News: Apple Releases iOS 14.5 for iPhone, Introducing 60+ New Features & Changes

Apple Releases iOS 14.5 for iPhone, Introducing 60+ New Features & Changes

Apple's "Spring Loaded" event introduced us to many new and exciting products, including iMac and iPad Pro models with the M1 chip, an upgraded Apple TV 4K, a purple iPhone, and the long-awaited AirTag. However, one of the most anticipated announcements came in the form of a software update — the biggest update since iOS 14.0 and iPadOS 14.0 came out — and that's iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5.

Apple made the update (build number 18E199) available for all compatible iPhone and iPad models on Monday, April 26. It comes just six days after the big Spring Loaded event and Release Candidate, the final testing build, which is also 18E199.

While Apple made the news official after its event, we've known about this update for some time. Apple beta tested 14.5 since Feb. 1, running the software through eight different beta updates (nine if you count the RC, which is the same build as the stable). Developers and public beta testers all tried out the update during this time and got a chance to see all the new features as they rolled out. And boy, are there new features.

Among the first new changes we saw were gamepad support for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X controllers. Testers who owned these controllers were among the first to play iOS games with them, but now all iOS users who update will get their chance.

New emoji is another standout feature. Apple added over 200 new options for us to explore and share, including Face Exhaling, Face with Sprial Eyes, and Heart on Fire. These emoji come from Unicode Emoji 13.1, which iPhone and iPad now support with 14.5. Other devices that support this version of Unicode Emoji should be able to share and receive these emoji, as well.

Three new emoji in iOS/iPadOS 14.5 (left) and Android (right).

For us privacy junkies, Apple has added some major updates in the 14.5 firmware. You might even already know about one — it forces apps to ask your permission to track you across other apps and websites. You can grant that permission if you want or easily deny it for every app from Settings.

Apple also made major updates to Apple Music, Reminders, Apple Maps, Podcasts, and so much more. There are too many features to name here, so we rounded them all up for you to check out.

Release Notes & Developer Release Notes

With major iOS software updates like 14.5, Apple publishes two different types of release notes. One is for the public, which includes all of the new features and changes included in the update. The other is for iOS developers and includes changes concerning iOS software development. Both are listed below.

iOS 14.5 Release Notes

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 (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

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

iOS & iPadOS 14.5 Developer Release Notes

Overview

  • The iOS & iPadOS 14.5 SDK provides support to develop apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices running iOS & iPadOS 14.5. The SDK comes bundled with Xcode 12.5 RC, available from Beta Software Downloads. For information on the compatibility requirements for Xcode 12.5, see Xcode 12.5 RC Release Notes.

Accessibility: New Features

  • Many SF Symbols now have default accessibility labels. (70305995)

Battery Health: Resolved Issues

  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max battery health reporting system will recalibrate maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability to address inaccurate estimates of battery health reporting for some users. For more information, see About recalibration of battery health reporting in iOS 14.5.

Combine: Resolved Issues

Display: Resolved Issues

  • iOS & iPadOS 14.5 includes an optimization to reduce the appearance of a dim glow that might appear at reduced brightness levels with black backgrounds.

Privacy: New Features

  • iPad (8th generation), iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation), and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation) now mute the built-in microphone when its Smart Folio is closed. To avoid unnecessarily recording the muted signal, the default behavior is to interrupt an audio session that is using the built-in microphone when the Smart Folio is closed. You can opt out of the playback interruption when the Smart Folio is closed by using the new AVAudioSession.CategoryOptions overrideMutedMicrophoneInterruption, allowing the audio session to continue playing uninterrupted while microphone input remains muted. For more information, see Responding to Audio Session Interruptions. (57042856)

Siri: New Features

SKAdNetwork: New Features

  • With view-through attribution, SKAdNetwork now supports all ad formats for promoting apps. (70345857)

SKAdNetwork: Resolved Issues

  • You're now able to use either version 1.0 or version 2.0 signatures when generated using iOS & iPadOS 14.5 and later. (71474331)

SwiftUI: New Features

  • Added TitleAndIconLabelStyle, a new style for Label views that shows both the title and icon of the label using a system-standard layout. In most cases, labels show both title and icon by default. However, some containers might apply a different default label style to their content, such as only showing icons within toolbars on macOS and iOS. To opt in to showing both the title and the icon, apply the title and icon label style: Label("Lightning", systemImage: "bolt.fill").labelStyle(TitleAndIconLabelStyle()). (64646578)
  • Types conforming to any style protocol, such as ButtonStyle or ToggleStyle, are now enforced to be value types. Styles must be structures or enumerations, not classes, and conforming a class to a style protocol may trigger an assertion. This is the same restriction that the system has always enforced on types conforming to View. (62886135)

SwiftUI: Resolved Issues

WebKit: New Features

  • Apps and websites can now receive privacy-preserving attributions for ad clicks which navigate users to websites. (70502338)

Xcode: Deprecations

  • Don't use the iOS MinimumOSVersion information property list key to declare the minimum release of macOS in which your app runs. Use LSMinimumSystemVersion instead. (73890473)
  • Future releases of macOS ignore the MinimumOSVersion key in Mac apps, including apps built with Mac Catalyst.
  • Future releases of macOS use the LSMinimumSystemVersion key in iOS apps built with Xcode 12.5 or later. If an iOS app doesn't include an LSMinimumSystemVersion key, future releases of macOS compare the app's MinimumOSVersion with the version of its Mac Catalyst runtime to determine compatibility.

Compatible iPhones for iOS 14.5

Any iPhone that can run iOS 14 — and iOS 13, for that matter — can update to iOS 14.5. Here is the official list:

  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

How to Download & Install iOS 14.5 on Your iPhone

With your compatible iPhone, downloading and installing iOS 14.5 is simple. Just head to Settings –> General –> Software Update, then allow the page to load. Once you see "iOS 14.5" appear, you can follow the on-screen instructions to download and install 14.5 on your device.

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Cover photo by Apple; screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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