Apple Releases First iOS 14.5 Developer Beta for iPhone, Adds Support for Xbox Series X & PS5 DualSense Controllers

Apple released iOS 14.5 developer beta 1 on Monday, Feb. 1. The update sports a list of interesting features and changes, including support for the Xbox Series X and PS5 DualSense controllers, the ability to unlock your iPhone with Apple Watch, AirPlay 2 support for Fitness+, 5G support for dual-SIM setups, and a refreshed Software Update page in Settings.

Apple released the new beta update, build number 18E5140j, just past 10 a.m. PDT, the company’s standard release time for new developer updates. If you are not an iOS developer, you won’t see this beta hit your iPhone just yet. You’ll need to wait for iOS 14.5 public beta 1, which we expect to see at 10 a.m. PDT Tuesday if all things go well.

Possibly the biggest news with iOS 14.5 is support for Sony’s PlayStation 5 DualSense and Microsoft’s Xbox Core (aka Xbox Series X) controllers. These gamepads had yet to see iOS support, so PS5 or Xbox Series X users couldn’t use their new controllers in Apple Arcade on their iPhones or iPads. Of course, support is still limited to the 14.5 betas, so non-testers won’t be able to connect these controllers until Apple officially releases 14.5.

Good news for Apple Watch users — iOS 14.5 will allow you to unlock your Face ID iPhone with your Apple Watch when wearing a mask. This option will only appear on Face ID iPhones with a paired Apple Watch and requires you to manually enable it. As long as this feature is enabled and your Apple Watch is unlocked, you only need a partial Face ID scan to unlock your iPhone.

This new update also enables 5G in dual-SIM iPhone 12 models. While the iPhone 12 lineup is 5G-ready, dual-SIM used to be limited to LTE-only. Once you update your iPhone to 14.5, you’ll be able to take advantage of 5G’s improved speeds and performance on either single or dual-SIM.

No Apple TV, no problem. With iOS 14.5, Fitness+ users will now be able to AirPlay Fitness+ content from their iPhone or iPad to their AirPlay 2-compatible TV. This change is a welcome one in the Fitness+ community, as iOS 14.4 requires you to have an Apple TV to use Fitnesss+ on a screen larger than your Apple device. The only downside is that fitness information like activity rings, workout time remaining, calories burned, and burn bars will not appear on the TV and will need to be viewed on your Apple device.

Another new feature that jumps out to us is a refreshed Software Updates page. With 14.5, you’ll now see a green checkmark when your iPhone is up to date, with a new message that reads, “Your iPhone is up to date with all the latest bug fixes and security enhancements.” You’ll also see when iOS last checked for a new update.

Because this is the first update to feature this refreshed Software Update screen, we’ll need to wait for 14.5 beta 2 to see what this page looks like with a new update available.

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

One minor change: Apple no longer includes a warning under the “Allow Apps to Request to Track” feature that apps that don’t ask may still try to track your activity. Why Apple omitted this sentence is unclear — are apps no longer able to track you if you decline permissions?

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

We know that iOS 14.5 is the first update requiring developers to ask for permission to track users across apps and websites. You can block those permission pop-ups — and most of that tracking — by disabling the new tracking feature. While this feature was present in earlier versions of iOS 14, only iOS 14.5 requires developers to adhere to it.

The update follows last week’s release of iOS 14.4 to the general iPhone public, which included new Camera, Bluetooth, HomePod, and privacy features, as well as patches for three security vulnerabilities.

iOS & iPadOS 14.5 Beta Release Notes

Overview

The iOS & iPadOS 14.5 SDK provides support to develop apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices running iOS & iPadOS 14.5 beta. The SDK comes bundled with Xcode 12.5 beta, available from Beta Software Downloads. For information on the compatibility requirements for Xcode 12.5, see Xcode 12.5 Beta Release Notes.

CoreAccessories: Known Issues

  • Some vehicles can’t start CarPlay if the iPhone is set to share contacts over CarPlay. (71458958)

ExtensionKit: Known Issues

  • The share extension for Notes and Reminders doesn’t appear in the share sheet when using Maps. (72879313)

Siri: Known Issues

  • Sharing ETA and routes will throw an error and not complete on CarPlay or iOS. (70440576) Workaround: Share ETA via Maps.

SKAdNetwork: Known Issues

  • To receive a postback from devices running iOS 14 or later, generate signatures using signature version 2.0 or later. Version 1.0 signatures don’t result in a postback on iOS 14 and later, even if the advertised app is installed and launched. (71474331)

WebKit: New Features

  • Apps and websites can now get privacy-preserving attribution for ad clicks that navigate user to websites. (70502338)

IOAVFamily: Known Issues

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later) and iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Air (4th generation) will not connect via USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter to an external display. (72618916)

How to Download iOS 14.5 on Your iPhone

You’ll need an Apple developer account to update your iPhone to iOS 14.5 dev beta 1. You can get the restore image from your dev portal, then install it with iTunes or Finder. Otherwise, install the configuration profile, then update by going to Settings –> General –> Software Update. Finally, you can simply wait for it to auto-install if you have a dev profile and “Automatic Updates” is enabled.

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Cover image by Dave2D/YouTube

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