Despite iOS 14 coming out less than a month ago, Apple has already released a beta version of iOS 14.2. This incremental update promises to add Shazam to Control Center, revamp the Now Playing widget, and introduce a series of other promising improvements as well.
We’ll list 10 new features you can expect from iOS 14.2 below. If you can’t wait for Apple to release this update, sign up to the Apple Beta Software Program and install iOS 14.2 today.
- 1 When Will iOS 14.2 Release to the Public?
- 2 1. Upgraded Shazam Music Recognition
- 3 2. Redesigned Now Playing Interface
- 4 3. Improved AirPlay Controls
- 5 4. People Detection Added to the Magnifier
- 6 5. Apple Card Yearly Spending
- 7 6. Lots of New Emoji
- 8 7. Updated Apple Watch Icon
- 9 8. Option to Share Hand Washing Data
- 10 9. Reduce Loud Sounds Becomes Headphone Safety
- 11 10. Hints at Missing EarPods With the iPhone 12
- 12 Learn About All the New Features in iOS 14
- What’s New in iOS 14.0.1?
- How to Install iPadOS and iOS 14 Beta
- iOS 14: What’s New With Apple’s Upcoming Mobile OS?
When Will iOS 14.2 Release to the Public?
Apple is currently working on its second beta test for iOS 14.2. Although you can upgrade to iOS 14.2 today using the Apple Beta Software Program, we still don’t know when Apple expects to release this update to the general public.
If you do choose to install the iOS 14.2 beta, be warned that beta software usually suffers from a range of different bugs. These could affect everything from performance to battery life. If you can’t risk making your iPhone unstable, you should wait for the public release instead.
At the time of writing, the latest public software update was for iOS 14.0.1. So there might still be a long wait before we see a release of iOS 14.2.
Rumors suggest Apple will release iOS 14.1 alongside an iPhone 12 announcement sometime in October 2020. If that’s true, we expect Apple to release iOS 14.2 in November, shortly after the iPhone 12 hits stores.
Still, we already have a good idea of all the new features in iOS 14.2 from the beta program. We’ll list each of them below.
Note: Although these features appear in the beta, we can’t guarantee that they will appear in the public release of iOS 14.2.
1. Upgraded Shazam Music Recognition
Apple already paired with Shazam to add music recognition to Siri on the iPhone. Ask Siri, “What song is this?” and the personal assistant uses the microphone on your iPhone to find the music that’s playing around you.
But this music recognition feature sees two major changes with the update to iOS 14.2.
Music Recognition Comes to the Control Center
First, you can add a music recognition button to your Control Center. This means you don’t need to activate Siri to find out what song is playing around you.
It’s much better for finding out what song is playing in a crowded room where you don’t want to start talking to your iPhone.
When you tap the music recognition button in Control Center, your iPhone uses the microphone to analyze the music playing around you. Then a notification appears at the top of your screen telling you the artist and song name. Tap the notification to open that song in Apple Music.
To add music recognition to the Control Center:
- Open Settings and go to Control Center.
- Scroll down and tap the Add icon next to Music Recognition.
- Use the handles at the right of the screen to rearrange your Control Center controls.
Music Recognition Now Works With Internal Audio
Previously, you could only use music recognition on your iPhone to find music playing in the real world around you. But with iOS 14.2, you can now use it to find music playing on your iPhone itself, even if you’re wearing headphones.
That means you can use music recognition with YouTube, the TV app, and even other websites or videos playing through Safari.
Tap the music recognition button in Control Center and your iPhone analyzes the music playing from whichever app you’re using. If your iPhone isn’t playing any music, it will listen to the music around you instead.
2. Redesigned Now Playing Interface
Apple has redesigned the Now Playing interface that appears in the Lock Screen and Control Center on iOS 14.2.
The new Now Playing design focuses on larger album artwork, with rounded corners. In the bottom-right corner of the artwork, an icon shows which app the audio is coming from: Music, Podcasts, YouTube, etc.
The best new feature is that if you aren’t playing anything, you can tap and hold the Now Playing widget in the Control Center to view content suggestions.
This shows a selection of albums and playlists you recently listened to. Tap suggested artwork to start listening to that music without even opening the Music app.
3. Improved AirPlay Controls
Beneath the redesigned Now Playing interface in iOS 14.2, Apple also redesigned the AirPlay interface.
This appears as a circle that animates with soundbars when you’re playing music on another AirPlay device.
Tap the circle to view all your AirPlay devices, each with artwork to show what is playing on that device. You can choose to play or pause music from any device on this screen, and you can do so without obscuring the Now Playing controls for your iPhone audio.
4. People Detection Added to the Magnifier
The Magnifier app is an iPhone Accessibility tool you can use to magnify items in the real world, making them easier to see if you’re visually impaired.
With this new iOS 14.2 feature, you can also use the Magnifier to measure how far away people are from you. This is perfect for making sure you remain at a safe social distance from people to meet COVID-19 guidelines.
To enable and use this feature:
- Open Settings and go to Accessibility > Magnifier.
- Turn Magnifier on, which makes the app appear in your Utilities folder or in the App Library.
- Open Magnifier and tap the Settings icon, then enable People Detection.
- Point the camera at a person to learn how far away they are.
5. Apple Card Yearly Spending
Apple Card users can now view their yearly spending on iOS 14.2. This option appears alongside the Weekly and Monthly options already present in iOS 14 and earlier.
By viewing your yearly spend, it’s easier to track your financial habits from month to month and keep yourself on track over the long term.
To view your Apple Card spending habits:
- Open the Wallet app and select your Apple Card.
- Tap Activity, then choose Year from the top of the screen.
6. Lots of New Emoji
The release of iOS 14.2 will also introduce new emoji to the iPhone. These additions cover everything in Emoji Version 13.0, which includes:
- Smiling face with a tear
- Baby-feeding men and women
- Polar bear
- Mx Claus (a gender-neutral version of Santa Claus)
- Transgender flag
- And many more
7. Updated Apple Watch Icon
Apple Watch users will notice a subtle change to the Apple Watch app icon on their iPhone. With the release of iOS 14.2, Apple updated this icon to reflect the new Solo Loop band that released with the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE earlier in 2020.
Apple Watch users can also choose to share their handwashing data to Apple, helping to improve the feature.
Apple added Hand Washing one of many new watchOS 7 features. It uses the motion of your hands and the sound of a running tap to recognize when you’re washing your hands, then starts a timer to encourage you to wash your hands for a full 20 seconds.
By choosing to anonymously share your handwashing data, you can help Apple to improve this feature. To do so, go to Settings > Privacy > Analytics & Improvements on your iPhone.
9. Reduce Loud Sounds Becomes Headphone Safety
Apple also introduced a minor change in wording in the Settings for iOS 14.2. Under Sounds in the Settings app, you can now choose to enable Headphone Safety, which used to be known as Reduce Loud Sounds.
This feature analyzes headphone audio to reduce sounds over a certain decibel level, protecting you from hearing loss.
10. Hints at Missing EarPods With the iPhone 12
While not a new iOS 14.2 feature, the last point we want to highlight is another change in wording that suggests Apple might not include free EarPods with the release of the iPhone 12.
Previously, every iPhone release came with a set of wired headphones included in the box.
However, rumors from as early as May 2020 have suggested Apple might not include those headphones with the iPhone 12 release. A change in the wording of iOS 14.2, expected to release shortly after the iPhone 12, suggests that might actually be the case.
When advising users on how to reduce exposure to radiofrequency (RF) energy, Apple previously suggested using the “supplied headphones.”
But the new change in wording now only refers to “headphones,” with no mention of Apple supplying anything.
Here’s the full quote, with the missing word in square brackets:
To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, [supplied] headphones, or other similar accessories.
While it’s possible Apple made this change because other headphones are equally as effective as those supplied with an iPhone, it seems more likely Apple is preparing to remove wired headphones from the iPhone 12.
This would coincide with Apple’s decision to sell the Apple Watch 6 without a power adapter. Apple states that most users already own a power adapter and by removing it they can save massive quantities of electronic waste and packaging.
The same is also likely to be true for wired headphones.
Learn About All the New Features in iOS 14
Although iOS 14.2 promises to introduce a small selection of new features to your iPhone, the major update to iOS 14 introduced a lot more to get excited about.
If you haven’t already, take a look at all the new iOS 14 features to find out the best improvements to the iPhone in 2020. These upgrades include Home screen widgets, Maps improvements, and a built-in Translate app. But there’s much more to get excited about than that.
Dan is a freelance writer based in South West England.
He spent two years supervising repairs as a Genius Admin for Apple Retail and uses that knowledge to keep our troubleshooting guides up to date.
Long before that, Dan turned to Apple products from a musical background. Having owned iPods for years, he bought a MacBook to learn sound recording and production. It was using those skills that he gained a first-class Bachelor of Science in Sound Technology.