After quite a few rounds of beta updates, Apple is today rolling out iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 to eligible devices, bringing with it a number of features. These include the new privacy controls that the company announced last year, the ability to unlock iPhones using an Apple Watch, a bunch of updates to Siri, new emoji, and more.
One of the most noteworthy additions with iOS 14.5 is the ability for users to unlock their devices using their Apple Watch, bringing an easy way to unlock a device when wearing a mask. Albeit something that would have been a welcome addition earlier in the pandemic, the feature will be a boon for those that have been waiting for it. The way it works is that if Face ID detects a mask, it will allow you to unlock your phone with your Apple Watch via a prompt. The feature works with Apple Watch Series 3 or newer and requires an iPhone X or newer.
The other significant addition to the OS is the App Tracking Transparency feature that mandates that apps request user permission before tracking their data across websites or sharing them with third-party vendors or advertisers. Users can also choose to tweak these permissions in Settings when needed.
Siri is getting some improvements with the update as well, starting with new, diverse voice options. The virtual assistant is also gaining support for initiating Group FaceTime calls, announcing incoming calls on AirPods or “compatible Beats headphones”, and supports calling emergency contacts in case of emergencies.
Other improvements to the OS include the addition of new emoji, the ability to report incidents on Apple Maps, support for the newly announced AirTags item tracker, the redesigned Podcasts app, 5G improvements for iPhone 12 models with Dual SIM capabilities, and enhancements to News, Fitness+, and Reminders apps. In addition to these features, there is the usual crop of bug fixes accompanying the major changes.
Users can head to the Settings app, choose General, and choose Software Update to update their devices. Considering that the list of features for this minor update is long, it might be the last one before the Cupertino giant announces the next major update during its annual developer conference in June.