iOS 15.4 iPhone update: Everything you need to know

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iOS 15.4

The iOS 15.4 update from Apple brings a slew of new features to your iPhone. Among the new features are the new emoji, the long-awaited Universal Control, bolstered privacy measures, and Face ID even works while you wear a mask. Eventually, Apple plans to release iOS 15.4.1, a minor iPhone update that will address a bug that drains the battery and address some security issues. The same features are available for iPad users with iPad OS 15.4. 

In iOS 15, version 15.4 is the fourth major update after version 15.3, which was launched in September with the iPhone 13. Updates, which started with the iOS 15.1 release in December, have added features and improved existing ones to Apple’s iPhone operating system. After iOS 15.3.1, which was released last month to patch a security vulnerability in iPhones and iPads, iOS 15.4 has been released. 

How can I download iOS 15.4?

Go to Settings > General > Software Update > Download and Install to download iOS 15.4. Since iOS 15.4 is more than 1GB, make sure your phone is connected to Wi-Fi to avoid exceeding your monthly data allowance. 

What’s the release date for iOS 15.4?

On March 14, both iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 were released. The new green iPhone 13, alpine green iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone SE will come with iOS 15.4.

How do I use Universal Control?

You can use other Apple devices as second screens and move content seamlessly between them using only one device with Universal Control. It was initially announced as part of MacOS Monterey, but the release was delayed over the fall, with a new deadline pointing to “this spring.” As part of the iOS 15.4 beta, Universal Control debuted with the Monterey OS 12.3 and iPadOS 15.4 updates.

Universal Control is still in beta, so that you may encounter some issues now and then. Please note that not every device will work with the feature. According to Apple, Universal Control is available on: 

  • iPad Pro
  • iPad Air (third generation and later)
  • iPad (sixth generation and later)
  • iPad Mini (fifth generation and later)
  • MacBook Pro (2016 and later)
  • MacBook (2016 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2018 and later)
  • iMac (2017 and later)
  • iMac (5K Retina 27-inch, late 2015)
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Mini (2018 and later)
  • Mac Pro (2019)

In order to use Universal Control, both devices must be logged into iCloud with the same Apple ID, using two-factor authentication. To use wirelessly, both devices must have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Handoff turned on, as well as being within 10 meters (30 feet) of each other. To use via USB, the iPad must trust the Mac.

What new emoticons are available?

In iOS 15.4, Apple added 37 new emojis, including a lip-biting emoji, hands that form a heart, a low battery and a bird’s nest. These were revealed last fall, a melting face, a face holding back tears, coral, a lotus, a low battery and kidney beans.

Am I able to use Face ID with masks?

For iPhone 12 and later models, Apple has updated its face ID technology so that it works even when wearing a mask. In order to use the feature, you must be more precise about the angle at which you’re holding your phone when it uses a smaller part of your face to verify your identity. The updated feature will also work if you wear glasses but not sunglasses.

Other features of iOS 15.4 

AirTags will also get safety updates following reports of the devices being used to stalk people as part of the operating system update.

A 15.4 update also changes the emergency call shortcut “call with five presses” from a default setting to an option, which won’t be enabled by default. The hold-and-press option for the volume and side buttons remains enabled by default. 

Recently, SharePlay updated its app to allow apps to start SharePlay calls directly within the app, rather than having to open the app and then start a SharePlay call. App developers will have to update their apps accordingly, so be prepared for this option to roll out over time.

In addition, iOS 15.4 includes the ability to copy text from objects using the camera within the Notes or Reminders apps. And as reported by ZDNet, iOS 15.4 fixes a bug related to recordings of Siri interactions.


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