Apple today released version 14.5 of iOS and iPadOS, a substantial update to the operating system for iPhone and iPad that debuted in September and introduced features such as Home Screen widgets, multi-column app layouts on iPad, compact UI, a redesigned Music app, and more.
Version 14.5 is the biggest – or, at the very least, most interesting – update to iOS and iPadOS we’ve seen in the 14.0 release cycle to date. That’s not to say previous iterations of iOS and iPadOS 14 were low on new features and refinements – it’s quite the opposite, in fact. Perhaps the pandemic and Apple’s work-from-home setup played a role in the company spreading new iOS functionalities across multiple releases throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021, but, regardless of the underlying reason, iOS and iPadOS 14 have evolved considerably since their public launch six months ago.
With iOS 14.2, Apple shipped the traditional “emoji update”, but was also able to include a redesigned AirPlay interface, face detection in AR, and a brand new Shazam integration in Control Center; with iOS 14.3, the company rolled out its new ProRAW photography API alongside support for the Fitness+ service, App Clip codes, and the ability to launch apps directly from Home Screen shortcuts; version 14.4, released earlier this year, saw the arrival of proximity-based music handoff for iPhone and HomePod mini alongside new options for Bluetooth settings and other performance improvements.
It’s difficult to tell whether some of these features were originally planned for a September release and got delayed because of the pandemic, or how many of these are Apple’s response to user feedback following the release of iOS and iPadOS 14, but one thing’s for sure: Apple hasn’t stood still over the past few months, and today’s iOS and iPadOS 14.5 are continuing the trend of major iOS and iPadOS updates released ahead of WWDC.
Let’s dive in.
Earlier today, Apple released the second developer beta of iOS and iPadOS 14.5, which includes new emoji. The latest additions, which include 217 emoji when you account for skin tone and other variations, have been cataloged by Jeremy Burge at Emojipedia.
Highlights include couples, with expanded skin tone options that account for 200 of the new emoji. The remaining additions include three new smileys: Exhaling Face, Face with Spiral Eyes, and Face in Clouds, two new heart variants, and gender options for Bearded Person. Apple has also revised the syringe emoji so that it doesn’t include blood, making it useful in a wider range of circumstances, and the headphones emoji so it looks like a pair of AirPods Max.
If you’re wondering why we’re seeing new emoji so soon, don’t miss Burge’s post from last summer explaining the Unicode Consortium’s new emoji approval schedule. The new emoji will be part of Apple’s next round of operating system updates, which the company has said will be available this ‘spring.’
Today Apple released iOS 14.3, a mid-cycle update which includes quite a few very nice features. App Clip Codes were announced alongside iOS and iPadOS 14 at WWDC, so it’s good to see them finally making it out to the public. Similarly, Apple ProRAW was touted as a feature of the new iPhone 12 Pro cameras, but hasn’t been available to iPhone 12 Pro users until today (unless you were running the iOS 14.3 beta, of course). iOS 14.3 does include support for Apple’s impending Fitness+ subscription service, but as of this writing that feature is still disabled prior to the service’s launch.
Today Apple released the second major revision to iOS and iPadOS 14 since their introduction in September. The previous major update, 14.1, was largely just for iPhone 12 support and bug fixes. iOS and iPadOS 14.2 are packed with quite a few nice new additions to the operating system, and are available to the public as of this morning.
New Emoji and Wallpapers
iOS 14.2 packs over 100 new emoji, including a smiling face with a tear, a ninja, a toothbrush, and a pickup truck. Emojipedia covered the new emoji earlier in the beta cycle, and of course Federico attempted to guess all of their official names on an episode of Connected. My personal favorite is the new mousetrap emoji, which reminds me of the leprechaun traps that my sister and I used to set up the night before St. Patrick’s Day when we were growing up.
Eight new still wallpapers have also been released in today’s update. Some are photos of mountainous regions while others are scenic illustrations. Each new wallpaper includes a variation for light and dark mode.
Last year we named RSS client Reeder 4 the Best App Update as part of the MacStories Selects awards for a good reason. Reeder has been one of the best-designed RSS apps available for a very long time. With the release of version 4, developer Silvio Rizzi rebuilt the app on a modern foundation from the ground up. Roughly one year later, version 5 is out as a brand new app that takes what Rizzi began last year and extends it further with a host of excellent new features and design refinements.
Today, Federico published his iOS and iPadOS 14 review. The review comes after a busy month at MacStories in which we published Alex Guyot’s fantastic watchOS review, covered a long list of new and updated apps on MacStories, and celebrated Club MacStories’ 5th anniversary with over 70 app discounts and giveaways.
As busy as it’s been though, there’s a lot more coming. In addition to Federico’s comprehensive, in-depth iOS and iPadOS 14 review, we’ve got a bunch of perks exclusively for Club MacStories members.
Among the Club-only extras this year are three eBooks, a set of stunning, widget-friendly iPhone wallpapers, advanced shortcuts, podcast episodes, and a special edition of MacStories Weekly. Check out all of the details after the break. If you’d like to learn more about the Club or sign up to take advantage of all these extras, plus perks from previous years and our jam-packed, year-round newsletters, please visit club.macstories.net.
Today the latest version of Ulysses, the excellent Markdown text editor, was released for iPad and iPhone. Ulysses 21 comes with two main changes: it brings the previously Mac-exclusive revision mode to iOS and iPadOS, while also introducing design updates that take advantage of new iOS 14 design elements, such as pull-down menus. It’s not a huge update, but it’s a nice one nonetheless for iPhone and iPad users.
GoodLinks has only been out since June, but it quickly became my go-to read it later app that I dip in and out of every day. That position has only been reinforced with its frequent updates in the months following release, including its most recent update which adds a new three-column iPad layout, widgets, and new keyboard shortcuts.
The new iPad sidebar design is particularly well-suited to GoodLinks. The first column, which can be hidden, allows users to navigate between Unread, Starred, Untagged, Read, and Tags. The Tags section is collapsible, which declutters the sidebar when you don’t need to view a specific tag.
The second column is the article list that displays the favicon for each post, its title, a short excerpt, image, site and author information, and associated tags. The top of the second column features a button to sort from oldest to newest and vice versa, and one to add new links.
It’s become something of a tradition for Apple to include new emoji in one of the early point releases to a major iOS and iPadOS release. Like last year, the new emoji are coming in the second major update to iOS and iPadOS. This year, though, the new emoji look like they will make it into the first released version of macOS Big Sur because they are included in beta 9 of macOS too.
In July, Apple shared some of the designs for its emoji based on the Unicode Consortium’s specifications for Unicode 13.0. Today, as detailed by Emojipedia, iOS and iPadOS 14.2, beta 2 were released and include Apple’s full set of upcoming emoji. There are 66 in total, not counting every possible variant.
Designs not revealed by Apple earlier this summer include:
- Smiling Face with Tear
- Disguised Face
- Gender variations for people wearing a tuxedo and veil
The release also includes four realistic bugs and an abstract depiction of a hug that I expect to be a highlight of this year’s Jeremys.
Earlier this month, the Unicode Consortium approved Unicode 13.1, another set of emoji specifications that are expected to be adopted by Apple sometime in 2021.
For the full details on the emoji unveiled today, don’t miss Jeremy Burge’s post on Emojipedia.org.