The latest iOS update is here already.
Make Forbes your destination for all-things iOS. Stay ahead of the curve with Anthony Karcz when each version hits public beta. Read full details of what’s in the release from me the moment it lands. And then read Gordon Kelly’s analysis of whether you ought to install or wait.
Another iOS update so soon? That’s because the last one, iOS 14.7, itself an unprecedented update, managed to break something and this update is along to fix it. Read on for full details of this update and how to get it, followed by previous releases.
How to get it
This update is for compatible iPhones, with iPadOS 14.7.1 which is simultaneously released for compatible iPads. Compatibility for the phones goes back to the iPhone 6s, including iPhone SE (both the first and current editions), plus the seventh-generation iPod touch. For iPads, if you have any iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 or more recent, iPad mini 4 or newer and iPad from fifth generation onwards then you’re good to go.
Updating is straightforward, but you’ll know this by now. Go to the Settings app on the iPhone (or iPad) and choose General, then Software Update. Then it’s Download and finally, Install. This is a small update, 124MB on my iPhone 12 Pro Max, so it won’t take long to install. In my case, it downloaded in around 4 minutes and installation was all done another 15 minutes later.
What’s in the update?
Overwhelmingly, this is about fixing the thing that iOS 14.7 broke. If you have an Apple Watch, you’ll know that unlocking your iPhone means the Watch on your wrist automatically unlocks, too, so you don’t have to put your passcode in manually. This stopped for some users with iOS 14.7, specifically those who have iPhones using Touch ID rather than Face ID, and this update is aimed at fixing it.
Apple says there are also important security updates included in this release and says that it is recommended for all users.
Read on for details of what was released in earlier updates.
Previous iOS 14 updates
This update landed on July 19, 2021 and there was plenty in it. There are some neat extras here, along with important bug fixes. There was support for the new MagSafe battery pack and the capability to control timers on the HomePod from within the Home app. Apple Card: there was also the option of combining credit limits and sharing one co-owned account with an existing Apple Card user.
Air Quality in the Weather app came to more countries, including France, Italy, Spain, Canada and the Netherlands. There were updates to the Podcasts Library and a fix for issues with Dolby Atmos and Apple Music lossless playback.
Released on May 24, 2021, this update introduced Apple Card family sharing and Apple Music Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio, though both had the framework, the features did not go live straight away. Instead, they were introduced on Monday, June 7. Podcasts Subscription Support was also added in this update. There were improvements to the Find My app, allowing you to put your email as contact info for someone who found an AirTag to contact you. And with this update you could unlock your iPhone after a restart just with your voice. Security issues that were addressed focused on vulnerabilities in iOS. These included malicious audio files, problems in WebKit, and a bug that affected Apple’s recent Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch feature.
This was a small, bug-fix update, which was released on Monday, May 3. That fix was for App Tracking Transparency. Some users who had disabled the setting Allow Apps to Request to Track and then re-enabled it found that they weren’t getting the prompts they were expecting, where each app would individually ask permission to track. That, according to Apple is what’s been addressed in this update.
Oh, and a bunch of what Apple describes as important security updates.
iOS 14.5 was released on Monday, April 26 with a slew of new features. These include the capability to unlock iPhone with Apple Watch If you’re wearing a mask, more than 200 new emoji and App Tracking Transparency This means that when you launch an app that collects your activity data or tracks you, you can turn off that option. There’s a benefit for iPhone 11 series models to recalibrate battery health reporting and dual sim 5G was introduced. There was the ability to choose your music service, new voices for Siri , a fresh look for Podcasts and the ability to use PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers for gaming on your iPad and iPhone.
These were just the big changes. There was also the AirPlay 2 support for Apple Fitness+, Siri calling emergency services for you and an updated Reminders app with more features. Plus, bug fixes aplenty.
Back on Friday, March 26, Apple released another WebKit fix to ensure that nobody can insert malicious code that would compromise your iPhone use.
Out on March 8, this was an update focused on one function, to fix a vulnerability in WebKit.
Lots of angles to this, released on January 26, 2021. HomePod mini handoff was enhanced, the Set Wallpaper shortcut let you add the image to perspective zoom and there were changes to Accessibility settings. The camera can now handle smaller QR codes, too. You can also now classify Bluetooth audio devices. So, you can say whether they’re speakers, car stereos, headphones or hearing aids. There were also plenty of bug fixes.
Released December 14, 2020, 14.3 was a big release with plenty of new elements, such as support for the company’s latest hardware – AirPods Max – and the introduction of Fitness+. To use it, you need to have a compatible Apple Watch.
Photographers welcomed Apple ProRAW, which allows photos to be captured on the latest Pro versions of iPhone 12 in the new ProRAW format
Enhanced ECG capabilities for Apple Watch also arrived, in tandem with the latest watchOS update.
Privacy “nutrition labels” went live today in the App Store. Apps, including those from Apple, must display information indicating exactly what data is used to track you or to link to you. If you want to use the Ecosia search engine, that’s now an option.
This update landed on November 19, 2020 and was all about fixing issues. Messages had problems in group message threads, which this update sorted. An unresponsive lock screen and problems with Made for iPhone hearing devices were fixed in this update. This update was only for iPhone 12 models.
Released on November 5, 2020, this update brought over 100 brilliant new emoji, new wallpapers with light and dark mode versions, support for the upcoming iPhone 12 leather sleeve, and an improvement to HomePod and the upcoming HomePod mini’s new Intercom feature.
The original HomePod gained connectivity to the Apple TV 4K for stereo surround sound and Dolby Atmos audio.
The Magnifier app gained People Detection, using the LiDAR sensor included in iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max to reveal how far away people are. This is a real benefit for people with limited vision and is especially useful at a time when social distancing is important.
And now, AirPods battery charging is optimized for the first time, and there was a timely option to give statistics about Exposure Notifications, without identification, to Public Health Authorities. Plus, lots of bug-squishing.
This was released on October 20, 2020 and, like the next iOS update this one included stuff for the HomePod.
Other benefits are focused on fixes and bug squishes. For instance, it means there’s now support for 10-bit HDR video playback, applying to Photos for iPhone 8 and later. Issues with reduced-size icons, folders and widgets were addressed, along with other Home screen problems such as apps disappearing from folders when widgets were dragged was fixed. Mail issues, such as messages sent from an incorrect alias have been sorted. Incoming calls regional info that wasn’t working is now all fixed. Other issues included a screen redraw problem with an emergency call overlap, songs that wouldn’t download and a Calculator app issue were sorted
There were a couple of Apple Watch problems such as the iPhone not identifying the case material on your timepiece have been addressed.
Released on September 24, this update fixed an issue where the default browser and mail settings reset after restarting your iPhone, sorted an issue that prevented camera previews from displaying on, specifically, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and a problem where the iPhone wouldn’t connect to wi-fi.
A problem sending emails with certain providers and images not appearing in the News widget, were also addressed.
The first version of iOS 14 was released on September 16, 2020.
The Home Screen added Widgets – smart app icons with changing information – on the home screen, revealed an App Gallery to help sort where your apps sit and added Compact Designs. These mean that Siri just sits at the bottom of the screen instead of taking it over completely while calls coming in will be announced just at the top of the screen.
App Clips are something completely new. If you need something an app delivers but really don’t have time to download the whole app, register, set up an account, verify your credentials and so on, then App Clips can help. They’ll work well with something like a parking app, say, when you’re next to the meter and short on time. Instead, you’ll scan the QR code, or tap the NFC tag, on the meter. App Clips downloads just the bit of the app you need and since you log in through Apple, all those things like payment details are sorted, too. This could be amazing as more apps come on stream.
The Messages app is now more capable, so you can now pin conversations you want to find easily at the top of the list, new Memoji options and better layouts for replies.
Maps has been improved, as on the Apple Watch, by the addition of cycle routes, routing for electric vehicles, edited guides to find new restaurants and more.
Translate is designed to make it easy to translate conversations in real time across 11 modes. You can even do this offline, which should save data costs when you’re traveling.
The Weather app can show you how much it’s going to rain in the next hour as well as advising on severe weather events.
New Accessibility features include Back Tap which lets you configure shortcuts when you tap on the back of the iPhone in a particular way.
AirPods Pro get in on the action, too, thanks to extra features which appear on the earbuds when your iPhone has moved to iOS 14. These include Spatial Audio so you can have a surround-sound effect as you watch a movie, say, and seamless device switching. More details here.
For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: support.apple.com/kb/HT201222
I’ve been writing about technology for two decades and am routinely struck by how the sector swings from startling innovation to persistent repetitiveness. My areas of
I’ve been writing about technology for two decades and am routinely struck by how the sector swings from startling innovation to persistent repetitiveness. My areas of specialty are wearable tech, cameras, home entertainment and mobile technology. I also work as an actor, enjoying equally the first Mission Impossible movie, a season at Shakespeare’s Globe and a part in the latest series of The Crown.
I’ve written for the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail, the Sun, Metro, Stuff, T3, Pocket-lint, Wareable.com and Wired. Right now most of my work away from Forbes appears in the Independent, the Evening Standard and Monocle Magazine. Follow me on Instagram: davidphelantech, or Twitter: @davidphelan2009.