Apple yesterday shipped the final public versions of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The releases include many changes and features in iOS 15.4, along with several noteworthy updates. It includes the ability to unlock iPhone while wearing a mask, Universal Control support on iPad for those using macOS 12.3 beta, all-new emojis, the new Apple Wallet tool, and more.
In this hands-on video, we look at more than 40 changes and new features in iOS 15.4. Be sure to subscribe to 9to5mac on YouTube for more hands-on videos.
Video: iOS 15.4 Changes and Features for iPhone and iPad
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What’s new in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4?
Comprehensive control support (00:12)
After being initially revealed at WWDC 2021, Universal Control, the feature that lets you control multiple iPads and Macs from a single input source, is finally coming to iOS 15.4. Keep in mind that you will also need to be running macOS 12.3 or higher to run Universal Control. Be sure to watch my full hands-on tutorial on Universal Control as I show you all about this exciting new feature.
Dynamic audio controls on iPad (01:38)
Like the sixth generation iPad mini, other iPads running iPadOS 15.4 can now take advantage of changing the volume buttons dynamically based on the orientation of the device.
Toggle keyboard brightness control (2:44)
If you’re a Magic Keyboard user, you might appreciate the new switch in iPadOS 15 that lets you adjust the keyboard’s backlight brightness via Control Center. Keep in mind that you’ll need to be in a dark or dimly lit environment before the keyboard backlight – and thus the switch – becomes active.
iPadOS Notes preferences corner gestures (3:46)
By duplicating the functions already in Settings → General → Gestures, users can now change corner gesture settings directly from the Notes app preferences. In iOS 15.4, it is also possible to invoke the corner gesture from the lower right or left corner and use it to take a screenshot or start a quick note.
Green wallpaper for iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro
As is usually the case with new hardware releases, Apple includes a new wallpaper to match the just-launched green iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models.
New Siri voice
Siri American voice users will find a new voice titled Simply American (Voice 5). The new voice can be configured in Settings → Siri & Search → Siri Voice. You can hear an example of Siri’s new voice here.
New anti-phishing warning messages during AirTag setup process
Apple has taken measures to address AirTag stalking with a new anti-stalking warning that appears during the initial AirTag setup process. The new warning is in place to inform potential stalkers about the potential legal and criminal ramifications of stalking.
The Find Me tab has been updated.
Along with new anti-stalking measures it has been slightly revamped me tab in Find My app. The updated tab avoids Me File Item Safety Alerts Toggle on for direct links to Find My Notifications preferences.
Separate Tracking Notifications and Find My Alerts Preferences
Apple divided Find My Notifications into two different categories in iOS 15.4. You can find separate Tracking notifications And the find Panels in Settings → Notifications.
Improved Find My Alerts
Less obscure Find My alerts are also displayed in iOS 15.4, with specific details on the types of devices that may be tracking you. For example, if an unknown pair of AirPods Pro is detected as “moving with you,” the alert will clearly state “AirPods Pro detected” instead of “Unknown accessory detected.”
Emoji 14.0.2 Update
A large number of new emojis debuted in iOS 15.4, including a new melting face and an elf emoji. In total, there are more than 37 new emoji characters to choose from.
Face ID support while wearing a mask
Just in time for dwindling mask authorizations, Apple has finally added live support for Face ID while wearing a mask. The new iOS 15.4 feature, which does not require an Apple Watch, allows users to unlock their iPhone and even use authentication with third-party apps while wearing a mask. To learn more about unlocking Face ID with a mask, be sure to see our walkthrough with this feature.
New authentication screen when calling up Apple Pay before unlocking
If you invoke Apple Pay by double pressing the side button of your iPhone before unlocking, you will be met with a new authentication screen devoid of any personal information.
Widget Apple Wallet
You’ll find a new Apple Wallet widget in iOS 15.4 that’s exclusive to Apple Card users. The new 2×2 widget allows you to view your card balance and available balance in a weekly, monthly or yearly period.
Updated Dual SIM Messages App Interface
If you’re using a dual SIM, switching between phone numbers in the Messages app has become less complicated. When you re-subscribe to a new or existing chat, you can now select the phone number you wish to use directly from the chat screen.
Seamless safari status bar
iOS 15.4 fixes a bug in Safari that could cause an outage in the full bleed status bar area.
Safari Extensions Search
You can now search through installed extensions directly from Safari. Simply click the “aA” button in the address bar and select Extension management. You will now see a search box at the top of the extension manager interface.
WebXR تجارب Experiences
Safari in iOS 15.4 now includes support for WebXR experiences, which are disabled by default. By visiting Settings → Safari → Advanced → Experimental Features, you will find the following new keys:
- WebXR augmented reality module
- WebXR Device API
- WebXR Gamepads Module
- WebXR اليد Hand Entry Module
WebXR Device API is a web API that describes support for accessing AR and VR devices. With rumors that Apple is deep into developing its own headphone, it’s no surprise to see glimpses of features like these.
Reset Safari experimental features
Now, it’s easy to go back to your stored Safari settings after toggling the many experimental settings.
iOS 15.4 prevents iCloud Keychain from saving passwords without usernames
There is a new requirement to prevent iCloud Keychain from saving passwords without usernames in iOS 15.4. When you create a new password, and Safari is not sure which username the password belongs to, you will see a popup asking you to enter the username for your account on that specific website.
Add notes to keychain passwords
Like other password managers, such as 1Password, it is now possible to add notes to passwords in your keychain. You can also perform searches on the contents of notes in Settings → Passwords.
Run Shortcuts Automations without notifications
Before iOS 15.4, you always got a banner notification when the automated shortcut was turned on. Now users have the option to disable these notifications, providing a smoother experience with shortcuts automation.
Tighten SharePlay integration
SharePlay-enabled apps can now display a SharePlay button within the Share Sheet to make it easier to start a SharePlay session.
TV Up Next Display Preferences
The Up Next panel that appears at the top of the Watch Now page of the TV app can now be customized to display poster artwork or a still frame.
New custom email domain user interface in iCloud Settings
Apple’s new custom email domain support — which was revealed at WWDC 2021 — has been somewhat integrated into iOS starting with iOS 15.4. Previously, you were only able to set up custom email domains via iCloud.com, and while iCloud.com is still a requirement, you can now start the process of adding a custom domain directly from iCloud Mail preferences for iOS.
Unify iCloud Mail Preferences
iCloud Mail now acquires its own complete panel under iCloud preferences and consolidates all relevant settings into one area.
Notes and Reminders get live text integration
You can now capture Live Text directly into a note or reminder via the new Scan Text feature in the Notes app or the Reminders app.
Magnifier app updates
New UI tweaks for invoking the camera within the Magnifier app are now in iOS 15.4. You now have the option to switch between the front camera, the ultra wide angle for close-up shots, or the auto mode that will switch between the appropriate camera dynamically.
Apple Music playlists now display the name of the playlist in the top bar
When you scroll down a playlist within Apple Music, the name of the playlist is now displayed in the top bar.
Quick Action Shortcuts for Music App
A pair of new Quick Action shortcuts for the Music app are now available in iOS 15.4. A long press on the music app icon will bring up a file Play the latest new abbreviation play my station abbreviation.
Apple Music SharePlay Shortcut
A new SharePlay shortcut is now included in the Music app when long-pressing a song or album or when using context menus.
What’s new in the Apple Podcasts splash screen
Inventory Podcasts includes a new view to preview the new filter and review season changes in iOS 15.4.
Filter the podcasts you subscribe to by episodes
When you visit the homepage of a podcast you’re subscribed to, you’ll now see a handy filter button that lets you filter podcasts by unplayed or downloaded episodes.
Browse the podcasts you subscribe to by seasons
The Podcasts app now lets you filter the podcasts you subscribe to by seasons.
Scheduler Average Weekly Notification Summary
Instead of the average daily notification in Settings > Notifications > Scheduled Summary, iOS 15.4 now features weekly notification rates.
Configure App Store Notifications
Clicking your avatar in the upper-right corner of the App Store app will bring up a new notification panel in iOS 15.4. Inside that panel, you’ll find the ability to toggle notifications of new features, updates, recommendations, and offers.
Updated shortcuts app system icons
Shortcuts app is gaining a lot of new system icons that have been modified for things like URL encoding, X-Callback URL, etc.
The layout of the top stories in the Stocks app has been updated
The stock app’s modified Top Stories layout includes increased space between stories, secondary lines, and a context menu to easily save or share a story.
AirPods Status Updated
The AirPods status screen that appears when you open the AirPods charging case next to your iPhone features several subtle tweaks to the user interface.
The new accessibility avatar for AirPods Pro
Instead of a generic pair of headphones, the AirPods accessibility panel includes the AirPods Pro glyph.
AirPlay icons for Roku devices have been updated
AirPlay 2-enabled Roku devices received an updated AirPlay icon when managing destinations within Control Center.
Visual search is available in more countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, etc.
The visual search feature powered by Siri, which allows you to quickly get information about things like flowers, animals, etc., is now available in more countries in iOS 15.4.
iOS 15.4 is the biggest update to iOS 15 since the initial release was launched last September. Features like new emoji, Universal Control, and Face ID with mask support may grab the headlines, but there are many, many smaller quality of life improvements now available in iOS 15.4. Of course, this does not include behind-the-scenes bug fixes, which is also a big reason to upgrade.
What is your favorite new iOS 15.4 feature? Head down in the comments with your thoughts.
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