Apple has released a series of new software updates for its devices, including iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, macOS Big Sur 11.3. While each of these new updates includes a slew of new features that improve compatibility with Apple devices, the most notable and prominent in the series is iOS 14.5. The latest iOS update adds the ability to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask using an Apple Watch. Additionally, the update includes the option for users to choose whether they want Siri to speak in a female or male voice during the phone’s initial setup. Additionally, iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 introduce the much-anticipated — and contentious — App Tracking Transparency, which allows users to control which apps can track their activity across multiple apps and websites in order to provide personalised ads and share data with third parties.


What’s new in iOS 14.5?

One of the most eagerly awaited features of iOS 14.5 is the ability to unlock your iPhone using your Apple Watch while wearing a face mask. This is a significant advancement nearly a year after Apple introduced a faster passcode alert to make unlocking a Face ID-equipped iPhone with a face mask easier. Users need only to glance at their iPhone while wearing an unlocked Apple Watch in close proximity to the iPhone. A haptic feedback will appear on the Apple Watch to indicate that their iPhone has been unlocked.

When the user is wearing a face mask and wearing a compatible Apple Watch on their wrist, the new feature effectively disables Face ID on the iPhone X and subsequent models. Apple has established certain requirements for accessing the new experience. You will need an Apple Watch Series 3 or later with watchOS 7.4 installed. Additionally, the Apple Watch should be paired with your iPhone, and both the Apple Watch and iPhone must be connected to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Additionally, your Apple Watch must be protected by a passcode and wrist detection must be enabled. Finally, but certainly not least, is the requirement to wear the mask — which is also necessary for protection against the spread of the coronavirus.

Once you’ve met all of the requirements, you can enable the unlock with Apple Watch feature on your iPhone by navigating to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and selecting the Unlock with Apple Watch option.

If you’re not interested in unlocking your device with the Apple Watch, iOS 14.5 introduces Siri enhancements, including the ability to customise the voice that speaks to you when you first set up your device. You can choose between a female or male voice when speaking.

Additionally, Siri now supports Group FaceTime. This means that you can now request a FaceTime call from Siri to any of your Messages groups. Additionally, the voice assistant has been updated to announce incoming calls via AirPods or compatible Beats headphones and to contact an emergency contact if an iPhone user requires assistance but is physically unable to make a call.

Additionally, Apple Music on iOS 14.5 receives an update that includes the ability for users to share their favourite lyrics via Messages, Facebook, and Instagram Stories. Subscribers to the service can also listen to the snippet shared in Messages without leaving the conversation. Additionally, you’ll receive city charts detailing what’s popular in over 100 cities worldwide.


What’s new in iPadOS 14.5?

Apple has also released iPadOS 14.5 with the majority of the features available to iPhone users via iOS 14.5. This includes updated Siri, App Tracking Transparency, new and updated emoji, refreshed Podcasts, and enhanced Reminders. Additionally, AirTag is supported.

However, iPadOS 14.5 adds support for the Xbox Series X|S Wireless Controller and the Sony PS5 DualSense Wireless Controller.


What’s new in MacOS 11.3 Big Sur?

Mac users have received MacOS Big Sur 11.3 which improves the way iPhone and iPad apps work on devices equipped with the M1 chip. These include the ability to customise the window size of an iPhone or iPad app and full-screen support for the highest resolution version of an iPhone or iPad app. Additionally, keyboard support has been added for iPhone and iPad games that make use of device tilt. Similarly, for iPhone and iPad games that support game controllers, there is keyboard, mouse, and trackpad support. Apple has also added support for the Xbox Series X|S Wireless Controller and the Sony PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless Controller.

Safari 11.3 for macOS Big Sur also includes an update that enables users to customise the order of the sections on their Start Page. Additionally, WebM and Vorbis video and audio formats are supported.

Through Big Sur 11.3, Mac devices equipped with an M1 chip gained support for hibernation. When signed in with an Apple ID, the About This Mac setting has also been updated to display the Apple warranty status and AppleCare+ coverage in the Service tab. Additionally, users will receive support from About This Mac for purchasing and enrolling in AppleCare+ for eligible Mac computers.