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Forget iOS 14.5 — Apple's already released iOS 14.6 beta

iOS 14.6
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple’s been hard at work on iOS 14.5, an update that delivers a wide array of new features to iPhones, with that update slated to drop next week in advance of the AirTag key finders launch. But that’s not the only iOS update Apple has up its sleeve.

This past week, Apple released iOS 14.6 to developers, then followed up a day later with a public beta of the iOS 14.6 that anyone can download — provided they’ve signed up for the iOS beta program with Apple.

It’s unclear exactly what new features iOS 14.6 brings to the table, but one change is immediate right away. If you’re already testing an iOS beta, you can continue to work with that release candidate or jump to the newer beta that’s available.

That’s a pretty big deal. It allows iPhone users testing out the beta to decide whether to install a new version instead of having an updates show up automatically. The move will likely encourage more people to try out Apple’s public betas, since they can stick with a version that works for them instead of downloading a new update that could bring show-stopping bugs.

iOS 14.6

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you’re already in the iOS beta program to test iOS 14.5, you can see the effects of this new approach. Launch the Settings App, tap General, and select Software Update. At the top of the screen, you’ll see your current iOS 14.5 beta status. Below that, at the bottom of the screen, a new line shows you where to access the iOS 14.6 beta.

To sign up for Apple’s beta program, go to beta software web page using the device on which you want to install any beta software. You can sign up using your Apple ID and follow the instructions to get the latest iOS beta.

iOS 14.5 adds support for AirTag among other features like letting you unlock your phone with your Apple Watch. You’ll also get new Siri voice options and changes to the Maps, Podcasts, News and Reminders apps.

As noteworthy as those additions are for a mid-release cycle update, the main event comes later this year when iOS 15 debuts. That’s the next major release for Apple’s iPhone software, and we’re expecting to see a preview at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.