iOS 14.5 Improvements and Tips

iOS 14.5 is out and it’s a doozy. Here are a few highlights worth your consideration.

  • Make sure to install the accompanying update on your Apple Watch. It is that combination of iPhone and Apple Watch updates that allows you to use the unlock-while-I’m-wearing-a-mask mode. You’ll also need to go on your iPhone to Settings>FaceID & Passcode and tick the box for Unlock with Apple Watch. (It’s off by default.)

  • The new App Tracking features is a win for consumers. I actually don’t mind some apps tracking me, so long as I get to make the decision. I also find the ad industry’s outrage hilarious. Apple makes its position pretty clear with this video.

  • Siri’s new voices are way better. Go to Settings>Siri & Search>Siri Voices to try them out. Lately, I’m digging American (Voice 1).

  • There isn’t much to report on iPad. I really hope Apple comes loaded for bear at WWDC with new iPad OS features. Right now, iPad OS feels very dated.

If you’d like to learn more about the new updates, I recommend the comprehensive 9to5 Mac video from Jeff Benjamin or Federico Viticci’s detailed write-up.

Do iPhone Delays Equal iOS 14 Delays?

There have been a lot of rumors about delays with the new iPhones this year, most recently from Qualcomm. If there was ever a year for Apple to get a pass on shipping the iPhone promptly in September, it’s this one.

The question that occurs to me, however, is if there is a delay in hardware, will that also result in a delay in software? In years past, Apple has released the iOS update shortly before the release of new hardware. When I say “shortly,” I’m talking days, not weeks. If the rumors are correct, we are looking at a delay in shipping the new iPhone of a month or possibly more. I can’t help wonder if that will mean a delay in shipping iOS 14 and iPad OS 14 too. If I had to place a bet, I would say they will.

Technically, there’s no reason not to release it early. Throughout the beta period, a lot of us have been running iOS 14 on older generation hardware, and there is no reason technically why they couldn’t just let the older phones have the update a month early.

But there are several good arguments against this. First, over the last few years Apple has had some pretty rocky iOS launches. Why not take an extra month to add some extra spit and polish so that the released version is all the more stable? Second, I always feel like I get a new phone when I install a new operating system. I’m sure for many people who would consider buying the new phone, after spending a month with iOS 14, they may not be as inclined to buy a new phone when it eventually arrives. Lastly, every year Apple holds a bunch of code out of its beta versions of the new operating system. The final version includes additional references, code, and sometimes even apps specific to the new iPhone. If they release the final version, I guarantee you that smart folks all over the planet will take it apart and figure out even more details of the new iPhone before Apple wants you to hear about them.

While Apple may release iOS 14 much earlier than the new phones, I would be surprised if they do.

The Case for the iOS 14 Public Beta

Apple has now released the public beta for the new iOS 14, iPad OS, and macOS Big Sur. This is where everybody who writes about this stuff tells you how you should not install the betas. I am feeling contrary this year.

I have been running the beta on my iPhone and iPad since it was initially released, and I have had very few problems. The battery life is a little worse, but my apps all seem to work, and I’ve had no restarts or crashes. Everything seems to be working fine. I talked about this on the Mac Power Users recently. In my opinion, this year is more about the paint job than the engine. Granted, it is quite an extraordinary paint job, but it’s still paint. As a result, this beta feels pretty stable. I also suspect it is because they released it later in the year. Usually, WWDC happens in the first week of June, and this year didn’t happen until much later.

I have had a lot of fun trying these new beta widgets, and iOS 13 already looks old to me. Don’t blame me if you install it and your iPhone catches on fire, but a lot of us are stuck at home and having something new and shiny on our phones may be just the distraction we need.