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Apple releases iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and watchOS 7.4 with Apple Watch iPhone unlock and more

Apple has been working on the next update for iPhone and iPad for quite some time, seeding more than half dozen betas in the process. But now iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are now live.

Today, Apple has released both iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 to the public. As is par for the course, this update is free for iPhone and iPad owners. It’s available to download and install beginning today, April , for supported devices. With the new software, Apple is welcoming quite a few changes and new additions, which you can see a quick roundup of each down below.

To update manually, open the Settings app –> General –> Software Update and follow the onscreen instructions to get the new software downloaded and installed. If you have Automatic Updates turned on, then your iPhone and/or iPad will download the new release automatically, and update the device overnight while it’s plugged in.

Just below, here’s a snapshot of what’s new:

Here’s what’s new in iOS 14.5

The big add

It has been a longtime coming, but it’s finally here. Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) element is finally now live in iOS 14. Some apps have been rolling out support in fits and starts over the last several months, even before the feature goes live for all users (outside of those trying out the beta seeds, both public and developer). However, with the release of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5, the feature is now live and all apps submitted and released in the App Store will need to follow this new rule.

Here’s how Apple describes examples of tracking, which will require the developer to ask the user for their permission to do so:

  • Displaying targeted advertisements in your app based on user data collected from apps and websites owned by other companies.
  • Sharing device location data or email lists with a data broker.
  • Sharing a list of emails, advertising IDs, or other IDs with a third-party advertising network that uses that information to retarget those users in other developers’ apps or to find similar users.
  • Placing a third-party SDK in your app that combines user data from your app with user data from other developers’ apps to target advertising or measure advertising efficiency, even if you don’t use the SDK for these purposes. For example, using an analytics SDK that repurposes the data it collects from your app to enable targeted advertising in other developers’ apps.

This feature was initially delayed by Apple in an effort to give major publishers, and Facebook, time to prepare for its release. That delay lasted several months, though.

The other new additions

  • Support for 5G in dual-SIM mode for iPhone 12: Apple’s newest iPhones are equipped with both a physical SIM card and a digital eSIM. This is a dual-SIM design, making it possible to have two separate phone numbers on the same device. Right now, dual-SIM supports LTE. However, that will change with the public release of iOS 14.5.
  • Apple Fitness+ adds AirPlay 2 support: One of the drawbacks of Apple’s fitness-centric subscription service was the fact it didn’t support AirPlay 2 at launch. So, as of right now, you need an Apple TV set-top box to watch the workouts on your primary TV. Either that, or rely on your iPhone or iPad to watch the workouts. That’s changing with iOS 14.5, as the new software adds support for casting Fitness+ to AirPlay 2-enabled devices. It won’t allow for showing real-time metrics on the screen, though.
  • iOS 14.5 will let Apple Watch owners unlock their iPhone while wearing a mask: Another oft-requested feature, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Apple doesn’t support Touch ID in it is newest iPhones, which can make unlocking with Face ID while wearing a mask a pain. But Apple is helping with that. Apple Watch owners will be able to confirm unlocking their iPhones while wearing a mask with iOS 14.5.
  • Support for new wireless game controllers: iOS already supports a range of wireless controllers, mostly to help with playing games available in Apple Arcade. But the support also makes it possible to play games not available in Apple’s subscription service. With iOS 14.5 beta 1, Apple is adding support for the newest game controllers on the market: Sony’s DualSense controller for the PlayStation 5, and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X controllers.
  • Siri lets you choose a default music streaming app: With iOS 14.5, users will be able to select a default music app for streaming content. This means users will no longer have to specify to use Spotify (or another service) to play a song. They can simply set it as the default, ask Siri to play the song, and it will use the correct service to play the audio.
  • iOS 14.5 adds Find My support for some Beats headphones: In addition to the other features, iOS 14.5 also adds Find My support for certain Beats-branded headphones. That includes the Powerbeats Pro and Flex headphones.
  • A new battery recalibration tool: Apple is adding an integrated battery recalibration tool for the iPhone 11 series with iOS 14.5.
  • Siri no longer defaults to female voice, adds new voices: Apple is making an important change to its digital assistant, Siri. With iOS 14.5, the feature will no longer default to a female voice while setting it up. What’s more, Apple is adding two additional voice options.

A bit more

  • Multi-user support for Apple Card: Yet another feature being added to something that probably should have been present right from the jump. With the impending launch of iOS 14.5, Apple will add multi-user support for the Apple Card at some point in the future. It will handle this via Family Sharing, and account owners will be able to track spending, invite family members to share the card, and more. Unlike the other features, though, this is just a tease. There’s no specific information saying this feature will arrive with the public launch of iOS 14.5. However, it’s certainly possible it rolls out then, though.
  • There’s a new interface in the Settings app and Watch app for when your software is up-to-date.
  • Apple has tweaked the interface, albeit slightly, in the Podcasts app
  • There’s a new “Hey Siri, call emergency” feature

Most of the same features are present for iPadOS 14.5 as well.

To update to watchOS 7.4, the Apple Watch must have at least 50% battery life, be connected to its charger, and be paired with the iPhone.

Those interested can download and install the newest software update now.

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