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iOS 15.4 update is now available – these are the key features to check out

iPhone 13 Pro Max - iOS 15.4 is now available and there are two big updates to look out for
(Image credit: Apple)

iOS 15.4 has officially landed. The latest version of Apple's iOS 15 operating system brings a host of new features including a surprising new emoji. So what are the new iOS 15.4 features to check out?

Firstly, not before time, you can now use Face ID while wearing a mask. The update, which is compatible with iPhone 12 or newer, works by recognising "the unique features around the eye area to authenticate" the user's identity. Eye ID? Almost.

To get started, head to 'Face ID & Passcode' and activate the 'Face ID with a mask on' toggle. Scan your face (without a mask) and you can say goodbye to messing about with passcodes when masked up. At least, that's the theory.

One of the other biggest changes in our books is that the new iOS 15.4 update also includes a new, more gender-neutral Siri voice. Apple hopes that 'Quinn' – who was voiced by a member of the LGBTQ+ community – will "better reflect the diversity of the world we live in", which has to be a good thing.

To hear the new voice on your iPhone, head to 'Siri & Search' in Settings, then 'Siri Voice', followed by 'American' and 'Voice 5'. 

Not upgraded to iOS 15.4 yet? You can hear Quinn in the video below...

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Other new iOS 15.4 features include Tap to Pay, which allows iPhones to accept contactless payments, which could be a big help for small businesses. There's also the ability to initiate SharePlay directly from supported apps and to share albums and songs within Apple Music. And on the subject of sharing, the 'Scan Text' command lets users capture text in a book/note/photo and forward it on.

The launch of iOS 15.4 also comes with an anti-stalking feature for Apple's AirTag tracker. It identifies when an unknown AirTag is following you around, and then warns the owner of said AirTag that using a tracker to spy on someone without their consent is not cool (and possibly a crime). 

And of course it wouldn't be an iOS 15 update without a few new emojis. This time, Apple has unveiled 37 new emojis including a pregnant man, a disco ball and a lung x-ray. Sounds like quite the big night out.

It's another busy week at Cupertino, as there's also a new Apple TV update that makes it easier to watch when you're away from home. But it wasn't all good news; the latest lockdown in China could spell trouble for the iPhone 14 launch.

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Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.