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Sometimes, it's the little things

Just in the last two incremental iOS/iPadOS updates, Apple has fixed a couple of small things that mean a lot:

  • Bluetooth device categorization (14.4) - This was an annoying one for me. I have a Bluetooth dongle in my car which I use to transmit music from my iPhone to my car stereo. Before this update, the iPhone assumed this device was a pair of headphones. Because of this, the iPhone would assume I was listening to headphones at full volume and would automatically turn the volume down to a safe level. This is really annoying when you’re driving and not listening to music on headphones. Now, if you go into Settings > Bluetooth, then click on the device you want to edit, you’ll see you can now change the type of device you’re listening on, which also allows for Apple to get a better reading at your listening volumes for hearing health.
  • Unlocking iPhone with FaceID while wearing a mask (14.5) - This is still very much in beta, but it is working. If you own an Apple Watch, it’ll allow your iPhone to unlock when FaceID fails if you’re wearing a mask. This is huge for all of us living with COVID. I recently switched to a much shorter numeric passcode on my phone because of this issue. Now, I should be able to switch back to my much longer alpha-numeric passcode, which is just better for security in general. This seems to only work when your Apple Watch is in it’s active state, so you may have to always raise your wrist to activate the unlock, but it does work much like how you can unlock a Mac with your Watch.
  • Emoji Search on iPad (14.5) - You could do this since the release of iOS 14 on iPhone. Finally, you can do the same on iPad. Sometimes predictive text doesn’t always offer you the emoji you want to use. This solves that issue with a separate search option in the emoji keyboard.
  • Landscape loading screen on iPad (14.5) - Before now, the loading screen has always been in portrait mode, which looks dumb when you have your iPad attached to a keyboard in laptop mode. No more.

What all of this tells me is Apple is no longer waiting until the major version updates to deploy new features. This goes back to 2020 when they deployed full trackpad support on the iPad, coinciding with the release of the Magic Keyboard. That said, there’s still a couple small iPad related things I hope they address sooner than later:

  • App Library - It’s on the iPhone. It should be on the iPad as well.
  • Hiding Homescreens - Again, it’s on the iPhone, but not the iPad. I would love to have this option.

Other than that, Apple has been making a lot of satisfying updates recently.