Apple releases macOS 11.3, iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, watchOS 7.3, HomePod OS 14.5, tvOS 14.5

Today Apple released updates across all of their operating systems. Normally these “point” updates only add one or two new features, but this round of updates actually introduces a surprising number of new features. Most features apply only to iPhone or iPad, but some features such as the new Siri voices, emoji, and AirTag support spill over into their other software where applicable.

This is nearly the longest time Apple has ever spent on an in-between update and it’s very well refined. If you’ve been holding off on upgrading to macOS Big Sur or iOS 14 this is a great time to do it!

Release notes for iOS 14.5

Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch
– Ability to unlock your ‌iPhone‌ X and later with Apple Watch Series 3 and later when you attempt to use Face ID while wearing a face mask

AirTag and Find My
– Support for AirTag to keep track of and find your important items like your keys, wallet, backpack and more, privately and securely in the Find My app
– Precision Finding uses visual, audible, and haptic feedback to guide you directly to your nearby AirTag using Ultra Wideband provided by the U1 chip on iPhone 11 and ‌iPhone 12‌ models
– AirTag can be located by playing a sound via the built-in speaker
– The ‌Find My‌ network with hundreds of millions of devices can help you find your AirTag, even when it isn’t nearby
– Lost Mode notifies you when your AirTag is found, and you can enter a phone number where you can be contacted

Emoji
– Support for separate skin tones for each individual in all variations of the couple kissing emoji and couple with heart emoji
– New face emojis, heart emojis, woman with a beard emoji

Siri
– ‌Siri‌ now includes more diverse voice options
– Incoming calls can be announced with ‌Siri‌, including who is calling, when you’re wearing your ‌AirPods‌ or compatible Beats headphones, and you can answer hands-free
– Group FaceTime calls are supported by asking ‌Siri‌ to ‌FaceTime‌ a list of contacts or a group name from Messages
– Emergency contacts can be called by asking ‌Siri‌

Privacy
– App Tracking Transparency lets you control which apps are allowed to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites for ads or sharing with data brokers

Apple Music
– Share your favorite lyrics using Messages, Facebook, and Instagram Stories, and subscribers can play the snippet in Messages without leaving the conversation
– City charts showcase what’s popular in over 100 cities from all over the world

Podcasts
– Podcasts Show Pages are redesigned to make it easier to start listening
– Option to save and download episodes, automatically adding them to your Library for quick access
– Download behavior and notification settings can be customized on a show-by-show basis
– Top Charts and popular categories in Search help you discover new shows

5G improvements
– Dual SIM support enables 5G connectivity on the line that’s using cellular data on ‌iPhone 12‌ models
– Smart Data Mode improvements further optimize your experience on 5G networks for better battery life and data usage on ‌iPhone 12‌ models
– 5G international roaming enabled on supported carriers on ‌iPhone 12‌ models

News
– Redesigned News+ tab enables Apple News+ subscribers to quickly find, download, and manage magazine and newspaper issues
– All-new Search experience that helps you find relevant topics, channels, and stories

Maps
– Accidents, hazards, or speed checks along your route can be reported by telling ‌Siri‌ on your ‌iPhone‌ or on CarPlay
– Estimated time of arrival (ETA) can be shared when cycling or walking, in addition to driving, by asking ‌Siri‌ or tapping on the route card at the bottom of the screen, then tapping Share ETA

Reminders
– Ability to sort reminders by Title, Priority, Due Date, or Creation date
– Option to print your reminder lists

Translate
– Translation playback speed can be adjusted by long pressing the play button

Gaming
– Xbox Series X S Wireless Controller or Sony PS5 DualSenseTM Wireless Controller support
Fitness+
– Ability to stream audio and video content from Apple Fitness+ workouts to ‌AirPlay‌ 2-enabled TVs and devices

CarPlay
– ETA in ‌Apple Maps‌ can be easily shared while driving with new ‌Siri‌ or keyboard controls in ‌CarPlay‌

This release also fixes the following issues:
– Messages at the bottom of the thread may be hidden by the keyboard under certain circumstances
– Deleted messages may still appear in Spotlight search
– Messages may persistently fail to send texts in some threads
– Mail would not load new emails for some users until restarting the device
– Call blocking and identification section may not appear in Phone settings
– iCloud Tabs may not appear in Safari
– ‌iCloud‌ Keychain could be prevented from turning off
– Reminders created via ‌Siri‌ may be unintentionally set for early morning hours
– Battery health reporting system will recalibrate maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability on ‌iPhone 11‌ models to address inaccurate estimates of battery health reporting for some users (https://support.apple.com/HT212247)
– Optimization to reduce the appearance of a dim glow that may appear at reduced brightness levels with black backgrounds on ‌iPhone 12‌ models
– ‌AirPods‌ audio routing to incorrect device for Automatic Switching
– ‌AirPods‌ Automatic Switching notifications might be missing or duplicated
For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

Release notes for watchOS 7.4

watchOS 7.4 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:

– Ability to unlock your ‌iPhone‌ X and later with Apple Watch when you attempt to use Face ID while wearing a face mask
– Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications
– Ability to stream audio and video content from Apple Fitness+ workouts to ‌AirPlay‌ 2-enabled TVs and devices
– Support for the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later in Australia and Vietnam
– Support for irregular heart rhythm notifications in Australia and Vietnam

Release notes for macOS 11.3:

macOS Big Sur‌ 11.3 adds support for AirTag, includes ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ app improvements for Macs with ‌M1‌, introduces separate skin tone variations for emoji with couples, and adds more diverse voice options for ‌Siri‌.

AirTag and Find My
– Support for AirTag to keep track of and find your important items like your keys, wallet, backpack and more, privately and securely in the ‌Find My‌ app
– The ‌Find My‌ network with hundreds of millions of devices can help you find your AirTag, even when it isn’t nearby
– Lost Mode notifies you when your AirTag is found, and you can enter a phone number where you can be contacted

iPhone and iPad apps on Macs with M1
– Option to change an ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ app’s window size
– Support for displaying the highest resolution version of an ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌ app in full screen
– Keyboard support for ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ games designed to use device tilt
– Keyboard, mouse and trackpad support for ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ games that support game controllers

Emoji
– Support for separate skin tones for each individual in all variations of the couple kissing emoji and couple with heart emoji
– New face emojis, heart emojis, woman with a beard emoji

Siri
– ‌Siri‌ now includes more diverse voice options

Apple Music
– Autoplay keeps music playing by automatically playing a similar song, once you’ve reached the end of a song or playlist
– City charts showcase what’s popular in over 100 cities from all over the world

Podcasts
– Podcasts Show Pages are redesigned to make it easier to start listening
– Option to save and download episodes, automatically adding them to your Library for quick access
– Download behavior and notification settings can be customized on a show-by-show basis
– Top Charts and popular categories in Search help you discover new shows

News
– Redesigned News+ feed enables ‌Apple News‌+ subscribers to quickly find, download, and manage magazine and newspaper issues
– All-new Search experience that helps you find relevant topics, channels, and stories

Safari
– Start Page section order can now be customized
– Additional WebExtensions API lets developers offer extensions that replace the new tab page
– Web Speech API lets developers incorporate speech recognition into their web pages for real-time captioning, dictation, and voice navigation
– WebM and Vorbis video and audio format support

Reminders
– Ability to sort Today Smart list
– Support for syncing the order of reminders in lists across your devices
– Option to print your reminder lists

Gaming
– Xbox Series X S Wireless Controller or Sony PS5 DualSenseTM Wireless Controller support

Mac computers with the M1 chip
– Hibernation support

About This Mac
– About this Mac displays Apple warranty status and ‌AppleCare‌+ coverage in the Service tab when signed in with Apple ID
– Support for purchasing and enrolling in ‌AppleCare‌+ for eligible Mac computers from About This Mac

This release also fixes the following issues:
– Reminders created via ‌Siri‌ may be unintentionally set for early morning hours
– ‌iCloud‌ Keychain might not turn off
– ‌AirPods‌ audio routing to incorrect device for Automatic Switching
– ‌AirPods‌ Automatic Switching notifications might be missing or duplicated
– External 4K monitors may not display in full resolution when connected over USB-C
– Login window may not display properly after restarting Mac mini (‌M1‌, 2020)
– The Dwell feature may not work in the Accessibility Keyboard

To update

  • Mac: Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update (wait for a few seconds or press Command-R if it doesn’t show).
  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch: Open the Settings app > General > Software Update.
  • Apple Watch: First update your iPhone, then on your iPhone tap the Watch app > General > Software Update.