16 New Features in iOS 14.5 for iPhone, Including Updates for Gamepads, Privacy, 5G & Reminders

Your iPhone is full of features, many of which you might not even know about yet. Still, Apple keeps adding feature after feature with each new iOS update, and iOS 14.5 is no exception. The latest iOS version, currently in beta, adds at least 16 features you should be happy about.

If you’re an iOS beta tester, you might already be running Apple’s upcoming software. The company released the first developer beta update on Monday, Feb. 1, which gave us our first look at all the new features coming soon. Public beta testers have yet to receive the update, but you can join in on the action when it becomes available if you’re OK with running beta software.

If you don’t want to put your iPhone through temperamental software, however, you’ll need to wait for Apple to release the official update before you see these new features on your device. Until then, take a look at what we’ve discovered so far — new controller support, unlocking your iPhone with your Apple Watch, and joint Apple Card accounts are just the beginning.

1. Use Xbox Series X & PS5 DualSense Controllers

Finally! With iOS 14.5, Apple supports Sony’s PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless Controllers and Microsoft’s Xbox Core Controllers. If you managed to get your hands on one of these next-gen consoles, all you need is Apple’s latest update to enjoy Apple Arcade titles with your new controller.

Of course, you could always buy one of these controllers separately, if you don’t want to battle the internet for a PS5 or Xbox Series X, One, or Series S, or if you just like the way Sony and Microsoft make gaming controllers.

Here is the full list of controllers now supported in iOS as of 14.5:

  • Xbox Core Controller in Carbon Black, White, or Shock Blue
  • PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless Controller in White
  • Xbox Wireless Controller with Bluetooth (Model 1708) in Black, Blue, White, Gray/Blue, Gray/Green, Red, Cyberpunk 2077, Fortnite, Gears 5 Kait Diaz, Night Ops Camo, Phantom Magenta, Phantom White, Sport Blue, Sport Red, or Sport White
  • Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 in Black
  • Xbox Adaptive Controller in White
  • PlayStation DualShock 4 Wireless Controller in Jet Black, Glacier White, White, Camo, Gold, Green Camouflage, Red Camouflage, Blue Camouflage, Magma Red, Midnight Blue, Berry Blue, Wave Blue, Alpine Green, Sunset Orange, Crystal, Red Crystal, Electric Purple, Blue Crystal, Silver GT Sport, Copper, Silver, Titanium Blue, Rose Gold, Steel Black, Soft Touch Blue, Soft Touch Green, Soft Touch Orange, Soft Touch Purple, Soft Touch White, Soft Touch Color Changing Chameleon, Final Fantasy XV, Call of Duty, Fortnite Jet Black, 20th Anniversary, or 500 Million
  • Amazon Luna Controller in Black
  • Other MFi (Made for iOS) Bluetooth controllers might be supported, such as GameSir T4 Pro, Rotor Riot Gamepad, Razer Kishi, SteelSeries Nimbus+, PXN 6603, and more

2. Unlock Your iPhone with Your Apple Watch

Unlocking an iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask is just as annoying now as it was at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to iOS 14.5, not anymore since you can unlock your iPhone with an Apple Watch when masked.

If you’re used to unlocking your Mac with your Apple Watch, know that this feature isn’t quite like that. Unless you haven’t entered your password in a long time, your computer just requires your Apple Watch to be unlocked and within range to unlock macOS — without any other authentication needed.

However, your iPhone still has to attempt to scan your face. If your Apple Watch is unlocked and paired with your iPhone, it can unlock the iPhone for you whenever Face ID detects your wearing a mask. It essentially brings back the pre-pandemic luxury of using Face ID in public.

3. Use 5G with Active Dual-SIM Lines

The iPhone 12 lineup, like the iPhone 11 lineup, has dual-SIM capabalities, which allows you to use one physical SIM card and one eSIM on the same device at the same time. Until now, you couldn’t take advantage of both your iPhone 12’s dual-SIM capabilities and 5G connectivity at once. If you were using two active lines, you could only connect to LTE.

With iOS 14.5, that’s ancient history. After you update your iPhone, you can use 5G on your iPhone 12 with either active line, as long as the carrier provides 5G.

4. Add More Users to Apple Card

According to 9to5Mac, iOS 14.5’s code suggests Apple will soon introduce support for multiple Apple Card users. Apple will let you share an Apple Card with other members of your family using iCloud Family Sharing. You’ll be able to invite users, track spending, set spending limits, and even possibly split Daily Cash.

5. Play Fitness+ on TVs with AirPlay 2

If you’re a current Fitness+ user, you were probably frustrating at the fact that you couldn’t enjoy the experience on a big screen without an Apple TV. Instead, you were stuck using an iPhone or iPad. That’s no longer the case since iOS 14.5 adds AirPlay 2 support for Fitness+.

What does that mean for you? If you have an AirPlay 2-enabled TV, you can simply AirPlay the Fitness+ app from your iPhone or iPad to your TV. It’s as easy as that. The only downside is that data like activity rings, workout time remaining, calories burned, and burn bars will not appear on the TV and will instead remain on your smaller Apple device. That privilege is still exclusive to the Apple TV, so if you’re a hardcore Fitness+ user, you might want to consider picking one up.

6. Control How Apps Track Your iPhone Activity

In previous versions of iOS 14, you might have noticed a feature called “Allow Apps to Request to Track.” This feature either allows or blocks apps from asking permission to track your activity across other apps and sites. The only problem was that Apple didn’t require apps to ask, but in iOS 14.5, they are.

This update is the deadline for apps to add these requests to their apps, so be prepared to see a lot of pop-0ups as you open apps for the first time after installing iOS 14.5. If you want to avoid these pop-ups and block many of these apps from tracking you, check out our full guide on tracking requests.

7. Disable Private Click Measurement in Safari

Apple has been working on a new web privacy feature for Safari in the hopes that it will become a web standard one day. It’s currently working with Firefox, Brave, Chrome, and Edge to make that happen. But what is this privacy-related feature?

It’s called Private Click Measurement, or PCM, and it makes it possible for websites and advertisers to measure ad clicks across websites and from iOS apps to websites.

Normally, online advertisers will know that you tapped on an ad from an iOS app or website to get to the ad’s website in Safari. That’s not ideal from a privacy perspective since there’s no reason advertisers need to know that you tapped the link. That’s why Apple has the “Prevent Cross-Site Tracking” option for Safari already baked in — to help delete this kind of data periodically.

What PCM does is anonymize those taps, or “clicks,” so that advertisers only see that somebody tapped the ad, not that you did. This helps support the app developers and the advertising system by giving them more knowledge without adding any risk to you.

According to Apple, PCM sends “attribution reports [to advertisers] with limited data in a dedicated Private Browsing mode without any cookies, delaying reports randomly between 24 and 48 hours to disassociate events in time, and handling data on-device.”

If you were curious about the tracking information apps and websites can perform with iOS 14.5’s required tracking requests, this would be one instance since “PCM app-to-web [does not ] require the app to be granted permission to track according to AppTrackingTransparency.”

Stored clicks can be deleted whenever you delete website data (Settings –> Safari –> Advanced –> Website Data), it doesn’t record any data in Private Browsing Mode, WebViews within apps can’t use it (but apps that use SFSafariViewController may in the future), and you can opt-out. To opt-out, go to Settings –> Safari and toggle off the “Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement” switch. With it off, “no click metadata will be stored and no attribution reports will be sent out.”

8. See More Details on the Software Update Page

It’s not always about the big, AAA changes — we appreciate Apple tweaking small parts of iOS to keep things fresh as well. That’s why Apple’s new Software Update page is a welcome surprise. Here, you’ll now find a green checkmark when your iPhone is fully up to date, in addition to the following message.

Your iPhone is up to date with all the latest bug fixes and security enhancements.

You’ll also see the last time iOS checked for an available update. It’s not yet known if this page looks different when there’s an update available, but there’s a good chance it won’t.

9. Podcasts Has an Improved Look

You’ll notice some small interface tweaks to Podcasts that make the app feel a bit more like the Music app. We’re all for style continuity, so this is a welcome change.

Podcasts in 14.5 (left) vs. 14.4 (right).

10. Add ‘Made for You’ Playlists to Your Music Library

Apple Music has a “Made for You” section that creates playlists based on your listening history. In iOS 14.5, you can add the “Made for You” playlists to your Library, so you don’t need to go hunting for your auto-generated mixtapes.

11. View Expanded Release Date Info in Music

Also, you’ll see more release date information for music. Before, Apple Music would really only show you the year an album came out. Now, you have the exact release date itself.

12. Search for Content More Easily in Apple News

In iOS 14.5, you’ll also find a new “Search” tab in the News app, so you can hunt for specific outlets or stories that interest you. Before, there was just a search bar in the “Following” tab.

13. Type to Siri Without Obfuscating the Background

When using Type to Siri, you’ll now see a less obtrusive UI replacing the old full-screen interface of the past.

iOS 14.5 (left) vs. iOS 14.4 (right).

14. Sort Lists in Reminders

Reminders gets some love with iOS 14.5. Now, you can finally sort lists, and there are five different sorting types: “Manual” (which lets you sort entries by hand), “Due Date,” “Creation Date,” “Priority,” and “Title.” Just hit the ellipsis (•••) icon in a list to find these options.

15. Print Lists in Reminders

You can also now print your Reminders lists right from your iPhone. As with sorting, just hit the ellipsis (•••) icon in a list to find the “Print” button. If you don’t want to print a list, you’ll be able to save a PDF copy from the print preview like you could from any print request. Whether a PDF or printed, everything in your reminders will show up, including image thumbnails, notes, URLs, and due dates.

16. Use Quick Actions from the Lists View in Reminders

In iOS 14.4 and under, if you tried to long-press a list from the lists view in Reminders, nothing would happen except for maybe accidentally changing the order of the lists. Now, a quick actions menu appears with options for “Name & Appearance,” “Share List” (or “Manage Shared List”), “Sort By,” and “Delete List.”

iOS 14.5 (left) vs. iOS 14.4 (right).

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Cover photo and screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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