Earlier this week, Apple started rolling out iOS 15.4, alongside iPadOS 15.4, watchOS 8.5, macOS Monterey 12.3, tvOS 15.4, and HomePod Software 15.4. You can read more about the update here, but its biggest spotlight feature is the ability to unlock your phone using Face ID with a mask on. A nice gesture for users who don’t own an Apple Watch – iOS 14.5 from last year originally introduced Face ID with a mask for iPhone users with an Apple Watch. The new Face ID only works on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 generation, though and is slower and less secure. So, let’s call it a partial win.
Limited feature availability might be the least of iOS 15.4’s issues as a growing number of people are reporting bad battery life after the OTA. Things like an iPhone 13 Pro Max only lasting for half a day. Or an older iPhone 11 dropping 80% battery charge in 24 hours with two hours of screen on time. And other similar reports.
Of course, the issue is far from universal, and some temporary battery woes are sometimes expected after an update. And iOS 15.4 might not look like a very major one, but apparently, it includes a whopping 39 vulnerability fixes. Still, these battery drain figures seem a bit high. Some users have theorized that Apple has started using the max 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate a lot more frequently. It sounds plausible, but it can’t be the full explanation since only the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have ProMotion, and these are not the only affected models. Here’s hoping the issues are resolved soon.
Unfortunate battery troubles aside, iOS 15.4 does also include over 100 new emoji from the Emoji 14.0 set, a new voice option for Siri along with the ability to provide time and date information offline, EU Digital COVID Certificate support in vaccine cards in Apple Wallet, improvements to Safari web page translations with support for Italian and Chinese, Podcasts app improvements, and more.