Time to update your Apple iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch

Time to update your Apple iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch
Apple today released several updates including iOS 14.4, iPadOS 14.4, and watchOS 7.3. With the iPhone and iPad updates, the "Find My" app adds a feature called "Find My Items." This allows users to find misplaced accessories made by third-party manufacturers who build this capability into their products. The only compatible device available at the moment is Belkin's SoundForm Freedom true wireless earbuds.

In addition, the update allows smaller QR codes to be read by the iPhone's camera, the ability to put Bluetooth connections into categories and headphone type in order to prevent eardrums from getting blown out with audio notifications, and delivers a notification when the camera on your iPhone 12 series model cannot be verified as a genuine Apple camera. It also uses the U1 chip in the iPhone 11 series and iPhone 12 series to determine the distance between your iPhone and HomePod mini to allow an improved transfer of music between devices.

It's update day for the iPhone, iPad,  and Apple Watch

The update also exterminates several bugs including one that allowed image artifacts to appear on photos snapped with an iPhone 12 Pro model using HDR. Another bug fixed by the update prevented the Fitness+ widget from including updated Activity data. One issue that the new iOS 14.4 update solves is one in which the keyboard would appear with the wrong language in the Messages app. A pair of bugs that prevented word suggestions from appearing on the keyboard and delayed the results of typing on the keyboard are both gone after the installation of iOS 14.4.

The latest iOS build also eliminates an issue that prevented phone calls from being answered on the Lock Screen when Switch Control in Accessibility was enabled. And lastly, iOS 14.4 gets rid of a bug that did not allow stories from CarPlay's News app to resume after being placed on pause to hear spoken directions, or a response from Siri. The update is available to compatible iPhone and iPad models and can be received by going to Settings > General > Software Update. It weighs in at 344.3MB.

Apple also pointed out that the iOS and iPadOS updates include security patches that eliminated three zero-day security flaws. Apple believes that these flaws might have been exploited in the wild. A Kernel flaw might have allowed attackers to give permission for the affected phone to run certain apps. A WebKit flaw could have allowed the hackers to make an iPhone do just about anything. The watchOS update rid the device of a security flaw that could have elevated privileges on a unit under attack.

Apple also released watchOS 7.3 today which includes a new Unity watch face based on the colors of the Pan-African flag (Black, Red, Green, and the Pan-African colors which includes the prior three hues and yellow). The shapes of the colors change throughout the day as you move thus creating a unique look. Apple Fitness+ subscribers will receive the "Time to Walk" feature that plays inspirational audio in the Workout app as you walk. The electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor that checks for abnormal heart rhythms on the Apple Watch Series 4 and later is good to go in Japan, Mayotte, Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand following the update. Those with abnormal readings in those countries will receive a notification. And a bug that makes the Control Center and Notification Center unresponsive when Zoom is enabled will be exterminated.

To update your Apple Watch, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and tap on My Watch > General > Software Update and Install. The timepiece needs to be on the charger for the update to take place and the watch needs to be in range of your iPhone connected to a Wi-Fi signal.

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