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iOS 14.6 release date, news and the new features the update brings to your iPhone

iPhone 12 Pro
(Image credit: Future)

iOS 14.6 is the latest operating system update you can get for your iPhone, and it's available to download now, bringing with it a handful of new features and 43 security fixes.

That latter point makes it worth downloading immediately, but from Apple Podcasts Subscriptions to Apple Card Family and beyond, there's quite a lot of interesting new stuff here too, even though this update isn't quite as substantial as iOS 14.5 was, and is a lot smaller than iOS 15 will be.

Below, we’ll talk you through all the key features of the iOS 14.6 update, along with how to download it and which iPhones it's compatible with.

 Cut to the chase 

  • What is it? The latest iOS update
  • When is it out? It's available now
  • How much will it cost? It’s free

iOS 14.6 release date and compatibility

iOS 14.6 was released on May 24, and it's available for all iPhones from the iPhone 6S onwards. If you have any version of iOS 14 on your phone then you can also get this. For iPad users there's iPadOS 14.6, which is basically the same.

You should get a prompt on your device to download it, but if not you can head to Settings > General > Software update to find it. And if the update still isn't visible, check back later - it's possible some devices won't quite have access to it yet at the time of writing.

iOS 14.6 features

As well as fixes for 43 security vulnerabilities, iOS 14.6 includes a range of new features and improvements, and the key ones can be found below.

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions design

(Image credit: Apple / Future)

Apple announced Apple Podcasts Subscriptions ahead of iOS 14.6, so we knew what to expect, but it's available now.

This – as the name suggests – is a subscription service for podcasts, one which provides ad-free listening, early access to content, and exclusive content. However it’s not one single subscription, rather you’ll be able to subscribe to individual podcasts and creators.

Pricing - and exactly what will be offered with a subscription - will therefore vary based on what you choose to subscribe to.

At the time of writing, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Tenderfoot TV, Sony Music Entertainment, and more already offer subscriptions on the service.

Apple Card Family

Apple Card Family was also announced ahead of iOS 14.6, but is now available (though only initially in the US). This allows two people to co-own an Apple card, with equal impact on their credit ratings.

It also allows parents to share their Apple Card with their kids, while keeping in control with spending limits and other tools. All of the spending on an Apple Card Family account can be tracked on an iPhone and there's a single monthly bill.

Lossless audio for Apple Music

apple music

(Image credit: Apple)

Technically this hasn't arrived as part of iOS 14.6, but the update has paved the way for it being switched on sometime in June.

This feature brings Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos to Apple Music, along with the ability to listen to more than 75 million songs in lossless quality (up to 24 bit at 192 kHz).

This is a big upgrade and it comes to Apple Music subscribers at no extra cost.

New podcast options

The Podcasts app has seen some small but useful changes with iOS 14.6, with the addition of ‘Mark All Episodes as Played’, ‘Mark All Episodes as Unplayed’ and ‘Remove Downloads’ options.

Those first two seem in part aimed at fixing a problem added by iOS 14.5, as that update made it so that every episode of a show was shown in your library by default, with the only way to remove them being to manually mark unwanted episodes as played, and then hit the ‘Hide Played Episodes’ option.

Updates for AirTags

Apple AirTags

(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you lose an AirTag or another compatible device and you set it to Lost Mode in the Find My app, then previously you could only leave a phone number for anyone who finds the device to contact you on, but with iOS 14.6 the option to share an email address instead has been added.

Voice Control changes

One smaller feature that will be very useful to some is the ability to unlock your iPhone after a restart using just your voice if you use Voice Control.

Faster Shortcuts

One upgrade that wasn't announced but that users are reporting is a massive speed boost to Shortcuts.

Many are claiming that their Shortcuts now resolve in less than half the time they took before, and while that's more noticeable with long Shortcuts that take numerous seconds to be carried out, it should still make a difference even with simple Shortcuts that resolve in a second or two.

  • The next big update will be iOS 15
James Rogerson
James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps.