No way back from iOS 14.8 as Apple stops signing earlier firmware

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Apple stops signing iOS 14.7.1
You're stuck with iOS 14.8 or iOS 15.
Image: Cult of Mac

It’s no longer possible to downgrade to iOS or iPadOS 14.7.1 if you’ve already updated your iPhone or iPad to a newer version of Apple’s firmware.

Cupertino stopped signing the update, first rolled out in July, after releasing iOS and iPadOS 15 to everyone on Monday. The move prevents users from reverting to the earlier build, but it won’t affect devices still running iOS 14.7.1.

There’s plenty to enjoy in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 [Updated]

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There’s plenty to enjoy in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8
iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch just got a heap of new features.
Photo: Apple

If you’ve been eagerly waiting for iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 since June, then rejoice! Everyone can finally install them. iPad gets plenty of new features, while iPhone and Apple Watch get a handful of nice improvements.

Here are the cool enhancements you can look forward to, whether you jump on the updates Monday or decide to wait.

Apple delays Find My network support for AirPods until ‘later this fall’

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Locating AirPods with Find My
It's not the only iOS 15 feature we'll have to wait longer for.
Photo: Apple

It seems Find My network support for AirPods Pro and AirPods Max won’t roll out with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 as originally planned. Apple says the feature, which can make lost headphones easier to find, will be available “later this fall.”

Once the Find My network is enabled for the high-end headphones, another iPhone, iPad or Mac owner in the vicinity of the lost item can can passively update your gear’s general location. The Find My network functionality makes the feature far my powerful by tapping the millions of Apple devices in use around the world.

iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 take giant step toward release [Updated]

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iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and watchOS 8 take giant step toward release
The OS upgrades for almost every Apple device are nearly ready. But an important one is missing.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

The moment we’ve been waiting for since June is almost here. Apple seeded Release Candidates for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and tvOS 15 to developers on Tuesday. This means the beta testing process is almost over.

The final versions will reach users in under a week. Apple promised the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch updates will launch on Monday, September 20. And the Apple TV one could be out the same day.

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Personalized ads popup in iOS 15
This is what you'll see when you open the App Store.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Latest iOS 15 beta is stable enough to try, but hold off on macOS Monterey

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9 great features you might have overlooked in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey
Feeling brave? You can try the latest betas for iOS 15 or iPadOS 15. But stay away from testing macOS Monterey.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

It’s been a very weird summer for Apple’s beta program, with major changes happening months after the initial unveiling of the operating system upgrades. But iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 have finally reached the point where they’re stable enough for average users to try them out. The same goes for watchOS 8.

But that’s not true of macOS Monterey.

iCloud Private Relay won’t be part of initial iOS 15 release

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Private Relay makes paying $1 a month for iCloud a bargain
Private Relay protects your online privacy. It’s the best part of Apple’s new iCloud+.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A major new privacy feature of iOS 15 won‘t be ready when the update goes out to iPhones. iCloud Private Relay will mask users’ IP addresses so they can’t be tracked. But it needs additional time for beta testing.

It’s one of several high-profile new iPhone and Mac features that won‘t launch as soon as Apple first promised.

Apple plans to hold back SharePlay from initial OS 15 releases

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The FaceTime feature SharePlay won't be coming out with the initial OS 15 releases.
The FaceTime feature SharePlay won't be coming out with the initial OS 15 releases.
Photo: Apple

The anticipated SharePlay feature in FaceTime syncs up TV shows, movies, music and more across devices so people can experience them together. But the features in upcoming beta releases and the major official OS 15 updates this fall won’t include it, Apple told developers today.