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iOS 14.5 now available with app tracking protections, Apple Watch iPhone unlocking and more

Apple has released the iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 operating system update, adding the ability to unlock an iPhone with an Apple Watch while wearing a face mask, app tracking transparency and much more.

The last major update before Apple unleashes iOS 15 in June also brings dual-SIM support for 5G models, new emoji characters and support for the precision finding tech in the new AirTag item trackers. The redesigned Podcasts app now includes support for the new Podcasts Subscriptions announced at last week’s Spring Loaded event.

The new update introduces new crowdsourcing tools in Apple Maps, enabling users to report accidents and delays to the community. Music fans will enjoy the opportunity to inform Siri of their preferred music service, but it doesn’t go as far as setting it as a default service.

Gamers will be happy to note support for the new PS5 DualSense and Xbox Series X controllers. The latter is especially welcome considering Game Pass cloud gaming is coming to iPhone and iPad via a new web app. There’s also AirPlay 2 support for the Fitness Plus app.

Perhaps the most important and newsworthy feature is the ability for users to choose whether ads can track them around the web. The likes of Facebook have objected to the technology, claiming it will hurt ad revenue for small businesses.

The new feature “lets you control which apps are allowed to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites for ads or sharing with data brokers,” Apple says.

Apple was due to release this update in a previous iOS 14 update, but delayed the policy after objections from those who benefit from exploiting user privacy online.

Apple has also updated the Apple Watch, with watchOS 7.4. This includes the iPhone unlocking feature mentioned above and also the aforementioned Fitness Plus AirPlay 2 support. Apple has also unleashed the tvOS 14.5 for Apple TV, which brings the new colour balance feature announced last week and support for the new Sony and Microsoft game controllers.

macOS Big Sir 11.3 rounds out a big day updates, with further optimisations for M1 powered Macs and integration with AirTags. All updates can be downloaded over-the-air.

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