Here’s what’s new in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4

Apple has released the first beta of iOS 15.4, which includes a handful of tweaks and improvements for iPhone users. Namely, there is now support for using Face ID while wearing a mask, Universal Control, new emoji, and more. Head below to see all the new features in iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4 and more.

What’s new in iOS 15.4?

Face ID mask support

One of the biggest changes in iOS 15.4 is support for using Face ID while wearing a mask. Apple originally rolled out support for unlocking your iPhone with your Apple Watch while wearing a mask last year, but now it’s taking the feature to the next level and removing the Apple Watch requirement altogether.

When you first boot iOS 15.4, you’ll have the option to configure Face ID to be used with a mask. Apple explains that Face ID is “most accurate when configured for facial recognition only,” but it’s also able to “recognize unique features around the eye area” to authenticate you if you’re wearing a mask.

If you choose to enable Face ID support for mask wearing, Apple will walk you through the Face ID setup process. This is similar to the initial Face ID setup process you go through when setting up a new iPhone. If you wear glasses, you also have the option of scanning your face with and without your glasses for increased accuracy.

Universal control

After being delayed multiple times, Universal Control is finally here. This feature lets you control your Mac and iPad using the same keyboard and mouse/trackpad. Universal Control is enabled by default in the latest betas of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3.

More Changes

  • There’s a new widget for the Wallet app, showing your Apple Card balance and details. Here it is in action:
  • If you are wearing AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones and receive a call, the audio quality during ringtone playback will be normal Bluetooth audio quality. The audio quality will only drop after you answer the call.
  • iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 include over 30 new emoji, including melting and sneaking faces, trolls, and more.
  • iOS 15.4 lets users add Notes to their iCloud Keychain passwords for the first time, replicating a popular feature of third-party password managers
  • Apple says: “Support is being added to the passkey technology preview, allowing users to sign in to passkey-enabled websites and apps on Mac and iPad using a iPhone with a saved passkey.”
  • tvOS 15.4 includes a smart new way to use your iPhone to connect to pesky tethered Wi-Fi networks on Apple TV. These are the types of networks often found in hotels, dorms, and office buildings.
  • We haven’t tested this yet, but Apple’s release notes for iPadOS 15.4 and iOS 15.4 indicate that you can now use the adaptive triggering firmware features of Sony’s DualSense controllers with iPhone and iPad.
  • Verifiable Health Records now supports adding vaccination records in EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC) format to Wallet and Health apps
  • SharePlay is now an option of the built-in share sheet. Note that this will only appear in apps that support SharePlay.
  • The AirPods floating card now shows a small (R)/(L) icon and a charging case icon when the buds and case are displayed, but the buds have different states.
  • iPadOS 15.4 includes a new keyboard brightness option that can be added to Control Center.
  • You can now choose what is displayed in the “Up Next” display for the TV app, including options for a “Still Frame” or “Poster Art”.
  • For the Notes app, you can now choose what happens for a “Left corner swipe” and a “Right corner swipe”. The options are Quick Note, Screenshot, and Off.

If you spot any other changes in Apple’s new betas today, let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @9to5Mac. Stay tuned for more hands-on coverage with new releases here on 9to5Mac.

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