The next iOS update is almost upon us. When it arrives, iOS 14.7 will break a record for the most point releases of any iOS version. Well, iOS 13.7 happened, too, but that went on general release last September, when iOS 14 had already arrived—it was there to add contact tracking for Covid, so not strictly the same thing.
No, this forthcoming update is unprecedented, especially since we’re just days away from seeing the first preview of iOS 15 at WWDC on Monday, June 7.
Not to mention the fact that iOS 14.5 was pretty remarkable, adding a slew of new features uncharacteristically late in the annual update cycle.
So, what’s new in iOS 14.7?
Glad you asked. There will be more than this by the time the release candidate surfaces but so far there are a few new wrinkles. Let’s start with my favorite: a new way to set timers on the HomePod.
Control Timers in the Home app
Picture my house on Christmas Day. Lockdown had meant that we’d ordered in a cook-at-home feast from local, brilliant, restaurant, Luca. Actually, two feasts, one for vegetarians, one for meat-eaters. Full instructions were lovingly supplied and were easy to follow. Except for one thing: multiple timers for each dish.
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Right now, you can set multiple timers on HomePod via Siri. I began with “Set a 20-minute timer.” But then I realized the second timer needed a name, so I didn’t get confused. “Set a turkey timer for 18 minutes.” This was quickly followed by “Set a sweet potato timer for 13 minutes.” And so on.
However, the main flaw in the system came as more and more timers were set up simultaneously.
(Actually, that was one flaw. The other was that by this time I was really enjoying my Christmas too much, so I started setting increasingly outlandish and surreal commands to see how good Siri was at getting them right: “Hey, Siri, set a poached dodo timer for 7 minutes,” and “Hey, Siri, set a 25-minute oblivion timer.” Silly, really. There’s no way you could poach a dodo in 7 minutes. Ah, well, I enjoyed it, even if nobody else found it funny.)
The main flaw was more serious. Although I could ask, “How’s my turkey timer going?”, as each successive timer sounded, there was no way to know which one was which. Was that the timer for the turkey? Or the sweet potato?
Somehow, we got through it and dinner was a triumph, since you ask.
But iOS 14.7 will sort this anxiety because now you can see your timers in the Home app. Finally, a visual expression of which timers have how long to run, with controls to boot.
In iOS 14.7, once you’ve updated your HomePod to HomePod’s own 14.7 release, contained in iOS 14.7, you’ll see an option for Timers just below the previous Alarms offering.
Here, you can set the length of time, and name the timer. Then, you can control them through your voice or the app, pausing, resuming, or cancelling as you see fit.
By the way, in this beta, it’s definitely unfinished with placeholder words that look more like coding than the real thing.
This is a very useful update—even if it takes away some of the fun of Christmas cooking.
AirQuality in Weather expands to more countries
As pointed out on 9to5Mac, the Weather app’s capability to show air quality is spreading to more countries. The Weather app currently shows air quality information in some parts of the U.S., U.K., India and Germany, among others, but with iOS 14.7 it looks like this will come to France, Italy, Spain, Canada and the Netherlands.
According to users and forum members there are hints at other benefits coming to iOS 14.7. These are so far unconfirmed by Apple, which has said little about iOS 14.7 yet, but some are promising.
There are reports of the iPhone being much snappier and responsive since 14.7 has been installed. Which is good.
But other reports have hinted at reduced battery life, though this is not uncommon in a first beta release.
It’s also possible that new Apple Music capabilities will be activated by iOS 14.7.
When’s it coming?
Well, it’s likely to be here in June, if not earlier, perhaps around the time of the iOS 15 reveal. That’ll be when WWDC launches and if there’s talk of the new Apple Music capabilities, expect iOS 14.7 to definitely land at around the same time.