What are the new features introduced in the Apple iOS 14.5?

Apple has commenced beta testing for iOS 14.5, and whereas the iOS 14.4 release was mostly about bug fixes and not a lot of feature changes, this version brings several welcome improvements. You’ll get the long-awaited App Tracking Transparency feature, the ability to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch, and also AirPlay support for Fitness+.

On February 1, the iPhone maker released the first developer beta, and the public beta is expected to follow within soon. We will probably see the final release happen sometime in February.

What’s new in iOS 14.5

App Tracking Transparency

app tracking settings ios 14
Image: Mac Rumours
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Apple’s long-advertised App Tracking Transparency feature will have its groundwork laid in this version of the iOS. Simply put, whenever applications want to track your activities outside the app, your iPhone will now require them to ask for permission (through a standard iOS prompt). Most users are unaware that many apps track activities across other apps or websites. The practice is not being blocked by Apple, it is merely requiring informed consent just as it does for, say, location access.

AirPlay 2 support for Fitness+

Apple’s new fitness subscription service can only be used on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV and not on a Mac or any other smart TV. With iOS 14.5, you can overcome this setback by streaming workouts from your iPhone or iPad to an AirPlay 2 supported device. This will make the service a lot less restrictive as there are lots of TVs that support AirPlay 2 these days. You won’t see your real-time metrics on screen, but that’s a relatively small price to pay.

Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch

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Image: Mac Rumours

Face ID is great, but the global COVID-19 pandemic and the constant mask-wearing have exposed an obvious flaw—when half your face is covered up it doesn’t work. With iOS 14.5 (and watchOS 7.4), you have the option to automatically unlock your iPhone when you’re wearing an unlocked Apple Watch. 

To use this feature, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and toggle on the “Unlock with Apple Watch”. For this to work, you’ll have to be wearing your Apple Watch which must be protected with a passcode and unlocked. Then, when Face ID sees you’re wearing a mask, it will unlock with your Apple Watch. You’ll feel a quick double-tap on the watch haptics and an “Unlocking with Apple Watch” message will show up on your iPhone screen. This cannot be used to authenticate Apple Pay or App Store purchases.

Dual-SIM 5G Support

iPhone 12 5G Dual Carrier Feature orange
Image: Mac Rumours

The iOS 14.5 will bring about global support for 5G in Dual-SIM mode on the iPhone 12 models. The Dual-SIM feature on the ‌iPhone 12‌ will let users use two lines of 5G service on a single ‌iPhone‌, useful especially for keeping separate work and home numbers. Prior to iOS 14.5, except for China, in all countries, Dual-SIM mode was limited to LTE.

Podcasts App

podcast app design changes
Image: Mac Rumours

Some minor design changes were made to the Podcasts app including the “Shows” option in the app, which is now more prominently listed with episode descriptions and an easier access “Resume” button. The Search tab helps you to go through different categories to find what you’re looking for.

Reminders App

reminders app sort print
Image: Mac Rumours

There is now an option to print a Reminder list, a feature that has been wanted by Reminders users for some time, plus, an option to sort lists in Reminders is also included by Due Date, Creation Date, Priority, or Title, plus.

News App

apple news plus changes
Image: Mac Rumours

There’s a new Search tab in the Apple News app, and the News+ section has been redesigned with a “For You” feature and an easier to access Browse tab.

How to get the iOS 14.5 beta

If you want to try out the iOS 14.5 beta before its general release, do remember that the company suggests you do not run the 14.5 beta on any critical device, you never know what can go wrong.

Developers can go head to developer.apple.com/download and download a developer beta profile on the device upon which they which to run the beta. Those who aren’t developers can join the public beta by heading to beta.apple.com.

Once you have the profile, enable it by going to Settings > General > Profile and your device will reset to enable the profile. After it has reset with the profile enabled, to download the latest beta release you can head to Settings > General > Software Updates.

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