iOS 14.5 should be right around the corner, judging by the four developer betas we’re at right now. At this point, I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who wanted to give the updated operating system a try on their primary phone (so long as you’re going for the likely-more-stable public beta.) But there’s one little change to iOS 14.5 to call out for those on the beta or those eagerly awaiting the new version of iOS, which is the new, slightly modified software update experience.
Apple hasn’t moved the software update option to a new place; you’re still going to visit Settings > General > Software Update for all the latest feature updates and security fixes. However, Apple is now splitting these into two options.
You’ll find this new, granular approach to device updates by tapping on the regular “Automatic Updates” link, which will take you to this screen:
Most people should leave these features enabled just as they are, because it’s good to have a device that’s automatically updating itself with the latest major feature updates and more-frequent security updates. However, Apple’s new treatment seems to imply that it might even start offering security updates for devices that can’t get the latest major iOS releases — pure speculation, but we’d love to be able to get security updates as soon as they’re ready versus Apple tying them to an iOS release that might not be accessible on older devices.
The one quirk of the feature so far is that the “Install Security Updates” option is tied to “Download New Updates,” so you can’t currently tell your iPhone that you only want it to download security updates automatically (and that you’d rather manage feature-oriented updates yourself). I presume that’s Apple’s intention, though, because it would be strange for the company to offer you the option to automatically download regular iOS updates but selectively download security updates at your leisure. The latter is a greater priority than the former.
I just saw this option hit my device, though, so odds are good that Apple is still working out the quirks. Keep your eye out for this feature and any supplemental updates your device might want you to install. If you’re not ready to jump to another version of iOS, at least you’ll be able to plug any vulnerabilities on your device while you wait.