That’s right, iOS 14.5 has dragged on for so long at this point that Apple is actually undermining its release! This year has been interesting in terms of iOS development. The fifth edition of iOS 14 so far has the longest beta cycle in any release, except the original iOS 14 beta.
But take heart, although it seems that iOS 14.5 may never be released at this time, it is not the longest beta ever (that part goes to the original release of iOS 5 with over 120 days, iOS 14.5 just exceeds 60). Nor is it the most release point ever (yet – iOS 13.7 is still the winner there). So that could be worse.
That actually shows how efficient Apple’s developers have been in the past year. Beta versions of iOS 14 were fast, usually lasting about 40 days. Given how much they’ve crammed into this release, I’m willing to loosen them up a bit.
Beta iOS 14.5 lasts so long that at this point we actually see things fall off the list because they were released outside of the iOS update cycle! The Find My app had an interesting tab for Subjects added at the beginning of the beta.
Today, however, Apple went further and released that feature as a separate app update. This was probably done in coordination with Chipol (bluetooth tracker), VanMoof (incredibly cool e-bike) and Belkin (headphones) who announced compatible products today.
That’s not to say this release isn’t full of features yet!
- New American English Siri Voices! You can now choose between additional female and two male voices.
- Automatic battery recalibration. If iOS determines that your device has an unexpected discharge or is not under optimal performance, it will try to recalibrate its battery life algorithm to make up for it.
- Dual-SIM 5G is now available.
- Now you can give Siri instructions on which app you want to assign to specific media such as podcasts and songs. This isn’t the “default app” feature we lost (including me) to be, but the step is in the right direction.
- Emojis! Lots of emojis. More precisely, 217 of them.
- Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch (click here to see how).
- You can now swipe to add songs to your queue in Apple Music.
- The Shortcuts app has several new tricks for enabling and disabling navigation locks, changing mobile modes, and screen capture.
- Now, when you run an app that collects your activity data or tracks you around your iDevice, you have the option to ban that intrusion (as you should). Some companies, like Facebook, which have made money by selling activity data that consumers have unknowingly agreed to share in legal contracts that no one ever reads, are pretty scouted. Personally, I fully support it because it gives people who may not have understood what they are agreeing to the opportunity to change their mind.
- The new home screen of the software update (with the current version of iOS, as well as the notification when you last checked the software update) is a little tweaked to remove the green check.
- Testing on an iPad? iPadOS now has a horizontal boot screen when your iPad is connected to the magic keyboard.
- For some operators like T-Mobile there is a switch for 5G only (but use it only if you absolutely know what you are doing).
- Dual SIM support worldwide is available with this release. This means you can get 5G coverage when available even if both SIM cards are activated.
- You can now add Apple Music “Made for You” mixes to your Music app library. The Music app also now includes the exact release date of albums and tracks. I scrolling metadata for the currently playing lock screen widget is back!
- The Podcasts app also enjoys love with a redesign similar to the Music app. This is most evident on the search page. Also, tapping a podcast entry will take you to the podcast details page, instead of starting playback immediately (there is now a dedicated smaller button for this). It is extremely useful when trying to find a specific episode for a podcast with a long title. Each podcast also gets new headers in the library to really make them shine.
- A fan of Apple News? There is now a special search tab in the News app.
- Finally, you can sort the expiration date of the reminder, the creation date, the expiration date, or the manual sort of your choice in the Reminders app. You can now also print reminders.
- Do you have a PS5 or XBox X series? Good for you. Now these controllers will work with your iDevice.
- Great news for those of you with a smart TV! Apple Fitness + now has support for AirPlay 2. You won’t see your live Apple Watch data like when you’re connected via Apple TV, but that’s better than no support at all.
- Map application guides achieve a huge glow in iOS 14.5 with colored images and headers and much more polished content.
- The type on Siri no longer pulls you out of your current location when called, just as it does when you are not using the type interface. Good consistency.
- Responding to a message with Siri has the same type of upgrade, maintaining context wherever you are when called, instead of dragging you to the gray screen.
What is broken / what is fixed?
There are no special notes for iOS 14.5 Public Beta 7 in the official release notes. For me, that means the release is ready for release, they just stick to it for business reasons.
It is possible that we will see the golden main edition next week (because, obviously, the rumor for the press on April 6 never happened). With the release of the updated Find My app to the general public, the culprit we all suspected of the delay, AirTags, is probably back on the shelf.
With the AirTags seemingly dead, rumors are still circulating about a new iPad launched this month. When or if this happens, it is possible that it is which prevents the release of iOS 14.5. At this point, I don’t hope to see any coordinated media event and iOS presentation.
All in all, we live in uncertain times and Apple has proven in the past year all but unpredictable. When everything arrives this week arrives, I’ll let you know!