iOS 14.4 Features: Everything New in iOS 14.4

Apple today released iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to the public, introducing some notable new bug fixes and feature tweaks. We've highlighted everything that's new in the update below, so you can get a quick overview of what to expect after installing it.

14

Security Vulnerability Fixes

It's important to update to iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 on all of your devices as soon as possible because the software includes fixes for three major security vulnerabilities that Apple says may have been used in the wild.

According to a security support document shared by Apple, there were kernel and WebKit vulnerabilities affecting all iPhones and iPads running iOS or iPadOS 14. The kernel vulnerability could allow a malicious application to elevate privileges, and Apple says it is aware of a report that the issue may have been actively exploited.

Available for: iPhone 6s and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation)
Impact: A malicious application may be able to elevate privileges. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.
Description: A race condition was addressed with improved locking.
CVE-2021-1782: an anonymous researcher

Apple also says a WebKit issue that allowed for a remote attacker to cause arbitrary code execution may have been actively exploited.

Available for: iPhone 6s and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation)
Impact: A remote attacker may be able to cause arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.
Description: A logic issue was addressed with improved restrictions.
CVE-2021-1871: an anonymous researcher
CVE-2021-1870: an anonymous researcher

There is no other information available at this time, but again, it's worth updating right away just to make sure you're not affected by these security issues.

Support for Smaller QR Codes

When scanning a QR code with the iPhone's camera, the camera is now able to recognize smaller QR codes so overall QR code recognition functionality should be improved.

Bluetooth Device Settings

iOS 14.4 includes a setting to specify a device type for third-party Bluetooth-connected audio devices so that Headphone Audio Level measurements can be taken correctly. Apple tracks headphone audio levels to send alerts if music is playing at a level that has the potential to damage hearing health over time.

ios 14 4 bluetooth device type

Camera Authenticity Warnings

If you get an iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, or 12 Pro Max repaired and the repair person uses a non-genuine Apple camera or a camera recycled from another ‌iPhone 12‌ model, Apple will now send notifications. Apple says that these notifications will be sent when the camera on one of the new ‌iPhone 12‌ models is "unable to be verified as a new, genuine Apple camera."

ios 14 iphone 12 non genuine camera

Bug Fixes

There are fixes for several bugs in iOS 14.4, some of which have been irritating ‌iPhone‌ users for months now.

  • iPhone 12 Pro image artifacts - HDR photos taken by some ‌iPhone 12‌ Pro models could have visible image artifacts, a bug that should now be fixed.
  • Fitness widget - For some users, the Fitness widget was not displaying updated Activity data.
  • Delayed typing - A bug that could cause typing to be delayed and word suggestions not to appear in the keyboard has been fixed, which should be a relief to the users that have had this problem for quite some time.
  • Messages keyboard - A bug that could cause the incorrect language keyboard to appear in Messages has been fixed.
  • CarPlay News app - There was a bug that could cause audio stories from the News app in CarPlay not to resume after being paused for spoken directions or for Siri, which has been addressed.
  • Switch Control - Turning on the Switch Control feature in Accessibility could prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen.

Time to Walk

If you have a connected Apple Watch running watchOS 7.3 and are subscribed to Apple Fitness+, there's now an option in the Apple Watch Workout app to listen to "Time to Walk" stories, where guests share inspiring stories as you do a walking workout.

Time to Walk offers audio stories from music artists, athletes, and other influential people that Apple Watch owners and Apple Fitness+ subscribers can listen to while walking.

Each episode is 25 to 40 minutes in length and features guests like country music star Dolly Parton, musician Shawn Mendes, actress Uzo Aduba, and NBA player Draymond Green. Speakers share "lessons learned, meaningful memories, thoughts on purpose and gratitude, moments of levity, and other thought-provoking topics." Time to Walk is available to Apple Fitness+ subscribers.

HomePod mini

During the beta testing period, those who also had the invite-only HomePod mini beta discovered that the iOS 14.4 update and HomePod 14.4 update enable new HomePod mini functionality that takes advantage of the U1 chip in the speaker.

homepod mini 14 4 u1 chip
When paired with a ‌HomePod mini‌ and the HomePod 14.4 software update, iOS 14.4 introduces new U1 Ultra Wideband functionality between the ‌HomePod mini‌ and the iPhone 11 and 12 models with a U1 chip. The U1 chip improves handoff with visual, audible, and haptic effects when transferring songs from the ‌iPhone‌ to the ‌HomePod mini‌. When an ‌‌iPhone‌‌ is near the ‌‌HomePod mini‌‌ it begins a soft haptic touch rhythm that gets faster and faster as the ‌‌‌iPhone‌‌‌ gets closer until the interface to transfer a song between the ‌‌‌HomePod mini‌‌‌ and the ‌‌‌iPhone‌‌‌ opens.

This functionality will make handoff quicker and more reliable on a ‌‌‌HomePod mini‌‌‌ and an ‌‌iPhone 11‌‌ or ‌‌iPhone 12‌‌, all of which are equipped with U1 chips that let the devices better understand where they are in relation to one another. The ‌iPhone‌ will also provide personalized listening suggestions when next to a ‌HomePod mini‌, and media controls for the ‌HomePod mini‌ will automatically appear without having to unlock the ‌iPhone‌. These features are limited to the ‌HomePod mini‌ as the HomePod does not have a U1 chip, and an ‌iPhone 11‌ or 12 is required.

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