What’s new in iOS 14.5

After months in beta testing, Apple will be releasing iOS 14.5 to the public in the coming days. The update is huge and brings some major new features to your iPhone and iPad.

If you have an iPhone with Face ID and an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, you will be able to unlock your iPhone with your Watch while wearing a face covering. On previous versions of iOS, the iPhone would bring you straight to the passcode screen after not recognising your face. After unlocking, a haptic vibration and alert will be displayed on the Apple Watch.

iOS 14.5 includes all-new emojis, such as the women with a beard, new face emojis and heart emojis. It also brings support for separate skin tones for both individuals in the ‘couple kissing’ emoji.

If you purchase an AirTag, you’ll need iOS 14.5 or later to set it up and locate it. The update includes full support for AirTag, with Precision Finding on iPhone 11 and iPhone 12, that uses your device’s U1 chip to guide you to the lost AirTag. It also supports the Find My network, which has “millions” of devices to help you find the AirTag.

Siri has received major improvements in iOS 14.5, including the ability to announce and answer incoming calls without users needing to press anything. The voice options have also been redesigned and sound more natural, while Siri can now call Emergency Contacts.

A significant new feature is App Tracking Transparency, which has come under fire from advertisers and social media platforms because it provides more control over how apps can track you. A new prompt, which developers must support in future app updates, will ask you if you want to be tracked or not.

The Apple News app has had an overhauled News+ tab and the addition of a Search tab which makes it quicker to find the content you’re looking for. The Reminders app gains the ability to sort and print reminders, and Translate now gives you the option to adjust the playback speed.

As briefly discussed at the Spring Loaded event, Apple has redesigned Show Pages in the Podcasts app to focus on listening. It has also added options to download episodes and automatically add them to your Library.

Other changes include support for the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 DualSense controllers, Dual SIM for 5G on iPhone 12 and sharing Apple Music lyrics in Messages and other apps.

Read the official release notes below:

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
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Ben Ward
Senior Editor, discussing everything Apple and supporting other writers and members of Apple TLD's team of volunteers.
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