Apple yesterday released the iOS 15.4 beta and introduced a useful new feature that lets you unlock your iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. Face ID with a Mask does not require hardware like an Apple Watch for authentication, and though it makes Face ID a bit less secure, it is much more convenient in a world where many of us are still wearing masks on a regular basis.


After updating to iOS 15.4 on a compatible ‌iPhone‌, Face ID with a Mask comes up as a setup option. You can enable it right away with a new Face ID scan, and from there, unlocking your ‌iPhone‌ with Face ID while wearing a mask is as easy as it is without a mask.

Just swipe up on the Lock Screen of your ‌iPhone‌ with your mask on and it will unlock as expected with Face ID. Face ID with a mask is almost identical to Face ID without a mask, but it's not going to unlock from unusual angles because direct eye contact is required. You need to be looking right at your ‌iPhone‌ for Face ID with a Mask to work, which isn't always the case with standard Face ID.

If you didn't enable the new Face ID feature at setup after installing iOS 15.4, you can do so later under Settings > Face ID & Passcode. You'll also want to visit this section if you plan to wear glasses while also wearing a mask.

Glasses wearers will need to put on glasses, put on a mask, and use the "Add Glasses" feature to create a new Face ID scan that will let Face ID work with both facial accessories. Face ID with a Mask cannot be used with sunglasses because the feature needs to see your eyes.

Apple says that Face ID with a mask can "recognize the unique features around the eye" for authentication purposes. It is not as secure or as accurate as full-face recognition, but it is much more convenient, especially for ‌iPhone‌ users who do not own an Apple Watch for unlocking.

Unlike the Apple Watch Face ID feature, Face ID with a Mask is fully identical to standard Face ID in terms of what can be authenticated. You can use Face ID with a Mask for Apple Pay purchases and in lieu of a passcode in third-party apps.

Face ID with a Mask is available on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models. If you have an iPhone 11 or older, the feature will not be available to you. It's not clear if this is a temporary restriction, and it's possible Apple could be planning to expand the feature to other devices in future betas.

Have you tried Face ID with a Mask? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Related Roundups: iOS 15, iPadOS 15
Related Forum: iOS 15

There could be a WhatsApp app for iPad coming in the near future, according to WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart. In an interview with The Verge, Cathcart said that people have long been asking for an ‌iPad‌ app, and that the company would "love to do it."

Whatsapp Feature
Though Cathcart did not commit to a release date for a WhatsApp ‌iPad‌ app, the Meta-owned company already has the underlying structure in place for creating one. "We did a lot of work on the technology for supporting multiple devices," he said. "Our web and our desktop apps now have that. If I have multi-device on, I can turn my phone off or lose my network connection and still get messages on my desktop. That would be really important for a tablet app, to be able to use the app even if your phone isn't on. So the underlying technology is there."

Right now, WhatsApp is available on the iPhone, the desktop, and the web, but an iPad-specific app has been left out. WhatsApp is testing multi-device support that allows the desktop and web versions of the app to be used without an ‌iPhone‌, functionality that paves the way for the ‌iPad‌ app.

WhatsApp parent company Meta has made Facebook available on ‌iPad‌, but WhatsApp and Meta's Instagram app have never had native ‌iPad‌ availability, despite many users asking for the feature.

Apple recently announced that the App Store now supports unlisted apps discoverable only with a direct link, as outlined on its developer website.

iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue
Developers with apps that aren't suited for public distribution can submit a request on Apple's website to distribute unlisted apps, which don't appear in any App Store categories, recommendations, charts, search results, or other listings. Unlisted apps can also be accessed through Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager.

Apple says apps for specific organizations, special events, research studies, or employee sales tools and resources are good candidates for unlisted distribution. Unlisted apps are supported in all countries where the App Store is available.

Developers can submit Apple's request form for both new and existing apps. If approved, the app's distribution method will change to "Unlisted App" and will apply to any future versions of the app. Unlisted apps are available to anyone who has access to the link, and if the app is already available on the App Store, its current link will remain the same.

Unlisted apps must be ready for final distribution, and requests for apps in a beta or pre-release state will be declined, according to Apple. In other words, unlisted distribution cannot be used for TestFlight-like purposes.

The news was brought to our attention by developer Steve Troughton-Smith.

Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming macOS Monterey 12.3 update to its public beta testing group, with the new software coming one day after it was provided to developers.

macOS Monterey on MBP Feature
Public beta testers can download the macOS 12.3 Monterey update from the Software Update section of the System Preferences app after installing the proper profile from Apple's beta software website.

Universal Control is the major new feature in ‌macOS Monterey‌ 12.3, and it is designed to allow multiple Macs and iPads to be controlled using a single mouse/trackpad and keyboard. If you have a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro, for example, both devices can be controlled with the MacBook Pro's trackpad and keyboard or a keyboard attached to the iPad.


iPadOS 15.4 is required for Universal Control on the ‌iPad‌, and once the updates are installed on your devices, the feature just works as it is automatically enabled.

‌macOS Monterey‌ also includes new Emoji 14 characters like melting face, biting lip, heart hands, and more, and plus it adds support for updating AirPods with a Mac. There's no official update interface, but your AirPods can receive firmware updates over-the-air when connected to a Mac, similar to how the update process works with an iPhone.

There are some under-the-hood changes too. Apple is removing Python 2 from macOS with macOS 12.3 after support was suspended in January 2020, and Apple is eliminating some kernel extensions used by Dropbox and OneDrive, necessitating software updates for those apps.

Related Roundup: macOS Monterey
Related Forum: macOS Monterey

Apple today seeded the first betas of upcoming iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 updates to public beta testers, with the software coming just a day after the launch of the developer betas.

iOS 15
iOS and iPadOS 15.4 can be downloaded over the air after the proper profile from Apple's public beta testing website has been installed on an iPhone or iPad.

iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 are major updates. iOS 15.4 brings a new feature for unlocking your ‌iPhone‌ with Face ID even when wearing a mask, and iPadOS 15.4 introduces Universal Control. When paired with a Mac running macOS Monterey 12.3, Universal Control allows multiple Macs and iPads to be controlled with a single cursor and keyboard, and it's super simple and intuitive to use. Universal Control requires ‌macOS Monterey‌ 12.3, which does not yet appear to be available for public beta testers.


The betas also bring new Emoji 14 characters, an Apple Card widget, a keyboard brightness Control Center option on ‌iPad‌, support for on-device custom email domain setup, easier access to SharePlay, and tons more.

We have a full list of everything new in iOS 15.4 available in our iOS 15.4 features guide. Apple has also released the first tvOS 15.4 public beta.

Related Roundups: iOS 15, iPadOS 15
Related Forum: iOS 15

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station. One winner will receive the 2048Wh high-end Bluetti AC200MAX and two winners will receive the 500Wh Bluetti AC50S. All of these products are great to have on hand for camping, RV use, off-grid living, power outages, emergencies, and more.

bluetti portable power station 1
The AC200MAX is one of Bluetti's newest and biggest portable power stations, and with its $2099 price tag, it's designed for those who need to have plenty of battery power on hand. By default, the AC200MAX has a 2048Wh capacity, but that can be boosted to 8192Wh with add-on battery modules that are available separately.

bluetti power station 2
There are 16 ports, including 4 AC outlets, 4 USB-A ports (two 18W and two 5VDC/3A), a 12V/16A port, NEMA TT-30 RV outlet, two 12V/30A ports, a 100W USB-C port, and two spots for wirelessly charging smartphones, earbuds, and similar devices.

A large LED display provides information on battery level and offers touch controls for turning AC/DC ports off, activating the included lights, controlling settings, checking for faults, and more. There are built-in fans to keep it cool when it's operating, and Bluetti has added covers for all the outlets and ports to keep them protected when not in use.

bluetti power station 3
The AC200MAX is compatible with solar panels up to 900W and supports 500W AC input, and with both, it can be charged to full in under two hours. The power station supports up to 2000W with 4800W surge capacity, so it is able to power most appliances. It is compatible with small refrigerators, heaters, blow dryers, CPAP machines, and more, making it a good choice if you need to operate high-powered appliances with no on-grid power source.

bluetti portable powerstation 4
For those who don't need the power of the AC200MAX, MAXOAK also makes a whole range of smaller power stations at more affordable price points. The 500Wh Bluetti AC50S is priced at $400 and supports devices up to 300W, so it's ideal for smaller appliances and electronics. It features two AC ports, four USB-A ports, a 45W USB-C port, two 12V/3A ports, a 12V/10A car port, and a 10W wireless charging pad.

bluetti blue
There's a built-in LCD display that provides information on charging status, and it weighs just 13.6 pounds, so it's much more portable than the AC200MAX, which weighs in at 62 pounds.

MAXOAK is giving away one grand prize that includes the Bluetti AC200MAX Portable Power Station, and two second prize winners will receive Bluetti AC50S 500Wh Portable Power Station.

To enter to win, use the Gleam.io widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, following us on Instagram, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older, UK residents who are 18 years or older, and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. All federal, state, provincial, and/or local taxes, fees, and surcharges are the sole responsibility of the prize winner. To offer feedback or get more information on the ‌giveaway‌ restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

The contest will run from today (January 28) at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time on February 4. The winners will be chosen randomly on February 4 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.

Apple this week seeded the first beta of tvOS 15.4 to developers for testing, and there are some new features for the Apple TV.

apple tv 4k design triad
First, the beta release notes indicate that tvOS 15.4 introduces support for captive Wi-Fi networks, allowing you to use your iPhone or iPad to connect your Apple TV to networks that require additional sign-in steps, like at hotels or dorms.

As noted by ScreenTimes editor-in-chief Sigmund Judge, the beta also adds an "Up Next" queue directly to the video player for easier access, and there is also a new volume button accessible from the video player. Judge outlined a few additional features and changes introduced in the tvOS 15.4 beta in a Twitter thread.


In addition to the tvOS 15.4 beta, Apple seeded the first betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4, macOS 12.3, and watchOS 8.5. The betas will likely be in testing for several weeks, with public releases likely to occur in March or April.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)

Amazon today introduced a new low price on the 64GB cellular iPad mini 6, available for $599.99, down from $649.00. This sale is only available in purple, and it's shipped and sold directly from Amazon.

iPad mini 6 orange BGNote: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

The previous low price on this model sat around $630, and Amazon is currently the only retailer offering the cellular iPad mini 6 at this price. Delivery estimates provide a window between January 29 and February 2 for most United States residences.

For even more iPad deals, head to our full Best Deals guide for iPad. In that guide we track the best discounts online for iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro.

Related Roundups: Apple Deals, iPad mini
Buyer's Guide: iPad Mini (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPad

Apple will no longer bundle Python 2.7 with macOS 12.3, according to developer release notes for the upcoming software update. Python 2 has not been supported since January 1, 2020 and no longer receives any bug fixes, security patches, or other changes.

macOS Monterey Python
Apple says that developers should use an alternative scripting language going forward, such as Python 3, but it's worth noting that Python 3 also does not come preinstalled on macOS. Developers can run the stub /usr/bin/python3 in Terminal, but it prompts users to install Xcode developer tools, which includes Python 3.

Apple warned that future versions of macOS would not include Python 2.7 in macOS Catalina's developer release notes back in 2019. At the time, Apple said Python 2.7 was included in macOS for compatibility with legacy software.

"If your software depends on scripting languages, it's recommended that you bundle the runtime within the app," said Apple.

Related Roundup: macOS Monterey
Related Forum: macOS Monterey

Apple is stifling competition with its monopoly on app distribution through the App Store, attorneys general for 35 states told a California appeals court on Thursday.

app store blue banner epic 1
The joint statement was submitted into the appeals process that is ongoing following the judge's decision in the Epic v. Apple lawsuit, with the attorneys general siding with the "Fortnite" video game maker on the issue, reports Reuters.

"Apple's conduct has harmed and is harming mobile app-developers and millions of citizens," the states said.

"Meanwhile, Apple continues to monopolize app distribution and in-app payment solutions for iPhones, stifle competition, and amass supracompetitive profits within the almost trillion-dollar-a-year smartphone industry."

According to the Financial Times [paywalled], the US Department of Justice also challenged last year's ruling, saying in its own submission that the court had "committed several legal errors that could imperil effective antitrust enforcement, especially in the digital economy."

The DoJ said the court had interpreted the Sherman Act, an 1890 law prohibiting anti-competitive behavior, "narrowly and wrongly, in ways that would leave many anti-competitive agreements and practices outside their protections."

The judge's decision in the Oakland, California case mostly ruled against Epic last year, although both Apple and ‌Epic Games‌ have decided to appeal the original ruling as neither company was satisfied with the outcome. ‌‌Epic Games‌‌ wanted the court to force Apple to support third-party App Stores, which did not happen.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that the 15% to 30% commission that Apple charges some app makers through its in-app payment system did not violate antitrust law.

Along with the states, professors and activist groups also weighed in through court filings that described legal arguments in support of Epic, according to Reuters.

The states said in their filing that the lower court erred when it decided that a key antitrust law did not apply to non-negotiable contracts Apple makes developers sign, a claim Epic also made when it first filed its appeal earlier this month.

"Paradoxically, firms with enough market power to unilaterally impose contracts would be protected from antitrust scrutiny — precisely the firms whose activities give the most cause for antitrust concern," they said in the joint statement.

Apple, which is expected to reply in March, said on Thursday it was confident Epic's challenge would fail, and that it remained "committed to ensuring the ‌App Store‌ is a safe and trusted marketplace for consumers and a great opportunity for developers."

Beats Fit Pro launch worldwide today after pre-orders began earlier in the week in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and elsewhere. The wireless earbuds were first released in the United States last November.

beats fit pro green background
Designed with fitness and athletes in mind, the Beats Fit Pro feature flexible wingtips for a more secure fit in the ear. The wireless earbuds have many of the same features as the AirPods Pro, including active noise cancellation with a "Transparency" mode, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, an H1 chip for one-tap pairing and automatic switching between Apple devices, hands-free "Hey Siri" support, and more.

Other features and specs include up to six hours of listening time per charge, compatibility with Android devices, IPX4-rated water and sweat resistance, a USB-C charging case, customizable silicone ear tips with three size options, and more. For more details about Beats Fit Pro, read our hands-on coverage of the earbuds from last year.


Beats Fit Pro can be ordered through Apple's online store where sold, with black, white, stone purple, and sage gray color options.

Tag: Beats

Apple yesterday released the first developers beta of iOS 15.4 with several notable new features. Perhaps the biggest is the ability to use Face ID to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask, without requiring an Apple Watch to do so. In another noteworthy addition, you can now also authenticate Apple Pay transactions while wearing a mask for the first time.

face id mask
With the release of iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 last year, Apple added the ability for users wearing a mask to unlock their iPhone when wearing an Apple Watch, eliminating the need to enter a passcode instead. However, while "Unlock with Apple Watch" allows users to unlock their device while wearing a mask, other features that rely on Face ID, such as ‌Apple Pay‌ and in-app authentication, do not work.

That will change when iOS 15.4 is released to the public, after which users will also be able to make ‌Apple Pay‌ purchases and use Face ID within apps when wearing a face covering. That said, Apple is warning that using Face ID with a mask is less secure, and the biometric authentication system remains "most accurate" when used with full-face recognition.

To enable Face ID while wearing a mask, an iPhone "can recognize the unique features around the eye area to authenticate," according to Apple. The feature in the first beta is limited only to the iPhone 12 and later, meaning users of older ‌iPhone‌ models will miss out. Alongside Face ID with a mask, Apple has also added the ability to configure Face ID while wearing glasses.

iOS and iPadOS 15.4 are likely to be released to the public later this Spring and include new emojis, an Apple Card widget, Universal Control, and more. Check out everything new in the first beta with our roundup.

Related Roundups: iOS 15, iPadOS 15
Tag: Face ID
Related Forum: iOS 15

Apple on Thursday seeded the first beta of iOS 15.4, and one of the software update's new features will be the ability for COVID-19 vaccination records in the EU Digital COVID Certificate format to be added to the Health and Wallet apps.

covid 19 vaccination card wallet app
When iOS 15.4 is released, users will be able to add a EU Digital COVID Certificate to the Health and Wallet apps by opening the Camera app, scanning the certificate's QR code, tapping on the yellow Health app notification that appears, and tapping the "Add to Wallet & Health" button. Vaccine cards in the Wallet app display a person's name, the type of vaccine they received, the date that each dose was administered, the issuer, and a digitally signed QR code. More detailed immunization records are accessible through the Health app.

The feature is partially live in the iOS 15.4 beta, as MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci was able to add his Italian vaccination record to the Health app, but not the Wallet app. Apple's release notes indicate that EU Digital COVID Certificates issued by Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Cape Verde, North Macedonia, and Palestine also currently can't be verified or added to the Wallet app on the iOS 15.4 beta.


Apple first rolled out the ability to add COVID-19 vaccination records to the Health and Wallet apps in the United States with iOS 15.1, and the feature is also supported in Canada. With support for EU Digital COVID Certificates, the feature will expand to a long list of countries in Europe, including Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and others.

iOS 15.4 has several new features, so be sure to read our list of everything that is new, including Face ID support for masks without an Apple Watch.

Related Roundups: iOS 15, iPadOS 15
Related Forum: iOS 15

The iOS 15.4 beta that was introduced today expands support for the custom email domain feature available for iCloud+, adding an option to set up a custom domain with ‌iCloud‌ Mail directly on the iPhone.

custom email domain mail ios 15 4
If you go to Settings > Apple ID > ‌iCloud‌, "‌iCloud‌ Mail" is now a tappable option and it includes a section for setting up a Custom Email Domain.

Prior to now, custom domains were able to be set up with ‌iCloud‌ Mail, but Apple's iCloud.com website was required to get it working and there was no option to set it up right on the ‌iPhone‌ or iPad.

custom email domain ios 15 4
Setting up a custom email domain requires a paid ‌iCloud‌+ storage plan, which is priced starting at $0.99. The feature is designed to allow a custom email address like "johnny@appleseed.com" to be used for sending and receiving emails using ‌iCloud‌ Mail. Though the custom domain feature uses ‌iCloud‌ Mail, emails will be addressed to and sent from the custom domain.

Each ‌iCloud‌ user can add up to five custom domains to ‌iCloud‌ Mail, and members of a Family Sharing group can also use those domains. Email addresses that are currently used with the custom domain are supposed, and there's also an option to set up new email addresses with the domain.

Custom Email Domain settings on the ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ will make it much easier to use custom email addresses. It's worth noting that this same feature is also available on the Mac under the System Preferences > ‌Apple ID‌ > ‌iCloud‌ Mail, but it does not yet appear to be functional.

Related Roundups: iOS 15, iPadOS 15
Tags: iCloud, Mail

After the launch of the iPhone 13 Pro models with 120Hz ProMotion, it became clear that most third-party app animations were limited to 60Hz and were unable to take advantage of the 120Hz maximum refresh rate of the new devices. At the time, Apple said there was a Core Animation bug that would be fixed in a later update.

iphone 14 pro 120hz promotion
Apple appears to be addressing the Core Animation issue in the iOS 15.4 beta, introducing a change that will see apps automatically offering 120Hz refresh rates for all animations on iPhones that offer ProMotion support for more streamlined usage experience.

Apollo developer Christian Selig today said on Twitter that someone at Apple informed him that a fix has been implemented in iOS 15.4, and he was able to confirm the change himself.


With the full 120Hz ProMotion support, there should be no discernible difference between the various animations in an app, and everything should operate as expected. 120Hz refresh rates are designed to provide for a smoother viewing experience for scrolling through content, gaming, and more.

Related Roundups: iOS 15, iPadOS 15, iPhone 13 Pro
Related Forum: iOS 15

Apple today released new developer betas of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3, and the updated software adds the long awaited and highly anticipated Universal Control feature. We tested out Universal Control, and even in an early beta form, Universal Control is an easy to use and convenient multi-device control option.


To use Universal Control, the iPadOS 15.4 beta and the macOS Monterey 12.3 beta must be installed on your iPad and Mac, respectively. When you update, the feature is enabled by default and should work automatically, but we did run into an issue where we needed to restart the Mac to get it to work.

Settings for Universal Control on the Mac can be found under Displays > Advanced if you want to turn it off for some reason or change the functionality, and on the ‌iPad‌, you can find the toggle under General > AirPlay & Handoff.

After updating, if you have a Mac and an ‌iPad‌ next to each other, or even multiple Macs and iPads, you can use the keyboard and cursor on one device across all of them. So, for example, if you have a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro on your desk as we do in our video, the MacBook Pro's trackpad can be used over on the ‌iPad‌ just by swiping across, as can the keyboard. The same is true of the ‌iPad‌ if you have a keyboard attached. Universal Control works between multiple Macs and between multiple Macs and iPads.

You can drag files from the Mac to the ‌iPad‌ and vice versa, but on ‌iPad‌, you will need to have the appropriate app open. So if you're dragging a photo from Mac to ‌iPad‌, you need to open Photos -- it can't go on the Home screen. Trackpad gestures for Mac do not appear to work on the ‌iPad‌, which is also worth noting.

It's an intuitive and simple-to-use feature because you can just swipe right over from one display to the next with no lag or other hindrances. You can use Universal Control on any Mac or ‌iPad‌ that's signed into your iCloud account, and it's a great example of an Apple feature that "just works."

Have you tried out Universal Control? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple is developing a new trade-in tool that will be used to scan the iPhone for cosmetic damage, likely with the aim of generating a more accurate trade-in estimate.

iPhone trade in
Code for the feature was discovered in the iOS 15.4 beta by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser, and it was also highlighted by 9to5Mac. There's not a lot of detail right now, but in a Diagnostic Services section, there are mentions of a Trade-In Tool and Cosmetic Scan, which will also involve a QR code.


We don't know how it works as of yet, but it may allow an ‌iPhone‌ user to take an image scan of their trade-in device to get a close look at scratches, dings, and other cosmetic damage, with the results sent to Apple.

There are no outward-facing signs of this feature available at the current time, but since it's linked to trade-ins, it might be something that we'll see when the iOS 15.4 update is released to the public.

Related Roundups: iOS 15, iPadOS 15
Related Forum: iOS 15

Apple now has over 1.8 billion active devices worldwide, a new record, Apple CEO Tim Cook said during today's earnings call covering the first fiscal quarter of 2022.

appleproductlineup
Apple's active install base includes iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch, and it has grown from 1.5 active billion devices in January 2020 and 1.65 active billion devices in January 2021.

Cook did not break out numbers for individual devices, but last year said that Apple had more than billion active iPhones worldwide.

Tags: earnings, AAPL