Apple seeds eighth betas of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and macOS Big Sur 11.3 to developers

Tim Cook recently confirmed that the public launch of iOS 14.5 is happening soon. However, there’s still time for more betas so the company can keep working out the kinks.

On Tuesday, Apple seeded the eighth betas of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and macOS Big Sur 11.3 to developers. As is expected, this is pre-release software. This means the software should not be installed on a daily driver, even if we are seven betas deep. There’s still a possibility that the software has some kinks that may make day-to-day usage rough and uncertain.

To update, developers simply need to use the over-the-air (OTA) software update tool on their properly registered devices. It’s likely Apple will seed the corresponding public betas today as well.

As far as what’s new, here’s how it shakes out:

Here’s what’s new in iOS 14.5

As mentioned above, Apple is adding quite a bit into the newest iOS version. Here are the major bullet points:

  • Support for 5G in dual-SIM mode for iPhone 12: Apple’s newest iPhones are equipped with both a physical SIM card and a digital eSIM. This is a dual-SIM design, making it possible to have two separate phone numbers on the same device. Right now, dual-SIM supports LTE. However, that will change with the public release of iOS 14.5.
  • Apple Fitness+ adds AirPlay 2 support: One of the drawbacks of Apple’s fitness-centric subscription service was the fact it didn’t support AirPlay 2 at launch. So, as of right now, you need an Apple TV set-top box to watch the workouts on your primary TV. Either that, or rely on your iPhone or iPad to watch the workouts. That’s changing with iOS 14.5, as the new software adds support for casting Fitness+ to AirPlay 2-enabled devices. It won’t allow for showing real-time metrics on the screen, though.
  • iOS 14.5 will let Apple Watch owners unlock their iPhone while wearing a mask: Another oft-requested feature, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Apple doesn’t support Touch ID in it is newest iPhones, which can make unlocking with Face ID while wearing a mask a pain. But Apple is helping with that. Apple Watch owners will be able to confirm unlocking their iPhones while wearing a mask with iOS 14.5.
  • Support for new wireless game controllers: iOS already supports a range of wireless controllers, mostly to help with playing games available in Apple Arcade. But the support also makes it possible to play games not available in Apple’s subscription service. With iOS 14.5 beta 1, Apple is adding support for the newest game controllers on the market: Sony’s DualSense controller for the PlayStation 5, and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X controllers.
  • Siri lets you choose a default music streaming app: With iOS 14.5, users will be able to select a default music app for streaming content. This means users will no longer have to specify to use Spotify (or another service) to play a song. They can simply set it as the default, ask Siri to play the song, and it will use the correct service to play the audio.
  • iOS 14.5 adds Find My support for some Beats headphones: In addition to the other features, iOS 14.5 also adds Find My support for certain Beats-branded headphones. That includes the Powerbeats Pro and Flex headphones.

The other tidbits

And here are some additional changes in the upcoming update:

  • Multi-user support for Apple Card: Yet another feature being added to something that probably should have been present right from the jump. With the impending launch of iOS 14.5, Apple will add multi-user support for the Apple Card at some point in the future. It will handle this via Family Sharing, and account owners will be able to track spending, invite family members to share the card, and more. Unlike the other features, though, this is just a tease. There’s no specific information saying this feature will arrive with the public launch of iOS 14.5. However, it’s certainly possible it rolls out then, though.
  • There’s a new interface in the Settings app and Watch app for when your software is up-to-date.
  • Apple has tweaked the interface, albeit slightly, in the Podcasts app
  • There’s a new “Hey Siri, call emergency” feature
  • Apple is said to be working on the A14X processor, hinted at in a previous beta of iOS 14.5.

What’s new in macOS Big Sur 11.3

  • Users will be able to use HomePods in stereo while connected to their Mac, setting it as the default audio output option.
  • A new dedicated Support menu in the software will show more relevant information.
  • The Apple Music app is getting support for the autoplay feature that the iOS version has. This means that the music streaming service will continue to play music after a queue or playlist ends. The autoplay feature will generate new tracks based on the user’s library.
  • Safari is getting more customizable options in the Start Page, including the ability to move Favorites, Siri Suggestions, the Privacy Report, Reading List, and more.
  • There are additional optimizations made for using iOS apps on M1-equipped Macs.
  • The Reminders app can be sorted in new ways, including Priority, Creation Date, Title, or Due Date. Reminder lists can also be printed.
  • The Apple Music app is also picking up a “Made For You” library shortcut. Users will be able to find their Replay playlists in here, as well as other personal mixes.
  • The Apple News section is getting a new News+ section, including a new “For You” option.
  • The latest update also adds support for Sony’s PlayStation 5 DualSense controller and Microsoft’s Xbox Series S | X controller.