iOS 14.5 has arrived: here's what's new
Today, your iPhone will tell you that there’s an update for the iOS operating system. After being in public beta for what felt like an eternity, iOS 14.5 is finally available for everyone. Of course, Apple wants you to know that the new features are «exciting» – that’s if you find new privacy settings, emojis, and diverse Siri voices «exciting».
I find privacy settings so exciting that I wrote an entire article about them.
Apple Watch unlocks your iPhone
All current iPhones, with the exception of the new SE, don't feature a fingerprint sensor and rely on either the PIN or your face for unlocking. However, with Covid and the obligation to wear a mask, Face Unlock isn't as popular as it used to be. If your face is covered, your iPhone can't recognise you. While recent software updates have introduced much-improved Mask Unlocks, Apple wasn't satisfied with that solution.
With iOS 14.5, you can use your Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone. If your watch is connected to your phone and the two devices are close together, your watch will vibrate briefly to tell you that your iPhone has been unlocked.
The feature requires an Apple Watch Series 3 or later and an iPhone newer than iPhone X.
Siri no longer has a default voice
Siri is female. In times of breaking down gender norms, Apple wanted to change this.
Therefore, the options «English Female» and «English Male» don’t exist anymore. They still sound the same, but are called «English Voice 1» and «English Voice 2». The same applies to all other languages.
But that's not all: Siri has also learned new tricks. The new voices, still sounding the same, approach input differently. They use Neural Text to Speech Technology, which is designed to make them sound even more natural. You'll notice this especially if you let Siri read things to you that she didn't calculate herself – notes or text on a website, for instance.
Siri still sounds pretty robotic in German, but in English, she sounds very natural, even if the inflection is sometimes a bit wonky and Siri might not recognise a tense here and there.
In addition, Siri can now work with Group FaceTime and it's easier to call several contacts at the same time. Siri can also announce incoming calls to you via AirPods or Beats Headphones. So instead of your ringtone, she'll say something like «Coya is calling».
Emergency contacts can now also be called via Siri.
New kissing emojis
Apple has added couples with a mix of skin tones to the kissing emojis.
The following emojis have also been added:
- exhaling face
- face with spiral eyes
- face in clouds
- heart on fire
- mending heart
- woman with beard
- and others
Reporting incidents via Apple Maps
With iOS 14.5, you can report incidents or road hazards in the Maps app on your iPhone. The feature has only been rolled out in China and the U.S. so far, but it will certainly attract international interest. It allows you, as long as Apple Maps is active, to report by saying «Hey Siri, there's an accident up ahead» or «Hey Siri, there's something on the road». You can also report that the accident site has been cleaned. Passengers can do the same by using the «Report an Issue» button in Apple Maps.
With iOS 14.5, you can also share your arrival time if you’re walking or cycling. If you’re using CarPlay, Siri can share your arrival time with your loved ones.
The rest: an overview
- Apple Podcasts: new design for overview pages of your favourite podcasts, simplified navigation, improved download features, better curation.
- AirTag Support
- Apple News: new design for News+, improved search.
- Apple Fitness+: audio streaming to AirPlay 2 devices.
- Reminders can be sorted by title, priority, expiration date or creation date. There’s also a new printing function.
- 5G: Dual SIM 5G, improved Smart Data Mode, improved battery life.
- Accessibility: improved voice control, new with Australian and Canadian English, Spanish to follow.