The new software comes with a variety of new features for the Reminders app, Apple Music, HomePod support, M1 optimizations, AirTags support, an important malware fix, and more.
Apple has spent years reinforcing macOS with new security features to make it tougher for malware to break in. But a newly discovered vulnerability broke through most of macOS’ newer security protections with a double-click of a malicious app, a feat not meant to be allowed under Apple’s watch.
Worse, evidence shows a notorious family of Mac malware has already been exploiting this vulnerability for months before it was subsequently patched by Apple this week.
The latest software update includes the new App Tracking Transparency feature, which lets users decide whether to allow apps to track their activity “across other companies’ apps and websites” for advertising purposes.
Perhaps more important to day-to-day iPhone usage, iOS 14.5 also includes a very helpful and timely new trick: if you own an Apple Watch, you can set your iPhone to automatically unlock without requiring a Face ID match or passcode as long as Apple’s smartwatch is on your wrist.
There’s a little bit of everything for everyone in iOS 14.5: from the marquee addition that will likely push millions of people to update as soon as possible – support for Face ID authentication while wearing a mask – and several tweaks in the Music app to the long-anticipated inclusion of emoji search on iPad, new tracking prevention features, and even more emoji, version 14.5 provides us with a more polished take on iOS 14 that sets the stage for bigger announcements at WWDC.
iPhone users are now able to use Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering like a mask.
tvOS 14.5 also brings Adjust Color Balance feature to all available Apple TVs. With the set-top-box and the iPhone advanced sensors, Apple TV uses the light sensor in iPhone to compare the color balance to the industry-standard specifications used by cinematographers worldwide.
The feature, called AR Spaces, will let users with LIDAR-equipped Apple devices (so far, that’s the iPhone 12 Pros and iPad Pros from 2020 or later) add room-filling effects that can interact with walls and floors.
BeLight Software has issued version 4 of its Live Home 3D interior and exterior home design software, a major new release that adds support for M1-based Macs and introduces Metal-based rendering for improved realism in its 3D graphics.
Notably, though, Spotify won’t have a big subscribe button at the top of every podcast page, and you won’t be able to subscribe directly within the app. Those limitations could make it harder for podcasts to sign up new subscribers. (This also means Spotify won’t have to pay Apple for any subscriptions sold under its App Store terms.)
Certainly we need a new vision for how people live and work online—one that decouples communication from surveillance—but tech giants won’t be the ones to bring it into being. Their interests are too vast, their support of the status quo that has enriched them is practically guaranteed. They need the very thing they value most: disruption.
The case started two years ago after music streaming app Spotify brought a complaint alleging that Apple took a hefty 30 per cent subscription fee in exchange for featuring it on its App Store, but refused to let users know of cheaper ways of accessing it outside the Apple ecosystem.
Apple Pro Speakers were included with the Power Mac G4 Cube and were a $59 indispensable accessory for the G4 iMac, the only option for the iMac is a pair of white HomePod minis that aren’t even offered at checkout. And since Apple put the 3.5mm jack on the side of the iMac, you can’t even hook up a pair of wired speakers without it looking terrible. I was looking forward to macOS 11.3 as the solution to my Mac’s audio woes. Instead, I’m only reminded that Apple just doesn’t care.
I'm not optimistic that all these rules that regulators are probably going to impose on Apple will make much of any significant improvements.
Thanks for reading.