Apple today announced the release of iOS 14.5, which adds new privacy controls, Apple Watch unlock capabilities, and more.
Here’s what’s new.
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New privacy controls. Announced at WWDC 2020 last summer and original due in iOS 14.0, Apple’s new privacy controls are finally debuting in iOS 14.5. They include most notably a feature called App Tracking Transparency that requires apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies for advertising, or sharing their data with data brokers. Apps will now prompt users for permission. And in iOS Settings, users can see which apps have requested permission to track them so they can make changes to their choice at any time.
Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch. Just in time for the end of the pandemic, iOS 14.5 includes a change to Face ID that lets users securely unlock their iPhone using their masked face plus an Apple Watch. This feature requires iPhone X or later and Apple Watch Series 3 or later.
Siri improvements. Apple’s voice assistant no longer uses a default voice but instead lets users choose a voice from a selection of more diverse options. Siri also supports Group FaceTime, so you can initiate calls with multiple contacts or ask Siri to FaceTime the name of any group in Messages. Finally, Siri can also announce incoming calls through AirPods or compatible Beats headphones, and it supports calling emergency contacts if the iPhone owner needs assistance and is unable to make a call.
Apple Maps improvements. As with Google Maps and Waze, Apple Maps now lets you report incidents (in the US and China), including accidents, speed checks, and road hazards. Apple Maps users can also share their ETA when walking or cycling.
New emoji. It wouldn’t be a new version of iOS without some new emoji, and version 14.5 includes new characters for face exhaling, face with spiral eyes, face in clouds, hearts on fire, mending heart, woman with a beard, and others.
But wait, there’s more. There are many other small improvements, including updates to Apple Podcasts, AirTag support, an Apple News redesign, Apple Fitness+ improvements, and more.