Apple has released the first beta for iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 to developers. The beta features a number of new features which include Face ID unlock while wearing a mask and Apple Watch, 5G in dual-SIM mode, app tracking transparency controls, support for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X controllers, and more.
Not all of these are surprising new features. 5G in dual-SIM mode was expected to arrive in a future software update ever since iPhone 12 was launched, app tracking transparency controls have been in the news for some time, and support for gaming controllers has also been in the works. However, the best new feature in this update seems to be the ability to unlock an iPhone with Face ID, while wearing a mask as long as you have your Apple Watch on. This is going to make countless people happy during this pandemic when wearing a mask is mandatory.
iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 beta: Face ID unlock with mask and Apple Watch, 5G in dual SIM mode, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X controller support
In its official release notes for iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5, Apple has only listed a few known issues related to CarPlay, and video output from some iPad models. The only new feature in the release notes is a privacy-focused attribution model for add clicks:
Apps and websites can now get privacy-preserving attribution for ad clicks that navigate user to websites.
Although Apple has not mentioned other more interesting new features in the release notes, we have been able to get information from folks like Rene Ritchie and Joanna Stern. Rene shared a complete list of all the new features in iOS 14.5 developer beta on Twitter, which we have already covered above:
Regarding iPhone Unlock with Apple Watch while wearing a mask, the details have been shared on Twitter by Joanna Stern. From the looks of it, it seems like a seamless solution, however, through the use of an Apple Watch, which might still be a deal-breaker for many.
It includes a new feature: Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch while wearing a mask. If you are wearing a mask and have an unlocked Apple Watch on your wrist, you can unlock FaceID on your iPhone.
— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) February 1, 2021
We have already covered App Tracking Transparency in detail before. Apple’s senior director of Global Privacy, Jane Horvath, had announced that the update will be released in Spring, which means we know that iOS 14.5 will release to all users by the end of March. With this update, apps will have to get user consent before they can track them across apps and websites. Facebook is already working on a pop-up to show to its users on iPhones to convince them to provide tracking consent. Users will also be able to selectively enable to disable tracking access for apps that they trust.
5G in dual SIM mode was a much-awaited feature as users who were using dual SIMs on iPhone 12 could not use 5G on either one of them and their data speeds would fall back to LTE. With this new update, users will not have to sacrifice their connection speed to use dual SIMs.
Lastly, support for next-generation game console controllers is a welcome addition to iOS 14.5, however, support for Nintendo’s controllers is still missing.
We are still installing iOS 14.5 developer beta on our iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPad Pro and will share our discoveries soon.