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iOS 14.6 and macOS Big Sur 11.4 arrive with new audio features and more


Five iPhones on a table
Enlarge / The 2020 iPhone lineup. From left to right: iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12, iPhone SE, and iPhone 12 mini.

Apple released a plethora of operating system updates today, including iOS 14.6, iPadOS 14.6, tvOS 14.6, watchOS 7.5, and macOS Big Sur 11.4. Generally, today’s software updates add new features and not just bug fixes—though some new features won’t actually be available until later.

Those features are spatial audio with Dolby Atmos and the accompanying support for lossless streaming audio formats on Apple Music. These abilities were announced a week ago, but Apple says they’re not going live until sometime in June. Those audio features are the only new features in tvOS 14.6, so that update isn’t much to write home about.

However, there’s a lot more to the other updates. Starting with watchOS 7.5, users will now be able to subscribe to podcasts within the Podcasts app. And watchOS now supports Apple Card Family, a shared credit card system meant to help couples build credit together while managing their dependents’ spending. watchOS 7.6 also enables ECG and irregular heart-rate rhythm notifications in two new regions: Malaysia and Peru.

macOS Big Sur 11.4 adds support for podcast subscriptions, but that’s the only new feature in the update. There are miscellaneous bug fixes, though, including one specifically meant to address a problem with the popular game Civilization VI on the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

As usual, the release notes are most extensive for iOS and iPadOS. Like watchOS 7.6, iOS and iPadOS 14.6 add support for podcast subscriptions and Apple Card Family. They also add the option to supply an email address instead of a phone number for the AirTag‘s lost mode, as well as an accessibility feature that allows users to unlock their iPhones with Voice Control.

Here are the full release notes for iOS 14.6:

iOS 14.6 includes support for Apple Card Family and Podcasts subscriptions. This release also includes bug fixes for your iPhone.

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

Apple Card Family

  • Apple Card‌ can be shared with up to five people, including anyone 13 years or older in your Family Sharing group
  • Apple Card‌ Family adds support for families to track expenses, manage spending with optional limits and controls, and build credit together

Podcasts

  • Subscription support for channels and individual shows

AirTag and Find My

  • Lost mode option to add an email address instead of a phone number for AirTag and Find My network accessories
  • AirTag will show the partially masked phone number of the owner when tapped with an NFC-capable device

Accessibility

  • Voice Control users can unlock their ‌iPhone‌ for the first time after a restart using only their voice

This release also fixes the following issues:

  • Unlock with Apple Watch may not work after using Lock ‌iPhone‌ on Apple WatchR
  • Reminders may appear as blank lines
  • Call blocking extensions may not appear in Settings
  • Bluetooth devices could sometimes disconnect or send audio to a different device during an active call
  • iPhone‌ may experience reduced performance during startup

And for macOS Big Sur 11.4:

macOS Big Sur‌ 11.4 adds ‌Apple Podcasts‌ subscriptions and channels and includes important bug fixes.

Podcasts

  • Apple Podcasts‌ subscriptions are available for purchase via monthly and annual subscriptions
  • Channels group together collections of shows from podcast creators

This release also fixes the following issues:

  • Bookmarks in Safari may get reordered or moved into a folder that can appear hidden
  • Certain websites may not display correctly after your Mac wakes from sleep
  • Keywords may not be included when exporting a photo from the Photos app
  • Preview may become unresponsive when searching PDF documents
  • 16-inch MacBook may become unresponsive when playing Civilization VI

For more detailed information about this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT211896
For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

All these updates should be available on all supported devices right now.



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