iOS 15.5 reportedly includes support for unreleased Macs

The rumor: While iOS 15.5 might look like a minor update on the surface, compatibility for some new products is also there, according to Mark Gurman (86.4% accurate, via Power On).

Sam’s take: With many details about what we’re supposed to get at WWDC so scant, I would bet that Apple has something up their sleeve. Remember how the Mac Studio was almost a complete surprise at the March 8 event? Listen, all I’m saying is that development of M2 Macs has been ramping up, and Apple has an event on June 6.

Apple shares iOS 15.5 changelog ahead of public release coming soon

The news: A new iOS update should be coming your way sometime soon, as Apple just seeded the release candidate (RC) version to developers after weeks of beta testing.

Here’s what new in iOS 15.5, per Apple:

  • Wallet now enables Apple Cash customers to send and request money from their Apple Cash card
  • Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones
  • Fixes an issue where home automations, triggered by people arriving or leaving, may fail

Not mentioned in the changelog, but also coming:

Sam’s take: Another major-sounding iOS update, another suspiciously empty changelog from Apple. It seems like there might be something else that could be enabled post-launch, like that new Apple Music app or even Tap to Pay. In the meantime, the update is pretty small with only some minor Wallet changes.

iOS 15.4.1 released with fix for battery drain and more

The news: Apple just dropped a new, minor update to iOS 15 following the massive iOS 15.4 release a few weeks ago.

Here’s what’s new…

  • Battery may drain more quickly than expected after updating to iOS 15.4
  • Braille devices may become unresponsive while navigating text or displaying an alert
  • Made for iPhone hearing devices may lose connection within some third-party apps

Sam’s take: I wasn’t affected by any of these issues, but I am surprised that Apple specifically called out battery drain here. This is usually something users complain about and that Apple does address…but rarely publicly. Probably a good idea to update if you think you were affected by any of these bugs.

Apple finally launches digital ID cards in first US state

The news: After announcing the feature many months ago at WWDC 2021, the rollout of digital ID cards in iOS 15 has officially begun.

  • Users in Arizona can now add their Driver’s License or State ID to Apple Wallet…but there’s a catch: you can only use it at TSA security checkpoints in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as of right now
  • Many states are to follow: Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio and the territory of Puerto Rico along with Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah

Sam’s take: I’m incredibly excited for this to roll out nationwide, but is anyone else confused as to why this is so limited in its current state? Listen, I just flew over the weekend, and it would’ve been incredible to use this instead of my physical card. But I had assumed that digital ID integration meant this would work in most or all case scenarios where you’d need to present your ID. Not only at TSA in an airport… I have no doubt it’ll expand to more interactions in the future, but right now most folks won’t ever be able to use this.

Apple releases iOS 15.4 update: this is what’s new

The news: Apple just dropped the biggest update to iOS 15 yet with a plethora of new features and changes.

New features…

  • Face ID while wearing a mask option on iPhone 12 and newer
  • Apple Pay and password autofill in apps and Safari can be used with Face ID while wearing a mask
  • New emoji including faces, hand gestures, and household objects are now available in emoji keyboard
  • Handshake emoji allows you to choose separate skin tones for each hand
  • SharePlay sessions can be initiated directly from supported apps
  • Siri can provide time and date information while offline on iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone 11 or newer
  • Siri now includes an additional voice, expanding the diversity of options
  • EU Digital COVID Certificate support in Health enables you to download and store verifiable versions of COVID-19 vaccination, lab results, and recovery records
  • COVID-19 vaccination cards in Apple Wallet now support the EU Digital COVID Certificate format

General enhancements…

  • Safari webpage translation adds support for Italian and Chinese (Traditional)
  • Podcasts app adds episode filters for seasons, played, unplayed, saved, or downloaded episodes
  • iCloud custom email domains can be managed from Settings
  • News offers enhanced discovery of audio content in the Today feed and Audio tab
  • Camera in keyboard can be used to add text to Notes and Reminders
  • Shortcuts now supports adding, removing, or querying tags with Reminders
  • Emergency SOS settings have changed to use Call with Hold for all users. Call with 5 Presses is still available as an option in Emergency SOS settings
  • Close-up in Magnifier uses the ultra-wide camera on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max to help you see small objects
  • Saved passwords can now include your own notes in Settings

And the bug fixes…

  • Keyboard may insert period between typed numbers
  • News widgets in Today View may not open articles when tapped
  • Photos and videos may not sync to iCloud Photo Library
  • Speak Screen Accessibility feature may quit unexpectedly within the Books app
  • Live Listen may not turn off when switched off in Control Center

Sam’s take: This is unequivocally the most impactful update since iOS 15 released last September. The new Face ID unlock while wearing a mask is game changing…although ironically late as mask mandates are relaxing in many places around the world. But the new emoji are fun as ever and Siri has a slick new gender-neutral voice.

Apple just announced a new voice for Siri, listen to it here

The news: Included in the latest beta of iOS 15.4 is a fifth American English Siri voice, Apple confirmed to Axios.

  • Axios reports that the new voice “is less explicitly male- or female-sounding” and “was recorded by a member of the LGBTQ+ community”
  • The new voice, called Voice 5, is the most notable change included in iOS 15.4 beta 4, which released to developers and public beta testers earlier this week

Sam’s take: Inclusivity is important to me, and even though there is still a more feminine aire to Voice 5, it’s certainly more neutral than the 4 voices we have currently. It’s wild that this new voice was announced just after I spent some time talking with Jon Prosser about Siri and gendered voice options on our podcast the other day…

First voice is new, second voices are the existing options

Apple releases iOS 15.3.1 with accessibility and security updates

The news: Apple just dropped a new update for iPhones and iPads capable of running iOS 15 with some “important security updates” and more.

  • Apple says that iOS 15.3.1 fixes an issue that caused Braille display to stop responding…and cites security fixes too
  • This is the first minor update since iOS 15.3 was released a few weeks back with almost nothing new

Our take: Again, nothing major in today’s update. For some reason, Apple is really saving everything significant for iOS 15.4, which is set to drop in March.

Apple announces game-changing iPhone payments feature

The news: Later this year, your iPhone will be able to accept credit cards and transform into a mobile payment terminal…with no additional hardware.

  • Apple has announced Tap to Pay on iPhone, which works with Apple Pay, contactless credit cards and “other digital wallets” to natively accept payments on-device
  • Powering the experience initially will be payment processors Stripe or Shopify Point of Sale
  • Tap to Pay on iPhone will be available on iPhone XS or later

Our take: Great scoop from Mark Gurman on this a few weeks ago. As I said before, this is game-changing. Anyone with a recent iPhone will now be able to, overnight, accept payments from essentially anyone privately and securely. I love the future present.

What’s new in iOS 15.4 beta 1? Mask ID, new emoji & more

The news: Apple just released the first beta of iOS 15.4 to developers…and it’s already a bigger update than all of iOS 15.3 that released earlier this week.

What’s new?

  • Face ID now works with masks and different glasses…even if you don’t own an Apple Watch
  • New emoji including melting face, low battery and interracial handshakes (via Emojipedia)
  • iOS 15.4 also introduces a new keyboard brightness option in Control Center (via MacRumors)
  • New Apple Card balance widget
  • iCloud Keychain now supports notes for logins
  • PS5 controllers now have adaptive trigger support
  • EU users can add their digital COVID-19 vaccination to the wallet app (via MacRumors)

Apple releases iOS 15.3…but there aren’t any new features

The news: Apple just dropped their first major software update of the year…but the release is a big update in version number only.

  • The only notable change in iOS 15.3 is a fix for bug in Safari where your browsing history and Google ID could be incidentally leaked to websites you visited
  • The bug was first noted by FingerprintJS who made a website to raise awareness about the now-patched issue

Our take: Anyone else find it strange that Apple dedicated what is usually a major 15.x release to primarily fixing one thing? Perhaps other features that were planned got pushed back for Apple to rush this out the door? Regardless of the reason (which we’ll probably never know), you should update your devices as soon as you can.

Apple releases iOS/iPadOS 15.2.1 update with bug fixes

The news: Apple’s first software update of 2022, iOS 15.2.1, is now rolling out to compatible devices.

What’s new, according to Apple’s release notes… (via 9to5Mac)

  • Messages may not load photos sent using an iCloud Link
  • Third-party CarPlay apps may not respond to input

Our take: Looks like a pair of minor fixes here, but I really hope there are some stability improvements as well. iOS 15.2 has been stable but unpredictable in apps like Messages, where I’ll have to force quit somewhat often to read or send a text. Perhaps the aforementioned iCloud photos bug was playing a role?