Apple iOS 14.6 has been released and it not only brings new features but extensive security updates. Furthermore, coming off the back of iOS 14.5.1 which had severe performance issues on multiple iPhone models, the pressure is on for Apple to get this update right. So should you upgrade? Here’s everything you need to know.
Tip: bookmark this page because I will keep it up to date if/when new problems are found. I will deliver my final verdict in a week.
05/31 Update: there are growing reports of serious battery drain problems for iPhone users after upgrading to iOS 14.6. You can read the my full report here.
Who Is It For?
Apple iOS 14.6 is available for all iOS 13-compatible devices. That means iPhone 6S and newer and the 7th generation iPod touch. You should be automatically notified to upgrade but, if not, you can trigger the update manually by navigating to Settings > General > Software Update. Beta testers, if you are running a later version of iOS 14 when you read this (see ‘The Road Ahead’ section at the end), you must unenroll your iPhone before iOS 14.6 will show up.
Note: this guide is not focused on older iOS updates or iPadOS, but I will touch upon pertinent issues in these guides.
The Deal Breakers
The big news 24 hours after release is the performance issues seen in iOS 14.5.1 appear to have been solved in iOS 14.6. Apple never acknowledged this problem in the first place, so there’s no fix listed in the official release notes but, if you are affected, upgrading looks a pretty good bet.
There’s more good news too because very few bugs have been reported in iOS 14.6 so far. Those already suffering from CarPlay issues still are and bugs are also still being reported in Apple Podcasts app (it has suffered a lot of issues since its redesign in iOS 14.5). There are isolated reports of increased battery drain and heat build up but nothing to be concerned about at this stage.
So What Do You Get?
Apple’s iOS 14.6 release notes are as follows:
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
- 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
- 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 Watch
- 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
The big news here is the addition of Apple Card Family and Podcast subscription support. Both had been eagerly awaited and while Apple Card Family appears to be working well, the Podcasts app remains buggy.
Dig a little deeper, however, and the primary reason to upgrade to iOS 14.6 is for security. Head to Apple’s official security page and you will find the listing for iOS 14.6 and iPadOS 14.6 lists a massive 43 security patches. None of these are ‘zero day’ breaches, meaning they are not being actively exploited in the wild, but nevertheless the unusually long list includes vulnerabilities in audio, Mail, WebKit (Safari’s browser engine) and WiFi.
Apple iOS 14.6 Verdict: Upgrade
As always, cautious users will want to wait for my Final Verdict, which I always deliver after one week. For everyone else, the combination of new features, minimal early bug reports and the long list of patches for security vulnerabilities means I would advise you upgrade as a matter of priority.
Note: if you bookmark this guide, you will find my final verdict here in one week
The Road Ahead
Apple iOS 14.7 is already in beta testing. The first release adds support for timers to HomePod alarm settings and air quality information to the Weather app for more European countries, but you can expect more features to arrive before its final release sometime in mid-late June.
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