Apple releases iOS 14.5 with easier unlocking with a mask, Siri improvements, and better privacy

Apple has begun rolling out one of its biggest “point” updates in years. The new iOS 14.5 is now rolling out to supported iPhones everywhere, and it’s chock full of new features like an easier process of unlocking your phone while wearing a mask, Siri improvements, and better control over your privacy. Most of these features also carry over to iPadOS 14.5 which is also rolling out.

With this update, Apple makes it easier to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask thanks to the Apple Watch. So long as you’re wearing your watch (which needs to be running watchOS 7.4, by the way) and have unlocked both devices previously, Face ID will be smart enough to tell when a portion of your face is being blocked and will still allow you to get into your phone, no passcode required. Apple notes you’ll need an Apple Watch Series 3 or later for the feature to work.

Siri improvements are also a staple of iOS 14.5. During setup, Apple will no longer default to a female voice, allowing you to select any of Siri’s other voices while setting up the rest of your iPhone. Siri can now also FaceTime multiple contacts at once or call a group in Messages. In addition, Siri can now announce incoming messages and calls through AirPods and select Beats headphones, as well as dial emergency contacts if you can’t physically do so.

Undoubtedly, the biggest new feature Apple will be touting is its App Tracking Transparency. Through iOS 14.5, apps will be forced to ask your permission before tracking your data across websites owned by other companies. You’ll have control over which apps you grant permission to through prompts and the Settings app. The company created the following video to demonstrate the feature.

iOS 14.5 also includes over 200 new emojis, the ability to report an incident through Apple Maps, support for Apple’s AirTags, a new Podcasts app, and redesigned News Plus tab in Apple News. You can also use the latest Xbox and PlayStation controllers, access 5G data while using Dual SIMs, and more.