April 18, 2021

Tech Bytez

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Apple Enables Ultra-Wideband Support on HomePod Mini for Handoff Feature

4 min read


Apple has released iOS 14.4 for compatible iPhone and iPod touch models. The new iOS update brings an updated Camera app that carries support for smaller QR codes. The latest software also introduces the option to classify Bluetooth devices in Settings and includes a few bug fixes. There are also patches for three vulnerabilities that might have been actively exploited. Apple iPad users have also received iPadOS 14.4 with a similar list of changes that is available for the iPhone users. Separately, Apple has released the HomePod software version 14.4 that brings the anticipated ultra-wideband (UWB) handoff feature specifically to the HomePod mini. The company has also rolled out watchOS 7.3 with the Apple Watch Unity watch face and tvOS 14.4 with security fixes and general stability improvements.

What’s new in iOS 14.4, iPadOS 14.4

The iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates bring a list of improvements to the compatible iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad models. One of those improvements is smaller QR codes support for the Camera app. This will enhance the existing QR code recognition functionality of the default app. The latest software updates also include the option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings to let users identify whether headphones or the built-in speaker will be used for audio notifications.

Apple has also added a notification in iOS 14.4 that will specifically allow the iPhone 12 miniiPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max to notify users when their camera is unable to be verified as a new, genuine Apple camera.

The iOS 14.4 update also fixes an issue related to HDR photos taken using the iPhone 12 Pro. The iOS and iPadOS updates also fix the problem with the default keyboard that caused a delay in typing and showing word suggestions. There is also a fix for an issue causing the keyboard to show an incorrect language in Messages.

The latest updates also fix the problems related to the Audio stories coming from the News app in CarPlay and Switch Control in Accessibility. Further, the iOS 14.4 update addresses the issue affecting the Fitness widget that may not display updated Activity data to users.

Both new iOS and iPadOS updates also include patches that are identified under CVE-2021-1782, CVE-2021-1871, and CVE-2021-1870. Apple noted in a support page that these vulnerabilities “may have been actively exploited.” All three patches are applicable to the iPhone 6s and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and the iPod touch (7th generation).

How to download iOS 14.4, iPadOS 14.4

The iOS 14.4 update can be downloaded on any iPhone or the iPod touch model eligible for the iOS 14. Similarly, iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded on the iPad models compatible with the iPadOS 14. You can download the updates by going to Settings > General > Software Update from your device.

What’s new in watchOS 7.3

Apple has also released watchOS 7.3 that brings the Unity watch face, which is inspired by the colours of the Pan-African Flag. The update also brings Time to Walk for Apple Fitness+ subscribers and expands the ECG app for the Apple Watch Series 4 and later to Japan, Mayotte, Philippines, and Thailand. The eligible Apple Watch users in Japan, Mayotte, Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand will also get irregular heart rhythm notifications through the latest watchOS update. Furthermore, watchOS 7.3 fixes the issue that made the Control Centre and Notification Centre unresponsive when Zoom is enabled.

The watchOS 7.3 update also patches the vulnerability tracked under CVE-2021-1782 that could be exploited by a bad actor.

How to download watchOS 7.3

Apple Watch users on watchOS 7 and later can download watchOS 7.3 by going to the My Watch tab on the Watch app available on their connected Apple device. Alternatively, the update can be downloaded directly from the Apple Watch.

What’s new in HomePod Software Version 14.4

For HomePod users, Apple has released the software version 14.4 that brings ultra-wideband support to the HomePod mini. It lets users hand off music with audible, haptic, and visual effects from the connected iPhone to HomePod mini. The update also allows users to get personalised listening suggestions to their iPhone when it is next to their HomePod mini. Users can also access media controls on their iPhone without having to unlock it when they are near the HomePod mini.

Apple showed off ultra-wideband support on the HomePod mini at the time of its launch in October and promised to bring it sometime later in 2020. However, the company missed the promise by a few days and has finally accomplished it with the latest software version.

It is important to note that ultra-wideband support is limited to the HomePod mini and is not there on the original HomePod. You also need a U1-equipped iPhone model — an iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 model — with the iOS 14.4 to experience the new addition.

How to download HomePod Software Version 14.4

Apple pushes software updates to its HomePod devices automatically once the connected iPhone, iPad, or Mac is updated to the latest software version. However, you can check for the update manually by going to Home Settings > Software Update from the Home app after installing the latest software on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

What’s new in tvOS 14.4

The tvOS 14.4 brings general performance and stability improvements, as mentioned in the official changelog. The update also carries a patch for the vulnerability CVE-2021-1782 that might have been actively exploited.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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