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New Apple iOS 15.4 release: Should you upgrade?

In a hotly anticipated move, Apple recently released the iOS 15.4 update for the iPhone. Bursting with a host of new features, bug fixes and security updates no wonder tech-lovers were so looking forward to it. But there’s always a flipside to any great technological developments, with some iPhone owners reporting problems with the update. So, should you upgrade? Read our Gadget Cover guide to get the inside track on this tricky conundrum.

Even if you don’t own an iPhone yet there’s really no debate when it comes to the high quality of these hand-held wonders. With their stunning design, high tech manufacture and amazing functionality they are a desirable item in anyone’s view. But to keep them well protected you always need to spend time to find the right iPhone insurance. Whether to protect against breakdown, damage, theft or even loss, the team at Gadget Cover will be able to find a suitable policy for you and your budget.

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Top new features that make iOS 15.4 worth downloading

iOS 15 was launched all the way back in September of 2021, so it was about time it got an update. And as the biggest update to iOS 15 so far, there’s a lot to make iOS 15.4 well worth downloading. 

Here’s a brief round-up of just some of the most exciting new features to explore. But there’s really no better way to discover what’s new than by downloading the update and getting stuck in!

Face ID - now with masks

With the Covid 19 pandemic still with us many people are sticking with their face masks when out and about. A common complaint of Face ID users over the past two years has been the impossibility of using it when wearing a face mask. After all, Face ID was designed to work with your eyes, nose and mouth visible. But that’s finally set to change. Better late than never, right?

To be fair, previous versions of iOS did try to help. In iOS 13.5 Apple added a feature that automatically brought up the passcode screen if it detected you were wearing a mask. While in April 2021 the iOS 14.5 update let you unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch if Face ID wasn’t working – for example, because you were wearing a mask.

However, that’s not a lot of use if you can’t use the screen or don’t have a snazzy Apple Watch. When we’re all doing our bit to reduce the spread of a deadly pandemic by wearing a mask in public spaces, it really is about time the situation was changed.

To use the new feature, you’ll need to open up the Face ID & Passcode settings. Toggle on Use Face ID with a Mask. Face ID will then use just the eye area for authentication rather than full facial recognition. This will let you unlock your iPhone, make payments, and provide password/login authentication.

And finally, there’s also a new “Add Glasses” setting. So, the system can properly identify glasses wearers.

Be warned, Face ID is most accurate when these settings are turned off. And the features are only available for those with an iPhone 12 or newer. Is this yet another reason to invest in a new iPhone this year? Make sure you update your iPhone insurance if you do, as the latest and greatest iPhones don’t come cheap.

Making Apple AirTags safer

Apple’s purpose when designing the AirTag was to let users keep track of personal items like their keys, wallet, purse, backpack, luggage, and more through the Find My app. It’s a great idea and does a brilliant job of locating lost belongings.

However, just like many technological innovations before, AirTags weren’t always used for the purpose for which they were designed. Instead, some people used them as a way to track another individual without their knowledge.

To make AirTags safer, Apple has announced a host of AirTag changes that will arrive during 2022. The first of which is contained in iOS 15.4. Apple has now added new privacy warnings during AirTag setup. This reminds users that using an AirTag to track people without their consent is a crime. It also states AirTag is designed to be detected by victims, and police will be able to identify the owner of the AirTag.

Yet more Emoji to enjoy

There’s a grand total of 37 brand new emojis as part of the latest release. They include lots of brand-new smileys such as a melting face, peeking eye face, saluting face, and holding back tears face. Some more gender neutral icons and seven brand new hand gestures have been added, too. Handshake emoji also allows you to choose a grand total of 25 different versions offering a selection of skin tones for each hand.

Other notable additions include biting lip, coral, lotus, bird nest, beans, playground slide, x-ray, crutch, bubbles, and many others. Take a look at Emojipedia for more details.

Be aware that if your friends aren't running the latest iOS 15.4, they won't be able to see your cutting-edge emojis. And the same goes for you. If you decide not to update and your friends send you these new emojis, you won't be able to see them.

A new Siri voice

Apple has recently been attempting to make its Siri voice assistant more inclusive by adding a range of new Siri voices. Last year the company added two new voices.

While the latest iOS 15.4 edition brings an additional gender-neutral option called Quinn that can be applied to all interactions. Apple confirmed the new voice was recorded by a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but didn’t offer any further details.

By making the new voice neither explicitly male nor female, it’s another step in Apple’s push to expand the diversity of options. If you're sick and tired of hearing the same voice when you use Siri, this alone might make an upgrade worth it. To listen to Siri's new voice on your iPhone, go to Settings > Siri & Search > Siri Voice and tap on Voice 5.

Siri can also now provide time and date information while offline. But you’ll need an iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone 11 or newer to enjoy this feature.

woman lying on yellow sofa texting

Share your Covid vaccination record

As the world continues to open up to travel and events, we’re all aware that there will be times when we need to prove our vaccination status. Apple’s Health App now supports the EU Digital Covid Certificate format. Meaning you can now quickly and simply add your vaccination record to the Health and Wallet apps. Ready to flash at anyone who needs proof you’ve had your shots.

E-wallets are really useful but if your gadget is accidentally lost or stolen, there is a danger of unauthorised transactions. iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover will refund the cost of unauthorised transactions made using your e-Wallet facility up to a maximum of £500.

Tap to Pay on the horizon

Tap to Pay promises to be a great help to anyone with a small business. With iOS 15.4 you’ll soon be able to turn your iPhone into a standalone point-of-sale terminal. Letting you accept contactless payments without the need for a third-party payment service.

Provided you’ve got an iPhone XS or newer, the new payment processing feature will let you accept Apple Pay payments without needing a credit card terminal or extra hardware.

The feature works with popular cards from the likes of American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa. Currently it is only available in the US, but it can only be a matter of time before it hits our shores.

Another US-based feature, Apple has also introduced a new Apple Card widget that you can add to your home screen. It will show you useful information including your daily spending and balance. At least we know what to look forward to if Apple does ever get around to launching Apple Card in the UK.

Scan handwritten text into Notes

Something that Apple was rather quiet about in the iOS 15.4 update release was a new feature it has brought to the stock Notes app. Following the update, you’ll be able to quickly and easily scan printed or handwritten text into the Notes app.

To take advantage of this great little function, open the Notes app and create a new note (or open an existing note). Next tap on the Camera icon above the onscreen keyboard. Then select Scan Text from the popup. Now position the camera’s viewfinder over the text. And finally hit the Insert button once you see the text added to the Note.

It isn’t perfect, so you’ll need to manually correct any text errors if necessary.

For further guidance on how to use this feature, watch this handy little video from Apple Support.

A great new way to restore your Apple Watch

Another change that seemed to go under the radar when the iOS 15.4 update was announced. This one is very useful if you’re a devoted Apple Watch user. Provided your iPhone and Apple Watch are running the latest software, you can now use your iPhone to restore a bricked Apple Watch.

Apple says that if your watch experiences a problem requiring it to be updated or restored, you can now follow these steps:

  • Make sure your iPhone is close by, is unlocked, and is connected to Wi-Fi with Bluetooth turned on.
  • Place your Apple Watch on its charger.
  • Double-click your Apple Watch’s side button.
  • Follow the prompts that appear on your iPhone.
  • If there’s still a problem, you'll need to check your Wi-Fi connection and maybe even contact Apple Support.

Other enhancements worth considering

While these changes are some of the highlights of iOS 15.4, the update doesn’t stop there. There are plenty of other tweaks and enhancements to make your life a lot easier. These include:

  • DualSense adaptive triggers – One for the gamers among you, this enables developers to support the adaptive triggers function of the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller.
  • FaceTime – Introduced last year, SharePlay basically turned FaceTime into a watch party service. The latest iOS update lets you start SharePlay sessions directly from supported apps.
  • iCloud Keychain notes – A very useful enhancement to help keep a track of all those passwords. You can now add notes to a password entry in Keychain. Simply open Settings > Passwords to see and edit your Keychain entries.
  • Password alerts – It can get annoying if you keep getting messages from Apple about weak or compromised passwords. This enhancement lets you hide password alerts. Simply tap the button to dismiss/hide the notification. If you change your mind, you'll be able to turn the alert back on in the Hidden Security Recommendations in Settings > Passwords.
  • Safari password management – Safari will no longer silently save passwords for websites if it doesn’t have your login name first.
  • Safari webpage translation – Added support for Italian and Chinese.
  • Podcasts App – The update has added filters for seasons, played, unplayed, saved, or downloaded episodes.
  • iCloud custom email domains – Can now be managed via Settings.
  • News – Allows you to discover more audio content in the Today feed and Audio tab.
  • Emergency SOS – If you don’t already have emergency contacts set up on your iPhone then updating will prompt you to do so. In view of how useful this can be, it’s probably a good idea to take Apple’s helpful advice.
  • Close-up in Magnifier – This handy tool now uses the ultra-wide camera to help you see small objects, if you have the iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Bug fixes and security patches

And finally, it wouldn’t be an iOS update without a full range of bug fixes and security patches.

In terms of bug fixes for your iPhone, the iOS 15.4 update does the following:

  • Fixes a bug where the keyboard inserts a full stop between typed numbers.
  • Fixes a bug in the News widgets in Today View when articles don’t open when tapped.
  • Fixes a bug preventing photos and videos from syncing to iCloud Photo Library.
  • Fixes a bug in the Books app where the Speak Screen Accessibility feature quits unexpectedly.
  • Fixes a bug where Live Listen doesn’t turn off when switched off in the Control Centre.

There is also a lengthy list of 36 security updates in iOS 15.4, several of which appear to be high-risk fixes to Kernel, Graphics Drivers, and Safari. If you want to learn more about these patches, head on over to Apple's support site for the particulars.

Universal Control - something swanky for the iPad users

When people have entered the world of Apple then they soon start to pick up other devices from the ecosystem. If you’re one of those with an iPad as well as an iPhone then this feature is well worth trying out. It’s specific to the iPadOS 15.4 update that has also been released.

Universal Control lets you drag and drop files between an iPad and Mac as well as share keyboard and mouse wirelessly between them. It’s hugely impressive and very cool indeed.

Gadget Cover not only provides iPhone insurance, it also provides cover for a whole host of Apple gadgetry. Call the team today to find out more.

iOS 15.4 – the verdict so far

Tech journalists and keen iPhone fans have been using iOS 15.4 for a while now and the software seems to be performing well so far. Most users are finding that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are good, battery life is stable, the main third-party apps are working fine, and iOS 15.4 feels as fast as the previous update.

However, for some users iOS 15.4 has been causing problems. Most notably abnormal battery drain. While some problems are brand new, others have been carried over from older versions of iOS 15. So, if you encounter a problem on iOS 15.4, take a look at our list of fixes for the most common iOS 15 problems. There might be one there to help.

Should you download? We’d say yes, go ahead. The changes to Face ID are a real winner if you’re still masking up when in public places. However, if you’re nervous about bugs and you're already having an excellent experience on your current version of iOS, you might want to wait.

iphone 11 pro on table

An important note on iOS 15.4.1

Be aware that a further update arrived at the end of March to address some issues. Apple says the iOS 15.4.1 update deals with the battery drain issues and patches a critical security flaw. It also fixes a problem with braille devices becoming unresponsive and some hearing devices not working with some third-party apps. If you’ve already downloaded iOS 15.4 then it’s vital you update to iOS 15.4.1. iPhone insurance can only protect you so far.

How to download iOS 15.4

It’ll come as no surprise that downloading iOS 15.4 is pretty straightforward. If you’ve downloaded iOS updates before then you won’t need any help. However, if this is your first time or you need a quick reminder, here’s how to do it:

  1. Check compatibility. Providing you’ve got an iPhone 6S or above, then your device has made the cut. Although some features might not be available for your particular model.
  2. Backup your device.
  3. Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
  4. Head to Settings > General > Software Update. Tap Download and Install.
  5. Once done, tap Install Now and your iPhone will automatically begin updating.

It’s almost as straightforward as finding the right iPhone insurance!

How long will this all take? Well, the exact size of the iOS 15.4 download will depend on your iPhone model and the version of iOS it’s currently running. But if you’re moving up from iOS 15.3.1, the installation process should take 10 minutes or less to complete. That said, try not to do it when you need to use your iPhone for something important.

iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover

Every iOS update adds something valuable to these already sought-after devices. That’s why the helpful team here at Gadget Cover are always so keen to set you up with an iPhone insurance policy that suits your device, needs and budget.

Accidental damage, liquid damage, theft and breakdown are all covered. For an extra premium we’ll even cover your device against loss, too.

Our policies can also be extended to your immediate family if they use your iPhone. Plus we can cover you abroad, up to 180 days in any one year.

So, even if you decide not to update your iOS, it’s still well worth getting a quote for Gadget Cover iPhone insurance today.

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