After iOS 14.3 brought a number of new functions, iOS 14.4 mainly serves to eliminate bugs. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON reveals what else is in the update.
iOS 14.4 has been available for download since Tuesday. The new iOS version addresses a number of vulnerabilities that could already be actively exploited by hackers.
iOS 14.4 closes serious security holes
An anonymous security researcher found one of the holes at the kernel level. The kernel is the heart of an operating system with basic access to all developer functions. According to Apple, this allows malicious software to gain deep access. The company is aware of at least one report that the vulnerability may have already been exploited. iOS 14.4 closes the gap with additional locks in the system.
Two anonymous researchers discovered a second point of attack. This affects Apple’s WebKit, a browser engine that is the developer base for Safari and many other browsers. The vulnerability allowed attackers to remotely execute arbitrary code. This enables the installation of malware, for example. According to Apple, this vulnerability could also have already been exploited. The company has closed the loophole with additional restrictions.
iPhone camera recognizes smaller QR codes
As some may know, you can use the iPhone camera directly as a scanner for QR codes. Simply hold the camera on it and the iPhone will automatically recognize the link hidden behind it. At least that’s the case with most codes – but with some it doesn’t work. Until now, the iPhone has had problems reliably scanning particularly small QR codes. Even when positioned correctly, the iPhone did not recognize anything. And going closer to the code with the camera didn’t help either, because it couldn’t focus.
Apple has fixed this with the update to iOS 14.4. The iPhone camera can now also easily recognize small QR codes.
New option to set the bluetooth device type
So far it has been the case that iOS only recognizes Apple’s own products such as AirPods and Beats that they are Bluetooth headphones. If, on the other hand, you connect products from other manufacturers, such as Bluetooth boxes, a hearing aid or the system in the car, the iPhone does not know what type of device it is dealing with.
In iOS 14.4, users can help the iPhone on the jumps and specify for each Bluetooth audio device what type of device it is. This means that a Bluetooth box is a “loudspeaker”, the system in the car is a “car stereo”, etc. This distinction helps iOS to accurately measure the headphone noise level. In short, it allows iOS to detect when the volume is too loud and harmful to the ears. For their own health, iPhone owners should therefore make sure that everything is set correctly. The setting can be found under Bluetooth > Name of the device > Device type .
Warning if a replacement camera is not original
Apple has always been at war with repairs that come from independent workshops or from their own hands. With good reason, the company wants to prevent the installation of non-original replacement parts that may not meet Apple requirements. With the iPhone 12, Apple has therefore installed a lock that prevents third-party camera replacement parts from working. If you start the camera app in an iPhone 12 with a replaced camera, it simply crashes.
With iOS 14.4, the manufacturer even goes one step further. Instead of just crashing the app, the iPhone now shows a warning message. This indicates that the installed camera replacement part is not genuine and not certified by Apple. This means that buyers can be sure that they will only get original spare parts if they have the iPhone repaired in an independent workshop. Hobbyists who repair their iPhone themselves at least know that they have been sold a non-original replacement part.
Also read: Should I install the new iOS 14.4 directly?
Bugs that Apple fixes with iOS 14.4
While iOS 14.3 was a relatively large feature update, iOS 14.4 primarily addressed a number of bugs. In some cases these have existed for a long time, such as the problems with the iPhone keyboard. Other bugs have only appeared since the iPhone 12. These include the fitness widget not showing current data and artifacts in HDR photos. Here is the full list of bug fixes:
- Image artifacts could appear in HDR photos on the iPhone 12 Pro.
- The fitness widget did not show any current activity data in some cases.
- Typing on the keyboard could be delayed and suggestions not appearing.
- Text read out from the News app in CarPlay did not resume after pausing for directions or Siri.
- The switch control in Accessibility could prevent answering calls from the lock screen.
Conclusion: It is essential to update to iOS 14.4
No question about it, with such an important security fix you should update without further ado. iOS 14.4 and iPad 14.4 are already available for all compatible devices: iPhone 6s and newer, iPad Air 2 and newer, iPad mini 4 and newer, and iPod Touch 7th generation.
The update also brings some other minor improvements that make it worthwhile. We did not notice any errors when testing the new iOS version, so there are no warnings from our side.