iPhone update for your new AirTags

Lots of media buzz recently about Apple’s new AirTag. The latest iOS version enables you to use them with your iPhone.

• Mac World > “iOS 14.5 is out now with lots of new features and improvements” by Jason Cross, Staff Writer (April 26, 2021) – The update adds AirTags support, App Tracking Transparency, unlock iPhone with Apple Watch, Siri voice options, and more.

See the article for details of these topics:

  • What’s new in iOS 14.5
  • How to get iOS 14.5
  • iOS 14.5 release notes

Apple has finally released iOS 14.5 after a protracted beta testing period. This is one of the bigger point-release updates we’ve seen, adding the ability to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch, AirTags support, AirPlay support for Fitness+, and the long-awaited App Tracking Transparency feature.

What’s new in iOS 14.5

Unlock iPhone with Apple Watch

• Support for AirTag

If you want to use Apple’s new $29 AirTag tracking devices, you need to update your iPhone or iPod Touch to iOS 14.5. (Or use an iPad updated to iPadOS 14.5.)

New Siri voices

• App Tracking Transparency

This version of iOS will lay the groundwork for Apple’s long-advertised App Tracking Transparency feature. Simply put, your iPhone will now require applications to ask for permission (through a standard iOS prompt) whenever they want to track your activities outside the app, such as across other apps or websites. Most users are unaware that many apps even do this. Apple is not blocking the practice, merely requiring informed consent just as it does for, say, location access.

The requirement goes into effect on April 26, but it make take a few days for some apps to be updated to adhere to the new requirements.

Music app changes

New Shortcut actions

New Emojis

Crash reporting and speed traps in Apple Maps

AirPlay 2 support for Fitness+

5G Global dual-sim support

Podcast and News app design tweaks

”Hey Siri, Call Emergency”

Updated game controller support

Sorting and printing Reminders

ios 14 5 reminders sort

iPad: Horizontal boot and emoji search

Battery Health recalibration for iPhone 11 models


  1. Following the release of iOS 14.5, I’ve noticed lots of articles which help clarify (for mere mortals) all the fuss about App Tracking Transparency. Something for all of us to consider, especially for parents pondering a commercial-free childhood: what (and how) data is tracked and collected on your smartphones. (Like when I looked up the model of a new lawn mower purchased by a family member and then later got ads on that product all over Web pages that I visited.)

    • Mac World > “What is App Tracking Transparency and how do you block app tracking?” by Jason Cross (Apr 29, 2021) – iOS 14.5 adds a new feature that gives you more control of how apps track your behavior.

    The article discusses:

    • What is App Tracking Transparency?
    • How do you use ATT?
    • Can I turn off tracking for every app?
    • What if you change your mind?

    App Tracking Transparency (ATT for short) is a new feature of iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS 14.5 that requires applications to ask permission if they want to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites. Your Apple devices have a unique number called an “advertising identifier” that can be used to uniquely identify your device for the purposes of ad targeting and tracking. By associating this identifier with other information, app developers have been able to build incredibly detailed records of how you use your iPhone or iPad, including in other apps and across the web.

    After installing iOS 14.5, all apps are required by Apple to use the new AppTrackingTransparency framework to ask for your permission to track you. This only applies to tracking your activity outside of the company’s own apps! For example, Facebook can track your activity in Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp without asking, but if it wants to know how you interact with other companies’ apps, or to track you across websites you visit, it must ask for your permission.

    It’s safe to say that most iPhone and iPad users are unaware of the extent to which their activity is being tracked, or that apps regularly track what they do in other apps or across websites.


    • YouTube > Apple > “Privacy | App Tracking Transparency | Apple” – App Tracking Transparency lets you control which apps are allowed to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites.

  2. To track or not to track, that is the question, eh.

    • “Apple released an iOS update yesterday that it says will give users more control over what location data that apps on their phones can vacuum up” [1]

    “One big question is: Will it work?” Gennie Gebhart, a director at the digital rights nonprofit the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The New York Times.

    The feature will rely on trackers honoring the rules, Casey Oppenheim, chief executive of privacy company Disconnect, told Tonya Riley. Disconnect provides an app that blocks app tracking.

    “As usual, Apple’s privacy marketing has far outpaced its actual practices, which gives users a false sense of privacy,” Oppenheim says.


    [1] As noted here:

    • The Washington Post > “The Technology 202: …” by Cat Zakrzewski (April 27, 2021)

  3. This recent Ars Technica article is a comprehensive review of Apple’s new AirTags, including a balanced discussion of potential privacy concerns. (These concerns have been headlined in other reviews.)

    • Ars Technica > “AirTag review: They work great—maybe a little too great” by Samuel Axon (5/5/2021) – Apple made the most privacy-friendly tracker, but that’s not saying much.

    (quote) I think Apple, in all likelihood, will take these issues seriously in the future, given that so much of the company’s future marketing and product strategy hinges on privacy, health, and safety. I’m eager to see what changes Apple makes at the network level to address these concerns, because they do need to be addressed.

    Table of Contents

    • Design
    • Functionality
    • How it works
    • Trying one out
    • Privacy and safety
    • Antistalker features
    • A rare privacy misstep from Apple
    • The good
    • The bad
    • The ugly
  4. More information from Apple on the new iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS 14.5 App Tracking setting.

    • Mac Rumors > “Apple Explains Why ‘Allow Apps to Request to Track’ May Be Grayed Out on iOS 14.5” by Joe Rossignol (April 28, 2021)

    (quote) In a new support document, Apple said there are a few circumstances where the “Allow Apps to Request to Track” setting is grayed out, however, including:

    • For users with child accounts or under age 18 by birth year, signed in with their Apple ID
    • If your Apple ID is managed by an educational institution or uses a configuration profile that limits tracking
    • If your Apple ID was created in the last three days

    9to5Mac previously reported that some users are still seeing the toggle grayed out even when the first two circumstances listed above do not apply to them, suggesting that there could be a bug or other issue going on. Apple has yet to respond to requests for comment.

  5. More tips on AirTag tracking and privacy.

    • MacWorld > “How to find, block, or disable an AirTag near you” by Glenn Fleishman, Senior Contributor (May 12, 2021) – Apple’s new tracker has a lot of positive uses, but you might be concerned that you’re being tracked without your knowledge.


    • How to set your devices from letting an AirTag track you
    • Use a Bluetooth scanner to find AirTag
    • Notifications and alerts to know about
    • How to get an AirTag’s serial number and disable it
  6. Still a lot of follow-up on Apple’s AirTags. Updates and expected changes.

    • The Verge > “Apple is updating AirTags to make them less creepy” by Mitchell Clark (Jun 3, 2021) – An Android app for detecting unwanted trackers is also in the works

    (quote) Apple is distributing an AirTags software update that makes it harder for people to use them for surreptitious tracking, CNET reports. … Apple is also working on an app for Android users which will let them detect potentially unwanted trackers.

    Apple is now updating the AirTags to chime at some point between eight and 24 hours of separation, significantly reducing how long an AirTag can travel before telling on itself.

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