Apple has introduced a bunch of handy new features and improvements as part of its latest iPhone update.
Following the release of iOS 14.5, users can now unlock phones without removing face masks, change virtual assistant Siri's voice, connect PS5 and Xbox X Series controllers, and block unwanted data tracking.
The latest upgrade might not be as big as expected from iOS 15 – expected to be available from around September – but it certainly packs a punch when it comes to useful functions.
Here, we look at just some of the key benefits from the latest release, explaining where to find them and how to use them.
Mask support for Face ID
Users can now open their iPhones while wearing a face mask. Clever, eh?
Since face coverings became mandatory in the UK last year to reduce the spread of Covid-19, unlocking iPhones using its Face ID tool had become impossible without removing your mask.
This can cause real problems, such as when trying to use the 'Apple Wallet' feature to pay for goods at the supermarket, where removing masks is banned.
Thankfully, Apple has launched a handy workaround, which allows the mobiles to be opened using an Apple Watch.
To access the function, the watch must be worn and already unlocked. Users can then place the watch close to the woken handset and look at the phone to unlock it.
However, the tool must be activated in settings > Face ID > Passcode for it to work.
And this only works on Apple Watch Series 3 or above and have watchOS 7.4 or later installed.
New Siri voices
Sick of the sound of Siri? Well, the good news is that you now have more than one voice to choose from.
Yep, new Siri voices have also been included in the new iOS update.
Instead of having to make do with the default female voice we've known for some time, users can now choose from four options – a white man, white woman, black man or black woman.
Siri's voice functionality has also been upgraded to sound more natural.
Next-gen controller connectivity
While Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles are in short supply, gamers can now connect their next-gen controllers to their Apple devices via Bluetooth.
To play games with the latest controllers, first ensure Bluetooth is enabled on your device.
To pair your PS5 controller, hold the 'Create' button and the PlayStation logo button for three seconds.
For Xbox controllers, simply press the 'Pair' button until it flashes.
The controller should be listed on the Bluetooth page of your device, under 'devices ready to pair'.
Improved privacy protection
There have also been huge changes to the Apple's data-tracking policies.
To improve privacy protection for iPhone users, apps such as Facebook and Instagram must now ask for your permission to access your advertising ID.
This means they will no longer be able to track your internet usage and browsing history to target you with ads. without asking you first via pop-up notifications. These can also be edited later in 'Settings'.
iOS 14.5 was released on April 26. It is available to install now.
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