For a mid-cycle update, iOS 14.5 brings major new features to the iPhone including Face ID unlocking while wearing a mask, App tracking controls, AirTag support, and more. Here’s a detailed look at what’s new in iOS 14.5, released in April 2021.

How Do I Get iOS 14.5?

iOS 14.5 is available today, April 26, 2021, in the United States. Exact availability will differ by device and region, but it should finish rolling out completely by the end of the week.

You can get iOS 14.5 by updating your iPhone. To do so, open the Settings app and navigate to General > Software Update, then follow the instructions there. We recommend making a full backup of your iPhone before updating, as every new release can bring unexpected bugs with it.

RELATED: How to Update Your iPhone to the Latest iOS Version

Which iPhones are Compatible with iOS 14.5?

iOS 14.5 is compatible with every Apple device that supports iOS 14. This includes the following smartphones:

  • iPod Touch (7th gen)
  • iPhone SE (2016 and 2020)
  • iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS and XS Max
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max

Unlock Your iPhone While Wearing a Mask

Unlock your iPhone using FaceID and an Apple Watch
Apple

In iOS 14.5, you can now unlock your iPhone using FaceID while wearing a mask. The catch? You must be wearing your Apple Watch on your wrist while you do it. This feature works with iPhone X or later and Apple Watch Series 3 or later, and your Watch must be updated to watchOS 7.4 or later for it to work.

RELATED: How to Unlock Your iPhone While Wearing a Mask (Using Apple Watch)

New App Tracking Controls

The iPhone app tracking request pop-up.
Apple

A new security and privacy feature called “App Tracking Transparency” requires apps to get your permission before tracking your data across apps or websites owned by other companies for advertising or data brokering purposes. Apps ask for permission with a pop-up that says “Allow [this app] to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites?” And you can see the App Tracking settings for every app listed in Settings > Privacy.

Siri Enhancements

By default, Siri now includes more diverse voice options, including not defaulting to a female voice. Instead, the user is asked to choose a voice when setting up their iPhone. Additionally, Siri can now place emergency calls when asked, initiate Group FaceTime calls, and announce incoming calls through AirPods and certain Beats headphones.

AirTag Support

iOS 14.5 brings support for Apple’s newly announced AirTag tracking devices to the iPhone. Using the Find My app, you can make your AirTag play a sound to help you find it or keep track of your AirTag’s location using the Find My network.

RELATED: Buy an AirTag, Not a Tile Tracker (Unless You Use Android)

New Emoji

New Emoji in iOS 14.5
Apple

This update incorporates emoji from the Unicode Emoji Version 13.1 release, including “heart on fire,” “face with spiral eyes,” faces with beards, and every variation of couples kissing in various skin tones.

Apple Podcasts Redesign

Apple has redesigned the Apple Podcasts app in iOS 14.5, changing the layout of some interface elements and allowing listeners to save and download episodes that will be automatically added to your Library. New Top Charts, curated collections, and categories appear on the Search tab.

Next-Gen Console Controller Support

In addition to existing PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controller support, your iPhone can now support controllers Sony PlayStation 5 DualSense and Xbox One Series X/S consoles. Perfect for better gaming control on the go.

RELATED: How to Connect a PS4 or Xbox Controller to Your iPhone or iPad

Apple Maps Improvements

Reporting an Incident in Apple Maps
Apple

In iOS 14.5, you can report incidents in Apple Maps, including speed traps, road hazards, and crashes. And you can do it hands-free using Siri by saying phrases like “There’s a crash up ahead” or “There’s something on the road.”

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You can also share your ETA with family or friends when walking or cycling. CarPlay users can also now share ETA using an on-screen interface.

Additional Shortcut Actions

Three new actions have been added to the Shortcuts app: “Take Screenshot,” “Orientation Lock,” which controls the screen orientation lock, and “Voice & Data mode,” which lets you switch between cellular data modes like 4G, 5G, and more.

Choose a Default Music Player for Siri Requests

In iOS 14.5, you can choose which music app Siri uses to play music. When you ask Siri to play an artist or song (As in, “Hey Siri, play The Beatles”), Siri will pop up a list of installed Music players, and you can choose among them.

Additional Improvements

Five Apple iPhones running iOS 14.
Apple

In addition to the changes above, iOS 14.5 includes many smaller changes worth noting. Here are a few of them:

  • The Reminders app now lets your sort by title, priority, due date, or creation date. You can also print reminder lists.
  • iPhone 12 models receive Dual Sim support for better 5G connections and enhancements to improve battery life while using 5G.
  • The accessibility feature Voice Control now supports Australian and Canadian English. It also includes Spanish dialects from Mexico, Spain, and the United States.
  • Translation playback speed in the Translate app can be changed with a long press on the play button.
  • Apple Fitness+ users can now stream audio and video to televisions and streaming devices that support AirPlay 2 (such as Roku players).
  • The Apple News+ tab in Apple News has been redesigned.
  • City charts in Apple Music show what’s popular in major cities across the world. You can also share lyrics in Messages, Instagram Stories, or Facebook.

There are bound to be more changes than have been listed here, so keep an eye out for new features, check out Apple’s official blog post, and have fun!

Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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