APPLE RELEASES IOS 14.5

Apple has released iOS 14.5 for iPhone,iPad and Apple TV. WatchOS 7.4 has been released for the Apple watch. Big Sur 11.3 is also available for the MacBooks.

PRIVACY

Among the major changes is to block Facebook among others from abusing the privacy of users.You’ll see a popup when you open an app that wants to access that your unique device ID for advertisers. That pop-up will ask if you want to be tracked and will show why the app wants you to opt-in.

App Tracking Transparency requires apps to get the user’s permission before tracking their data across apps or websites owned by other companies for advertising, or sharing their data with data brokers. Apps can prompt users for permission, and in Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track so they can make changes to their choice at any time.

SIRI

Apple has also improved Siri for those who need to use voice control. iOS 14.5 brings exciting new features to iPhone, including the ability to unlock iPhone with Apple Watch while wearing a face mask, more diverse Siri voices, new privacy controls, skin tone options to better represent couples in emoji, and much more.

With iOS 14.5, Siri no longer has a default voice, allowing users to choose the voice that speaks to them when they first set up their device, and in English, users can now select more diverse voice options. These new Siri voices use Neural Text to Speech technology for an incredibly natural sound. These updates further Apple’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, with products and services that are designed to better reflect our customers and the world.Siri also gains new capabilities with support for Group FaceTime, making it easier to initiate calls with multiple contacts or ask Siri to FaceTime the name of any group in Messages.

In addition to incoming messages, Siri can now announce incoming calls through AirPods or compatible Beats headphones, and supports calling emergency contacts if the iPhone owner needs assistance and is unable to make a call. 

FACEMASKS WATCH AND IPHONE

Following much media coverage, starting today, customers can use their Apple Watch to securely unlock iPhone when attempting to use Face ID while wearing a face mask. With Apple Watch on the wrist, unlocked, and in close proximity to iPhone, users can simply glance at their iPhone and they will receive haptic feedback from Apple Watch, indicating their iPhone has been unlocked. The new feature works with iPhone X and later and Apple Watch Series 3 and later.

ACCIDENT DETECTION AND REPORTING

Maps users in the US and China can now safely and easily report an accident, hazard, or speed check along their route by telling Siri on iPhone or CarPlay. During navigation, users can let Siri know “There’s a crash up ahead” or “There’s something on the road,” or even report that incidents displayed on the map have been cleared. This feature is designed to keep drivers hands-free and focused on the road. Incidents can also be reported or cleared by passengers using “Report an Issue” in Maps.

This public safety is long overdue. At least now motor vehicle collisions can summon ambulances immediately along with the fire department and police.

Maps users can now share their ETA when walking or cycling to let friends and family know what time they might arrive. CarPlay users can initiate the Share ETA feature using new Siri or keyboard controls.

SLOW INSTALL

iOS 14.5 seems to be slower than usual to install. Apple has at least bumped up the basic storage in recent models of phones so that larger iOS versions are not as problematic. The Apple TV 4K is the 64GB version so it should be fine for updates. Limited RAM has been more of a problem for iPad than iPhone or Apple TV. iTunes was unable to update the iPhone 11 but installing it standalone was successful.

Installing Big Sur forced a reboot to install. When rebooted the machine showed a message about optimizing the machine. Evidently there is a new feature to improve performance in the field. Most likely it will monitor use and warn users if the battery needs to be replaced.