 2 casting support. Apple Music has some additional refinements to the interface, while users will also be able to take advantage of more than 200 new emoji in messaging applications.

There are also Apple's customary bug fixes and under-the-hood performance improvements.

Apple's release notes for iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 read as follows:

Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch

  • Ability to unlock your iPhone X and later with Apple Watch Series 3 and later when you attempt to use Face ID while wearing a face mask

AirTag and Find My

  • Support for AirTag to keep track of and find your important items like your keys, wallet, backpack and more, privately and securely in the Find My app
  • Precision Finding uses visual, audible, and haptic feedback to guide you directly to your nearby AirTag using Ultra Wideband provided by the U1 chip on iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models
  • AirTag can be located by playing a sound via the built-in speaker
  • The Find My network with hundreds of millions of devices can help you find your AirTag, even when it isn't nearby
  • Lost Mode notifies you when your AirTag is found, and you can enter a phone number where you can be contacted

Emoji

  • Support for separate skin tones for each individual in all variations of the couple kissing emoji and couple with heart emoji
  • New face emojis, heart emojis, woman with a beard emoji

Siri

  • Siri now includes more diverse voice options
  • Incoming calls can be announced with Siri, including who is calling, when you're wearing your AirPods or compatible Beats headphones, and you can answer hands-free
  • Group FaceTime calls are supported by asking Siri to FaceTime a list of contacts or a group name from Messages
  • Emergency contacts can be called by asking Siri

Privacy

  • App Tracking Transparency lets you control which apps are allowed to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites for ads or sharing with data brokers

Apple Music

  • Share your favorite lyrics using Messages, Facebook, and Instagram Stories, and subscribers can play the snippet in Messages without leaving the conversation
  • City charts showcase what's popular in over 100 cities from all over the world

Podcasts

  • Podcasts Show Pages are redesigned to make it easier to start listening
  • Option to save and download episodes, automatically adding them to your Library for quick access
  • Download behavior and notification settings can be customized on a show-by-show basis
  • Top Charts and popular categories in Search help you discover new shows

5G improvements

  • Dual SIM support enables 5G connectivity on the line that's using cellular data on iPhone 12 models
  • Smart Data Mode improvements further optimize your experience on 5G networks for better battery life and data usage on iPhone 12 models
  • 5G international roaming enabled on supported carriers on iPhone 12 models

News

  • Redesigned News+ tab enables Apple News+ subscribers to quickly find, download, and manage magazine and newspaper issues
  • All-new Search experience that helps you find relevant topics, channels, and stories

Maps

  • Accidents, hazards, or speed checks along your route can be reported by telling Siri on your iPhone or on CarPlay
  • Estimated time of arrival (ETA) can be shared when cycling or walking, in addition to driving, by asking Siri or tapping on the route card at the bottom of the screen, then tapping Share ETA

Reminders

  • Ability to sort reminders by Title, Priority, Due Date, or Creation date
  • Option to print your reminder lists

Translate

  • Translation playback speed can be adjusted by long pressing the play button

Gaming

  • Xbox Series X|S Wireless Controller or Sony PS5 DualSense Wireless Controller support

Fitness+

  • Ability to stream audio and video content from Apple Fitness+ workouts to AirPlay 2-enabled TVs and devices

CarPlay

  • ETA in Apple Maps can be easily shared while driving with new Siri or keyboard controls in CarPlay

This release also fixes the following issues:

  • Messages at the bottom of the thread may be hidden by the keyboard under certain circumstances
  • Deleted messages may still appear in Spotlight search
  • Messages may persistently fail to send texts in some threads
  • Mail would not load new emails for some users until restarting the device
  • Call blocking and identification section may not appear in Phone settings
  • iCloud Tabs may not appear in Safari
  • iCloud Keychain could be prevented from turning off
  • Reminders created via Siri may be unintentionally set for early morning hours
  • Battery health reporting system will recalibrate maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability on iPhone 11 models to address inaccurate estimates of battery health reporting for some users (https://support.apple.com/HT212247)
  • Optimization to reduce the appearance of a dim glow that may appear at reduced brightness levels with black backgrounds on iPhone 12 models
  • AirPods audio routing to incorrect device for Automatic Switching
  • AirPods Automatic Switching notifications might be missing or duplicated
  • For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website.

Earlier Updates

The original iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 update made changes refreshing the Home screen and app interface at launch, tweaked Messages and Safari, overhauled Siri, added elements to Apple Maps, introduced Sound Recognition alerts, and offered CarKey support, among other changes.

The iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 updates added eight new wallpaper options, new emoji, and improved iconography across the operating system, as well as other smaller changes.

The iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3 updates brought support for newly released Apple hardware and software. Apple Fitness+ launched, AirPods Max released, and Apple ProRAW became available in this release. The controversial privacy "nutrition labels" were also released.

The iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates focused on bug fixes and added a new "Find My Items" menu to the Find My app.

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