iOS 15.4: The Cool New Features Coming to Your iPhone

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The latest iOS beta has arrived for developers.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Apple’s next iPhone update will likely debut this week, as the company’s first event of the year is scheduled for March 8. iOS 15.4 has seen five beta versions and introduced AirTag anti-stalking alerts, a gender-neutral voice option for Siri, new emoji, updates to Face ID and the long-awaited arrival of Universal Control. The iOS 15.4 beta has since rolled out to the public, but a final version of the operating system could make its way to your iPhone soon.

As the name implies, iOS 15.4 is the fourth major update to iOS 15which launched with the iPhone 13 in September. These updates, which started with December’s iOS 15.1 release, have added more features to Apple’s iPhone operating system and updated existing ones. iOS 15.4 will follow iOS 15.3.1, which was released last month to patch a security vulnerability in iPhones and iPads.

As with every operating system beta, we recommend only downloading on a tester device, rather than your primary iPhone. Beta releases are intended to test for stability and bugs, which means they’re not optimized like release versions – you’ll likely experience shorter battery life and app instability.

When is the iOS 15.4 release date?

Apple has not announced a release date for iOS 15.4, but we could see the update at Apple’s March 8 event, where we’re also expecting the iPhone SE 3 and updated iPad.

How do I download the iOS 15.4 beta?

You’ll first need to sign up for Apple’s Beta Software Program. Once you’re in the program, download the configuration profile from Apple. Then you should be able to find the latest beta version by going to Settings> General> Software update and selecting Download and Install. Again, we only recommend this for secondary and tester devices due to the buggy nature of beta tests.

What is Universal Control?

Universal Control lets you use other devices as second screens, moving content seamlessly between them using only one device. This eagerly anticipated feature was initially announced as part of MacOS Monterey but was delayed over the fall, with a new timeline pointing to “this spring.” Universal Control has shown up in the iOS 15.4 beta, however, and is expected to launch alongside the Monterey OS 12.3 update.


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Can I use Face ID with masks?

Apple is updating its Face ID feature to be usable while wearing a mask. Because the feature uses a smaller portion of your face to verify your identity, you’ll need to be more precise about the angle you’re holding your phone at when using Face ID. Your phone will even prompt you if it needs you to look more directly at the screen. The updated feature should work for people who wear glasses, but it will not work with sunglasses.

What new emoji are coming?

If you’re the kind of person who prides yourself on creative and fun emoji use, you’re going to love iOS 15.4. There are 37 new emoji in the update, including new options for pregnant people, hands forming a heart shape, a salute and – my personal favorite – a lip-biting emoji. The emojis were revealed last fall, and also include a melting face, a face holding back tears, a bird’s nest, coral, a lotus, a low battery and kidney beans.

Another feature included in the update is the ability to copy text from objects using the camera while in the Notes or Reminders apps. And, as spotted by ZDNet, the iOS 15.4 beta also fixes a bug related to recordings of Siri interactions.

For more Apple news, read about how Apple will reportedly let your iPhone be a payment terminal spirit how Apple is reportedly preparing a wide array of new products for this fall.

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