New iOS and macOS versions add Apple Card Family, podcast subscriptions

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MacBook, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV
If you have multiple Apple devices, you’re in for a busy day. iOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, iPadOS 14.6, watchOS 7.5 and tvOS 14.6 are all ready to be installed.
Photo: Apple

Apple just released software updates with new features for iPhone, Mac, iPad and Apple TV. Most notably, macOS Big Sur 11.4 includes support for Apple Podcasts subscriptions, while iOS 14.6 adds support Apple Card Family. Plus, iPadOS 14.6, watchOS 7.5 and tvOS 14.6 debuted Monday.

All these features were pre-announced.

Even though Apple’s annual developer conference is just around the corner, and new OS versions are expected to be unveiled, the company is still adding new features to the current versions. And it’s not done year — Apple is already beats testing replacements for all of Monday’s updates.

What’s new for iPhone and Mac users

The highlight of macOS Big Sur 11.4 is support for Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, which previously were added to iOS. These allow creators to offer for-pay podcasts.

iOS and iPadOS users can access Apple Card Family. This allows couples to share a card, and give their teenagers limited access to the credit card.

The release notes don’t mention it, but when the lossless version of Apple Music was announced, Apple said it requires iOS 14.6, macOS 11.4, iPadOS 14.6 or tvOS 14.6.

Gotta catch ‘em all

Anyone running macOS Mojave or later can get the latest version of macOS Big Sur via Software Update: Go to the Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Software Update. Another option is to install the new version from the App Store.

Install an an over-the-air update to iOS 14.6 or iPadOS 14.6 by opening the Settings app and going to General > Software Update.  Alternatively, connect to a Mac, or to a PC running iTunes.

After updating your phone and tablet, you can install Monday’s update directly onto the Apple Watch, as long as the wearable is connected to Wi-Fi. From the Settings app, navigate to General > Software Update. Then tap Download and Install. Alternatively, this update can be installed from an iPhone by opening the Apple Watch app and going to My Watch > General > Software Update.

Release notes for iOS 14.6

The release notes from Apple on iOS 14.6 give the official description of what’s changed. They say:

Apple Card Family

  • ‌Apple Card‌ can be shared with up to five people, including anyone 13 years or older in your Family Sharing group
  • Apple Card‌ Family adds support for families to track expenses, manage spending with optional limits and controls, and build credit together

Podcasts

  • Subscription support for channels and individual shows

AirTag and Find My

  • Lost mode option to add an email address instead of a phone number for AirTag and Find My network accessories
  • AirTag will show the partially masked phone number of the owner when tapped with an NFC-capable device

Accessibility

  • Voice Control users can unlock their ‌iPhone‌ for the first time after a restart using only their voice
  • This release also fixes the following issues:
  • Unlock with Apple Watch may not work after using Lock ‌iPhone‌ on Apple Watch
  • Reminders may appear as blank lines
  • Call blocking extensions may not appear in Settings
  • Bluetooth devices could sometimes disconnect or send audio to a different device during an active call
  • ‌iPhone‌ may experience reduced performance during startup

Release notes for macOS Big Sur 11.4

Apple’s own release notes for the latest version of macOS 11.4 say:

Podcasts

  • Apple Podcasts subscriptions are available for purchase via monthly and annual subscriptions
  • Channels group together collections of shows from podcast creators

This release also fixes the following issues:

  • Bookmarks in Safari may get reordered or moved into a folder that can appear hidden
  • Certain websites may not display correctly after your Mac wakes from sleep
  • Keywords may not be included when exporting a photo from the Photos app
  • Preview may become unresponsive when searching PDF documents
  • 16-inch MacBook may become unresponsive when playing Civilization VI

Release notes for iPadOS 14.6

Tablet user who want to know what’s new can read the iPadOS 14.6 release notes:

Apple Card Family

  • Apple Card can be shared with up to five people, including anyone 13 years or older in your Family Sharing group
  • Apple Card Family adds support for families to track expenses, manage spending with optional limits and controls, and build credit together

Podcasts

  • Subscription support for channels and individual shows

AirTag and Find My

  • Lost mode option to add an email address instead of a phone number for AirTag and Find My network accessories

Accessibility

  • Voice Control users can unlock their iPad for the first time after a restart using only their voice

This release also fixes the following issues:

  • Reminders may appear as blank lines
  • Bluetooth devices could sometimes disconnect or send audio to a different device during an active call

Release note for watchOS 7.5

According to Apple, watchOS 7.5 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes:

  • Access to subscription content in the Podcasts app
  • Apple Card allows members to track expenses, manage spending, and build credit together with a Family Sharing group
  • Support for the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 or later in Malaysia and Peru
  • Support for irregular heart rhythm notifications in Malaysia and Peru