After just a few months in beta, iOS 14.5 — the most significant iOS 14 update to date — is now available for download on your iPhone. This isn’t your typical collection of tweaks, bug fixes, and security patches.
This update brings the most important improvements to Apple’s phone apps since the release of iOS 14 in the fall, as we reported in our iOS 14.5 analysis. Though there are a few minor tweaks to the app, iOS 14.5 is notable for adding a number of high-profile features that will drastically alter how you use your phone.
Guide to IOS 14.5
What to expect from the iPhone 13 this fall
The additions to iOS 14.5 are highlighted by privacy updates surrounding app monitoring, but there’s more to this update than that. You can now use an Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone, pick enhanced Siri voice options, and use Apple’s latest AirTag trackers with the new update.
We searched through iOS 14.5 — both the beta and the final version — to find the most significant changes you can look forward to now that the complete update is available. The following are the big updates in iOS 14.5.
After two months of beta testing, iOS 14.5 was released on April 26. The final version is fairly stable; we were able to run it without issue on both newer iPhones and older versions like the original iPhone SE.
For a detailed look at what you’ll need to do to update, read our guide on how to download iOS 14.5. However, the short version is that you can go to the Software Updates section of the Settings app. Tap General, then Software Updates, and iOS 14.5 should be available.
If your phone can run iOS 14, iOS 14.5 will function as well. If you want to update iOS 14.5, you’ll need an iPhone 6s or later.
Apple quickly followed up the release of iOS 14.5 with the release of iOS 14.5.1. This is also a version that you can update to. as it addresses two security flaws discovered in Apple’s iPhone program
Unlock with Apple Watch with iOS 14.5
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, we discovered Face ID’s flaws. Face masks confused the Face ID sensors, so we’ve had to manually unlock our iPhones for the past year or so. Thankfully, Apple has devised a solution, but there is one major catch: you must own an Apple Watch.
The phrase “unlock with Apple Watch” means just that. You can unlock your iPhone without using Face ID if you use Apple’s wearable. Both devices must be in close proximity to each other; otherwise, you will have to manually unlock the handset. For this to function, the Apple Watch must also be unlocked.
After you’ve installed iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 on your phone, go to Settings > Face ID and passcode. Keep in mind that Unlock with Apple Watch cannot be used to verify Apple Pay or App Store purchases. Your face or passcode will still be needed.
App tracking transparency in iOS 14.5
This is the most significant change in this software update. Apple has been preparing to release iOS 14.5 with updated app monitoring disclosure policies since it first revealed iOS 14 last summer. To access your advertisement ID, app developers, such as Facebook, would need to ask your permission. They will monitor you through apps and websites using that ID. According to AdWeek, approximately two-thirds of iPhone users are expected to use the feature, which could have an effect on free iOS apps in particular.
A few of these privacy features were already present in iOS 14, but software developers have until 14.5 to enforce the new policy or their applications will be excluded from the App Store.
With the release of iOS 14.5 comes a new pop-up asking if you want to allow an app to watch you when you download it. You can also monitor which apps can and cannot track how you use your phone in Settings.
Apple is aiming for absolute simplicity once more. It’s a big step forward for privacy, and we’re looking forward to seeing it happen.
It should be noted that a few users have identified a problem with app tracking transparency features, in which the option to require apps to request permission to monitor you is disabled by default rather than allowed. According to Apple, this occurs when you have a child account, your Apple ID is handled by a school, or you’ve just created an Apple ID. (Read Apple’s complete description of how openness in app monitoring works.)
According to reports, 96 percent of iOS 14.5 users have disabled software monitoring. If you’d like to join them, here’s how to use data monitoring transparency in iOS 14.5 to stop apps from tracking you.
Apple Maps crowdsourcing accidents (and speed traps) in iOS 14.5
In iOS 14.5, Apple Maps borrows a common Waze feature. Like its key rivals, the mapping app can use actual drivers to crowdsource road collisions, speed traps, and other traffic hazards. There’s now a dedicated button for reporting anything in Maps, which is available on both the phone and in CarPlay — it’s basic, but it works.
You can also use Siri and your voice to report collisions, speed traps, and hazards — an important feature provided that no one can take their eyes off the road to fiddle with their iPhone.
Crowd data was a feature that appeared in Maps during the iOS 14.5 beta but did not appear in the final version. Launching these applications while you’re at a point of interest or business can secretly submit encrypted data that the Maps app will use to calculate how many people are at a site at a given time of day, according to the beta’s Location Services menu. The idea is that, in the future, Maps will be able to display how busy a location is during the day. However, it appears that Apple is still working on that function.
Other app improvements in iOS 14.5
In iOS 14.5, Apple has tweaked more than just apps. None of the updates are revolutionary, but they should make the built-in apps in iOS 14 easier to use.
Apple’s Spring Loaded event included the Podcasts app as part of the company’s strategy to launch Apple Podcasts Subscriptions in May. The new show page in iOS 14.5 allows for simpler replay management and more control over the episodes you stream. More menu commands for handling podcast episodes and uploading downloads are being added to the Up Next screen.
You can now sort tasks in Reminders by priority, date, and other variables, and you can even print a list of to-dos, just like in other apps. Finally, the News app now has a dedicated search tab, and Apple News Plus subscribers get their own updated tab that should aid in finding new content.
Battery health calibration in iOS 14.5
iOS 14.5 introduces a new feature that makes it easy to see if your iPhone’s battery is working poorly. The new battery health recalibration tool is designed to correct “inaccurate battery health reporting figures.” It appears that the function will run in the background, with the intention of more accurately showing the battery’s full power. If the power has decreased, it’s likely that your battery needs to be replaced.
According to an Apple support paper, battery health recalibration is currently only available for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. It’s uncertain if the final version would be compatible with other iPhone versions. Hopefully, it will, as beta testers have reported improved battery life since the addition of this feature.
Support for Dual-SIM 5G in iOS 14.5
On iOS 14.5 with the iPhone 12 series, dual-SIM iPhone users can use 5G globally. Dual-SIM refers to the ability to use two different lines of service on the same system. This is ideal for people who want to keep their professional and personal lives apart, as well as for international travel.
Both SIMs now have access to maximum 5G speeds, thanks to iOS 14.5’s release.
Future updates: iOS 14.6
Apple made an iOs 14.6 beta available to beta program participants before iOS 14.5 was even released. Compared to iOS 14.5 with its slew of new features, iOS 14.6 seems to be more of a maintenance update. The most noticeable change so far is a feature that allows beta program participants to choose whether to update to iOS 14.6 or stay on iOS 14.5, while a more recent iOS 14.6 beta indicates improvements in the FindMy app.
This is all leading up to the release of iOS 15, Apple’s next big iPhone software update, which is expected later this year, most likely in the fall. However, we’ll get a sneak peek of what Apple has in store for us next month at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company is expected to show off iOS 15.
Conclusion: iOS 14.5 outlook
As you’ve seen, iOS 14.5 is a significant upgrade. If you’ve been using iOS 14, there’s no excuse not to upgrade and take advantage of the many new features included in this update (though make sure to update to iOS 14.5.1 to get those necessary security fixes). If you’ve been hesitant to install iOS 14 on a compatible handset, now is the time to do so.