iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 Features: What’s New

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 26 Apr 2021

iPhone 12 Pro

After weeks of beta testing, Apple has finally released iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 to the public. This is the biggest update to iOS 14 since its initial release last year, with iOS 14.5 bringing a number of new features and enhancements to the table. Below is a detailed list of all the new features and changes in iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5.

iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 quite a lot of new features, with some key highlights being dual-SIM 5G support on iPhone 12 series, new emoji, and more.

Apart from all the changes mentioned below, iOS 14.5 also adds AirTag support which is due to launch later this week.

iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5: All The New Features

Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch

The biggest highlight of the iOS 14.5 update is that it adds the ability to unlock an iPhone using the Apple Watch. The pandemic has greatly limited Face ID’s usefulness as it does not work when one is wearing a mask. This requires iPhone users to unlock their device by entering the device passcode, which can get frustrating quickly.

Apple is putting an end to all such issues for iPhone owners who also use an Apple Watch by using the latter as a second authentication source. Here’s how you can unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch when wearing a mask.

iPhone 12 5G How to use Tips

App Tracking Transparency

This is a major new privacy feature that Apple will launch with iOS 14.5. To the end-user, App Tracking Transparency might not seem like a big deal. However, if you have followed the rollout of this feature, you’ll know that it has led to Facebook openly criticizing Apple and even claiming that this move will be devastating for small businesses.

App Tracking in iOS 14.5 will require that whenever an app tries to track user activity across other apps and services for advertising purposes, it requests the required permission from the end-user.

Dual-SIM 5G Support on iPhone 12

iOS 14.5 enables dual-SIM 5G support on the iPhone 12 lineup. This means that post the update, you’ll be able to use your iPhone to connect to two 5G networks simultaneously.

Remember that iPhones only have one physical SIM slot, and you need to connect to the second network using eSIM. Here’s how you can use an eSIM on your iPhone 12.

Hey Siri, Call Emergency!

Apple has added an ability to contact emergency services quickly in iOS 14.5. The update introduces a command, “Hey Siri! Call Emergency” to Siri that will immediately call emergency services without any delay. The phone will show you a 5-second timer, which it generally shows before it contacts emergency services. You can cancel the call during this time.

200+ New Emoji

The iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 update adds over 200 new emoji characters. Apple is also updating many existing emojis for better diversity. The headphone emoji has also been updated to make it look similar to the AirPods Max.

You can read about all the new emojis in iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 over at Emojipedia. Additionally, the update also adds emoji search support in iPadOS 14.5.

Emoji Search in iPadOS 14.5

Xbox Series X/S and PS5 5 Dual Sense Controllers Support

iOS 14.5 adds support for the latest gaming controllers from Microsoft and Sony. The update adds the ability to use PlayStation 5’s Dual Sense and Xbox Series X controller with iPads and iPhones.

Safer Web Browsing

Apple has improved fraudulent website tracking in iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 and proxies all queries through its own services to prevent Google from logging one’s IP address and other details. To be clear, Apple is still relying on Google’s fraudulent website database, but its own servers act as a proxy server for requests. Due to this, Google’s server only sees Apple’s proxy server IP address and not the user’s IP address.

Moreover, Safari in iOS 14.5 sends only hashed prefixes of the URL, or basically a ‘hidden’ URL, to the phishing website checker. Since Apple uses a hashed prefix, Google can never know the website you’re trying to visit. Again, this might not impact usability in a big way, but it’s a step in the right direction for Apple to further beef up user privacy in iOS 14.

Apple Fitness+ Gains AirPlay 2 Support

Apple has added AirPlay 2 support to Apple Fitness+ in iOS 14.5. You can already cast your Fitness+ content to Apple TV, but with iOS 14.5, Apple has added an option to cast audio and video to supported AirPlay 2 set-top boxes and smart TV. However, key metrics like rings and calories burnt will not be displayed on your TV, they will be limited to your Apple Watch.

New Shortcut Actions

iOS 14.5 adds new Shortcut action for taking a screenshot along with new actions for automatically switching the orientation of your iPhone and toggling between different 4G and 5G networks.

New Haptic Feedback for MagSafe Accessories

iOS 14.5 introduces new haptic feedback for MagSafe accessories, whenever they are attached or detached from the phone.

New Gestures in Apple Music

There’s a new gesture in the Apple Music app in iOS 14.5 to quickly add a song to the Now Playing queue. You can swipe on a song to add it to the Now Playing list.

Additionally, there’s a 3-dot menu button that you can tap to access useful options like adding the song to a playlist or library, like it, and more.

Battery Recalibration Tool

iOS 14.5 adds a new battery recalibration tool for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro series to help address inaccurate battery life estimates.

If you have been facing unexpected battery drain or reduced peak performance on your iPhone, you should use the tool to recalibrate its battery. Post recalibration, the peak performance and maximum battery capacity percentage will be updated for your device. The tool runs automatically and does not require any user intervention.

New Siri Voices

iOS 14.5 introduces two new Siri voices that add more diversity in speech sound and pattern. Both new voices are for English speakers. Apple is also making Siri gender-neutral by no longer using a female voice for its digital assistant by default. Instead, you will be prompted to select a voice for Siri when setting your iPhone up the first time.

Horizontal Boot Screen for iPad

iPadOS 14.5 brings a horizontal boot screen for the iPad. This will show up when you reboot your iPad in horizontal orientation.

Support for Additional Scribble Languages

iPadOS 14.5 expands Scribble support to five new languages. The feature was initially only available for English and Chinese languages, but it is now being expanded to include French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Enhanced Privacy on iPad

There’s a new privacy feature in iPadOS 14.5 for the iPad Air 4, 8th gen. iPad, and the 2018 iPad Pro lineup if one uses the Smart Folio case or any MFi-compatible case with them. Whenever the case is shut, the built-in microphone on these iPads is also automatically muted for privacy reasons.

Noticed any other changes in iOS 14.5? Drop a comment and let us know!