Apple’s iOS release schedule has now hit iOS 14.1, the release found pre-installed on the new iPhone 12 (you can read my reviews of the iPhone 12 here and the iPhone 12 Pro here).

So, what does the new release entail and how do you get it? Full details here, including two full Apple changelogs at the very end of this post. One is for iOS 14.1 and the other for the HomePod update.

How to get it

It’s now available to download on compatible iPhones, with iPadOS 14. 1 for iPads. Compatibility for the phones starts with the iPhone 6s, including iPhone SE first and current editions, plus the seventh-generation iPod touch. For iPads, you’re good if you have any iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and 3rd-generation plus the new fourth-gen iPad Air coming in October, iPad mini 4 or newer and iPad from fifth generation onwards.

When you’re ready to update to the latest version, just go to the Settings app on the device and then choose General, then Software Update. Once you’ve clicked on Download and Install, it’ll do its business and you’ll be up to date quickly.

As for the HomePod constituent, once you’ve downloaded iOS 14.1, you will get a notification from the Home app that there’s an update waiting for you. It’s bigger than the rest of the update so may take a little longer.

What’s in the update?

The biggest changes aren’t for your iPhone or iPad at all but for the HomePod. Many new features were announced for the forthcoming HomePod mini and some of these are already coming to the original HomePod.

Once you’ve updated your iPhone to iOS 14.1, then if you have a HomePod, it will get its instruction and do its own, separate update in the background.

The new features include Intercom where you can send messages to multiple HomePods in the house such as “Dinner’s ready”. You can now ask HomePod for traffic information and the Maps app on your iPhone will subsequently show the route you’ve talked to your HomePod about.

Multiple named timers can now be added on the HomePod and you can set a timer or alarm to a favorite song. There’s also multi-user support for podcasts and you can ask Siri on HomePod to search the web and then read the results on your iPhone.

More HomePod updates are coming later in the year, including a Home Theater set-up for Apple TV.

Away from HomePod, other benefits are focused on fixes and bug squishes. For instance, it means there’s nowsupport for 10-bit HDR video playback, applying to Photos for iPhone 8 and later. Some users have seen reduced-size icons, folders and widgets. If you’re one of these people, you’ll be glad to see them spring back to full-size again now.

Also on the topic of widgets, other Home screen mishaps such as apps disappearing from folders when widgets were dragged has been fixed. Mail issues, such as messages sent from an incorrect alias have been sorted. Incoming calls – if you still use your iPhone for calls – haven’t been displaying region info for some users, until this fix.

Other issues include a screen redraw problem with an emergency call overlap, songs that won’t download and perhaps most remarkable of all, one where zeroes refused to appear in the Calculator app. I mean, that could be awkward.

Video resolution playback problems, Apple Watch family set-up and a Files app issue have all be seen to. As has improving compatibility with Ubiquiti wireless access points.

One more thing: it shows you that many of these issues may not affect that many people and Apple’s job is to keep on top of the slightest and rarest issue. Of all these fixes, only one has affected me and that’s the Apple Watch case material was displaying incorrectly in the Apple Watch app.


Previous iOS 14 updates

iOS 14.0.1

Released on September 24, this update fixed an issue where the default browser and mail settings reset after restarting your iPhone, sorted an issue that prevented camera previews from displaying on, specifically, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and a problem where the iPhone wouldn’t connect to wi-fi.

A problem sending emails with certain providers and images not appearing in the News widget, were also addressed.

iOS 14

The first version of iOS 14 was released on September 16, 2020.

The Home Screen added Widgets – smart app icons with changing information – on the home screen, revealed an App Gallery to help sort where your apps sit and added Compact Designs. These mean that Siri just sits at the bottom of the screen instead of taking it over completely while calls coming in will be announced just at the top of the screen.

App Clips are something completely new. If you need something an app delivers but really don’t have time to download the whole app, register, set up an account, verify your credentials and so on, then App Clips can help. They’ll work well with something like a parking app, say, when you’re next to the meter and short on time. Instead, you’ll scan the QR code, or tap the NFC tag, on the meter. App Clips downloads just the bit of the app you need and since you log in through Apple, all those things like payment details are sorted, too. This could be amazing as more apps come on stream.

The Messages app is now more capable, so you can now pin conversations you want to find easily at the top of the list, new Memoji options and better layouts for replies.

Maps has been improved, as on the Apple Watch, by the addition of cycle routes, routing for electric vehicles, edited guides to find new restaurants and more.

Translate is designed to make it easy to translate conversations in real time across 11 modes. You can even do this offline, which should save data costs when you’re traveling.

The Weather app can show you how much it’s going to rain in the next hour as well as advising on severe weather events.

New Accessibility features include Back Tap which lets you configure shortcuts when you tap on the back of the iPhone in a particular way.

AirPods Pro get in on the action, too, thanks to extra features which appear on the earbuds when your iPhone has moved to iOS 14. These include Spatial Audio so you can have a surround-sound effect as you watch a movie, say, and seamless device switching. More details here.

Apple full changelogs follow.


First, for HomePod

Software version 14.1 includes support for HomePod mini and new Siri and Intercom features. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.

HomePod mini

  • Set up and automatically transfer your Apple ID, Apple Music, Siri and Wi-Fi settings to HomePod mini

Siri

  • Siri suggestions appear in Maps when you ask HomePod for information about a location
  • Web search requests to HomePod can be sent from HomePod to your iPhone
  • Siri can now stop alarms, timers and media across HomePod speakers
  • Voice recognition support for Podcasts for multiple users in the home

Intercom

  • Ask HomePod to make announcements to other HomePod speakers throughout your home
  • Intercom to all HomePod speakers 
  • Intercom to a HomePod in a specific room or zone

Other improvements and fixes

  • Add music to your alarms and wake up to your personal song, playlist or radio station from Apple Music
  • Fixes an issue where stereo pairs can sometimes play out of sync
  • Improves reliability when using Siri to control multiple speakers
  • Optimises Siri performance

And the other updates in iOS 14.1…

iOS 14.1 includes improvements and bug fixes for your iPhone.

  • Adds support for 10-bit HDR video playback and edit in Photos for iPhone 8 and later
  • Addresses an issue where some widgets, folders and icons were showing up in reduced size on the Home screen
  • Addresses an issue where dragging widgets on the Home screen could remove apps from folders
  • Fixes an issue where some emails in Mail were sent from an incorrect alias
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent incoming calls from displaying region information
  • Fixes an issue on some devices where selecting zoomed display mode and an alphanumeric passcode could result in the Lock screen emergency call button overlapping with the text input box
  • Addresses an issue where some users were occasionally unable to download or add songs to their library while viewing an album or playlist
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent zeroes from appearing in Calculator
  • Resolves an issue where streaming video resolution could be temporarily reduced at the start of playback
  • Fixes an issue that prevented setting up a family member’s Apple Watch for some users
  • Resolves an issue where the Apple Watch case material was displayed incorrectly in the Apple Watch app
  • Addresses an issue in the Files app that could cause some MDM-managed cloud service providers to incorrectly display content as unavailable
  • Improves compatibility with Ubiquiti wireless access points

Some features may not be available in all regions or on all Apple devices. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:

support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

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