Callum BoothManaging Editor
Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional odd video.
It’s that time again, people! The long-awaited iOS 15.4 is finally here — and that means one thing and one thing only: it’s time to rank the new features soon to be on your iPhone.
We’ve done this a few times before — whether that’s rating each iOS 14.5 update by how much they’ll annoy Zuckerberg, or those in iOS 14.7 by how useful the new features would be in space.
And this time? Well, we’re gonna be boring and rank them from worst to best. What? Don’t complain! All this means is the next Apple ranking will be even stranger.
THE WORST NEW iOS 15.4 FEATURE: 7) Podcast filters
The update itself isn’t too bad. Basically, on iOS 15.4, you can filter a show’s episodes by things like played or downloaded.
On top of this, you can also easily browser a podcast’s seasons.
Sounds fine, right? Why’s it on the bottom? Well, that’s because the Podcast app still fucking sucks.
Syncing across devices is a mess. Often, I’ll open the app and the episode I’ll be listening to will have disappeared. Or it’ll have gone back to the beginning of the podcast.
Frustrating is an understatement — and Apple should’ve used iOS 15.4 to fix the Podcast app.
But it didn’t. And it remains the worst.
6) Apple Card widget
Nope — I don’t want a widget showing me how much cash I’ve splurged today. Hard pass.
5) Adding EU vaccination cards to Apple Wallet
I’m on the fence about this one — and that’s mainly down to this article.
Effectively, putting a vaccine card on your phone can be both bad and good. That’s why this new iOS 15.4 feature sits (roughly) in the middle of this ranking.
That’s called symbolism.
4) New AirTags display anti-stalking alerts
This is undoubtedly a good thing, as people are misusing AirTags horrendously and Apple needs to take action.
The reason this new iOS 15.4 feature isn’t higher is simple: it’s not enough. Will telling someone it’s illegal to track people against their will with AirTags make any difference? Doubtful.
But it is something. And Apple is planning further updates to AirTags this year to try and make them safer.
Credit where credit’s due — even though I doubt Apple will ever be able to get the safety of its trackers right.
3) Tap-to-pay on iPhone
I don’t own a retail business, but if I did, I’d be jumping with joy. No need for external terminals? And I can just accept customer payments with my iPhone?
This is a new iOS 15.4 feature to be hyped about. Well, if you have a company that sells stuff to people.
2) More gender neutral Siri voice
I’ve always wondered why a robotic voice has to have a gender. Like… can’t it sound just like a damn robot? Something neither male or female?
Well, that’s what this new iOS 15.4 feature has done. If you select the fifth American voice, you’ll hear a version of Siri that’s non-gender specific.
Now, we just have to wait for this to appear on all the accents.
THE BEST NEW iOS 15.4 FEATURE: 1) Unlocking your phone while wearing a mask
Okay, maybe this is a smidgen too late (much of Europe has dropped mask mandates now), but it’s still useful — especially if you’re on public transport or traveling.
Let’s also be honest, it’s likely we’ll see masks come back in some form this winter. So this new iOS 15.4 feature gets the top spot for making my future life easier.
Unfortunately, this feature only works with iPhone 12 and above, but I’m currently using a 13, so it’s all good. And, really, what is this list all about but me?
Anyway, you can download iOS 15.4 now. So… go and do it? Plus, if you’d like to see a more exhaustive list of features, there are some good resources here and here.
Until next time, friends — and may the team behind Apple Podcasts be cursed until they’ve fixed that damn app.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.