Apple typically kicks things off for an upcoming software update with a developer beta. Soon after that, a public beta arrives to broaden the testing phase. And sure enough, that’s what we have today.
Apple on Friday seeded the first public betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4, and macOS Monterey 12.3 to public beta testers. This follows the first developer betas seeing the light of day earlier this week. And while this software is meant for public beta testers, it’s still potentially a little rough around the edges. Which means it definitely still shouldn’t be installed on a daily driver.
That being said, the betas are free to test for users signed up for the public beta program. If you aren’t signed up but want to be, you can do that right here.
As far as what’s new? Well, there’s quite a bit. Universal Control, for instance, is apparently finally ready to see the light of day. And Face ID will work with masks, without requiring the additional Apple Watch hardware, when the update launches to the public.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s new in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4:
- Face ID with a mask: As was discovered soon after the beta’s release, Apple is tweaking the process to unlock an iPhone or iPad equipped with Face ID while wearing a mask. The company’s previous option, and one that’s still available, is to unlock your iPhone with Face ID by authenticating via an Apple Watch. However, with this new option Face ID will actually authenticate by taking note of unique features around the eye area to unlock a device. No Apple Watch required.
- Universal Control: As mentioned above, some features get added and then removed in beta seeds. Universal Control is one such feature. It has cropped up in previous release betas, but we’re still waiting for the final version of the feature. And we might actually be nearing that result. With the latest betas of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, developers (and soon, public beta testers) can finally try out the feature that lets users use a single mouse/trackpad and keyboard with multiple devices, moving from an iPad to a Mac, and back and forth, pretty seamlessly.
- Emoji: Apple has made it a thing to update the emoji available across its devices with spring updates, and this one’s no different. Apple is adding quite a few new emoji to the mix, with 37 in total, along with more than 70 new skin tone additions. There are more than 100 new additions, all told. That includes a brand new melting face, a face with a hand over the mouth, and others.
- Keyboard brightness: This one’s meant for iPadOS 15.4. With it, users will be able to use a brand new option in Control Center to quickly and easily adjust the brightness of an eligible keyboard paired with the iPad.
- Apple Card widget: There is a brand new widget getting added to the mix with iOS 15.4, and it’s designed for the Apple Card. With this widget in place, Apple Card customers will be able to not only see their spending activity, but also their total balance.
- Notes in iCloud Keychain: With this feature, users will be able to attach notes to any password store in iCloud Keychain.
There shouldn’t be any new discoveries made with this public beta. However, if there are any new changes, we will update this post accordingly.