iOS 15.4: All the best features, including beta 2

iOS 15.4 Features: Apple is preparing to launch iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 in the coming weeks with plenty of new features and fixes on the way. Here are the iOS 15.4 features we’re most excited about.

iOS 15.4 (and iPadOS 15.4) could be the last major updates before iOS 16 is introduced at WWDC 2022 in June. After a couple of modest updates, Apple is preparing some significant features for this release, currently being tested in developer beta and public beta.

We can expect the launch of iOS 15.4 in the next few weeks, with a possible launch window after Apple’s rumoured March event, where the iPhone SE 5G and iPad Air 5 are tipped to arrived. Here are the features we’re most excited to see.

Face ID With a Mask

With so many of us masked up to protect ourselves and fellow citizens against Covid-19, using Face ID has become less convenient. Apple Watch users have a workaround, while the rest of us have got used to passcode prompts or pulling our masks down to register an accurate scan. Not ideal when using Apple Pay inside a supermarket, for instance.

The solution comes in iOS 15.4 via Face ID With a Mask (pictured above). This modified version of Face ID is opt-in and focuses on the area around the eyes to authenticate the user’s identity. It works with glasses and sunglasses too and is currently available to iOS 15.4 beta users.

Beta 2 adds an instruction to “Look down to unlock” if users aren’t focusing their eyes correctly.

Tap to Pay on iPhone

iOS 15.4 beta 2 turns your iPhone into a mobile payment terminal, enabling users to make and accept contactless credit card and debit card payments as they would at a regular payment terminal. iOS 15.4 adds the Tap to Pay API, enabling third-party developers to build this capability into their own apps. It could be a great way for vendors to accept payments without additional hardware, and enable people to quickly transfer money for dinner bills and such.

Universal Control for iPad and Mac

The biggest new feature in iPadOS 15.4 is the overdue arrival of Universal Control. The feature, which is designed to enable iPad and Mac owners to control both devices with a single keyboard and mouse/trackpad is great when using multiple displays as a productivity aid.

Once enabled, the cursor and keyboard can move between any nearby iPad or Mac signed into the same iCloud account, and the cursor can push through the edge of the display to connect with the second device.

36 brand new emoji

iOS updates often include the latest characters from the Unicode standard and this release is no different. Apple’s interpretations of the new characters is always something to look forward to and there are a host of new smilies including melting face, salute, holding back tears, peeking through fingers, diagonal mouth, dotted line face and a new version of hand over mouth.

Various other new emoji, including bitten lip, nest, empty nest, coral, a troll, disco ball, chest X-Ray, ID card, crutch, pouring liquid, floating bubbles, car wheel, a playground slide, a rubber ring, an equals sign, a low battery icon.

Image credit: Emojipedia

iOS 15.4 will include the ability to add a home screen widget for the Apple Card, showing the current card balance and available balance.

Deeper SharePlay integration

iOS 15.4 beta 2 adds a SharePlay button to the standard Share Sheet in some new circumstances. When the update launches, if you attempt to share a song from Apple Music, for example, you will see the SharePlay button and a prompt to begin a FaceTime call with the song at its heart.

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