iOS 15.4 Beta: The Features That Could Be Coming to Your iPhone – CNET

iOS 15.4 Beta: The Features That Could Be Coming to Your iPhone – CNET


The latest iOS beta has arrived for developers.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple’s iOS 15.4 remains in beta, meaning that the operating system isn’t ready for its public debut just yet. But we’re likely getting closer to the new OS’s release date since Apple rolled out the fourth version of the iOS 15.4 developer beta last week. Among other features, it reportedly includes a gender-neutral voice option for Siri and anti-stalking alerts for AirTags.

Other highlights of the iOS 15.4 betas include new emoji, updates to Face ID and the long-awaited arrival of Universal Control. iOS 15.4 will follow iOS 15.3.1, which was released earlier this month to patch a security vulnerability in iPhones and iPads.

As the name implies, iOS 15.4 is the fourth major update to iOS 15, which launched with the iPhone 13 in September. These updates, which started with December’s iOS 15.1 release, have added more features to Apple’s iPhone operating system and updated existing ones.

As with every operating system beta, we recommend only downloading on a tester device, rather than your primary iPhone. Beta releases are intended to test for stability and bugs, which means they’re not optimized like release versions — you’ll likely experience shorter battery life and app instability. 

When is the iOS 15.4 release date?

Apple has not announced a release date for iOS 15.4, but we could see the update at Apple’s rumored March event. Also, look for an iOS 15.4 RC or “release candidate” version of the beta — these are typically the last versions of the beta before the public launch.

How do I download the iOS 15.4 beta?

You’ll first need to sign up for Apple’s Beta Software Program. Once you’re in the program, download the configuration profile from Apple. Then you should be able to find the latest beta version by going to Settings > General > Software update and selecting Download and Install. Again, we only recommend this for secondary and tester devices due to the buggy nature of beta tests.

What is Universal Control?

Universal Control lets you use other devices as second screens, moving content seamlessly between them using only one device. This eagerly anticipated feature was initially announced as part of MacOS Monterey but was delayed over the fall, with a new timeline pointing to “this spring.” Fortunately, Universal Control has finally shown up in the iOS 15.4 beta and is expected to launch alongside the Monterey OS 15.3 update.

Can I use Face ID with masks?

Apple is finally updating its Face ID feature to be usable while wearing a mask. Because the feature is using a smaller portion of your face to verify your identity, you’ll need to be more precise about the angle you’re holding your phone at when using Face ID. Your phone will even prompt you if it needs you to look more directly at the screen. The updated feature should work for users who wear glasses, but it won’t work with sunglasses.

What new emoji are coming?

If you’re the kind of person who prides yourself on creative and fun emoji use, you’re going to love iOS 15.4. There are over 37 new emoji in the update, including new options for pregnant persons, hands forming a heart shape, a salute and — our personal favorite — a lip-biting emoji. The emojis were revealed last fall, and also include a melting face, a face holding back tears, a bird’s nest, coral, a lotus, a low battery and kidney beans.

Another feature included in the update is the ability to copy text from objects using the camera while in the Notes or Reminders apps. And, as spotted by ZDNet, the second update to the iOS 15.4 beta also fixes a bug related to recordings of Siri interactions.

For more Apple news, read about how Apple will reportedly let your iPhone be a payment terminal and how Apple is reportedly preparing a wide array of new products for this fall.

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