Apple has updated iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4, which expands ‘Find My’ feature support to third-party accessories, improves HomePod mini handoff, allows the camera to recognize smaller QR codes, fixes bugs, and addresses some potentially potent security flaws.
New in the ‘Find My’ app is ‘Find My Items,’ which lets third-party accessory manufacturers use Apple’s device network to track down items. So far, only one product – a new version of Belkin's true wireless earbuds that will be released soon – is known to support the feature, but more could become compatible in the future.
Apple’s improved the handoff experience between iPhones with the U1 ultra wideband chip and HomePod mini – the latter can now better sense the direction and distance of the former, and your iPhones will vibrate with greater intensity the closer they get to the HomePod mini until the handoff is complete. Neat!
There’s also another new security feature, but only for iPhone 12 models: if the phone detects that its rear lenses have been swapped out with non-Apple versions, it’ll alert the user. This should help anyone worried about sending their phone in for servicing and unknowingly having their valuable camera lenses switched for inferior look-alikes.
There are several other improvements and fixes, including a Direct Touch feature in Accessibility that was previously released, but now works as planned, in the update.
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Other iOS/iPadOS 14.4 updates: security flaws, fixed
The iOS 14.4 / iPadOS 14.4 update also fixes three security flaws – one in the OS kernel and two in WebKit – though it’s uncertain if any have been or were currently being actively exploited.
While Apple didn’t indicate how many users had been affected, the company’s admission of the vulnerability to iPhone and iPad users is rare enough, as TechCrunch pointed out. Device owners are advised to update as soon as they can.
Otherwise, the update included a variety of bug fixes for issues ranging from image artifacts in HDR photos taken with iPhone 12 Pro, Fitness widget not updating information, keyboard issues, News app audio stories not resuming after interruptions in CarPlay, and more.
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David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.