Apple Seeds Release Candidate Version of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 to Developers and Public Beta Testers
Apple today seeded the release candidate versions of upcoming iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new software coming one week after Apple seeded the fifth betas of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The RCs represent the final versions of the updates that will be released to the public next week.
iOS and iPadOS 15.4 introduce some of the most significant changes we've seen in an update since iOS 15 launched. On the iPhone 12 and 13 models, there's now an option to use Face ID while wearing a mask with no Apple Watch required for authentication. It works just like Face ID, but it scans the area around your eyes when you're wearing a mask.
On iPad, iPadOS 15.4 brings the long awaited Universal Control feature. 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. It's a feature that works seamlessly after installing the updates, and it is simple and intuitive to use.
There are 37 new emojis with the addition of Emoji 14 characters, so you can now use emojis that include melting face, biting lip, heart hands, bubbles, beans, face with diagonal mouth, palm up hand, eggs, troll, low battery, coral, lotus, and more.
The second beta added support for the "Tap to Pay on iPhone" feature that is designed to allow NFC-compatible iPhones to accept payments through Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, without requiring additional hardware.
Tap to Pay on iPhone is enabled in the iOS 15.4 beta, but it does require third-party providers to add support, so it is not yet available for use.
In the fourth beta, Apple added a new Siri voice for American users and support for AirTag anti-stalking features announced in February. When setting up an AirTag or a Find My accessory, there is now a warning that the device is locked to an Apple ID and that using it to track someone without consent is a crime.
"You can locate this item using the Find My network," reads the setup screen. "Using this item to track people without their consent is a crime in many regions around the world. This item is designed to be detected by victims and to enable law enforcement to request identifying information about the owner."
There are also signs that Apple may be planning to roll out support for digital IDs and driver's licenses in iOS 15.4. There isn't a ton of evidence for this at the current time, but there was a mention of the feature in the PassKit code in beta 2. "Find out when your driver's license or state ID is ready to use and get important updates about your ID," it reads.
Other new features include full 120Hz ProMotion support for app animations on iPhone 13 Pro models, EU vaccine certificates in the Wallet app, the ability to turn off notifications for Shortcuts automations, keyboard brightness controls in Control Center on the iPad, an Apple Card widget, iCloud Keychain notes, support for adding custom email domains to iCloud Mail right on device, and a SharePlay option in the share sheet.
We have a full list of all of the features introduced in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 in our dedicated guide highlighting everything new in the update.
Apple has also seeded RC versions of watchOS 8.5, tvOS 15.4, and macOS Monterey 12.3. All of the updates are expected to be released next week.
Update: The updates are now also available to public beta testers.