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Next iOS Update Improves Maps, Privacy And Siri’s Voice

For Apple’s next major iOS update, a fair few of its forthcoming features are already known due to the early beta version of the software being tested since February.

But it’s nearing the time when iOS 14.5 will be available to download – tipped for late April – so here’s what iPhone users can expect to change:

Unlock your iPhone without using your face

To get around face masks, which generally throw iPhone’s Face ID scanner, you’ll soon be able to unlock your phone using your Apple Watch. The watch needs to be on your wrist and also be unlocked for this to work, but when you move it close to your iPhone, the watch will unlock the mobile. It won’t be on by default, so you’ll need to opt in.

Protect your privacy from apps

This follows the addition of privacy-focused ‘nutrition labels’ to the App Store in December, where apps must be transparent about what information they glean from their users and how they track them.

Once iOS 14.5 lands, apps such as Facebook and Instagram must ask your permission to access your advertising ID. They use that ID to track your activity across the internet, storing your browsing history data and other information for the purpose of targeting ads.

With the iOS upgrade, you’ll begin to receive pop-up notifications asking if you wish to allow apps to track you.

Apple Maps will be crowd-sourced

One of the biggest upgrades to come with the new iOS is the addition of crowd-sourced data to the Maps app. It will now be able to use real-time data from drivers for working out speed trap locations, road accidents and other traffic hazards.

Users will be asked to hit a button within the Maps app to report such incidents as they travel.

Maps will reportedly also use crowd-sourced data to work out whether the café, restaurant or other location you’re headed to is crowded. If your destination is looking busy, the app will send you a warning message.

Siri will have different voices

Apple are updating Siri with voice options in the name of inclusivity.

In iOS 14.5, users will no longer be assigned the original female Siri voice by default. When setting up a device, you’ll now be asked to choose your preferred Siri voice from a list of four: white male and female voices as well as black male and female voices.

Apple wants the new Siri voices to promote diversity and inclusion and is said to have sourced new vocal talent for the voices and has developed them to sound more natural.

The company said in a statement: “We’re excited to introduce two new Siri voices for English speakers and the option for Siri users to select the voice they want when they set up their device.

“This is a continuation of Apple’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and products and services that are designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in.”

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