Another week, another iOS 15.4 beta, and this fourth developer beta of the software has at least two new features in it.
The most important of these is the start of Apple’s anti-stalking measures, designed to make it harder for people to track you with an AirTag without your knowledge.
The iOS 15.4 beta includes a message on the AirTag setup screen warning users that this is a crime in many parts of the world, and that AirTag is designed so as to be detectable, and to enable law enforcement to identify the owner.
The hope there of course is that the warning will put off any would-be stalkers, but there are also other small tweaks, such as removing the ability to disable Item Safety Alerts, and being clearer about the type of device that was detected by Find My – so you shouldn’t get a vague ‘Unknown Accessory Alert’ anymore.
Next up, the latest iOS 15.4 beta has added a new ‘American’ Siri voice, this being the fifth American option. You can hear a sample of how this sounds in the Tweet below.
iOS 15.4 Beta 4 changes 🧵: Apple adds a 5th American Siri voice with filename ‘Quinn’ pic.twitter.com/HFQZV1oF0IFebruary 22, 2022
This appears to be the only new Siri voice added for any region, but if you’re unhappy with the other four American options then this could be a big deal for you.
Those are the only changes that have been found so far in this new beta, but it’s possible that other tweaks are hiding somewhere, and we’ve already seen plenty of additions in earlier iOS 15.4 betas, such as Universal Control and the ability to properly use Face ID with a mask.
We’d expect a public beta will arrive very soon if you want to get an early look at this stuff for yourself, but even the finished iOS 15.4 release probably isn’t more than a few weeks away, based on past form.
Analysis: a start, but not enough
Apple’s attempts at anti-stalking measures are good to see, but the changes added in this beta don’t go far enough. They don’t really even add new features, with the main change simply being a warning.
The good news is that Apple has a whole lot more planned, including improvements to the system logic for identifying unwanted AirTag trackers, so that those being tracked can be alerted earlier. The company is also working on a precision tracking feature, which would make it easier for users to locate an unknown AirTag.
But there’s no news on exactly when these changes will appear, other than a vague claim of later this year. So we might be waiting a while yet.
- Take a look at the best iPhone apps
Sign up to receive daily breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis, deals and more from the world of tech.
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. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.