Apple Releases iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5; Bringing Accessibility Fixes, Support for AirTag, Privacy Enhancements, and More

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5; bringing support for AirTag, new features, security and privacy enhancements, and bug fixes.

Bug Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users

Our testing suggests that the following pre-existing accessibility bugs have been resolved in iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5:

At the time of posting, we are unaware of any new bugs or regressions for blind and low vision users in these releases.

As we always stress, we can make no claims on the completeness or accuracy of our testing. We are only a small team, and it is simply impossible for us to test all devices, configurations, applications, and use cases. Accordingly, to help us ensure that the information on this page is as complete and accurate as possible, please let us know in the comments of any fixes; enhancements; or regressions that you find in your own use of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5.

New Feature and Enhancement Highlights

iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 introduce a new “Unlock with Apple Watch"” feature that allows the iPhone to use an unlocked and authenticated Apple Watch as a secondary authentication method; making it easier to unlock an iPhone when you're wearing a mask. When this feature is enabled in Settings > Face ID & Passcode, you will not need to take off your mask or enter a passcode to unlock your iPhone. Note that a full Face ID facial scan or a passcode will still be required to authenticate Apple Pay or App Store purchases.

Siri gains two new American English voice options, with the list of available voice options now numbered, rather than being described as male or female. Additionally, when setting up a new device, you will be prompted to select your preferred Siri voice rather than there being a default. The new Siri voices are also available to use with VoiceOver.

These updates add support for Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, which will require apps to ask for permission (through a standard iOS prompt) whenever they want to track your activities outside the app, such as across other apps or websites. It is also possible to disallow all apps from requesting to track on a system-wide basis by going to Settings> Privacy> Tracking> Allow Apps to Request to Track.

iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 bring 217 new emojis. These include a heart on fire, exhaling face, and gender options for the people with beards. Also included is a vaccine-friendly syringe emoji, and support for couples with a mix of skin tones. Here's every new emoji.

iPad users will be pleased to hear that finding emojis has just gotten easier, as iPadOS 14.5 gains the search for emoji feature that was added to iPhone in iOS 14.

The first time you ask Siri to play music, a podcast, or an audiobook after installing these updates, you will be asked to select your preferred app from a list of those you have installed and which support this feature. Siri will remember your selection and will use that service whenever you ask it to play something. So, for example, if you select Spotify to play a song, the next time that you ask Siri to play a song you will not need to specify “on Spotify” to prevent iOS from defaulting to Apple Music. Note that Apple has clarified that this is not a "default" music service setting, and there is no toggle to select a service you want to continually use, but it is a feature where Siri will learn your preferences and adapt to them. Accordingly, Siri will occasionally re-ask for your preferred services to keep up to date.

The Find My app now has a “Items” tab, which shows the location of licensed item trackers and devices that use Apple’s new licensed location-tracking system.

You can now request Siri call emergency services. You’ll get a three-second countdown on the screen to cancel the request, after which Siri will call your local emergency services number.

When using Apple headphones that support “Hey Siri”, you now have the ability to respond to incoming calls by saying either “answer” or “decline”. The new option is part of the Announce Calls with Siri feature, and can be found under Settings > Phone > Announce Calls.

For an in-depth look at everything new and changed in iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5, we recommend this MacStories article.

iOS 14.5 Release Notes

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 DualSense™ 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

How to update

iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) via Finder on a Mac with macOS Catalina or later, or via iTunes on a PC or Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier.

Before updating, we strongly recommend making a full and complete backup of your device (either locally or in iCloud, depending on personal preference). This will ensure that, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong during the update process, you will have a current backup on hand in case a device restore becomes necessary. Also, if using OTA update, we recommend plugging your device into a power source for the duration of the download/installation process, so as to prevent the unlikely event of your battery going dead during the update.

More information on how to update the software on your device is available on this Apple Support page.

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on these updates. Do you like the new features and changes? Let us know by adding a comment below.

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Comments

Submitted by Maldalain on Monday, April 26, 2021

For my ear I feel like the new voices are recorded in low quality. The sibilant letters are almost not present. However any addition by Apple to add features is welcome.

Submitted by Mitchell on Monday, April 26, 2021

It appears that when using an iphone 12 Mini with a Braille display, after updating to iOS 14.5, any images that are recognized via VoiceOver recognition appear to contain these Braille symbols [an image containing two boxes with text on it]
I love that a lot, as it's not obtrbusive, but it allows for an obvious distinction between the actual text and the description.

Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Monday, April 26, 2021

Does anyone else feels underwhelmed by the blind user bug fixes?

Submitted by John Covici on Monday, April 26, 2021

Do you know if they fixed the serious problem with the rotor in 14.4.2. Apple says they know about it, but it was a real pain. I tried to use text selection from an Email and it would not let me go down to get word or line selection, it kept going to the actions. Other problems also related to the rotor.

Submitted by Jo Billard on Monday, April 26, 2021

A friend who has an 8 told me that the new Siri voices are not included. Why did Apple not say that and why are we led to believe that all phones get the new Siri voices when obviously isn't true? This would be a big deal to me if we had been told that older phones were exempt in the first place.

Hi Jo. I'm not sure why your friend doesn't have the new Siri voices available on their 8. I have a 6s that I use as a secondary device and, after updating to 14.5, the new voices are available on it. The 6s is two generations older than the 8 and so, if they are on the 6s, then I would think they certainly should be on the 8. Perhaps something went wrong with their update.

Submitted by WellF on Monday, April 26, 2021

My voices vanished and I can't download them again after the update. What's going on?

Submitted by Country music fan on Monday, April 26, 2021

Hi everyone. I’ve got an IPhone SE2 and IPhone 11. The voices run perfectly, and it’s so nice to see apple adding that sort of voice. I showed my boyfriend and he says it sounds like Denzel Washington. I’ve gotten quite fond of him. I refer to him as Tyrone, and I have him running on my MacBook Air, and both phones. He’s grate!

Submitted by vue on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

hello so i was just wondering if anyone have this problem before i updated to the new update seems like the punctuation is on but when i turn it off it wont work. anyone came across this bug ?

Submitted by Khushi on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

thank you applevis!
I'm excited to update for the new voices and the new music feature. I'm glad I'll be able to play songs without teling siri to play them with spotify! :)

Submitted by Stephen Toth on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

While using Bluetooth speakers which allow VoiceOver to be routed through the device's internal speakers (Bose SoundLink speakers allow this feature).
VoiceOver sounds force the device's volume to the maximum level while being played for events,
forcing earcons to need to be disabled for the duration of the speaker's connection.

Submitted by ming on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

well,
when we close the music app on teh app switcher.
then double tap using 2 fingers or some of you may called it magic tap to play the music again.
it can not work since 14.2.
but, it could work on 14.0...
this bug has not fixed in 14.5 as well.

but, it works on spotify though !
try this
1. open spotify.
2. play one of the music you like.
3. close spotify's app at the app switcher.
3. use 2 fingers to double tap the screen.
then the music can play again.
but, on apple music or we call the music app.
it can not work.
since 14.2

Hi, i am using iOs 14.5 and before i can choose lines or words with the rotor without a problem.The rotor works fine

Submitted by Christos on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

After updating Watch OS with the latest update, the Siri voice with VoiceOver doesn't work. When switching the "Use Siri Voice" in the Watch app to off, it switches to Daniel. When switching it on, instead of switching to voice 4 siri voice it switches to Samantha. On the iPhone it works fine. Is there a solution?

Submitted by Paul Martin on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

I've an iPhone 12 pro here, and I can't see the new numbered voices in the speech section either, yet they're all showing up in the Siri settings. But even more strangely, I've an original iPad Pro, and they're all showing up fine on that device in the Voiceover settings.

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

I just updated, and it did not take that long at all. The new voices are there, but I'm going to hold off until I can at least try and free up some memory on my phone. One thing I did notice, however, is that some of the pre-installed apps and settings with compound names are now spoken as 2 separate words at least by Fred. He has been the VO voice on my phone for awhile now. The new voices sounded great when I heard their samples on Mosen at Large, and I'm looking forward to trying them out myself. The next arduous task is to update my Mac, lol! Not sure that one will go so well as I've had that puppy since the end of 2013, and I'm told I will probably need a new one soon. But I'm an optimist so we shall see what happens.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Hey all!

I have a few questions about music and Siri.

1. Say I put my default music service as Spotify. If I want to play an artist whose songs I have purchased on Itunes, can I still do that? For example, can I still say, Hey S, play songs from Citizen Soldier on Music"

2. Will this affect any songs or artists that I have on my ipad from purchasing them on Itunes?

3. I I still ask Siri to play music from other sources? For example, can I ask "Hey S play Better with out you by Evanescence on Youtube Music"?
4. Lastly, can I still purchase music from the Itunes store?

Thanks in advance! Can't wait to update!

Submitted by turner42 on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

14.5 seems to have resolved the problem of canceling an Email you were composing, be it a reply, forward, or new message, and ahving it end up as a draft that could not be deleted.
I've tested it about 5 times today and each time I canceled an email part way through writing it, it canceled, and did not show up as a draft.
Very welcome fix.

Submitted by Troy on Wednesday, April 28, 2021

I notice alex sounds a bit different with his inflections, as for the new voices, I don't know about other apps but there's a like a 1 second pause when reading the newsfeed in facebook.

Submitted by Lielle ben simon on Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

Hi i don't like Alex because he speaks to fast for me, but i like his breff.

Submitted by Juliantheaudiogamer on Thursday, April 29, 2021

In the post, it was mentioned that you could search for Emojis on IPhone since IOS 14. How to do that? Does it also work for external apüs like Whatsapp?

Submitted by Dalia on Thursday, April 29, 2021

In reply to by Juliantheaudiogamer

When using the emoji keyboard there is a search field at the top of the keyboard. When you double tap on this, the keyboard will switch to letters allowing you to type your search. As you type, suggested emoji will be displayed below the search field. Just double tap on the one that you wish to use, and it will be inserted in to your message.

This works wherever the emoji keyboard is available.

Submitted by Ekaj on Thursday, April 29, 2021

I now have the new male voice on my phone and am using him. He sounds a bit familiar, perhaps like one of the Infovox voices which I sampled some time ago? Anyway, he sounds like a gangster. Using him right now with VoiceOver and he's hilarious.

Submitted by Jo Billard on Thursday, April 29, 2021

In reply to by Ekaj

That's exactly what I think he sounds like, only I think he sounds a bit unfriendly. I might try him out just for kicks. What I do like about him is that he has character, which is more than I can say about any of the other Siri voices.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Friday, April 30, 2021

Although I haven't personally tested for the questions that you posted, I don't think there should be any problem utilizing whichever music source you want to use. Also, you will still have total control over your iTunes purchases and of course you can still purchase media from the iTunes store, even if the Music app isn't your primary resource.

HTH

Submitted by Jo Billard on Friday, April 30, 2021

I've noticed a lag when I use Siri to play music and I want to skip a track. Also am noticing that my Voiceover is freezing after using certain apps, but I don't know if that is the update or an aging battery. I really hope it's the update because that can be fixed.

Submitted by Ravenpaw on Saturday, May 1, 2021

Has anyone else noticed strange behaviors around dropdown menus and pickers since after the update? Voiceover seems to think that all the items in a menu occupy the position index of whichever option is currently selected. For example, if I have a picker with 9 items currently set to item 3, all the rest of the items in that menu are announced as "3 of 9".

Hey there!

Thanks for the heads-up. I'll have to keep an eye out for that one. Because I use pickers and drop-downs to register to Braille Institute webinars. That being said, can you still navigate the pickers and drop-downs like you normally would? If not, have you found a potential workaround? Would opening the page or site with the pickers and drop-downs in another browser such as Microsoft Edge help?

I haven't noticed any problems, but I've only used native apps like the calendar and clock so far. If other sites are having problems, I'd say it's with the sites, not Apple

Submitted by Siobhan on Sunday, May 2, 2021

I don't know what's going on, but some pickers work as expected, others just are wonky. I say just keep track on what you need to select and it's totally fine.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Monday, May 3, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

While in a phone call with VoiceOver enabled, if I take the phone away from my ear it should automatically switch to speaker mode and activate the NumPad screen. As of iOS 14.5, it no longer does this. The phone behaves as if I'm still holding it to my ear, namely, the person I'm speaking with is barely audible because the phone didn't switch to the main speaker, and the phone is blank with no NumPad. Touching the screen seems to have no effect. This is with an iPhone 2020. Anyone else experiencing this?

Submitted by JLove on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

In reply to by turner42

I thought I was going crazy!
I even tried to think if I had signed in somewhere else and I had forgotten.
The only solution I could find was to send the draft to myself then delete the E-mail I had sent to me.