iOS 14.5 is the next version of iOS, and while it won’t be as big an update as iOS 15, which isn’t expected to land in finished form until September, it’s still set to add a bunch of new features and improvements.
We know this because iOS 14.5 is already in beta, so developers and members of the public have turned up all sorts of interesting additions. Some of these are handy upgrades, like an alternative to Face ID that lets you unlock your iPhone by wearing an Apple Watch.
iOS 14.5 beta 3 has now arrived, and it brings in a new feature that allows you to put third-party items in the Find My app on your iPhone. This will be coming to your iPhone in the final update, but when will that be?
Below, we’ve highlighted the four best things we’re expecting in iOS 14.5. It’s worth noting that there’s a chance some of these things won’t turn up, as occasionally features in beta don’t make it to the finished release, but we’d certainly expect most of them.
We’ve also included information on when iOS 14.5 is likely to land, so that those who don’t want to brave the beta will know how long they have to wait.
Previously, we believed iOS 14.5 would bring the ability to change your default music player on your iPhone. Apple has now clarified that isn't the case, and instead it'll be using Siri to learn your listening habits.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next upgrade for your iPhone
- When is it out? Possibly in March 2021
- How much will it cost? It will be free
iOS 14.5 release date and beta
There’s no news on exactly when iOS 14.5 might launch, but we have reason to believe it’s coming very soon.
There are a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, it’s already available in both public and developer betas, which suggests it would probably arrive soon. But secondly and more significantly, Apple has launched a new 14.x version every calendar month since the launch of iOS 14, and iOS 14.4 landed in January, so we could see iOS 14.5 this month (March).
That said, iOS 14.4 started rolling out at the end of January, and the actual gap between new versions is over a month on average, so it might be towards the end March by the time we get iOS 14.5.
Expect to hear an exact date for the rollout before it arrives on your phone, but it's likely to be a quick turnaround between us hearing the new software upgrade is out and it actually landing on your iPhone.
Five things iOS 14.5 will bring to your iPhone
We’re expecting a bunch of updates as part of iOS 14.5, but below we’ve listed the five most interesting ones that we’ve heard about so far.
1. Mask support for Face ID
Face ID was great until we all started wearing masks, but with iOS 14.5 Apple is making it great again, at least for Apple Watch owners.
That’s because as long as your Apple Watch is unlocked, you’ll now be able to use it to authenticate your identity on your phone, meaning you can simply raise your phone as if to use Face ID, and it will unlock, with a buzz on your wrist to tell you your watch has done the heavy lifting.
However, while this will work for unlocking your iPhone, it doesn’t currently work for other things that rely on Face ID, such as authenticating purchases. Still, it's a handy workaround for users who have had facial recognition blocked when wearing face masks – and given the feature arrived in iOS 14.5 beta 2 for developers, we'd expect this to land in the full release.
2. A change to your music players
Previously, we'd thought this change meant that you'd be able to change your default music player in iOS 14.5. A new update from Apple has confirmed that it won't work in the exact way we had expected though.
A new feature will allow you to better use your own choice of music players rather than your iPhone defaulting to Apple Music, but it isn't a specific change you can make within a Settings menu.
Instead, Siri will use its learning of how you listen to music, audiobooks and podcasts. When you ask it to play a specific piece of audio, it'll then ask you where you want to listen to it.
Then it'll gently integrate that into your future listening, and that likely means that in the future your iPhone will learn you listen to music on Spotify and podcasts on the Apple Podcasts app.
3. App Tracking Transparency
iOS 14.5 is also expected to include a big new privacy feature called App Tracking Transparency. This will require apps to get your permission before sharing your activity and data with websites and apps owned by other companies.
This sharing of data is often used for adverts, with Facebook for example making big use of it, but with App Tracking Transparency you’ll be able to opt out if you’d prefer, and Apple is insisting that users still have full access to apps even if they do opt out of this.
4. PS5 and Xbox Series X controller support
If you’re a gamer then you’ll probably appreciate the addition of support for PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers as part of iOS 14.5. The Verge reports that this feature has been found in the public beta, and it should be a handy upgrade for anyone who owns one of these consoles, especially those who also make use of Apple Arcade.
Arguably this would be even more useful for gaming on an Apple TV, and while the feature isn’t yet confirmed for tvOS, we’d expect it will soon be added to that too.
5. Crowdsourced alerts in Apple Maps
Many of us aren’t really going anywhere at the moment, but for those who do have much use for Apple Maps, there’s a potentially handy new feature in the iOS 14.5 beta.
MacRumors reports that you can now report accidents, hazards, and speed checks on your journey, and presumably if enough people flag the same thing a warning about it will appear on Apple Maps – though with so many people staying at home and the feature still being in beta, it’s not getting enough use for that to have been confirmed as far as we can see.