Own an iPhone or an iPad? Here are the six changes with the latest software update, iOS 14.5, that you need to know about…
1. Unlock your iPhone while wearing a facemask
Currently, you can’t unlock your phone using facial recognition if you are wearing a face mask. However, Apple’s new operating system (iOS 14.5) does offer a work-around. There’s just one fairly big catch: you do need an Apple Watch. Says Apple: “With Apple Watch on the wrist, unlocked, and in close proximity to iPhone, users can simply glance at their iPhone and they will receive haptic feedback from Apple Watch, indicating their iPhone has been unlocked. The new functionality works with iPhone X and later and Apple Watch Series 3 and later.
2. App tracking transparency
Apple has introduced a new tool that allows its users to block apps from tracking them around the web with its latest software update. Currently, that data is used to create highly targeted ads based on a user’s online behaviour by companies like Facebook. Called App Tracking Transparency (ATT), the new tool requires developers wanting to collect data outside of their app to ask for user permission. ATT will show iPhone and iPad users a pop-up prompt asking if they would like to give permission for the app to track their activity outside of the app. You can read more about this update here.
Before the update, Apple emojis featuring couples did not let users choose a skin tone – they all came in the standard emoji yellow. However, with the latest update, people will be able to select different skin tones for the “couple kissing” emoji and “couple with heart” emoji. Apple said that “Additional emoji include characters for face exhaling, face with spiral eyes, face in clouds, hearts on fire, mending heart, and woman with a beard, among others.”
4. Apple Podcasts
With increasing competition from companies such as Spotify, Apple’s podcast app has also been redesigned. Apple says the changes will make it easier for users to start listening, as well as quickly access episodes that have been saved and downloaded. The search tab will now include top Charts, categories and curated collections to also help listeners discover new shows.
5. AirTag compatibility
Apple’s new operating system will work with its latest AirTag product. Announced last week, these AirTags are small devices that allow people to find missing keys or wallets via an end-to-end encrypted Bluetooth signal. The devices look very similar to another product on the market: “Tile”. However, Apple has claimed a product is very different. “We didn’t copy Tile’s product… It’s extremely different to anything else on the market,” said Apple’s Chief Compliance Officer, Kyle Andeer.
6. Siri update
Apple says Siri, its voice-controlled assistant, is becoming more diverse. “Siri no longer has a default voice, allowing users to choose the voice that speaks to them when they first set up their device,” says Apple. “In English, users can now select more diverse voice options. These new Siri voices use Neural Text to Speech technology for an incredibly natural sound,” says Apple. Apple says these updates represent longstanding commitments to diversity and inclusion.