You should never stall when Apple unrolls a new software update. Cybersecurity professionals work hard to patch the latest vulnerabilities so you’re safe from newly discovered threats. That’s not the only reason why you should update your devices, though.
There are also a ton of cool new features you’ll miss out on. For instance, now you can unlock your iPhone even when you’re wearing a mask. Just remember that not all face masks are created equal. Tap or click here to find out which type of mask is the best at protecting you from COVID-19.
Apple also released updates for iPad and Mac. Versions iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterrey 12.3 are now available. New emojis are just the tip of the iceberg. Here are all the best features coming to your Apple gadgets.
What you need to know about your smartphone and iPad’s upgrades
One of the changes we’re most excited about is for Apple AirTags. If you recall, we’ve written a few disturbing stories about stalkers slipping Bluetooth trackers into other people’s belongings. Tap or click here to find out how criminals use AirTags to steal cars.
In addition to new AirTag antistalking alerts, the 15.4 update for your iPhone and iPad comes with many cool new features.
1. Unlocking Face ID with a mask
We mentioned this earlier, but here are the steps you need to follow to enable this feature.
- Open Settings. Tap Face ID & Passcode. Enter passcode. (If you have glasses, tap Add Glasses.)
- Toggle the switch next to Use Face ID With a Mask to the right to enable it.
- Lastly, tap Use Face ID With a Mask. Follow the onscreen instructions by scanning your face with the iPhone to finalize setup.
It’s the same as setting up Face ID without a mask. You don’t even have to wear a mask during this scan.
2. A ton of new emojis
Ever wanted to send someone a lip bite? How about a melting face, coral or a bird’s nest full of blue eggs? Now you can.
Whenever new emojis come out, you can count on Emojipedia to compile them all in a neat guide. Here’s the complete list.
3. A gender-neutral voice option for Siri
Maybe you don’t like male or female voices for Siri. Perhaps you want something new. Here’s how to change up Siri’s voice:
- Open Settings.
- Tap Siri & Search.
- Select Siri Voice.
- Under Variety, select American.
- Lastly, select Voice 5 under the Voice Header.
Just like that, Siri has a fresh, gender-neutral voice.
That’s it for the iPhone section. All of the above features apply to both your iPad and iPhone. Now, here’s a feature exclusive to iPad and Mac.
People are excited about the Universal Control feature
Apple has hyped up Universal Control for a while. This seamless feature lets you move between a Mac and an iPad with a single mouse or keyboard. You can even share content between the devices by dragging and dropping files from one screen to another.
Once you update your Mac, you can start using this feature. Open it by going to System Preferences > Displays > Universal Control.
Then, click the checkboxes that say Allow your cursor and keyboard to move between any nearby Mac or iPad, Push through the edge of a display to connect a nearby Mac or iPad, and Automatically reconnect to any nearby Mac or iPad.
On your updated iPad, follow these steps to enable this feature:
- Tap Settings.
- Open General.
- Tap AirPlay & Handoff.
- Toggle the switch next to Cursor and Keyboard.
Your iPad and Mac need to be within about 32 feet of each other. Now you can start sharing files between the two screens. How nifty is that?
New features on your Mac
Aside from the Universal Control feature, there are a few other excellent new findings on macOS Monterey. You can also take advantage of the new Spatial Audio feature on your iPad and Mac. Specifically, you can now enjoy dynamic head tracking in Music. You need to have an M1 Mac and wear your supported AirPods to enjoy the feature.
Battery capacity readings are now more accurate, too. Shortcuts now let you add, remove or query tags with Reminders. And if you’re a fan of the Podcasts app, you can now filter episodes by season or whether you’ve played, saved or downloaded them.
Updates also arrived for the Apple Watch and Apple TV
The watchOS 8.5 update is modest compared to the other devices on this list, but it’s still pretty useful. You can now authorize Apple TV purchases and subscriptions from your watch. There are even a few updates to irregular rhythm notifications. They’re meant to identify atrial fibrillation better.
Oh, and update your Apple TV with tvOS 15.4 while you’re at it. If you don’t have automatic updates enabled, head to Settings > System > Software Update. It comes with a few helpful bug fixes as well as performance updates.
Most notably, tvOS 15.4 makes it easier for networks that require extra sign-in steps. You can use your iPhone or iPad to connect your Apple TV to hotel rooms and other networks that require additional sign-in steps. Tap or click here for 12 Apple TV tricks and tips to get the most from your device.