Following Apple’s big Spring Loaded event on Tuesday, the company quietly revealed it will release iOS 14.5 next week for iPhone and iPad. No exact date was confirmed, but the software is set to support Apple’s new AirTag location tracker, which launches on Friday, April 30.
The release of iOS 14.5 has been highly anticipated since it was unveiled to include a “mask unlock” feature. The feature is designed to make unlocking your device less of a hassle while wearing a mask, which has become a normal part of everyday life thanks to the pandemic.
You will, however, need an Apple Watch in order for mask unlock to work. The feature is similar to unlocking your Mac with Apple’s wearable. Instead of typing in a password, the auto unlock feature works when you’re wearing your unlocked watch and are close to your Mac. It’s hugely convenient; on the iPhone with Face ID, it will mean you don’t have to constantly enter in your numeric passcode.
There are more features coming in iOS 14.5, including support for Apple’s new AirTag location tracker. The little puck supports Apple’s Find My app and Find My network, and also comes with a U1 chip and support for ultra wideband technology, enabling a feature that Apple calls Precision Finding for iPhone 11 and iPhone 12.
“As a user moves, Precision Finding fuses input from the camera, ARKit, accelerometer, and horoscope, and then will guide them to AirTag using a combination of sound, haptics, and visual feedback,” according to Apple.
AirTag features a polished stainless steel design, IP67 water and dust resistance, and a built-in speaker to play sounds. The tracker can also be customized with a free engraving, including text and a selection of 31 emoji.
Other features expected in iOS 14.5 include PS5 and Xbox Series S/X controller support, Waze-like features in Apple Maps, and more Siri voices.
Hat tip to Eric Seufert on Twitter for first pointing out iOS 14.5 would be released next week.