Hands on with Universal Control and other new features in iOS 15.4

Posted:
in iOS edited January 28
We go hands on with new features coming in iOS 15.4, as well as iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3. New features include Universal Control, dozens of new emoji, and more.

iOS 15.4
iOS 15.4 beta 1


Apple's latest round of betas comes only a day after it released iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3. While there was nothing major in iOS 15.3, 15.4 looks to be full of new changes and user-facing features.

Universal Control

The biggest update contained in betas for iPadOS and macOS is certainly Universal Control. Apple delayed the feature from an expected fall launch and should be landing this spring when iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3.





We'll have a deep dive soon, but you can see how the feature works in our hands-on video above. Even though it is early in the beta process, it works smoothly. You move the cursor to the side of your Mac's screen and it instantly appears on your iPad or Mac screen placed nearby.

Face ID updates

With iOS 15.4, Apple will now allow users to unlock their iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 devices while wearing a mask. Previously, Apple allowed users with an Apple Watch to unlock their iPhone while wearing a mask. Now, the Apple Watch isn't necessary.

Use Face ID with a mask
Use Face ID with a mask


Once iOS 15.4 is installed, a prompt will appear that asks you to choose whether to use Face ID with a mask or without. If you choose a mask, it won't be quite as secure since Face ID can only scan around your eyes.

New emoji

In the fall of 2021, Unicode finalized the Emoji 14.0 standard and we are now seeing Apple's take on them. Emoji 14.0 has 37 new emoji with 112 total variations.

New emoji coming in iOS 15.4
New emoji coming in iOS 15.4


Some prominent ones include salute, a troll, a melting face, a peeking face, bubbles, coral, biting lip, beans, a life preserver, and more.

Other changes

Other notable changes include the ability to add notes to passwords stored in iCloud. There is a new Apple Card widget that shows your weekly spending for iPhone. Control Center on iPad has a new "keyboard brightness" slider to adjust an external keyboard's backlight.

Sony's DualSense PlayStation 5 controller now supports adaptive trigger firmware features.
  • You can set swipes in the Notes app to Quick Note, Screenshot, and Off

  • The tagging action in Reminders has a new icon

  • In apps that support SharePlay, SharePlay will now show in the Share Sheet

  • Verifiable health records in the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC) format can be added to the Wallet and Health applications

  • You can choose what appears in the "Up Next" section for the Apple TV app

  • Initial support for passkey technology for iPad and Mac with an iPhone and a saved passkey


Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,617member
    1. How is the mask faceID different from what we already have? Doesn't seem 'new' at all.
    2. has Apple improved the keychain interface at all? Part of the problem with keychain is the interface is so poor it drives you to a 3rd party solution.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    MplsP said:
    1. How is the mask faceID different from what we already have? Doesn't seem 'new' at all.
    2. has Apple improved the keychain interface at all? Part of the problem with keychain is the interface is so poor it drives you to a 3rd party solution.
    It says right in the article that this new mask unlock does not require a watch.

    Keychain interface still sucks
  • Reply 3 of 7
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,617member
    MplsP said:
    1. How is the mask faceID different from what we already have? Doesn't seem 'new' at all.
    2. has Apple improved the keychain interface at all? Part of the problem with keychain is the interface is so poor it drives you to a 3rd party solution.
    It says right in the article that this new mask unlock does not require a watch.

    Keychain interface still sucks
    Missed that (actually, I watched the video and only skimmed the article. I also totally forgot that it needed an Apple Watch before - I always have mine on so it's never been an issue.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    Still no option to turn off HDR in Camera app on iPhone 13-models and bright skin tones still look orange and faces are distorted.
    Is the only option here to stick to old iPhones if you want to take good pictures of people because Apple simply decided to stick to
    this way of how the camera should work? It´s just sad.
    edited January 28
  • Reply 5 of 7
    Hm… Universal control Deos not work on my combo iMac 5K 2017 w/ 12.3beta and iPadPro 4th Gen w /15.4beta.

    Yes, same AppleID, 2-factor, WIfI, Bluetooth, Handoff, all on and working; disabled and Rena led UC on both devices, restarted both - nada.

    Edit: it seems “Remote Management” under Sharing was for some reason disabled in settings. I turned it on and: once more, a truly “just works” Apple experience. Magic.
    edited January 28 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    Universal Control sounds really neat and well done.
    But, what would it be used for in real life?

    The video showed displaying MacBook stuff on an iPad.  But why would that be helpful to anybody?
    Perhaps its value is in the opposite direction:   using the MacBook cursor to control an iPad?
  • Reply 7 of 7
    brianusbrianus Posts: 149member
    They always show Universal Control between a Mac and an iPad, but I haven't yet seen it addressed whether it can work purely between two iPads, or two Macs. Is that possible? Is a Mac always required? Also what is the limit on the number of devices, is it just two at a time?


    watto_cobra
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