Last week, Apple unveiled new hardware innovations, and this week it promised to release new versions of its operating systems. This was expected to happen on Friday (when the new iPhone SE, iPad Air and Mac Studio go on sale), but Apple surprised us by releasing updates today. What’s new with iOS and iPadOS 15.4?
Unlock your iPhone with a face mask
The biggest new feature in iOS 15.4 is the ability to use Face ID while wearing a facemask or respirator, both to unlock your phone and to authenticate payments. The irony is that as of today, there are plenty of countries easing the restriction and allowing to travel without mouth and nose protection. Even so, the new feature may be useful for unlocking your phone on public transport or in medical facilities where wearing respirators might still be mandatory at some places.
Another new feature in iOS 15.4 is the ability to store European digital certificates and COVID-19 vaccination records in the Health and Wallet apps. Other features have been added during the update too – Episode filters in the Podcasts app, and you can now add notes to saved passwords in System Preferences or manage your own email domains on iCloud.
Other new features include launching SharePlay sessions directly from selected apps or the ability to ask Siri for the time and date on older iPhones even without internet access. The system has also been enhanced with 37 new emoji from the Unicode 14.0 emoji set.
iPadOS 15.4 finally supports Universal Control
Apple has also released an update to its iPadOS tablet system, with the biggest news in version 15.4 being support for Universal Control. It lets you control your iPad and Mac with a single keyboard and mouse (trackpad), copy text between them, or drag and drop files from one device to the other. Apple originally planned to make this feature available last fall, but ultimately had to delay its release.
If you want to install new versions of Apple’s operating systems immediately, just invoke the update in Settings – General – Software Update.