Apple last week launched the first public beta of its upcoming iOS 14.5 update, allowing iPhone users to try out new features before an official launch.
A major talking point of this update has been Apple’s App Tracking Transparency capability, which will require apps like Facebook to request permission from users before tracking their activity across other apps and websites.
While this will certainly provide more peace of mind for users concerned about how their privacy is protected, there are also a number of other features aimed at enhancing the everyday user experience.
One noteworthy change is the ability to set third-party apps as the default option for opening certain files or links.
iPhone users will now able to choose their preferred app for music playback, accessing emails, and browsing the web, among other actions.
As several Reddit users have noted, the feature appears to be integrated with Apple’s digital assistant Siri, at least for music playback.
These users have found that Siri will now play music on their preferred service without them having to specify the name of the app to be used each time.
Face unlock with mask
Another handy new feature is the ability to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask by using a connected Apple Watch.
This comes after users complained about having to remove their mask every time they wanted Face ID to recognise them.
9to5Mac listed several of the new features and changes they were able to identify in the beta thus far, including:
- PlayStation 5 DualSense and Xbox Series X|S controller support.
- New Software Update screen.
- Option to switch to 5G Standalone (SA).
- Dual SIM 5G support.
- “Made for You” section available in the Apple Music Library.
- Exact release date of tracks in Apple Music.
- Dedicated Search tab in the News app.
- Enhanced sorting for Reminders by various categories.
- Print option added to Reminders.
- AirPlay2 support for Apple Fitness+.
- Redesigned guides in Maps app.
- Major Podcast app redesign.
- Type to Siri interface now overlays over current UI.
How to install the beta
Those who want to try out the public beta will have to enrol for Apple’s beta software programme first.
Be warned, however, beta updates can still be very buggy and cause issues, so it is not recommended that you do this on your primary device.
If you are willing to risk it, you can follow the steps below:
- Visit beta.apple.com.
- Select “Sign Up”, or “Sign In” if you are already registered.
- Enter your details and proceed to the next page.
- Make sure iOS is selected near the top and select “enrol your iOS device”.
- Swipe down and hit “Download profile”.
- Tap “Allow” and then select “Close”.
- Go to your iPhone’s Settings and tap “Profile Downloaded” at the top.
- Select “Install” every time it pops up.
- Hit “Restart” to finalise the installation.
You will now be able to see the iOS 14.5 beta update available to download and install under Settings > General > Software Update.
If you prefer to tread on the safe side, the final version of iOS 14.5 is expected to roll out to iPhone users later in February.