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  • Writer's pictureKevin Poindexter II

#techTuesday - iOS 14.5 beta 1

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Updated Podcast UI, PS5/Xbox Series X controller support, and more...

How's everyone doing? In this edition of #techTuesday I'm covering some of the big changes Apple made in the recent iOS 14.5 beta 1, now available to developers and those enrolled in the public beta program. If you're interested in participating in the public beta click this link: and follow the instructions to enroll your device. Although the beta is available for the iPhone and iPad I'm only going to cover what I've seen in the iPhone update as my main device is the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Use your PS5 or Xbox Series X controller with your iPhone

You read that right. Gamers can now pair their controllers via bluetooth to their iPhone and use it to play games from the App Store or via the PlayStation App (for those that own a PS4/PS5). This is great for those that like to game on the go. Adding your device is simple as following the same process you would to pair a bluetooth speaker/headset.

See the release date of your favorite songs and albums

In the Apple Music app all of your songs and albums now their release dates as compared to only showing the year they released in previous versions of iOS. It's subtle but still good that they're adding details such as this for those dedicated to knowing everything about their favorite tunes.

Another subtle addition to the Music app is seen when you're playing songs that have long titles in their song name and/or artist list. In the past the titles would overlap the available field of view cutting off that extra information. In iOS 14.5 beta 1 Apple has optimized this to scroll through the entire track name allowing you see all the who, what, where of your currently playing song. This change can be seen from within the app as well as on your lock screen.

Podcasts gets a fresh look!

I don't use the podcasts app a lot so this next one took some digging to find but for those that do I hope you can appreciate the changes Apple made to your podcast experiences.

Opening the app and selecting the podcast you follow greets you with an updated look and selection to your podcasts. This was done to coincide with changes made to Apple Music some updates ago. In iOS 14.5 beta 1 you can now take your favorite podcasts with you by downloading them directly to your iOS device.

To use this feature you would need to find a podcast episode you want to download and first save it by selecting Save when swiping to left on that selected podcast. Once it's been saved you can either swipe left again or press the three dots and select download.

If you are already following that podcast group/user you don't need to have that podcast saved. All you would need do is press on the podcast you wish to download and swipe left while holding.

Disable apps from tracking you across the web

Ok, so this next topic is a big one. For the past few months Apple and Facebook have been in a dispute about how your data is tracked and used. Facebook, among other social media and search platforms, has in the past used your app habits to target specific ads and content to you in hopes that you buy things and/or spend more time on their platform. For example, have you ever searched for something within Google and then opened Instagram and seen an ad for that exact same thing you just Google'd? It's a common practice app developers have been doing for years and they've been making a huge profit from.

Apple claims their customers and the privacy of said customers is amongst their top priorities and with the new beta they've added a feature that lets users give permission or deny their activities from being tracked. To find and activate this go to your Settings and tap on Privacy, then select Tracking.

You'll see which apps you have enabled tracking (if any) along with sliders to turn the tracking off. Apps that do not show here have not yet been updated to accommodate this feature though Apple has made it clear that by time they release the full version of iOS 14.5 this feature will ensure tracking is blocked across all apps that rely on it.

Unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask

For those of us using Face ID to unlock our devices we've all been wanting this feature since the mandate for masks and it's finally here. iOS 14.5 allows you to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask but there are some caveats which I'll cover here.

To start, this feature is only available to those with a Face ID capable device (ie the iPhone X, XR, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max). If you have an iPhone that still has a physical home button you're out of luck.

You must also already have a Face ID profile setup on your device so it can recognize some of those key facial features to identify you while you have on a mask.

The biggest fine print of them all is one most will not have and that is an Apple Watch. Yes...this feature does not work unless you have a paired Apple Watch with your iPhone.

Now most of you might know that the Face ID setup allows you to have an alternate appearance for unlocks working in conjunction with your default face unlock. If you are planning on using this to bypass having an Apple Watch please be aware this may not work. The reason being is that Face ID uses the contours of your facial structure to determine who you are. So if there is something that is obscured from view, like with a mask, the alternate appearance setup will eventually give up as it can't detect what is underneath the mask.

With your Apple Watch paired and setup to unlock your phone while wearing a mask you haven't much to do other than enable a passcode on your Watch and attempt to scan your face. The Watch itself is used as a secondary authentication method which happens in the background so seamlessly you will barely notice a difference in the amount of time it takes for your phone to unlock.

So aside from those the overall battery life and performance of iOS 14.5 is just as good as the base iOS 14. I can still make it through a day of moderate to heavy use with about 50%-60% battery remaining. This is only beta 1 and knowing Apple they have more on the way so be sure to join the beta tester group if you want to get the latest updates.

For more tech news, unboxings, and other cool stuff follow me on the social media links below. Thanks for reading.

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