Tag Archives: Apple software updates April 2021

Hidden features in iOS 14.5

By Tracey Dowdy

Apple’s release of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 brought users several new features, including unlocking your iPhone while wearing your mask as long as you have an Apple Watch. There are new Siri voice options, and you can now force apps to ask your permission to track you; and another feature Android users have had for years is the ability to fully customize your home screen, complete with custom app icons and placing widgets wherever you choose.

These are some of the updates that have garnered the most attention, but there are several other features you’re going to want to take advantage of – here are some of my favorites. 

Apple Maps reporting feature 

Like Waze’s functionality, Apple has added tools to report an accident, road hazard,s and speed checks to Apple Maps. Apple verifies the Report and then shows an icon to alert drivers of the hazard, but not speed traps -you’ll only get an alert for speed traps while using turn-by-turn navigation. 

To report, either say something along the lines of, “Hey, Siri, there’s a speed check here,” “report an accident,” or “there’s something in the road.” You can also tap the card at the bottom of the screen to view the options card while using turn-by-turn navigation, then select Report and pick the appropriate option.

Delete Mail and Safari

In a move we thought we’d never see, Apple is finally allowing users to drop native apps like Safari and Mail. Finally, die-hard Gmail fans like me can make it my default email and Google my default search engine. Open your iPhone or iPad’s Settings app, then scroll down to the bottom, where it lists all installed apps. Choose your preferred mail or browser app and tap on it. If it’s been updated for iOS 14 – not everything has yet, so keep checking – you’ll see either Default Browser App or Default Email App. Tap it, then make your selection. So far, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Outlook, and Hey email are updated to include this new “default” toggle. 

Easily search the emoji keyboard

Speaking of updates that have been a long time coming, iOS 14 has refined the search feature for emojis, making it much easier to find precisely the emoji you need. Once you launch the emoji keyboard, you’ll see a search bar at the top of the keyboard. 

Send Downloaded Apps Directly to App Library 

It takes time to curate your Home screen, get those App icons customized and widgets in place. 

Previously, when you downloaded a new app, it defaulted to your Home screen, but with iOS 14, you can send it directly to your app library. Simply open Settings > Home Screen and choose App Library Only in the top section. Your recently downloaded apps appear in the App Library’s Recently Added category, making them easy to find when you’re ready to move them to their new home. 

Hide – and this time they mean it – photos you want hidden

Apple included the ability to hide photos in iOS and iPadOS for quite some time. However, photos you didn’t want to see anymore – or didn’t want others to see if they were scrolling through your phone – were stored in a Hidden Album in the Photos app that was way too easy to find. With iOS 14, Apple finally gets it right. 

Go to Settings > Photos and make sure the Hidden Album switch is turned off. That may seem counterintuitive but in this case, enabling the setting means the Hidden Album will show in the Albums tab. Now, images and videos you hide in your camera roll will still be saved on your device and in the iCloud Photo library, but you can’t access them unless you go back and turn the Hidden Album feature on.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.