Apple Updates Roundup: iOS 14.7, Watch OS 7.6, Big Sur 11.5 and more

Apple has just released their latest round of updates. This update is a little less ambitious than the previous one, more refinements and bug fixes than new features, but there are still some things to talk about with it.

As of the time of this posting, there are no updates for Mac OS (except for Safari), iPad, or HomePod. I’ll update this post if an when those are released. July 21, 2021: iPadOS 14.7, Big Sur 11.5, and corresponding security updates for Catalina and Mojave have been released. This is also one of the few times in recent memory where a major point update for iOS and Mac OS have been out of sync.

iOS: MagSafe Battery pack support, HomePod timer management, and Apple Card Family refinements

A picture of the iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery pack Image courtesy of Apple
iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery pack. Image courtesy of Apple

iOS only is getting a few new features. If you want that new MagSafe battery pack for your iPhone 12, then you’ll have full support for it in this version. People who already have an Apple Card will be able to combine you credit limits and co-own an account with Apple Card family. Lastly, you can now control your timers in the Home App on your iPhone, meaning you can use the app or your voice to manage the timers running on the HomePod, specifically helpful if you’ve got multiple timers running.

If you’re in Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, or Spain, you’ll now be able to see the Air Quality in your countries in the built-in Weather and Maps app.

The rest of the highlights are most bug fixes for things like fixing Atmos and Lossless playback in Apple Music, fixing a bug where the Share Playlist button would be gone, a battery service message that was missing on iPhone 11, and accessibility fixes for Braille displays in the Mail app.

Full patch notes can be found below:

iOS 14.7 includes the following improvements and bug fixes for your iPhone:

  • MagSafe Battery Pack support for iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Apple Card Family adds the option to combine credit limits and share one co-owned account with an existing Apple Card user
  • Home app adds the ability to manage timers on HomePod
  • Air quality information is now available in Weather and Maps for Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, South Korea, and Spain
  • Podcasts library allows you to choose to see all shows or only followed shows
  • Share playlist menu option missing in Apple Music
  • Dolby Atmos and Apple Music lossless audio playback may unexpectedly stop
  • Battery service message that may have disappeared after reboot on some iPhone 11 models is restored
  • Braille displays could show invalid information while composing Mail messages

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

iPadOS 14.7: See iOS 14.7

Feature and bug fix-wise, the iPad’s updates are exactly the same as the iOS update. The one notable difference is the iPad includes a fix for audio skipping when listening to music via the USB-C through a 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter. So if you’ve had that problem, this fix is for you.

Full patch notes can be found below:

  • Apple Card family adds the option to combine credit limits and share one co-owned account with an existing Apple Card user
  • Home app adds the ability to manage timers on HomePod
  • Podcasts library allows you to choose to see all shows or only followed shows
  • Share Playlist menu option missing in Apple Music
  • Dolby Atmos and Apple Music lossless audio playback may unexpectedly stop
  • Braille displays could show invalid information while composing Mail messages
  • Audio may skip when using USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapters with iPad

Apple Watch 7.6: 30 countries get Heart Features

The Apple Watch didn’t really get anything new, unless you live in one of 30 countries that now will be getting the ECG and irregular heart rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch Series 4 and newer. The full list of 30 countries is in the picture below. This means these 2 heart functions are now available in 100 countries from countries as big as Russia and the U.S. to smaller nations like St. Kitts & Nevis and the Vatican City.

A list of all the countries that now have the ECG and irregular heart rhythm notifications.  The full list reads as follows:

    Andorra
    Anguilla
    Antigua & Barbuda
    Aruba
    Australia
    Austria
    Bahamas
    Bahrain
    Barbados
    Belgium
    Bermuda
    Brazil
    British Virgin Islands
    Brunei
    Bulgaria
    Canada
    Cayman Islands
    Chile
    Colombia
    Cook Islands
    Croatia
    Cyprus
    Czechia
    Denmark
    Dominica

    Estonia
    Fiji
    Finland
    France
    French Guiana
    French Southern Territories
    Germany
    Gibraltar
    Greece
    Guadeloupe
    Guam
    Guernsey
    Guyana
    Haiti
    Hong Kong
    Hungary
    Iceland
    India
    Ireland
    Isle of Man
    Israel
    Italy
    Japan
    Jersey
    Kuwait

    Liechtenstein
    Luxembourg
    Macao
    Malaysia
    Malta
    Martinique
    Mayotte
    Monaco
    Montserrat
    Nauru
    Netherlands
    New Zealand
    Norfolk Islands
    Norway
    Oman
    Peru
    Philippines
    Poland
    Portugal
    Puerto Rico
    Qatar
    Reunion
    Romania
    Russia
    Saudi Arabia

    Seychelles
    Singapore
    Slovakia
    Slovenia
    South Africa
    South Korea
    Spain
    St. Barthélemy
    St. Helena
    St. Kitts & Nevis
    St. Martin
    St. Vincent & Grenadines
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    Taiwan
    Thailand
    Trinidad & Tobago
    Turkey
    Ukraine
    United Arab Emirates
    United Kingdom
    United States
    US Virgin Islands
    Vatican City
    Vietnam

Full Patch notes are below:

watchOS 7.6 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including:

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

MacOS 11.5: Light on New Features, Heavy on Security Fixes

Big Sur 11.5, like it’s sibling iPad, is light on new features; it only includes the new Podcasts app feature, which will let you see all shows or only shows you follow in the Library tab. However there are also fixes for smart card users on M1 Macs and a fix to music not updating your music playback stats in the Music app.

Full patch notes can be found below:

macOS Big Sur 11.5 includes the following improvements for your Mac:

  • Podcasts Library tab allows you to choose to see all shows or only followed shows
    This release also fixes the following issues:
  • Music may not update play count and last played date in your library
  • Smart cards may not work when logging into Mac computers with the M1 chip

For more detailed information about this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT211896
For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

Apple TV: Quietly Becoming More Stable

Apple continues the tradition of not releasing patch notes for the Apple TV if there aren’t any new features, just the continued round of bug fixes and security updates. This will likely be one of the last updates for tvOS 14 until version 15 is released, assuming nothing major happens.

Other Notes:

Update July 21, 2021: Big Sur released, and along with it the companion security patches for Catalina and Mojave. Big Sur had the most with 35 security patches noted by them. Mojave and Catalina had fewer, coming closer to 20 than 30. iOS and iPadOS also had 30 security fixes. Interestingly, patches for CVE-2021-, 30737, -30761, and -30767, ones that were fixed in iOS 12.5.4, were not explicitly called out as being fixed. The most likely scenario would be these other patches address the issues, or perhaps some other mitigations were found. I’ll need to look through them further. There doesn’t seem to be any direct confirmation that the zero-click vulnerability in iMessage has been patched, but that’s likely because it’s so new. We may expect to see a 14.7.1 in the near future, but we’ll have to see. Further digging may be necessary.

As previously mentioned, the Mac has yet to receive any security patches, with one exception. There is an update to Safari to version 14.1.2 if you’re running Catalina or Mojave. Currently this looks to be just a security and bug fix. Whenever Big Sur 11.5 is released, I’m sure we can expect to see these Safari updates as well. There appears to be nothing for HomePod or iPadOS specifically either.

It’s also worth noting that there are no updates for iOS 13 or 12 in this batch of updates. As far as security goes, Apple has not posted the security notes for any of its platforms either. These typically lag a few hours or a day at most behind the release of the actual updates. At the moment it means we have no confirmation if the fixes in iOS 12.5.4 have been ported to iOS 14 or not. We also don’t know if these patches fixed the recently disclosed spyware that governments have been using to spy on journalist, activists, and other government and world leaders, including the zero-click iMessage vulnerability.

As a result, this article is developing and will be updated once we have more news about these security updates, the updates to Mac OS, or any other platforms.

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