Masked Face ID, Universal Control, Emoji, 120Hz across all apps: What’s new in iOS 15.4


iOS 15.4, which Apple began testing this week, was a redemptive update of sorts for iOS 15.3. Unlike the previous version of the OS, which was released earlier than expected and without any innovations, this one offered a wide range of new features already at the first stage of beta testing. They, like mushrooms after the rain, came to light sequentially, but extremely rapidly. Thus, just a day after the release iOS 15.4 first beta so many innovations were collected that we simply could not write a separate article about them.

Because usually Apple doesn’t dump everything new features in the first beta version immediately, but adds them in doses, it is highly likely that what we list below is far from everything that has been prepared for us in Cupertino. As a rule, the debut test assembly acts as a basis, and subsequent ones play the role of an add-on, adding more and more new features. Keep this in mind if the article catches your eye after Apple releases subsequent iOS 15.4 beta.

How to unlock an iPhone with a mask

If not the most important, then perhaps the most long-awaited innovation in iOS 15.4 was masked iPhone unlock. Now you don’t need an Apple Watch for this, as before. Apple has changed how it uses facial recognition so that if Face ID detects that a user is wearing a mask, the sensors will target the areas around the eyes, which are unique to each person.

Obviously this is the less secure way. iPhone unlock. Therefore, it will need to be turned on forcibly. However, if you have already installed iOS 15.4 beta 1 and do not see the corresponding item in the settings, make sure that your iPhone supports mask unlock. Oddly enough, Apple limited this innovation to just two generations of smartphones: iPhone 12 and iPhone 13.

Universal Control – what is it

Universal control is a cross-platform feature for iPadOS and macOS. If the iPad is paired with a Mac as an additional monitor, Universal Control turns their software environment into a single workspace for the mouse. This way you can drag the cursor between them without connecting the devices to each other by wire.

The most interesting thing is that the cursor will appear on the device exactly from the place where it was directed from the screen of another. This looks really impressive. However, Apple had to do a lot of work to implement this mechanism. Its launch was delayed several times, but now, apparently, the company’s developers have completed the necessary preparations and are ready to launch the innovation.

New features in iOS 15.4

Truly massive new features in the first beta of iOS 15.4 just two. However, there are also smaller, but no less significant for the convenience of users. Here they are:

  • More than 30 new emojis (among them there is even a pregnant man);
  • Advanced settings for external game controllers;
  • Ability to disable notifications about the execution of automations;
  • The function of assessing the condition of the iPhone by photo for a trade-in;
  • Support for 120Hz mode for third-party applications without limitation;
  • Wallet app widget showing Apple Card balance and details;
  • Adaptive change in the sound quality of AirPods during a telephone conversation;
  • Ability to add notes to passwords stored in Keychain Access.

How to install iOS 15.4 beta

Since iOS 15.4 is a bigger update, than iOS 15.3, it is obvious that it will take Apple much more time to test it. As a rule, updates are tested in Cupertino over 6-7 stages, half of which last for two weeks, and half for one. Therefore I would guess that iOS 15.4 will be released not before March. Until that time, Apple will be engaged in testing and debugging, and then we can talk about the release.

If you want to participate in testing iOS 15.4 right now, you can try at your own risk to install the first beta. This is not difficult:

  • Follow the link and download the iOS 15 beta profile;
  • Go to “Settings” – “Profile loaded” and install it;
  • Go to the “Software Update” tab and search for updates;
  • Install iOS 15.4 beta 1 on your device and enjoy.

But before install iOS 15.4 beta 1 on your device, take care to save a backup copy. It will come in handy if something goes wrong during the update process, and also later when you want to rollback to a stable build. A backup will allow you to restore all data from your iPhone memory without loss. Even all applications installed on it will be downloaded from the App Store again.

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