Apple’s iOS 14.4 Release Candidate Out for iPhone, Includes Camera, Bluetooth & Privacy Updates

Apple has finally seeded the release candidate for iOS 14.4 to iPhone developers and public beta users, build 18D52. The update adds scanning support for smaller QR codes in Camera, the ability to classify Bluetooth devices to improve audio notifications, and alerts on the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, or 12 Pro Max for if the camera is detected not to be genuine. There’s also a short list of bug fixes.

Apple released the RC update at 10 a.m. PDT, the standard release time we’ve come to expect for iOS beta updates. While Apple often releases these updates first for developers, the company has opted to include the developer and public versions of iOS 14.4 RC simultaneously, as opposed to last week’s developer and public release of 14.4 beta 2 that were hours apart.

In comparison to iOS 14.3, iOS 14.4 has an updated modem firmware version for the iPhone 12 line. It gets a bump up to 1.42.03 from 1.31.03-05, which should fix any 5G connectivity issues.

Apple also has activated the “Allow Apps to Request to Track” feature. Before, the switch did nothing, but now it does. With requests to track allowed, whenever an app wants “to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites,” you’ll get a prompt to allow or deny it. See our full breakdown of the feature for more info.

iOS 14.4 includes the following improvements for your iPhone:

  • Smaller QR codes can be recognized by Camera
  • Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications
  • Notifications for when the camera on your iPhone is unable to be verified as a new, genuine Apple camera in iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

This release also fixes the following issues:

  • Image artifacts could appear in HDR photos taken with iPhone 12 Pro
  • Fitness widget may not display updated Activity data
  • Typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear in the keyboard
  • The keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages
  • Audio stories from the News app in CarPlay may not resume after being paused for spoken directions or Siri
  • Enabling Switch Control in Accessibility may prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

Since iOS 14.4 is still a release candidate and not a stable update, don’t expect the last part of those notes to apply just yet. Security content updates usually only appear for stable releases, not release candidates, previously called golden master updates.

As for the developer notes, they’re the same as they were since beta 1:

iOS & iPadOS 14.4 Release Notes

Update your apps to use new features, and test your apps against API changes.

Overview

The iOS & iPadOS 14.4 SDK provides support to develop apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices running iOS & iPadOS 14.4. The SDK comes bundled with Xcode 12.3, available from the Mac App Store. For information on the compatibility requirements for Xcode 12.3, see Xcode 12.3 Release Notes.

App Clips – Resolved Issues

  • In addition to using Code Scanner, you can now launch a local experience via Camera, NFC, Safari Smart App Banner, or iMessage. (68962905)

Installing the iOS 14.4 Release Candidate Beta

If you already have the iOS 14 profile on your iPhone, whether it’s the developer or public beta version, go to Settings –> General –> Software Update to get the RC of iOS 14.4. You can also wait until it installs automatically if “Automatic Updates” is enabled.

Don’t want to join either beta program? You can use the appropriate restore image below for your device to install iOS 14.4 using your computer. Check out our guide on using restore images for macOS Catalina and later or Mojave.

If you want to become a public beta tester, sign up through Apple’s beta site, download and install the configuration profile, then update over the air via Software Updates as described above.

If you’re new to the developer beta, you need an Apple developer account to update your iPhone to iOS 14.4 developer RC. You can get the restore image from your dev portal (or above), then install it with iTunes or Finder. Otherwise, install the configuration profile, then update by going to Settings –> General –> Software Update.

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Cover image by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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