All the Cool New Stuff in iOS 14.7

New support for the MagSafe battery pack, HomePod, and more

Key Takeaways

  • iOS 14.7 brings support for the MagSafe Battery Pack, Apple Card Family, Air Quality in Weather, and more.
  • Apple has not yet disclosed whether iOS 14.7 patches the Pegasus spyware attack.
  • iOS 15 is just around the corner, but this is a solid update.
iOS 14 on iPhone

Apple

iOS 14.7 is here, and it adds some cool new features, from new hardware support to weather-app tweaks. 

The iOS 15 betas are in full swing, getting ready for a fall release, but iOS 14 still has some life left. The latest iOS 14.7 update for iPhone comes with watchOS 7.6, and an update for the HomePod. Let’s take a look.

"I think one of the coolest features is the new MagSafe battery pack support," Neil Parker, co-founder and chief technology officer of the Lovecast video streaming service, told Lifewire via email. "Specifically, I think this is super useful for live-streaming events," he adds, unsurprisingly.

MagSafe Battery Pack Support

If you want to use Apple’s new MagSafe Battery Pack, then you’ll need to update to iOS 14.7 first. That’s because it’s not just a battery with a magnet. The pack supports a bunch of neat Apple-only features that require some deep software hooks—reverse-charging from the iPhone, and a lock-screen (or widget) display of levels. Apple’s battery brick isn’t the cheapest, or even most capacious battery pack for the iPhone, but it’s probably the most convenient.

Apple Card Family 

If you use Apple Card Family, you’ll love this update. iOS 14.7 lets you merge credit limits and become what Apple calls "co-owners" of the account. This lets both owners operate as a single entity. You can both manage the account, and "build credit as equals."

Choose a person to share an Apple Card with in iOS 14.7

Apple

World Air

With iOS 14.7, if you live in Canada, France, Italy, The Netherlands, South Korea, or Spain, you can now enjoy air-quality information for your current location, seen in the Weather app, and in Maps if you have that feature enabled.

"My favorite new feature is the expansion of areas [where] the Weather app now shows air quality levels," said Brian Donovan, CEO of Timeshatter. "Before, it covered most of the United States, but now it covers even more and has expanded to more countries.

"This is a quick and easy resource for people to assess how dangerous it is to be breathing in the air where they are. Especially with the extreme weather that has been happening all around the world for the past year, it is crucial for people to be able to protect themselves if they are at risk."

Air Quality has been available elsewhere for a while now, and it’s a nice background metric to add to the weather forecasts, giving you a long-term overview of how the air in your city measures up. In my town, for example, the weather quality was good for most of last summer, but is generally quite a bit worse this year. 

Home Time

iOS 14.7 also brings the ability to manage HomePod timers in the Home app on your iPhone. That might not sound like much, but the HomePod recently got the power to run multiple timers simultaneously. Checking, updating, and canceling those timers via Siri and voice is as annoying as you might imagine, so being able to quickly dig in and tweak your timers is quite a big deal. A small, but significant improvement.

Podcasts and More

The Podcasts app, which has been slowly worsening over the last year, now has a small tweak to the view options when looking at your library. You can choose to hide shows that you don’t follow.

Code Sw!tch and cover are for a variety of other podcasts on Apple Podcasts

Apple

There are also several small fixes in this update, from missing menu options in Apple Music, to broken Braille displays when using the Mail app. But what about the biggest fix that everyone wants? What about that Pegasus exploit?

And Pegasus?

Pegasus is a piece of spyware developed by NSO Group, an Israeli company that sells hacks and exploits to governments. Pegasus lets users take over an iPhone just by sending it an iMessage. That’s it. Once in, the attacker has remote access to the phone. The spyware works on several versions of iOS, including iOS 14.6, and has been used to target specific people, including journalists. 

Does iOS 14.7 block this exploit? So far, we don’t know. Apple’s security update page currently says, "details available soon," for the iOS 14.7 update.

On one hand, you probably don’t need to worry that a government is going to hack your phone. On the other hand, the existence of such a powerful exploit is quite terrifying. 

iOS updates are about as much about security as they are about adding new features and fixing bugs. This is a big security hole, so if it’s not patched already, expect yet another update soon. In the meantime, iOS 14.7 is a solid update to tide us over until the fireworks of iOS 15 get going this fall.

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