Apple Releases iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, macOS 11.3, watchOS 7.4, and tvOS 14.5

Originally published at: Apple Releases iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, macOS 11.3, watchOS 7.4, and tvOS 14.5 - TidBITS

Apple has once again released updates to all its core operating systems with a slew of shared features (Siri! Reminders!) and fixes (including worrying security vulnerabilities that are actively being exploited) and product-specific improvements (Apple Watch fallback authentication for mask-drive Face ID failures).


Here’s a BigSur 11.3 fix that I haven’t seen announced (probably to save Apple the embarrassment):

Previously, the OS did not recognize HomePods that had been paired to form a stereo system. The music app, TV app, and Podcasts app recognized the pair and let you direct sound to it, but the the OS speaker selection lists (in the Sound preference and the list under the speaker Menu item) showed each speaker individually.

In 11.3, the pair now shows up as one unit and your system audio output can be directed to it. However, Apple still provides the opportunity to select multiple speakers simultaneously only in the Music app.

Apple has let you create sets of multiple local speakers via the Audio Midi Setup app, but that has been limited to directly connected and Bluetooth connected speakers. For Airplay connected speakers the solution has been Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil. Hopefully, currently the Airfoil list of speakers still shows the individual Homepods in a stereo group. Hopefully, an update will be out soon to show the stereo group instead.

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A question I hope someone can answer…

I have been waiting for this 11.3 update.
Big Sur Questions: I am contemplating a move to Big Sur (Now running Mojave) since I have finally been able to move off some older non-64 bit apps. Now I know that the iTunes I am used to, the one I am running now, is completely different in Big Sur. I rip all my DVDs and I feed all of my Apple TVs through network sharing with iTunes. I have a hundred ripped movies and at least that many TV series. (Yes, I own all the DVDs) Will I still be able to do that in Big Sur? Can I still sync up my ipad/iphone? I know apps are gone. Thanks

Big Sur is supposed to support Homesharing to Apple TVs so you should be OK, although the user interface will be different. But I am sticking with Mojave so cannot verify this.
I don’t suppose that Mojave will recognise stereo Homepods (see Alan’s comment about Big Sur) for directly streaming (non iTunes) audio but I usually use an ATV for playing music and, since the ATV has the Homepods as default output, I think this prevents other devices (Macs & iOS) from streaming directly to the Homepods. They have to stream through the ATV. My point being that the ability to stream audio directly to stereo Homepods is not much use in my case.

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After Mojave, the Mac TV App replaces the video portion of iTunes (except for music videos). However, playback using it is almost identical. If Home Sharing is turned on (via the Media item in the Sharing System Preference), you won’t have any problem finding your videos in the Computer App on the Apple TV (same as before).

I’m running Apple TV 10.15 and BigSur 11.3. The videos that I have created (including some by downloading TiVo recordings and some by downloading YouTube videos) are all available on my Apple TV this way.

That’s been true throughout as long as my Apple TV and Mac are running the the same (or near the same) system release relative to the current release.

Alan (and Michael):

thank you for that reply. So it seems it is supposed to work the same, I assume the visual part of Apple TV app will look similar to what I see in iTunes under the movies or TV tab?
Since I have so much ripped (I got tired of the kids leaving DVDs all over the place) this is one of my greatest concerns.
FYI: I tried to download the full 11.3 installer last night (I have a VERY slow connection here in the woods of NH) and it died out…never fully loaded. Will try again tonight…


The update bricked my iPad Air. It’s locked in the initial boot, totally unresponsive, and won’t even power off. Already have a Genius Bar to reset it, after which I won’t try the update again.

Definitely will NOT be installing iOS 4.5 on either my iPhones or my iPads as it kills a critical app for which there isn’t an update nor a viable replcement.

The watchOS 7.4 release was the toughest update I’ve ever experienced.

First, there was not enough free space on my Series 3 watch. Starting the update from the watch, clearing out logs, and restarting did nothing. The only way to do it was to unpair (20 minutes) and repair (40 minutes) my Apple Watch.

Even after that, the download would pause because it thought I wasn’t on WiFi a few times and I was forced to restart it. Then the download couldn’t be verified. Finally, after hours of struggle, I started it one last time and went to bed to wake up to the not enough space error.

Fortunately, I could get the download running from the watch and if went smoothly even though the update took almost two full hours to download, verify, and install. Getting this update took over six hours of trying.

And this was the update I really wanted because it would allow my iPhone 12 Pro to unlock with FaceID using my phone when wearing a mask. I got my phone just two weeks before the mask mandate, loved how much better FaceID worked than TouchID, then spent the next few months with a mask on.

By the way, I’ve discovered that the Apple Watch unlock only works when unlocking the phone. Not even ApplePay and 1Password unlock with the Apple Watch unlocking. 1Password is a disappointment because I have to type in my long 1Password password and not the phone’s passcode.

What app is that?

But please, don’t tell us which one.

Apple said it would be phone unlock only. Unfortunately for 1Password you’ll need to enter the passphrase, but you can use Apple Pay on the Apple Watch without worrying about unlocking the phone. While I prefer Apple Pay on the iPhone, since I can see what’s going on, I’ve been using the Apple Watch now for the last 13 months or so and I’ve never had an issue with it.

I’m personally ok with phone unlock only. My use case with a mask on is generally when I want to look at my shopping list when I am at the store, and phone unlock with the mask on is fine for that. But I understand why people want app-unlock with the watch as well.

Has anyone determined how the new (Apple) Podcasts app is supposed to be used? New podcasts can apparently no longer be made to appear in chronological order. Looks like we’re expected to figure out some new workflow on our own.

The problem is with apps and websites that allow
me to use ApplePay. For example, I have to order coffee from my coffee shop using ChowNow. I can pay with ApplePay, but wear a mask, and FaceID doesn’t work. At least it’s not so bad. I can use my six digit iPhone passcode code. It’s 1Password that bothers me. If I can’t use FaceID, I can’t use the iPhone’s passcode. I have to type in the 36 character password for 1Password.

There are times I was inside a store, and went outside just to use 1Password to fill in a password I needed rather than attempt to type in the passphrase to open 1Password.


Lots of M1 users have been complaining about ongoing issues with external display. Any indication 11.3 does something about that? I see no mention of that in the release notes which I find a bit unsettling.

At the end of the release notes is the following

"This release also fixes the following issues:

  • External 4K monitors may not display in full resolution when connected over USB-C"

I don’t know if that is part of the M1-external monitor problem or not.

As I mentioned yesterday, there are fixes, such as recognizing stereo Homepod groups, that are not mentioned in the release notes.

Anybody find anything new in the “Accessibility” settings? There’s so many great things that could be done for the “differently abled” (i.e. tetraplegic) Mac user community- throw us a bone here Apple, please?

Just updated my iPhone 12 mini, Watch 6 and iPad Air 4 to the latest OS without a glitch. Unlock with Apple Watch when wearing a mask works really well. :slightly_smiling_face:


It is an app that I doubt anyone else here has. It is a longtime personal finance app written by a late friend of mine. Unfortunately the app was bought by an Italian guy in Europe and he proceeded to buy the rights to a different app and then release that app under the same name as my friend’s app. It is legal because he own the older app. However at the request of @schwartz, I won’t mention the app’s name. :wink:

But since others that were also still using the original app told me that 14.5 demands the app be updated, I won’t be installing 14.5. There is a glimmer of hope however as one person has told me he was able to trick 14.5 into accepting the app; problem is he uses Windows so I don’t think it will work for me using MacOS.

A few things I noticed:

  • In the Control Center, the icon for the remote is the new remote. In the Remote App, it’s still the same old remote. Apple usually better at this.
  • In Podcasts, you no longer subscribe. You Follow. I understand that subscription implies a financial cost. I know people who don’t subscribe to podcasts because they do worry they’re going to be charged. However, using follow raises problems when podcasts ask you to subscribe to them.