7 Things to Know About the iPhone SE iOS 14.4 Update
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7 Things to Know About the iPhone SE iOS 14.4 Update

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Apple’s pushed its iOS 14.4 update to the iPhone SE and the firmware has the potential to help, or hurt, your device’s performance.

iOS 14 is now available for iPhone SE models around the world. Apple’s decision to push iOS 14 to the iPhone SE means owners can delay an upgrade to a new device and hold onto the device for another year or more.

The iPhone SE’s iOS 14 update is a big one. It’s packed to the brim with new features including upgrades to Messages, Widgets on the home screen, an upgraded Maps app, and a whole lot more.

Apple continues to refine the operating system. In late September, Apple released iOS 14.0.1. In October, the company pushed iOS 14.1. After that, Apple released iOS 14.2 and iOS 14.3.

In January, iOS 14.4 replaced iOS 14.3 as the most up-to-date version of iOS 14. iOS 14.4 is another milestone release and it brings new features and important bug fixes to the iPhone SE.

Many iPhone SE users, us included, have moved to Apple’s new iOS 14 firmware. While a lot of the feedback has been good, we’re also hearing about various issues ranging from minor bugs to serious performance problems.

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If you decide to go ahead with the installation, note that iOS 14.4 requires a fairly large download if your device is already running iOS 14.3.

If you’re running an older version of iOS on your iPhone SE, the download will be larger. That’s because the features and fixes from iOS updates you skipped are baked into the upgrade.

With all of that in mind, we want to take you through the most important things to know, right now, about the iPhone SE iOS 14.4 update.

This walkthrough will guide you through some of the problems plaguing the software, the iOS 14 downgrade status, the iOS 14 jailbreak, and the iOS 14.4 update’s performance. We’ll also tell you about Apple’s plans for the future.

iPhone SE iOS 14.4 Impressions & Performance

We’ve been using iOS 14.4 on the iPhone SE for several days and the software is running well.

iOS 14.4 feels about as fast as iOS 14.3. While it’s snappy most of the time, there have been points when the operating system feels a bit clunky.

We’ve noticed occasional lag when using the keyboard. That being said, we haven’t seen any lag when using Control Center or Notification Center, both of which have given us problems in the past. Apps, both first and third-party, open up quickly.

Battery life is stable right now. We haven’t encountered any abnormal battery drain. We haven’t run into problems with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or GPS either.

As for our core apps, which include Slack, Asana, Spotify, Chrome, and Gmail, they’re all working fine. If you’re running into issues with one or more of your applications, you’ll want to download the latest version. Developers are still rolling out iOS 14 support updates and they should help.

Besides the occasional lag, we haven’t run into any game-breaking issues. If you’re feeling leery about the move to iOS 14.4, have a look at our reasons to, and not to, install the software right now.

You Should Prepare for iOS 14.4

If you’re gearing up to install iOS 14.4 on your device, make sure you prepare yourself, and your phone, for the move. This will help you avoid serious issues.

If you don’t know how to properly prepare for iOS updates, or you just need a refresher course, we’ve released a pre-installation guide that will take you step-by-step through the process we use before we install new iOS software.

If you don’t have a time of time to devote to the pre-installation process, be sure to backup all of the data you store on your iPhone.

Data issues are pretty rare, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when moving from one operating system to another.

iPhone SE iOS 14.4 Problems & Fixes

We’ve heard about a variety of iOS 14-related problems including abnormal battery drain, Touch ID problems, issues with first and third-party apps, touchscreen problems, Exchange issues, and more.

We expect the list to grow as more iPhone SE users around the world decide to transition from their current version of iOS to iOS 14.4.

If you’re nervous about potentially wrecking your iPhone SE’s performance, you might want to hang back and wait for Apple’s next batch of bug fixes.

If you happen to run into an issue while running iOS 14.4, you might be able to fix the problem(s) on your own. If you don’t know where to start, our list of fixes for the most common iOS 14 problems is a good place to do so.

If your iPhone SE’s battery is draining faster than normal, we’ve got a list of tips that should help you improve the device’s battery life going forward.

If you’re dealing with bad performance (lag, slow download speeds, etc), take a look at our guide to fixing bad iOS 14 performance.

iOS 14.3 Downgrade Closed

If you run into frustrating problems on iOS 14.4, note that you can’t downgrade to the previous version of iOS 14.

Apple has stopped signing on iOS 14.3 which means you can no longer drop your iPhone SE’s software back in an attempt to improve performance.

You can’t downgrade back to iOS 14.2, iOS 14.1, iOS 14.0.1, iOS 14.0 or iOS 13 either. This means you should approach iOS 14.4 with caution. Once you jump up, there’s no going back.

If you’re unfamiliar with the downgrade process, take a look at our guide.

iPhone SE iOS 14.4 Update: What’s New

iOS 14.4 is a milestone upgrade which means it has a mix of features, fixes, and patches on board. Here’s the full change log for the iPhone SE:

New Features

  • Smaller QR codes can be recognized by Camera.
  • Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixes an issue where the Fitness widget may not display updated Activity data.
  • Fixes an issue where typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear in the keyboard.
  • Fixes an issue where the keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages.
  • Fixes an issue where Audio stories from the News app in CarPlay may not resume after being paused for spoken directions or Siri.
  • Fixes an issue where enabling Switch Control in Accessibility may prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen.

iOS 14.4 also carries very important security updates and you can read about those right here.

If you skipped iOS 14.3, you’ll get its changes with iOS 14.4. iOS 14.3 also had a mix of new features and enhancements. Here’s Apple’s official change log:

New Features

Apple Fitness+

  • A new fitness experience powered by Apple Watch with studio-style workouts available on your ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, and Apple TV (Apple Watch Series 3 and later)
  • New Fitness app on ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, and ‌Apple TV‌ to browse Fitness+ workouts, trainers, and personalized recommendations
  • Video workouts added each week in ten popular workout types: High Intensity Interval Training, Indoor Cycling, Yoga, Core, Strength, Dance, Rowing, Treadmill Walking, Treadmill Running, and Mindful Cooldown
  • Playlists curated by Fitness+ trainers to complement your workout
  • Fitness+ subscription available in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States

AirPods Max

  • Support for ‌AirPods Max‌, new over-ear headphones
  • High fidelity audio for rich sound
  • Adaptive EQ adapts sound in real time to the personal fit of ear cushions
  • Active Noise Cancellation to block out environmental noise
  • Transparency mode to hear the environment around you
  • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking for a theater-like listening experience

Photos

  • Apple ProRAW photos can be edited in the ‌Photos‌ app
  • Option to record video at 25 fps
  • Mirror the front facing camera for still photos on ‌iPhone‌ 6s, ‌iPhone‌ 6s Plus, iPhone SE, ‌iPhone‌ 7, ‌iPhone‌ 7 Plus, ‌iPhone‌ 8, ‌iPhone‌ 8 Plus, and ‌iPhone‌ X

Privacy

  • New privacy information section on App Store pages that includes a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices

TV app

  • An all-new Apple TV+ tab makes it easy to discover and watch Apple Original shows and movies
  • Enhanced search so you can browse by category such as genre, and see recent searches and suggestions as you type
  • Top search results shown with the most relevant matches across movies, TV shows, cast, channels, and sports

App Clips

  • Support for launching App Clips by scanning Apple-designed App Clip Codes via Camera or from Control Center

Health

  • Ability to indicate pregnancy, lactation, or contraceptive use in Cycle Tracking in the Health app in order to better manage period and fertile window predictions

Weather

  • Air quality data is now available in Weather, Maps, and Siri for locations in China mainland
  • Air quality health recommendations are provided in Weather and ‌Siri‌ for the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India, and Mexico at certain air quality levels
  • Air quality data in Weather, Maps, and ‌Siri‌ reflects updated national scales for Germany and Mexico

Safari

  • Ecosia search engine option in Safari

Bug Fixes

  • Addressed an issue where some MMS messages may not be received
  • Addressed an issue where Contact groups failed to display members when composing a message
  • Addressed an issue where some videos would not appear correctly when shared from the ‌Photos‌ app
  • Addressed an issue where app folders may fail to open
  • Addressed an issue where Spotlight search results, and opening apps from Spotlight may not work
  • Addressed an issue where Bluetooth could be unavailable in Settings
  • Addressed an issue where MagSafe Duo Charger could wirelessly charge your ‌iPhone‌ at less than the maximum power
  • Addressed an issue where wireless accessories and peripherals using the WAC protocol could fail to complete setup
  • Addressed an issue where the keyboard would dismiss when adding a list in Reminders while using VoiceOver

iOS 14.3 also included security updates and you can read about those on Apple’s security page.

If you skipped iOS 14.2, you’ll get its features and fixes with your upgrade. Here’s what iOS 14.2 brought to the iPhone SE:

New Features

  • Over 100 new emoji, including animals, food, faces, household objects, musical instruments, gender-inclusive emoji, and more.
  • Eight new wallpapers in both light and dark mode versions.
  • Optimized battery charging for ‌AirPods‌ to slow the rate of battery aging by reducing the time your ‌AirPods‌ spends fully charged.
  • Headphone audio level notifications to alert you when audio level could impact your hearing.
  • New ‌AirPlay‌ controls to stream entertainment throughout your home.
  • Intercom support with ‌HomePod‌ and ‌HomePod mini‌ using ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, Apple Watch, ‌AirPods‌, and ‌CarPlay‌.
  • Ability to connect ‌HomePod‌ to ‌Apple TV‌ 4K for stereo, surround sound, and Dolby Atmos audio.
  • Option to provide statistics about Exposure Notifications, without identifying you, to participating Public Health Authorities.

Bug Fixes

  • Addressed an issue where apps could be out of order on the Home Screen dock.
  • Addressed an issue where the Camera viewfinder may appear black when launched.
  • Addressed an issues where the keyboard on the Lock Screen could miss touches when trying to enter the passcode.
  • Addressed an issue where Reminders could default to times in the past.
  • Addressed an issue where the Photos widget may not display content.
  • Addressed an issues where the Weather widget could display the high temperature in Celsius when set to Fahrenheit.
  • Addressed an issue where the next-hour precipitation chart description in Weather could incorrectly indicate when precipitation stops.
  • Addressed an issue where Voice Memos recordings are interrupted by incoming calls.
  • Addressed an issue where the screen could be black during Netflix video playback.
  • Addressed an issue where Apple Cash could fail to send or receive money when asked via ‌Siri‌.
  • Addressed an issue where the Apple Watch app may unexpectedly close when opened.
  • Addressed an issue where workout GPS routes or Health data are prevented from syncing between Apple Watch and ‌iPhone‌ for some users.
  • Addressed an issue where audio is incorrectly labeled as “Not Playing” in the ‌CarPlay‌ Dashboard.
  • Addressed an issue where devices could be prevented from charging wirelessly.
  • Addressed an issue where Exposure Notifications is disabled when restoring ‌iPhone‌ from iCloud Backup or transferring data to a new ‌iPhone‌ using ‌iPhone‌ Migration.

iOS 14.2 also included 24 security updates and you can read more about those on Apple’s security page.

If you skipped iOS 14.1, you get its bug fixes with your upgrade. If you’re interested in those, you can read more them in our roundup.

If you skipped iOS 14.0.1 you get its fixes with your upgrade. Here’s what iOS 14.0.1 fixed:

  • Fixes an issue that could cause default browser and mail settings to reset after restarting your iPhone
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent your iPhone from connecting to Wi-Fi networks
  • Resolves an issue that could prevent sending email with some mail providers
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent images from appearing in the News widget

If you’re moving up from iOS 13, you get iOS 14.0’s features with your iOS 14.4 update.

Highlights from iOS 14 include the new Translate app, improvements to Siri, upgrades to Messages, Widgets on the home screen, and a number of changes to the Maps app.

We’ve put together a guide that will take you through some of iOS 14’s best features and it’s worth a look if you haven’t spent time digging into the new software.

If you’re moving your device up from an older version of iOS 13 you’ll get the features and fixes from the updates you skipped. We also have a guide that goes over the latest iOS 13 features and you should check it out if your device is on older software.

Next iOS 14 Update for iPhone SE

Apple’s got a new iOS 14 update in the works.

The company’s confirmed a new milestone upgrade and iOS 14.5 is currently in beta testing ahead of a public release later this year.

The iOS 14.5 update will carry new features, bug fixes, and other enhancements. As of right now, it looks like a major upgrade for iPhone SE.

For more on iOS 14.5 and the beta, please check out our guide.

As for the distant future, there’s a chance iOS 14 serves as the last major upgrade for the iPhone SE.

According to The Verifier, a site with a mixed track record, Apple will drop support for the device when it releases iOS 15 later this year.

A second report, from French site iPhoneSoft, states that the iPhone SE will indeed miss iOS 15. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are also expected to stay put on iOS 14.

Nothing is confirmed, and won’t be until Apple hosts WWDC 2021 this summer, but it’s something to keep an eye on as we push into 2021.

iPhone SE iOS 14 Jailbreak

Developers have released an iOS 14 jailbreak tool that’s compatible with the iPhone SE.

The developer team behind the Checkra1n jailbreaking tool for iOS has released a version that adds support for newer versions of iOS 14. It’s unclear if it works with iOS 14.4.

If you’ve moved to iOS 14 and you think you might want to jailbreak your phone, you can learn more about it over on the official Checkra1n website.

4 Reasons Not to Install iOS 14.4 & 11 Reasons You Should

Install iOS 14.4 for Better Security

Install iOS 14.4 for Better Security

If security is important to you, think about installing iOS 14.4 right now.

iOS 14.4 has important security patches on board and you can read about them right here. These patches will help protect your iPhone from harm. 

If you skipped iOS 14.3 you'll get its nine security updates with your upgrade. You can read more about them on its security site

iOS 14.3 also included a new privacy information section on App Store pages that includes a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices.

If you skipped iOS 14.2, your iOS 14.4 update includes iOS 14.2's 24 security patches. You can learn more about the patches on Apple's security website

If you're still running iOS 13, iOS 14.4 include iOS 14.0's security updates. 

iOS 14.0 brought 11 new security patches to the iPhone. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's website.

In addition to those patches, iOS 14 comes with some security and privacy upgrades including improvements to Home/HomeKit and Safari. 

For instance in Safari, you can now tap the Privacy Report button to better understand how websites handle your privacy.

With iOS 14 on board you can now get information on the App Store that will help you understand the privacy practices of apps before you download them. 

There is also a new recording indicator that will appear at the top of your screen whenever an app is using your microphone or camera. You can see if an app has used them recently in Control Center.

Researchers also discovered that Apple brought a new "BlastDoor" sandbox security system to iOS 14. The system is meant to prevent attacks from occurring via the Messages app. 

You can read more about "BlastDoor" right here

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