Apple's upcoming iOS 14.5 update offers a number of high-profile changes that have emerged during the months-long beta process. And while features like the ability to unlock your phone with your Apple Watch and new voices for Siri are getting most of the attention, some of the familiar built-in apps are getting some enhancements as well.
Maps is probably getting the most significant overhaul, gaining the ability to report traffic accidents, speed traps and other incidents. But less heralded changes are coming to apps like Podcasts, Reminders and News — and they're already present in the current iOS 14.5 beta.
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Here's a closer look at the enhancements Apple is making to some of iOS 14's built-in apps.
Podcasts in iOS 14.5
The built-in Podcast app sees the biggest changes with iOS 14.5, as Apple has introduced redesigned show pages for podcasts. From the show page — think of it as a home screen for each of your podcasts — you can control playback. An episode list is available as you scroll down, and you're able to swipe left to automatically save individual episodes to your library.
The Up Next screen gets a refresh as well, with more menu commands to manage and share downloads as well as jump ahead to other episodes.
Speaking personally, iOS's Podcasts app isn't one of my favorite built-in tools; instead I turn to a third-part podcast app to manage the shows I subscribe to. But the changes coming in the full version of iOS 14.5 should make Apple's Podcasts more competitive with some of the best podcast apps out there.
Reminders in iOS 14.5
Reminders saw some of its bigger changes when iOS 14 debuted last fall. That was when the task manager gained the ability to share a list of to-dos with other people — a real bonus when you're splitting up chores within a household.
Changes to Reminders in iOS 14.5 are more of the housekeeping variety, but they should make managing your tasks easier in the app. Tap on the More button in the iOS 14.5 version of reminders — it's the circle with three horizontal dots in the middle — and you get a new Sort By option that lets you re-arrange reminders by everything from due date to priority to title. Previously, if you wanted to re-order tasks, you had to manually drag them.
If you prefer paper lists to on-screen to-dos, the updated version of Reminders also gives you the ability to print your lists of tasks. Again, that's a new option added to the More Menu.
News in iOS 14.5
Searching will be much better in the News app once Apple releases iOS 14.5 to a wider audience. For starters, there's now a dedicated Search tab in the app. In iOS 14.4 and earlier, to search, you had to first tap the Following tab — not exactly an intuitive place to look.
The search results are cleaned up, too, with News now displaying stories, topics and channels. Gone is the top result that appears in the current version of News searches.
If you subscribe to News Plus — Apple's $9.99-per-month subscription news service — you'll also spot changes to the look of that tab in the News app. The tabs at the top of page are renamed and reorganized with an eye toward making browsing and discovery an easier process.
iOS 14.5 outlook
We're currently on beta 8 of iOS 14.5, with only a vauge promise of a spring launch for the full release. That could come as soon as this week, when Apple hosts a special press event to introduce new products. Updated iPad Pros and the long-anticipated AirTags key finders should be the focus of the Apple Spring Loaded event on April 20, but the company could use this opportunity to finally give us a firm date on iOS 14.5's release.
Otherwise, the next regularly scheduled Apple event won't take place until June, when Apple hosts its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. That event starts June 7, and it's expected to include a preview of iOS 15, so we'd expect iOS 14.5 to have arrived before then.