iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Google has updated its Google Home app and Google Home / Nest devices to fully support Matter, the new industry standard for smart home control. Existing Google home hardware can serve as a Matter hub, including the original Google Home speaker, Google Home Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub (1st and 2nd gen), Nest Hub Max, and Nest Wifi Pro. Matter-enabled smart home devices can connect to your home's Matter network via Wi-Fi or Thread (a low-power standard). Thread devices require a Thread border router; the Nest Wifi Pro, Nest Hub Max and the Nest Hub (2nd gen) can act as a Thread border router. Matter is designed for "Multi-Admin", meaning you can use multiple devices and ecosystems simultaneously to control your home, including both the Google Home and Samsung SmartThings apps. Android's Fast Pair feature also now works for Matter devices, making it faster and easier to set up new smart home devices. Next year, Google will bring Google Home with Matter to iOS. A handful of Matter-enabled devices are already available, "with many more coming in early 2023".
FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington is calling for the FCC to mandate that device manufacturers "explicitly commit to supporting their wireless devices with security updates for a defined period." Phones and other wireless devices that are in active use but no longer receiving security patches represent a national security risk, according to Simington. Some manufacturers have committed to providing security updates for up to five years for their high-end devices, while other companies make no specific promises. New security vulnerabilities are regularly discovered in both new and old versions of Android, iOS, and other OSes. Left unpatched, older devices become susceptible to more and more of these issues over time, providing an open door for malware, spyware, ransomware, and more.
Apple is introducing several new security-focused features this week. The optional features give users new ways to secure their accounts and protect their data. A feature Apple calls Advanced Data Protection for iCloud will let users end-to-end (E2E) encrypt nine additional types of cloud data, including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos. This is beyond the 14 categories already E2E encrypted by default. E2E ensures that personal data stays encrypted in transit to/from the cloud, and while stored in the cloud, in such a way that not even Apple can decrypt it. Data would also be protected in the event Apple suffers a cloud security breach. This could present a challenge for law enforcement, which sometimes subpoenas Apple for iCloud data of suspects, including iPhone backups. Advanced Data Protection for iCloud is in beta now, and will be available to US users by the end of the year. Apple will also now support hardware security keys for two-factor login using Apple ID. Hardware security keys provide a much higher level of security compared to other types of two-factor authentication. This feature "will be available globally in early 2023." iMessage Contact Key Verification is intended for "users who face extraordinary digital threats — such as journalists, human rights activists, and members of government". The feature helps users "verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend". A unique Contact Verification Code confirms user identity and can be confirmed via other channels, including in person. Users with the feature enabled will also "receive automatic alerts if an exceptionally advanced adversary, such as a state-sponsored attacker, were ever to succeed breaching cloud servers and inserting their own device to eavesdrop". This feature will be available "globally in 2023."
Google Pixel phones now have the ability to share digital car keys via messaging, including with iPhones. Select other phones with Android 12 or later will also get the feature soon.
Apple's new Emergency SOS via Satellite feature is now available to use in the US and Canada. The feature is exclusive to the new iPhone 14 series. It enables short messages to be sent to local emergency dispatchers where and when cellular and Wi-Fi are unavailable. The feature includes a demo mode that lets users try out the feature connecting to a real satellite, but without bothering emergency services. There is also one non-emergency feature: users can share their location with others while off-grid using the Find My app. Apple promises to launch the service in France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK by December.
Google is revamping Family Link, the system-wide parental controls for a child's Android device. The biggest new feature is the ability to create temporary "Today Only" screen-time settings that override the usual daily settings. Another major new feature is a geofencing function that lets you "turn on notifications to be alerted when your child arrives at or leaves a specific destination like school or soccer practice." The new design is organized into three main tabs: "The Highlights tab shows a snapshot of your child's app usage, screen time and recently installed apps". The Controls tab lets parents "set screen time limits for each device or for specific apps, set content restrictions and manage app data permissions." "On the Location tab, you can see all of your children on the same map with their device location. You’ll also find other useful features like battery life and the ability to ring your child’s device to find it". Finally, a Notifications screen shows "important updates and ... requests from your children for app downloads, purchases and access to blocked websites." The update is rolling out over the next few weeks. The Family Link app for parents is available for both Android and iOS, as well as via the web.
Samsung has revealed the design and key features One UI 5, the company's own spin on Android for its Galaxy phones. Besides a design refresh (including an iOS-like lock screen), several key features have been added. Bixby Text Call lets you participate in a phone call by typing text, which the phone converts to audio. The feature is designed for environments where a phone call would be difficult or not allowed, such as a loud concert, theater, or library. One UI 5 also includes a new video wallpaper function. Widgets can now be stacked, enabling fewer, tidier home screens. The software also makes it easy to extract text from images and paste that text elsewhere.
The Square Point of Sale app now fully supports Tap to Pay on iPhone, allowing any iPhone (11 or newer) to act as a payment terminal able to accept NFC (tap) payments without any additional hardware. Previously, merchants needed a separate hardware accessory to accept any kind of in-person card or tap payments. Tap to Pay on iPhone is compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, as well as physical credit and debit cards with a contactless chip. The feature carries no additional cost to the seller. Apple announced Tap to Pay on iPhone in February. Stripe and Shopify also support the feature.
Google has announced an update to the Google Maps app with several interesting new features. The augmented-reality Live View feature now works in a search mode to find and show you specific places nearby, instead of just overlaying walking directions during ongoing navigation. From the main screen, a camera icon will appear in the main search box. Tapping that icon opens the new mode, which starts by showing landmark info overlaid on the real-world view from the phone's camera. It gives a few default search options, such as finding restaurants or ATMs within a five-minute walk. Those search results appear overlaid on the real-world view, with options view more details, such as hours, how busy a place is, and services offered. The feature "starts rolling out in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo in the coming months on Android and iOS." Google also announced a new "neighborhood vibe" feature that displays a visual guide to local highlights when searching for a neighborhood by name. That feature is also rolling out "in the coming months", but will be available globally.
Apple released iOS 16.0.2 today. It fixes two high-profile bugs: one that cause the camera to loudly "vibrate and cause blurry photos" when using third-party apps on iPhone 14 Pro models, and another that caused excessive security prompts when copying and pasting between apps.
Google Fi has improved the international roaming offered with its plans, and improved overall iPhone compatibility. Google tripled its 5G coverage abroad, bumping the number of countries where users can roam on 5G from 26 to 39. (Full-speed 4G is available in over 200 countries.) Fi's Unlimited Plus plan has no extra roaming charges, so all your 50 GB of monthly full-speed data is available even overseas. Google also extended international 5G service to Samsung phones, instead of just its own Pixel phones. For iPhones, Google added international mobile hotspot and Wi-Fi calling, features that previously only worked with Android phones on Fi. Google Fi plan pricing remains unchanged.
Apple has revealed the iPhone 14 series, with new features, improved specs, and new size options. In place of a Mini option, the iPhone 14 will come in the same 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screen size options as the Pro models. The larger model is called the iPhone 14 Plus, while the Pro models keep the same screen sizes and naming scheme (Pro and Pro Max) as last year. All of the new iPhone 14 models include at least 2x better low-light performance on all cameras, including front cameras. They also include Emergency SOS via Satellite and Crash Detection, and move completely to eSIM, eliminating physical SIM cards. The Pro models move from a notched display design to a "pill" shape for the TrueDepth camera-and-sensor system, which changes shape via software in a feature Apple calls Dynamic Island. Emergency SOS via Satellite uses a low-bandwidth satellite data network. It requires you to point the phone at the satellite, which the interface guides you through. It only supports short messages sent at low speed, even using 3x compression. Messages may take 15 seconds or up to a few minutes to send. The interface guides you through creating a concise message that contains the info emergency responders will need to provide help. For 911 call centers that can't receive text messages directly, Apple will call that center and relay your message. The service also supports non-emergency usage, but only in the form of location sharing. The feature will be available first in the US and Canada starting in November, and will be free for the first two years. Crash Detection utilizes a new high dynamic range gyroscope and dual-core accelerometer to automatically detect a car crash and alert emergency services. The new dual eSIM works with all major US carriers and can be set up even without Wi-Fi. The 12 megapixel main camera has a larger sensor and faster lens for 49% better low-light performance in low light via hardware alone, while Deep Fusion has been improved and renamed Photonic Engine, boosting low-light performance 2x on all cameras, for a total boost of 2.5x on the main camera. The front camera is also improved and now has auto-focus. A new Action Mode provides gimbal-like stabilization for video. The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus do not feature an all-new chip like the Pro models, instead using an A15 Bionic chip like last year's models. However, Apple has redesigned the aluminum body to provide better thermals, which may improve peak chip performance. Apple says the iPhone 14 Plus has the best battery life ever for an iPhone. The 14 series will come in five colors: blue, purple, Midnight, Starlight, and Product Red. The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max have all the features of the standard iPhone 14 models, plus the new Dynamic Island display design, always-on display, better display specs, better cameras, a new A16 Bionic chip, and stainless steel bodies. The Dynamic Island takes up 30% less space than Apple's notch. Via software, the black pill area can expand a little to the sides to show background activity status, or split in two to show two different activities. For more important alerts or interactive controls, it can expand vertically as well. An API will allow third-party apps to access the Dynamic Island display area, such as a sports app showing a live-updating game score. The always-on display uses LPTO dimming and refresh down to 1 Hz to keep battery life in check. Unlike some always-on displays, it supports widgets and can show wallpaper over the whole display. The display also has thinner bezels and is (Apple claims) the brightest display on any smartphone, offering up to 2,000 nits peak brightness outdoors. The main camera is now 48 megapixel, enabling a high-quality 2x tele mode while leaving the dedicated telephoto camera to 3x. The camera also offers a 48-megapixel ProRAW mode. The wide camera offers 3x better low-light performance, while the other cameras offer 2x better. A sophisticated new LED flash offers nine discrete LEDS shining through a special lens that lets it effectively "zoom" to match the current focal length. The new A16 Bionic chip engages the whole chip for photography, able to perform 4 trillion operations per photo. It uses a 4nm manufacturing process that improves power efficiency. The Pro and Pro Max will be available in black, silver, gold, and purple. The iPhone 14 will start at $799, the iPhone 14 Plus: $899, the iPhone 14 Pro: $999, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max: $1,099. All models will be available with 128, 256, or 512 GB of storage, while the Pro series also gets a 1 TB option. Pre-orders start Friday, September 9th. Most models ship September 16th, except the 14 Plus which will ship October 7th.
Following T-Mobile's announcement that customers of other carriers can switch to T-Mobile quickly and easily using only the T-Mobile app and eSIM technology, Verizon wants to remind people that it offers the same feature within its My Verizon app. Customers of other carriers with a Verizon-approved, unlocked, eSIM-capable phone can download the My Verizon app to set up a new account and activate the phone with Verizon right away, without needing to visiting a store or have a physical SIM card mailed to them. eSIM-capable phones include most recent Apple iPhones and Google Pixels, as well as certain recent Samsung phones. Customers can use either the app (for iOS and Android) or perform the same process via Verizon's BYOD web site.
T-Mobile has updated its main T-Mobile app to enable customers of other carriers to switch to T-Mobile "in as little as a few minutes." The feature is able to activate the phone on a new T-Mobile line from right within the app, using eSIM technology. eSIM is found in recent Apple iPhones, Google Pixels, and many recent Samsung phones. Optionally, users can use this feature to activate a free three-month trial of T-Mobile's network as a second line, while keeping their existing service on the phone's primary SIM card. The feature is available for both consumer and business customers. The updated T-Mobile app is available now for both iOS and Android.
A potentially serious security flaw has been found in iOS and Apple's WebKit web browser software. It is recommended that all iPhone users update to iOS 15.6.1 immediately to fix the issue. The same issues affect most Apple software, including iPadOS and macOS. Apple hasn't released many details, giving users time to update before more bad actors get details they could use to exploit it. But Apple says it "is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited." Presumably this means an advanced attacker, such as a state, may have already used this zero-day exploit on a high-profile target. Most users are not at risk yet, but that could change quickly as details emerge. The issue is an "out-of-bounds [memory] write issue" that gives an application the ability "to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges". Basically, it's one of the more serious security issues you can find in modern software. The issue was reported to Apple by an anonymous researcher.
Apple has released the fourth beta version of iOS 16, and it makes significant changes to the way Edit and Unsend work in the Messages app. There is now just a two-minute window to unsend an iMessage, down from 15 before. There is also now a full edit history available to all parties. Further, iMessage editing is now limited to five edits. As before, editing is only available for 15 minutes after the initial iMessage is sent. The final version of iOS 16 is expected to be released this fall.
Google's Switch to Android app for iOS now makes it easy for iPhone users to move data like contacts, calendars, and photos to any new Android 12 phone. The app initially supported only Pixel phones.
Apple's forthcoming iOS 16 and macOS Ventura will support the new Privacy Pass industry standard for authenticating users as legitimate people and not bots. This new technology can replace annoying CAPTCHAs, allowing web sites and app services to fight fraud in a way that's automatic and invisible for users. Privacy Pass authenticates users as real without identifying them or allowing any kind of tracking. It does this with a multi-step exchange of "blinded" cryptographic keys involving an authentication server that the web site trusts, plus a separate authentication server that the phone (and Apple) trusts. The process verifies that the user is using a trusted, signed app (such as Safari), that they are signed in to a valid Apple ID account, and that they have successfully unlocked their phone using biometric authentication. The browser can then generate signed tokens on demand as part of a new "PrivateToken" HTTP handshake process when connecting to a web server. When using the Safari browser or certain APIs for apps, this happens automatically before a web page loads. If successful, the web page will load without the CAPTCHA that it would normally have. Users do not need to do anything to use the feature. Web site owners that currently use CAPTCHAs will need to update their servers to support Privacy Pass, although CAPTCHA providers may be able to enable the feature through their existing CAPTCHA APIs.
WhatsApp now supports Apple's "Move to iOS" system, making it easy for users to switch from an Android phone to an iPhone without losing their WhatsApp chat histories. Move to iOS consists of an Android app that users can download from Google's Play Store. It moves contacts, text messages, photos, videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, and calendars to a new iPhone. It transfers the data over a temporary, private Wi-Fi network between the two phones. WhatsApp is taking advantage of support for third-party data in Move to iOS. WhatsApp data transferred this way is encrypted and unreadable until the user signs in to WhatsApp on their new iPhone.
Apple today announced FaceTime Continuity, a new suite of a features that seamlessly integrates FaceTime across iOS and macOS. Users can now start a FaceTime call on an iPhone, then easily move the call to a Mac. Simply bringing the iPhone near the Mac will bring up a prompt on the Mac to switch the call over. FaceTime Continuity also lets you use your iPhone's main cameras as a higher-quality webcam for your Mac, including for third-party apps. This enables advanced features like Center Stage and Studio Lighting. It also includes a "Desk View" mode that leverages the ultra-wide camera and image processing to produce what looks like an overhead view of your desk.
Apple has introduced a "next generation" version of CarPlay that is designed to take over all screens in your car and replace the instrument cluster and all controls, including audio and climate control. The solution is essentially an OS for your whole car, but driven by your iPhone. It brings a new level of customization for car interfaces, with multiple style options and custom widgets. iOS developers will be able to create third-party widgets. The first cars using this new CarPlay system are expected to be announced late next year.
Apple today announced iOS 16, the next version of its core software for iPhones. The new OS features a major revamp of the Lock Screen with new personalization, including font & color options, and widgets that are similar to complications on the Apple Watch. Third-party lock screen widgets will also be available. Custom photo wallpapers now intelligently pull out foreground elements, so the time appears slightly behind your dog's head, for example. Finally, notifications on the lock screen have been re-arranged to take up less space, and can be hidden completely. Apple is also introducing a new type of update-able notification for live activities, so that updates to sports scores or your Uber's location don't trigger a series of separate notifications. An update to Focus lets you designate separate custom lock screens and home screens for work vs. personal modes, etc. A new Focus Filter API will also extend Focus modes into apps, allowing you to designate certain browser tabs as only available in work mode, for example. In Messages, messages can now be unsent, edited after being sent, or marked as unread. Messages also now supports SharePlay, so you can have a text conversation while watching the same media. Dictation now adds punctuation automatically, and works more seamlessly when using both the keyboard and voice for input. Apple has also extended Live Text to video, so you can now copy text from paused video, and easily perform smart actions on that text, like translate language or convert currency. A new Live Text API will allow this feature to work in third-party apps. In Wallet, apps will now be able to request select info from a stored digital driver's license, for things like age verification. Apple is also adding Order Tracking into Wallet. Finally, Apple announced that it's working on making Key Sharing (for digital car and home keys) cross-platform, so digital keys can be shared with Android users from Wallet. Apple Maps now supports multi-stop routing, for up to 15 stops. When navigating while driving, Siri will now lets you add a stop to your current trip using just your voice. Apple has also revamped the Parental Controls setup process, and made it faster to set up a new Apple device for a kid. A new feature called Safety Check makes it easier for people in abusive relationships to make sure an abusive partner can't take advantage of shared accounts or additional signed-in devices when trying to leave that relationship. Finally, Rapid Security Response is a new OS feature that allows Apple to roll out urgent security fixes faster. The first developer beta comes out today. The first public beta will be released in July, with a final release coming in the "fall".
Visible has added flagship Samsungs to the list of phones for which it supports activation via eSIM. New customers with a Samsung S22 series, S21 series, or Note20 series Samsung phone can now start mobile service with Visible "in as little as 15 minutes" by simply downloading the Visible app to sign up and activate their phone, with no physical SIM card required. Visible already supports eSIMs on newer Apple iPhones and Google Pixel phones. Visible says it has an "ongoing commitment to become a fully eSIM-based wireless carrier." Visible offers 5G service on the Verizon network, and the company is backed by Verizon.
For Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Apple is announcing several new accessibility features coming to iOS "later this year", possibly in iOS 16. A new feature called Door Detection uses the camera and LiDAR sensor in higher-end iPhones and iPads to help blind or low vision users "locate a door upon arriving at a new destination, understand how far they are from it, and describe door attributes — including if it is open or closed, and when it’s closed, whether it can be opened by pushing, turning a knob, or pulling a handle." Door Detection will be added to Detection Mode in the Magnifier app. Apple will also be adding system-wide Live Captions for all audio sources, including FaceTime calls. Google has offered a similar feature since 2020. Finally, Apple is Apple Watch Mirroring, which helps users control Apple Watch remotely from their paired iPhone. This feature helps users who might have difficulty with the smaller touch screen of the Apple Watch.
Apple has released iOS 15.5, which adds the ability for Apple Cash users to send and receive money, as well as automatic storage management for Podcasts. It also patches a long list of potentially serious security vulnerabilities.
Apple has released iMovie 3.0 for iPhones and iPads. The new version has two major new features: Magic Movie and Storyboards. With Magic Movie, users simply select an album or any group of photos and/or video, and the app will automatically build a video complete with titles, transitions, and music. Styles can be added to change up the look and feel of the entire video. With Storyboards, users start with one of 20 templates, such as a cooking tutorial, Q&A, product review, news report, etc. The template includes a shot list and tips for each part. Users then select existing clips and/or shoot new video to fill the Storyboard with content. Both Magic Movies and Storyboards can then be manually edited further. The resulting videos can be shared from iMovie via Messages, Mail, and on social media. The new iMovie is available now as a free update for devices running iOS 15.2 or later.
After years of testing across multiple states, Arizona is now the first US state to officially offer a digital driver's license / state ID stored digitally in a phone. Arizona residents can now add their ID to Apple Wallet by scanning their face and physical ID card using the phone's camera, pending state agency approval. The digital ID is currently accepted at "select" TSA airport checkpoints, including in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Apple also announced that Colorado, Hawaii, Mississippi, Ohio, and the territory of Puerto Rico plan to support the technology soon, in addition to the previously-announced Georgia, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah. The capability was introduced in iOS 15.4 for iPhones, and is also supported in Apple Watch Series 4 or later running watchOS 8.4 or later. The technology provides enhances security and privacy by only sharing information specifically requested, in an encrypted format, and the user can review which information will be shared before granting permission to share it.
Tile has launched a new feature that lets anyone with a smartphone check if they are being tracked surreptitiously with a Tile tracker. This mirrors a similar set of features offered by Apple for its competing AirTags and Find My service. Tile's new "Scan and Secure" feature is part of the main Tile app for iOS and Android. It can be used by anyone, even without a Tile account. The updated Tile app with Scan and Secure "starts rolling out this week".
Apple has released the final version of iOS 15.4, which updates Apple's advanced facial recognition to work even while wearing a mask over the mouth and nose. The feature is an optional setting that must be manually activated, since it is somewhat less secure than the full-face option. Apple previously added limited mask compatibility to Face ID, but it required a paired Apple Watch; the new feature does not. iOS 15.4 also adds new emoji.
Google today started rolling out a major update to its Messages app, the default SMS and RCS messaging app on most new Android phones. It includes several major new features, but the biggest for most people may be automatic conversion and tidier display of emoji reactions from iPhone users. When an iPhone user "likes" or "loves" (etc.) a message in a conversation, it will now be displayed as a simple emoji attached to the original message, instead of a whole separate message with the original text repeated. Emoji reactions work between iPhones using Apple's protocol originally known as iMessage. They also work between Android phones using the open, industry-standard RCS protocol. But because iPhones do not support RCS and iMessage is a closed and proprietary, communication between iPhone and Android devices defaults to the outdated SMS/MMS protocols, which do not support newer features like reactions. So reactions are sent in plain text. This is still the case, but Messages will now intercept and "translate" these messages to present them properly. Another new feature is Organized inbox, which automatically sorts your messages into Personal and Business tabs. Messages can now also automatically delete one-time password messages after 24 hours, reducing inbox clutter. It can also help remind you to reply with "gentle nudges" when it detects that you may have stopped in the middle of a conversation for a period of time. Finally, when sharing a video, there will now be an option to share a link to that video on Google Photos instead of sending the video itself. That will enable users to share high-quality videos with iPhone users, instead of sending a very low-quality video via the outdated MMS protocol as before. (RCS allows sharing high-quality videos directly with other Android users.) Google says it will bring the link-sharing feature to photos as well in the future. Most of these features are available first for the English language only, with other languages to follow. The new version of Messages will "roll out over the coming weeks".
Apple has announced a new iPhone SE for 2022. The design is identical to the 2020 model, which itself is based on the iPhone 8 from 2017. But the guts have been updated to the Apple's latest and greatest A15 Bionic chip, the same one found in the new iPhone 13 series. Other updates include 5G (but no mmWave) and tougher glass on the front and back. Like the 2020 model, it has a 4.7-inch display and home button with integrated Touch ID fingerprint reader. Color options are "midnight" (black), "starlight" (white), and (Product)Red. The iPhone SE (2022) will start at $429, up from $399 for the 2020 model. That's for the 64 GB model, with 128 and 256 GB options also available. Pre-orders start this Friday, March 11th, and it ships the following Friday, March 18th. Separately, Apple also announced new green color options for the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro.
Apple is making a number of tweaks to the Find My system that powers AirTags. Specifically, Apple is aiming to improve the various features designed to prevent AirTags from being used to stalk people or track other people's belongings without their permission. A refined algorithm will now alert users sooner that an unknown AirTag or Find My network accessory may be traveling with them. Once a user receives such an alert, a number of changes will help the user quickly find the offending item and determine if it's benign. If the item is a set of AirPods, example, the alert will now say that instead of "Unknown Accessory". Users receiving an alert will be able to use Precision Finding to find the offending AirTag or device. This feature uses AR and UWB to guide an iPhone (11 or better) user directly to the device. Apple will also tweak the sounds an AirTag makes to make them easier to hear. Apple is also updating its pop-up warnings and documentation for users, as well as new documentation for law enforcement. Some of these changes will launch soon, while others will launch later this year.
Later this year, Apple will add "Tap to Pay on iPhone" to iOS. This new feature will let merchants accept contactless (NFC) payments using only an iPhone and a compatible app. The software developer kit (SDK) for this feature will launch to developers "in an upcoming iOS software beta". The Stripe platform and the Shopify Point of Sale app will be first to support the technology "this spring", with additional platforms and apps to follow later this year. The feature will work with iPhone XS and later (including iPhone 11 series and newer.) Previously, the NFC hardware in iPhones was only enabled to make contactless payments, not accept them. Merchants needed a separate NFC accessory (either attached or connected via Bluetooth) to accept payments; this will no longer be necessary. Tap to Pay on iPhone will be able accept all standard contactless payments, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and contactless physical credit cards.
A new option allows iOS developers to release apps through official Apple channels without surfacing them to the general public in the App Store interface. Such apps can only be installed using a special direct link that organizations send to invited users. Apple describes the new option as ideal for apps "for specific organizations, special events, or research studies, or apps used as employee resources or sales tools". Organizations have been able to distribute such apps to managed devices using Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager. But distributing such apps to unmanaged devices has been a challenge. In the past, some organizations have used Apple's TestFlight system as a workaround, but that process was clunky, limited, and didn't comply with Apple's policies.
Apple released a beta version of iOS 15.4 today, and it includes a new feature that lets Face ID work even while the user is wearing a mask. Unlike Apple's previous version of this concept, it does not require a connected Apple Watch. It instead relies solely on "unique features around the eye area". It also lets you specifically train Face ID with each pair of eyeglasses you own. It does not work with sunglasses.) As this version of iOS is still in beta testing, there is no guarantee the feature will make the final version of iOS 15.4.