All new in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4: Face ID with mask, emoticons, Apple Map widget, Universal Control and more


Apple today released the first betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4 to developers for testing, adding a host of new features to the latest iOS operating systems. iOS 15.4 is the biggest update we’ve had for iOS 15 yet, and it brings Universal Control, Face ID with a mask, new emojis and more.

Face identification with a mask

With iOS 15.4, there is now an option to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask. Apple warns that Full Face ID is the most secure option, but Masked Face ID is now available.

MASK on Face ID iOS 15
Face ID with a mask can be enabled after updating to iOS 15.4, and it’s designed to use the area around your eyes for authentication. It works with glasses, but it is not compatible with sunglasses, and you have to look at the iPhone to unlock it with a mask. Face ID with a mask appears to be limited to iPhone 12 and newer, but it can be used to authenticate Apple Pay transactions and third-party app logins.

Universal control

iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 enable the long-awaited Universal Control feature, which is designed to let you use a single cursor and keyboard to control iPads and Macs signed into your iCloud account.

wwdc universal control
Universal Control is super easy to use and enabled by default once you upgrade to iPadOS 15.4 and ‌macOS Monterey‌ 12.3. If you have a MacBook and an iPad, for example, the MacBook’s trackpad and keyboard can also be used directly on the ‌iPad‌ screen.

There are new settings for Universal Control on the ‌iPad‌ and Mac, and on the ‌iPad‌ the option to turn it on or off is listed under Handoff & Airplay.


iOS spring updates often bring new emoji characters, and iOS 15.4 is no exception. The beta introduces Emoji 14 support, adding 37 emoji and 75 skin color additions for a total of 112 new characters.

iOS 15
New faces include melting face, waving face, face with open eyes and hand over mouth, face with peeking eye, face with diagonal mouth and dotted face, while new emojis include biting lips and bubbles.

There are several new hand emojis, such as heart shaped hands, right hand, left hand, palm down hand, palm up hand, hand with index finger and thumb crossed , the index finger pointing at the viewer, as well as an update to the handshake emoji.

Nest with eggs, empty nest, x-ray, crutch, slide, wheel, ring buoy, hamsa, mirror ball, jar, ID card and low battery are new items , while plants and animals will include coral and lotus. As for fantasy characters, we can expect a new troll emoji, and eggs, beans, and pouring liquid are new foods.

Disable notifications for personal automations in shortcuts

For personal automations set up in the Shortcuts app, there is a new “Notify when running” option that allows you to enable or disable notifications for enabled Shortcuts. With this option, you can choose not to be notified when a shortcut activates, which was not possible with earlier versions of ‌iOS 15‌.

shortcuts warn when executed
Notify when running only appears when you disable the “Ask before running” setting.

Apple Map Widget

There is a new Apple Card widget in Today View which can be added to the Home screen. The ‌Apple Card‌ widget displays your current balance and daily spending in different categories.

apple map widget

Keyboard brightness

In iPadOS 15.4, a new keyboard brightness option may be added to Control Center to allow you to adjust the brightness of a connected keyboard with backlighting.

ipad keyboard brightness
This works for Apple’s Magic Keyboard, but it needs to be added to Control Center by going to Settings > Control Center and tapping the “+” button next to Keyboard Brightness.

Notes on iCloud Keychain

‌iCloud‌ Keychain users can now add notes to any password entry, making ‌iCloud‌ Keychain more consistent with other password storage options like 1Password.

icloud keychain notes
On ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌, the ‌iCloud‌ Keychain can be accessed in the Settings app under “Passwords”.

120Hz animations in third-party apps on iPhone 13 Pro

After the release of the iPhone 13 Pro models, users noticed that third-party apps were not displaying all animations at the full 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate. Apple said there is a Core Animation bug that will be fixed in a future update, and it looks like iOS 15.4 is that update.

iphone 14 pro 120hz promotion blue
With iOS 15.4, all animations in an app will display at 120Hz for a much smoother and more streamlined app experience.

Custom email domains

The iOS 15.4 beta expands support for the custom email domain feature available for paid ‌iCloud‌+ plans, adding an option to set up a custom domain with ‌iCloud‌ Mail directly on the ‌iPhone‌.

If you go to Settings > Apple ID > ‌iCloud‌, “‌iCloud‌ Mail” is now an accessible option and includes a section to set up a custom email domain.


In apps that support SharePlay, there is now an option to enable it directly from the share sheet.

tiktok sharing

Exchange cosmetic analysis

Code in iOS 15.4 suggests that Apple is working on a “Cosmetic Scan” feature that will be used when trading in an ‌iPhone‌. Cosmetic Scan will likely be used to check an ‌iPhone‌ for damage such as scratches and dings to provide a more accurate estimate of trade-in value.

iPadOS Notes app

In the Notes section of the Settings app on ‌iPad‌, there is a new “Corner Gestures” section under “Quick Notes”. In this section, you can select functions for left corner sweep and right corner sweep.

note app corner gestures
Options include quick note or screenshot, and there’s also an option to disable corner swipes.

Customizing the TV app

In the TV section of the Settings app under “Preferences”, you can now choose either “Still image” or “Poster” options for the next display in the app. Still Frame displays still images of what you’re watching, while Poster Art displays main title images for shows or movies.

tv app until next display

Login to the Passkey website

Apple says iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 betas add a new password feature that lets users sign in to password-enabled websites and apps on Mac and ‌iPad‌ on the go. using an ‌iPhone‌ with a saved password.

This means that on websites that allow authentication via Face ID or Touch ID, you can authenticate with an ‌iPhone‌ instead of having to enter a password.

game controllers

According to Apple’s release notes, support is available for new features in the DualSense adaptive triggering firmware.

Immunization records in the Health app

Verifiable Health Records now supports adding vaccination records in EU Digital COVID Certificate format to the Health and Wallet apps, so those in the EU can add their vaccination cards to the Wallet app for easy access .

Other Features

Do you know of a feature that we left out? Let us know in the comments.


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