iOS 14.4 brings improvements to QR codes and Bluetooth audio

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iOS 14.4 debuted to the general public on Tuesday.
iOS 14.4 isn’t a substantial update, but it does include new features.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple released iOS 14.4 to the general public on Tuesday, along with the iPad equivalent. According to their developer, these allow users to scan smaller QR codes, and to classify their various Bluetooth devices so audio notifications can be routed correctly.

It also closes a security hole that hackers might have actually used to break into iPhones.

Ch-Ch-Changes

iOS 14.4 allows users to manually specify what type of audio device each of their Bluetooth accessories are. The choices are: headphones, speakers, hearing aids and car stereos. Other types of peripherals, like keyboards, aren’t included.

One of the changes in the new version has the potential to be controversial. It causes iPhones to warn their users if a built-in camera was replaced with one that’s not a genuine Apple part. All that happens is a warning, and this can be useful for people who paid for a genuine replacement and didn’t get one. But it has raised red flags for people concerned that a future iOS version might take the next step and refuse to run if the camera isn’t an Apple part.

And it’s not just about new features. Updates also fix bugs. That includes one in iOS 14 that might have opened a security hole that hackers made use of. A note about the security changes says a problem in the kernel could be used in a malicious attack, and, “Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”

iOS 14.4 changelog

Apple’s official description of everything new in this version says:

iOS 14.4 includes the following improvements for your iPhone:

Smaller QR codes can be recognized by Camera

Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications

Notifications for when the camera on your iPhone is unable to be verified as a new, genuine Apple camera in iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max

This release also fixes the following issues:

Image artifacts could appear in HDR photos taken with iPhone 12 Pro

Fitness widget may not display updated Activity data

Typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear in the keyboard

The keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages

Audio stories from the News app in CarPlay may not resume after being paused for spoken directions or Siri

Enabling Switch Control in Accessibility may prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen

Get them now

Install iOS 14.4 or iPadOS 14.4 by connecting to a Mac, or to a PC running iTunes. Alternatively, an over-the-air update is also possible. That’s accomplished by opening the Settings app and going to General > Software Update.