Apple has seeded iOS 15.4 Release Candidate, here’s what’s new
Apple has seeded the Release Candidate (RC) of iOS 15.4, following the release of beta 5 last week. Unlike iOS 15.3, iOS 15.4 comes packed with new features, changes, and additions. These include support for Face ID when masked for iPhone 12 and newer models, new emoji, updates to Keychain, and much more. To download this update, you have to be enrolled in Apple’s Developer Program — which costs $99 per year. Alternatively, you could join the public beta program and get your hands on the new build shortly after. However, if you’re patient, you can just wait — as the stable, public release will be next week. Here’s a list of everything new in iOS 15.4.
Considering this could be the final version of iOS 15.4, we expectedly haven’t found any changes in this build yet. A Release Candidate usually focuses on fixing leftover bugs and making the overall experience smoother. If we discover new features later on, we will update this article to reflect that.
iOS 15.4 RC Changelog
- Face ID while wearing a mask option on iPhone 12 and newer
- Apple Pay and password autofill in apps and Safari can be used with Face ID while wearing a mask
- New emoji including faces, hand gestures, and household objects are now available in emoji keyboard
- Handshake emoji allows you to choose separate skin tones for each hand
- SharePlay sessions can be initiated directly from supported apps
- Siri can provide time and date information while offline on iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone 11 or newer
- Siri now includes an additional voice, expanding the diversity of options
- EU Digital COVID Certificate support in Health enables you to download and store verifiable versions of COVID-19 vaccination, lab results, and recovery records
- COVID-19 vaccination cards in Apple Wallet now support the EU Digital COVID Certificate format
This release also includes the following enhancements for your iPhone:
- Safari webpage translation adds support for Italian and Chinese (Traditional)
- Podcasts app adds episode filters for seasons, played, unplayed, saved, or downloaded episodes
- iCloud custom email domains can be managed from Settings
- News offers enhanced discovery of audio content in the Today feed and Audio tab
- Camera in keyboard can be used to add text to Notes and Reminders
- Shortcuts now supports adding, removing, or querying tags with Reminders
- Emergency SOS settings have changed to use Call with Hold for all users. Call with 5 Presses is still available as an option in Emergency SOS settings
- Close-up in Magnifier uses the ultra-wide camera on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max to help you see small objects
- Saved passwords can now include your own notes in Settings
This release also includes bug fixes for your iPhone:
- Keyboard may insert period between typed numbers
- News widgets in Today View may not open articles when tapped
- Photos and videos may not sync to iCloud Photo Library
- Speak Screen Accessibility feature may quit unexpectedly within the Books app
- Live Listen may not turn off when switched off in Control Center
We haven’t been able to find any visual changes in this build, and that’s not uncommon at this stage of beta testing — as public release nears.
New anti-stalking measures for Find My Network accessories
Beta 4 adds new Tracking Notifications settings to the Me tab of the Find My app. Additionally, iOS now warns users pairing a new AirTag not to use it for malicious purposes — such as stalking others.
New Siri voice option
This beta also adds a fifth voice option for Siri when using the American accent. Prior to beta 4, there were only four American voices to choose from.
Podcasts splash screen
When launching the Podcasts app for the first time, there’s a new splash screen highlighting the ability to filter episodes and browse by season of a specific show.
Broken toggle to disable iCloud data access on the web has been removed
Beta 1 of iOS 15.4 introduced a toggle that allows users to disable iCloud data access from the web. However, the option didn’t work. Beta 2 removes this toggle from the Settings app, and it’s unclear if Apple will include it again in a future beta or not.
Unicode 14.0 was released back in September 2021 — after the initial March ETA was pushed due to COVID-19. It introduces 112 new emoji — if we’re counting the skin tone variations. These include a melting face, troll, biting lip, and pregnant man. Once you’re on this iOS build, you will be able to send and use these emoji across your favorite apps. However, users on older versions of iOS and other unsupported operating systems won’t be able to view them in their text format.
Notes in Keychain
This beta build adds a new feature that allows users to add notes to their Keychain passwords. Some third-party password managers already support a similar feature. With Apple introducing 2-factory authentication (2FA) support in iOS 15 and now this, its Keychain service has become a free, serious competitor in the field.
Health and Wallet support for EU COVID-19 vaccination certificates
If you have an EU COVID-19 vaccination certificate, you can now add it to the Health and Wallet apps on your iPhone. This allows you to access your certificate with a double side-button click on your iPhone or Apple Watch. To add your certificate, simply use your iPhone’s camera to scan the included QR code. A COVID-19 Vaccination button will pop-up in the camera app — click on it.
Use Face ID when masked
The COVID-19 pandemic has been around two years now, which made using Face ID in public challenging. At some point, Apple started allowing Apple Watch users to unlock their Face ID iPhones when masked. However, users without watches still had to type in their passcodes every time they’re in public. The company has finally addressed this issue, and now users running iOS 15.4 on an iPhone 12 or a newer model can use Face ID authentication even when masked.
Disable iCloud data access on the web
iOS 15.4 introduces a new option in Apple ID Password & Security settings that allows users to disable data access on iCloud.com. This makes it impossible to access your notes, contacts, files, photos, and other iCloud data from the web. If you don’t use the web-based iCloud apps, you can take advantage of this feature as an extra layer of security. It’s worth mentioning that Find My will still work on the web, regardless of what you choose. It’s also worth noting that the feature still doesn’t work in this beta.
Apple Card widget
Apple has introduced a Wallet widget that displays your Apple Card spendings. It’s a convenient way to check the number at a glance.
iCloud Plus Custom Email Domain
iPhone users running iOS 15.4 can now set up custom email domains. Obviously, you would have to own the domain that you’re aiming at. The feature requires an iCloud Plus subscription, though, and users can set up to five custom email domains at a time.
SharePlay in Share Menu
Apple really wants users to start using SharePlay. In this release, the company has added an obvious SharePlay shortcut when trying to share content in an app that supports the feature.
Apple TV Up Next preferences
In the Settings app, you can now choose the display style of the queued Up Next titles. You get to choose between Still Frame and Poster Art.
Disable Shortcuts Automations notifications
When creating an automation in the Shortcuts app, you can now disable receiving a notification each time it runs. The new “Notify When Run” toggle shows up when you disable “Ask Before Running.” If you disable the new toggle, you will no longer receive a notification every time the particular automation is run.
New Notifications section in the App Store
There’s a new Notifications section in the App Store where users can toggle them on/off, depending on their preferences.
Tweaked AirPods pop-up
In this beta, the AirPods pop-up that appears when opening the case gets tweaked icons.
Are you testing iOS 15.4? If so, which of the new features are you using the most? Let us know in the comments section below.