How To: 38 New Features in iOS 14.5 for iPhone, Including Updates for Gamepads, Privacy, 5G & Reminders

38 New Features in iOS 14.5 for iPhone, Including Updates for Gamepads, Privacy, 5G & Reminders

Your iPhone is full of features, many of which you might not even know about yet. Still, Apple keeps adding feature after feature with each new iOS update, and iOS 14.5 is no exception. The latest iOS version, currently in beta, adds at least 38 features you should be happy about.

If you're an iOS beta tester, you might already be running Apple's upcoming software. The company released the first developer beta update on Monday, Feb. 1, which gave us our first look at all the new features coming soon. Public beta testers received the first iOS 14.5 beta on Thursday, Feb. 4, and you can join in on the action if you're OK with running beta software.

If you don't want to put your iPhone through temperamental software, however, you'll need to wait for Apple to release the official update before you see these new features on your device. Until then, take a look at what we've discovered so far — new controller support, unlocking your iPhone with your Apple Watch, and joint Apple Card accounts are just the beginning.

1. Use Xbox Series X & PS5 DualSense Controllers

Finally! With iOS 14.5, Apple supports Sony's PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless Controllers and Microsoft's Xbox Core Controllers. If you managed to get your hands on one of these next-gen consoles, all you need is Apple's latest update to enjoy Apple Arcade titles with your new controller.

Of course, you could always buy one of these controllers separately, if you don't want to battle the internet for a PS5 or Xbox Series X, One, or Series S, or if you just like the way Sony and Microsoft make gaming controllers.

Here is the full list of controllers now supported in iOS as of 14.5:

2. Unlock Your iPhone with Your Apple Watch

Unlocking an iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask is just as annoying now as it was at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to iOS 14.5, not anymore since you can unlock your iPhone with an Apple Watch when masked.

If you're used to unlocking your Mac with your Apple Watch, know that this feature isn't quite like that. Unless you haven't entered your password in a long time, your computer just requires your Apple Watch to be unlocked and within range to unlock macOS — without any other authentication needed.

However, your iPhone still has to attempt to scan your face. If your Apple Watch is unlocked and paired with your iPhone, it can unlock the iPhone for you whenever Face ID detects your wearing a mask. It essentially brings back the pre-pandemic luxury of using Face ID in public.

3. And Get a Notification When Doing It

On the flip side, Apple now includes a new "Apple Watch Unlocked" notification when unlocking your watch with your iPhone. Again, this will only appear with an iPhone running iOS 14.5 and Apple Watch running watchOS 7.3.

4. 217 New Emoji!

Someday, we're going to run out of ideas for new emoji. But not today! With iOS 14.5, Apple is introducing 217 new emoji, including an updated headphones emoji to match AirPods Max, gender options for people with beards, heart on fire, exhaling face, and options for couples with mixed skin tones, among many more.

Image via Emojipedia

5. Change Siri's Default Music Player from Apple Music

Finally! With iOS 14.5, you're now able to choose your preferred streaming service as the default music app when using Siri. That way, when you ask Siri to play a song, you won't have to specify the app to avoid iOS from opening Apple Music.

You can set your default music app simply by asking Siri to play a song after updating to iOS 14.5. The first time you do so, Siri will give you a list of available apps to play the song. Whichever app you choose becomes your new default option. Alternatively, you can ask Siri to play a song from a specific source. For example, ask Siri to play "Blinding Lights" on Spotify for the first time after installing 14.5, and Spotify becomes your default app.

This isn't limited to music apps, either. This new 14.5 feature allows you to set podcast apps, like Apple Podcasts, Castro, and Pocket Casts, as your default player. You can even set the Books app as your default, implying that audiobook sources are fair game as well.

6. Use 5G with Active Dual-SIM Lines

The iPhone 12 lineup, like the iPhone 11 lineup, has dual-SIM capabalities, which allows you to use one physical SIM card and one eSIM on the same device at the same time. Until now, you couldn't take advantage of both your iPhone 12's dual-SIM capabilities and 5G connectivity at once. If you were using two active lines, you could only connect to LTE.

With iOS 14.5, that's ancient history. After you update your iPhone, you can use 5G on your iPhone 12 with either active line, as long as the carrier provides 5G.

7. Use 5G Standalone Mode on T-Mobile

Another addition to 5G on the iPhone is just for certain T-Mobile plans. If you go into the "Cellular Data Options" preferences in Settings and select "Voice & Data," you'll see a new option called "5G Standalone."

With this enabled, your iPhone will use 5G for "all cellular activity, including cellular network connections." If you turn it on, it will warn you that "5G Standalone is Not Widely Available" and that "Connection quality and coverage for voice and data may be less reliable when using 5G Standalone."

8. Silence Emergency Alerts

This is a much-welcomed addition to the "Notifications" settings. When in those preferences, scroll to the bottom, and you'll see the usual three options for government alerts: "AMBER Alerts," "Emergency Alerts," and "Public Safety Alerts." What's changed is that you can now tap "Emergency Alerts" to get another option called "Always deliver." If you turn that off, you'll still get emergency alerts, but they won't play a sound when your volume is on silent mode.

9. Add More Users to Apple Card

According to 9to5Mac, iOS 14.5's code suggests Apple will soon introduce support for multiple Apple Card users. Apple will let you share an Apple Card with other members of your family using iCloud Family Sharing. You'll be able to invite users, track spending, set spending limits, and even possibly split Daily Cash.

10. Play Fitness+ on TVs with AirPlay 2

If you're a current Fitness+ user, you were probably frustrating at the fact that you couldn't enjoy the experience on a big screen without an Apple TV. Instead, you were stuck using an iPhone or iPad. That's no longer the case since iOS 14.5 adds AirPlay 2 support for Fitness+.

What does that mean for you? If you have an AirPlay 2-enabled TV, you can simply AirPlay the Fitness+ app from your iPhone or iPad to your TV. It's as easy as that. The only downside is that data like activity rings, workout time remaining, calories burned, and burn bars will not appear on the TV and will instead remain on your smaller Apple device. That privilege is still exclusive to the Apple TV, so if you're a hardcore Fitness+ user, you might want to consider picking one up.

11. Control How Apps Track Your iPhone Activity

In previous versions of iOS 14, you might have noticed a feature called "Allow Apps to Request to Track." This feature either allows or blocks apps from asking permission to track your activity across other apps and sites. The only problem was that Apple didn't require apps to ask, but in iOS 14.5, they are.

This update is the deadline for apps to add these requests to their apps, so be prepared to see a lot of pop-0ups as you open apps for the first time after installing iOS 14.5. If you want to avoid these pop-ups and block many of these apps from tracking you, check out our full guide on tracking requests.

12. Disable Private Click Measurement in Safari

Apple has been working on a new web privacy feature for Safari in the hopes that it will become a web standard one day. It's currently working with Firefox, Brave, Chrome, and Edge to make that happen. But what is this privacy-related feature?

It's called Private Click Measurement, or PCM, and it makes it possible for websites and advertisers to measure ad clicks across websites and from iOS apps to websites.

Normally, online advertisers will know that you tapped on an ad from an iOS app or website to get to the ad's website in Safari. That's not ideal from a privacy perspective since there's no reason advertisers need to know that you tapped the link. That's why Apple has the "Prevent Cross-Site Tracking" option for Safari already baked in — to help delete this kind of data periodically.

What PCM does is anonymize those taps, or "clicks," so that advertisers only see that somebody tapped the ad, not that you did. This helps support the app developers and the advertising system by giving them more knowledge without adding any risk to you.

According to Apple, PCM sends "attribution reports [to advertisers] with limited data in a dedicated Private Browsing mode without any cookies, delaying reports randomly between 24 and 48 hours to disassociate events in time, and handling data on-device."

If you were curious about the tracking information apps and websites can perform with iOS 14.5's required tracking requests, this would be one instance since "PCM app-to-web [does not ] require the app to be granted permission to track according to AppTrackingTransparency."

Stored clicks can be deleted whenever you delete website data (Settings –> Safari –> Advanced –> Website Data), it doesn't record any data in Private Browsing Mode, WebViews within apps can't use it (but apps that use SFSafariViewController may in the future), and you can opt-out. To opt-out, go to Settings –> Safari and toggle off the "Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement" switch. With it off, "no click metadata will be stored and no attribution reports will be sent out."

13. See More Details on the Software Update Page (Beta 1)

It's not always about the big, AAA changes — we appreciate Apple tweaking small parts of iOS to keep things fresh as well. That's why Apple's new Software Update page is a welcome surprise. Here, you'll now find a green checkmark when your iPhone is fully up to date, in addition to the following message.

Your iPhone is up to date with all the latest bug fixes and security enhancements.

You'll also see the last time iOS checked for an available update. It's not yet known if this page looks different when there's an update available, but there's a good chance it won't.

Strangely, Apple reverted a bit with beta 2 and took away the extra details and green checkmark. We hope the company brings these changes back in beta 3.

14. You Can Now Report Accidents, Hazards or Speed Checks

When you start a new trip in Maps from your current location, you'll hear Siri let you know that you can report accidents or hazards along your route. To do so, tap the arrow, then tap "Report." You'll see options for reporting an "Accident," "Hazard," or "Speed Check."

15. View Editor's Picks in Maps

The iOS 14 update introduced "Guides" in Apple Maps, which are collections created by trusted brands to help you find excellent places to explore. In iOS 14.5, if you expand the search window in Maps, you'll now see an "Editor's Picks" section with recommended Guides to check out.

16. Open a Guide to See an Updated Animation

On top of Editor's Picks, guides now have an updated animation when opening one up. It just adds a nice presentation on top of a useful feature.

17. Swipe to End Directions in Maps

During navigation in Maps, when you no longer need the directions and voice feedback, you would just tap "End," then "End Route" to put a stop to it. That process is different in iOS 14.5. Instead, you need to tap the tiny arrow or swipe up on the card to expand the menu, then hit "End," which stops it right away without asking you again. This may be easier and more convenient for you or more annoying.

18. Change Navigation Views in Maps Another Way

If you look at the menu above, you'll see an option for "Overview." That will show you an overview of your current route, just like you can when you written directions at the top of the screen. Likewise, when you're in overview mode, the button will say "Turn-by-turn," and in some cases, "Zoom In," which will take you back to street-level navigation just like tapping the circle/arrow button on the map would.

19. Select Pit Stops Differently in Maps

The old way to add a stop to your driving directions in Maps was to pull up the card during navigation and select "Dinner," "Gas Stations," or "Coffee." Now, there's just an "Add Stop" button, which gives you those three options plus "Parking," "Convenience," and "Charging Stations."

20. Podcasts Has an Improved Look

You'll notice some small interface tweaks to Podcasts that make the app feel a bit more like the Music app. We're all for style continuity, so this is a welcome change.

Podcasts in 14.5 (left) vs. 14.4 (right).

21. Share Lyrics from Apple Music

One of iOS 13's best Apple Music features was real-time, moving lyrics. With iOS 14.5, Apple is now allowing us to share these lyrics with friends.

You can choose up to five lines to share, but you might not get that far if your lines exceed the character limit. When you share the lyrics, they appear in a cool window along with a link to the Apple Music track, if the other end supports the feature. If not, they'll see a plain-text field next to the song.

22. Add 'Made for You' Playlists to Your Music Library

Apple Music has a "Made for You" section that creates playlists based on your listening history. In iOS 14.5, you can add the "Made for You" playlists to your Library, so you don't need to go hunting for your auto-generated mixtapes.

23. View Expanded Release Date Info in Music

Also, you'll see more release date information for music. Before, Apple Music would really only show you the year an album came out. Now, you have the exact release date itself.

24. See a Song's Full Info on the Lock Screen Player

In previous versions of iOS, whenever you were on the lock screen and had music playing, the music player would side-scroll the artist, album, and song names if they were too long to fit. That way, you could see the full names for everything. That eventually disappeared, and the side-scrolling effect no longer happened, so you couldn't see all of the info on the lock screen for music. Now, iOS 14.5 brings that back!

25. Swipe Gestures for Adding Songs to Your Queue

The Music app also features new gestures for adds songs to your queue. Swipe right on a song to reveal a blue icon (Play Next) and an orange icon (Play Later). Swipe left on a song to reveal a gray (+) button which will let you add that song to your library.

26. New Context Menus in Music

When you tap on the ellipsis (•••) to activate the context menu, it no longer appears as a scrolling window at the bottom of the display. Instead, you now get a floating window appearing from the ellipsis itself.

iOS 14.5 beta 2 (left) vs. 14.4 (right).

27. Search for Content More Easily in Apple News

In iOS 14.5, you'll also find a new "Search" tab in the News app, so you can hunt for specific outlets or stories that interest you. Before, there was just a search bar in the "Following" tab.

28. Type to Siri Without Obfuscating the Background

When using Type to Siri, you'll now see a less obtrusive UI replacing the old full-screen interface of the past.

iOS 14.5 (left) vs. iOS 14.4 (right).

29. Sort Lists in Reminders

Reminders gets some love with iOS 14.5. Now, you can finally sort lists, and there are five different sorting types: "Manual" (which lets you sort entries by hand), "Due Date," "Creation Date," "Priority," and "Title." Just hit the ellipsis (•••) icon in a list to find these options.

30. Print Lists in Reminders

You can also now print your Reminders lists right from your iPhone. As with sorting, just hit the ellipsis (•••) icon in a list to find the "Print" button. If you don't want to print a list, you'll be able to save a PDF copy from the print preview like you could from any print request. Whether a PDF or printed, everything in your reminders will show up, including image thumbnails, notes, URLs, and due dates.

31. Use Quick Actions from the Lists View in Reminders

In iOS 14.4 and under, if you tried to long-press a list from the lists view in Reminders, nothing would happen except for maybe accidentally changing the order of the lists. Now, a quick actions menu appears with options for "Name & Appearance," "Share List" (or "Manage Shared List"), "Sort By," and "Delete List."

iOS 14.5 (left) vs. iOS 14.4 (right).

32. Edit Sleep Schedule in Health

Apple made a slight change to its Sleep schedule edit button in the Clock app. Before, you needed to scroll to the bottom of the page to "Your Sleep Schedule." Now, that section is gone completely, and the button — now called "Edit Sleep Schedule in Health" — is directly underneath the time wheel.

iOS 14.5 (left) vs. iOS 14.4 (right).

33. Add 'Take Screenshot' to Your Shortcuts

Apple's iOS 14.5 adds a new 'Take Screenshot' command for Shortcuts that does just that. By default, the command takes a screenshot and instantly saves it to your camera roll, without the usual screenshot preview and editing tool you usually get.

34. New 'Orientation Lock' Shortcuts Option

Also new to Shortcuts is "Orientation Lock." This option lets you add orientation lock controls to your shortcuts. You can have the option always toggle orientation lock each time, or have it turn the lock on or off.

35. You Can Create a Shortcut to Change Cellular Data Mode

Want to shift your iPhone's cellular connection from 5G to 4G with just a tap? With 14.5, you can! The new "Voice and Data" option lets you switch between 5G, 5G Auto, LTE, 4G, and 3G, depending on your iPhone.

36. New Bluetooth Icons for Apple & Beats Headphones

Apple is also adding new icons for Apple and Beats headphones and earbuds. These icons appear when connecting specific devices, so you should notice them when connecting AirPods, Powerbeats, AirPods Max, etc.

37. Your 'Fraudulent Website Warning' Data No Longer Goes Through Google Servers

Safari's "Fraudulent Website Warning" does exactly that — the service will send you a warning if you visit a suspicious website that looks to be stealing your personal data.

In order to know which websites are suspected of phishing, Apple uses Google's "Safe Browsing" database, which collects all websites the company believes could be fraudulent. Apple doesn't see the full list at first — instead, Google sends Safari a list of hashed prefixes of URLs from the database. If the website you're trying to visit matches any of these hashes, Safari then requests the full URL from Google. Doing it this way means Google never actually knows the URL you're trying to access.

That said, the company might still receive your IP address during this process, which is not ideal for privacy and security concerns. With iOS 14.5, Apple now pulls Google's Safe Browsing data through its own servers instead of Google's, so your IP information won't end up in the search engine giant's hands.

38. iPad Mics Mute When Smart Folio Is Closed

If you have a iPad (8th generation), iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation), and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation), your device's microphone will mute when you close a connected Smart Folio.

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Cover photo and screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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