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

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

iOS 14.4, a milestone upgrade, is a fairly large release that brings new features and fixes for lingering issues to the iPhone XR and other compatible iPhone models.

The software could have a big impact on your device. We’ve seen a lot of positive feedback about the new firmware, but we’ve also heard about a variety problems.

Some of these issues are minor, others are far more problematic.

If you decide to install iOS 14.4 on your iPhone XR, it requires a large download if your phone is currently running Apple’s iOS 14.3 update.

If your phone is running an older version of iOS, your iOS 14.4 upgrade could be much larger. That’s because the features and fixes from the update(s) you skipped are baked into the firmware.

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

This guide will take you through the software’s performance, the problems plaguing the device, the downgrade status, the iOS 14 jailbreak, and more.

We’ll start with a quick look at its performance.

iPhone XR iOS 14.4 Impressions & Performance

If your iPhone XR is currently running iOS 14.3, the iOS 14.4 installation should take less than 15 minutes to complete. If you’ll be moving up from iOS 13, you can expect it to take longer.

We’ve been using iOS 14.4 on the iPhone XR for several days now and the software is holding up well thus far. We haven’t run into any major problems.

iOS 14.4 is fast. Apps open up quickly, animations and transitions are crisp and fluid, and we haven’t noticed any real slowdown while moving around the operating system.

While some iOS 14 users have complained about lockups, reboots and crashes, we haven’t run into those problems during our time on iOS 14.4.

Connectivity is strong. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are working normally. Battery life is also solid at the moment. We haven’t seen any abnormal drain.

Our core apps which include Netflix, Chrome, Gmail, Dark Sky, Asana, and Slack, are all stable. If you’re having an issue with one of these or another app, try downloading the latest version. App developers are still rolling out iOS 14 support updates.

As of right now, we recommend iOS 14.4 to most iPhone XR users. The software’s security updates are particularly important.

That being said, if you’re having a good experience on iOS 14.3, iOS 14.2, iOS 14.1, iOS 14.0.1, iOS 14.0, or iOS 13, you might want to wait for more longterm feedback to arrive.

If you need more help making a decision, take a look at our reasons to, and not to, install iOS 14.4 right now.

You Should Prepare for iOS 14.4

If you do decide to move your iPhone XR phone to iOS 14.4, make sure you prepare.

If you don’t know how to do that, 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 on our iPhones. If you’re new to iOS or if you just want to play it safe, it should help you along.

If you don’t have a ton of time to commit to the pre-installation process just be sure to backup all of your files before you make the move to iOS 14.4.

iPhone XR iOS 14.4 Problems & Fixes

We’ve had a good experience on iOS 14.4, but some iPhone XR users are running into bugs and performance issues.

The current list of problems includes some of the usual suspects: abnormal battery drain, crashes, connectivity issues, issues with Widgets, UI lag, Wi-Fi problems, issues with first and third-party apps, issues with Face ID, and Exchange issues. That’s just a taste.

If these problems have you feeling nervous about an upgrade to iOS 14.4, you might want to hang back and wait for Apple’s next batch of bug fixes.

If you’ve already moved your iPhone XR to iOS 14.4, and you’re having issues, take a look at our fixes for the most common iOS 14 problems.

We’ve also released tips to improve iOS 14 battery life and a guide to fixing bad iOS 14 performance.

iOS 14.3 Downgrade Closed

If you move your iPhone XR to iOS 14.4, and you don’t like the performance, note that you can no longer downgrade your phone’s software.

Apple has stopped signing on iOS 14.3 which means you can’t drop your iPhone XR’s software back in an attempt to improve its performance.

You can’t downgrade to anything older than iOS 14.3 either. That means those of you having a good experience on iOS 14.3 and below should approach iOS 14.4 with caution. Once you make the move, there’s no going back.

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

iPhone XR 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 XR:

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 contents with your upgrade. Here’s what iOS 14.2 brought to the iPhone XR:

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 a feature that wasn’t included in the official change log. iPhone 8 models and later have received support for 1080p FaceTime HD video calls over Wi-Fi networks.

On top of that, iOS 14.2 included 24 security updates and you can read about those on Apple’s security page.

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

If you’re moving up from iOS 14.0, you get iOS 14.0.1’s 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

As for iOS 14, the iPhone XR gets a robust version of the new operating system. Highlights include Widgets on the home screen, improvements to Messages and Maps, the new Translate app, and a laundry list of changes to Siri.

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’re just now catching wind of the update.

If you’re moving up from an older version of iOS 13 you’ll get the features and fixes from any updates you skipped.

We’ve also released a guide that goes over the latest iOS 13 features and you should check it out if you’ve fallen behind on iOS software updates.

Next iOS 14 Update for iPhone XR

Apple’s working on a new version of iOS 14 for the iPhone XR.

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 XR.

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

iPhone XR iOS 14 Jailbreak

Avoid the iOS 14.4 update if you’re jailbroken or want to jailbreak your iPhone XR.

The developers behind the Checkra1n and unC0ver jailbreaking tools have released versions compatible with newer versions of iOS 14. Unfortunately they don’t work with iOS 14.4.

Apple’s plugged up the exploits used by these jailbreaks so there’s no telling when, or even if, we’ll see tools released for iOS 14.4.

Again, there’s no way to downgrade once you download iOS 14.4 so you’ll want to keep your iPhone XR on older iOS software for now.

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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