Apple updates Find My app, promotes 3rd-party tile tracker with AirTags MIA

The news: A new version of Find My is out now for devices running iOS 14.3 or later, offering new functionality for 3rd-party accessories and devices.

  • Apple has formally announced the Find My network, a “crowdsourced network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that use Bluetooth wireless technology to detect missing devices or items nearby, and report their approximate location back to the owner”
  • The frist “Works with Apple Find My” products include Belkin’s SOUNDFORM Freedom earbuds, Chipolo’s ONE Spot tracker and VanMoof’s new S3 and X3 e-bikes

Our take: This is the strangest press release from Apple yet. We know they’ve been working on AirTags, an tile-like tracker, and updated AirPods. But in their big unveil for the Find My network…Apple instead promoted 3rd-party earbuds from Belkin and an item finder from Chipolo (who I’ve never heard of). Why would Apple take this opportunity to specifically promote 3rd-party accessories instead of unveiling their own? It seems to suggest AirTags wouldn’t be coming soon.

But then there’s this:

Today Apple is also announcing a draft specification for chipset manufacturers that will be released later this spring. With this, third-party device makers will be able to take advantage of Ultra Wideband technology in U1-equipped Apple devices, creating a more precise, directionally aware experience when nearby.

We also know that AirTags have a U1 chip inside. And Apple says those U1 specs for 3rd-party manufacturers are coming later this spring. This strongly suggests that AirTags are coming in spring…Apple just doesn’t want another company to beat them to the punch with U1 functionality inside.

If the launch of AirTags wasn’t clear before, this adds even more fuel to the fire.

Tim Cook says iOS 14.5 is coming in ‘just a few weeks’

The news: Tim Cook has confirmed that iOS 14.5 is coming soon, as heard first on the Sway podcast.

  • When questioned about when iOS 14.5 is coming, Cook says “It’s just a few weeks now,” which points to a release in late April or early May
  • iOS 14.5 includes new emoji, ‘Mask ID,’ new Siri voices and more

Our take: Very rare to hear news from the mouth of Cook himself. I’d bet this is coming alongside those new Apple products that seem to be just around the corner.

iOS 14.5 beta 6 released with new Siri voices & more

The news: Apple’s latest iOS 14.5 beta release makes significant changes to Siri, as first reported by TechCrunch.

  • Siri no longer defaults to female: You’ll have the ability to choose which voice you want on setup
  • There are also two fresh Siri voices that “sound pretty fantastic”
  • iOS 14.5 also includes ‘Mask ID,’ new emojis and more

What’s new?

  • Video showing the new Siri voices
  • New battery recalibration tool for iPhone (via 9to5Mac)

What’s new in iOS/iPadOS 14.4.2?

The news: Just over two weeks following the release of iOS 14.4.1, Apple has already dropped iOS 14.4.2.

  • The update contains important security updates, according to the release notes (see below)
  • Apple is currently testing iOS 14.5 with developers and public beta testers: new features include ‘Mask ID,’ fresh emojis and AirTags support

What’s new?

Apple’s only referenced change in the update is a fix for a WebKit vulnerability that may have been exploited:

WebKit

Available for: iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation)

Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to universal cross site scripting. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.

Description: This issue was addressed by improved management of object lifetimes.

CVE-2021-1879: Clement Lecigne of Google Threat Analysis Group and Billy Leonard of Google Threat Analysis Group

Apple releases iOS 14.4.1, watchOS 7.3.2 & macOS 11.2.3 with security updates

The news: Apple released a slew of security updates for iOS, watchOS and macOS on Monday morning.

  • So…what’s new in these updates? Apple says “this update provides important security updates and is recommended for all users”
  • Specifically, Apple has fixed a WebKit vulnerability that was seemingly pretty important

WebKit

Available for: iPhone 6s and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation)

Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution

Description: A memory corruption issue was addressed with improved validation.

CVE-2021-1844: Clément Lecigne of Google’s Threat Analysis Group, Alison Huffman of Microsoft Browser Vulnerability Research

Our take: Looks like these updates were pushed out due to a potential security risk, but there isn’t anything else new to see here. Updating simply nets you better security on your device, which is always recommended.

What’s new in iOS 14.5 beta 3?

The news: Apple just released the third beta of iOS 14.5 to developers with a number of tweaks and changes.

What’s new?

  • Find My gains a new Items tab that was previously hidden, suggesting AirTags launch is imminent
  • New bookmark button (and separate section for them) in Podcasts app (via Steve Moser)
  • Apple News newsletter feature can now include the latest issues of magazines you follow (via Steve Moser)
  • Exposure Notifications app added, but currently hidden from user view
  • Apple Card will soon be able to be shared with family members (via 9to5Mac)

What’s new in iOS 14.5 beta 2? New emojis, Music app upgrades & more

The news: Apple released the second beta of the major iOS 14.5 update on Tuesday morning at 10am PST.

  • The latest beta 2 update weighs in at 677.5MB on iPhone 12
  • Beta 1 included ‘Mask ID,’ dual-SIM support for 5G, default music app selection and so much more

What’s new?

  • iPhone 12 ‘green tint’ issues appears to have finally be addressed
  • 217 new emoji: clouded smiley, heart on fire and exhaling smiley headline the update (via Emojipedia)
  • Music app upgrades include new pop-over menus and swipe-options
  • Checkmark removed from iOS and watchOS Software Update presence panel
  • On iPadOS when using a Smart Folio, the microphone is now muted when the product is closed (via MacRumors)

What’s new in iOS 14.5 beta 1? ‘Mask ID,’ 5G dual-SIM & UI updates

The news: Following the release of of iOS 14.5 beta 1 to developers, here is everything that’s new.

What’s new?

  • Face ID now works with a mask on if you have an Apple Watch paired to your iPhone
  • New sorting options in Reminders and the ability to print in-app
  • Type to Siri now has a compact UI in line with other iOS 14 features
  • Landscape boot screen on iPadOS
  • Emoji search now available on iPadOS
  • Updated UI in Software Update preference panel
  • Exact release date is now shown under the track list in Music
  • New ‘Made For You’ section in Music app, but doesn’t seem to work properly yet
  • Music data now scrolls in the media player once again!
  • 5G Dual-SIM now enabled worldwide
  • PS5 and Xbox Series S/X controllers now fully supported
  • Podcasts app features new show/episode UI and updated search page with categories displayed
  • Apple Maps collections get an updated design
  • Dedicated Search tab added in News
  • Send arrow in Messages is now more faded prior to any character input

iOS 14.4 is releasing soon, this is what’s new

The news: Apple seeded the release candidate (RC) version of iOS 14.4 to developers on Thursday, suggesting a broader public release will be happening soon. We’ve posted the full changelog below.

Changelog

iOS 14.4 includes the following improvements for your iPhone:

  • Smaller QR codes can be recognized by Camera
  • Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications
  • Notifications for when the camera on your iPhone is unable to be verified as a new, genuine Apple camera in iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

This release also fixes the following issues:

  • Image artifacts could appear in HDR photos taken with iPhone 12 Pro
  • Fitness widget may not display updated Activity data
  • Typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear in the keyboard
  • The keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages
  • Audio stories from the News app in CarPlay may not resume after being paused for spoken directions or Siri
  • Enabling Switch Control in Accessibility may prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:
https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

iOS 14.4 beta 2 released to developers

The news: Apple just released the second beta of iOS 14.4 beta 2 to registered developers.

  • iOS 14.4 beta 1 was first released in December 2020
  • Developing…

What’s new?

  • Incoming…

iOS 14.4 beta 1 released to developers

The news: After releasing iOS 14.3 on Monday, Apple followed up with a new major beta release for developers on Wednesday morning.

  • The update is 4.55GB on my iPhone 12, one of the larger updates in recent history
  • Build number is 18D5030e
  • Developing…

What’s new

  • Some modem firmware updates on iPhone 8 (6.41.00 from 6.21.0) and iPhone 12 (1.31.03-5 on iOS 14.3, now is 1.41.00) confirmed so far, source