Beta 8 of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, macOS Big Sur 11.3 Available for Testing
Apple has released beta 8 of macOS Big Sur 11.3, iOS 14.5, and iPadOS 14.5, available now to users enrolled in the Apple operating system beta testing programs. Builds are available for both public beta and developer beta testers.
The eight beta builds arrive just a week after the seventh beta builds, and a week before a scheduled Apple event is set to take place.
Betas of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 include new Siri voice options which remove gender specification and accent labels and instead rename voice options to “Voice” followed by a number, new game controller support for Playstation 5 and Xbox X controllers to be used with iPhone and iPad, a feature that allows users to unlock an iPhone using Apple Watch, crowd-sourced Maps features like speed traps and road hazards, dual SIM card support for 5G mobile networks, and a variety of other changes. iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 also include new diverse, inclusive, and equitable emoji icons including a woman with a beard, new skin color options for Emoji couples, a coughing face, dazed face, syringe, heart on fire, bandaged heart, and others.
macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta 8 is available as well, carrying the build number of 20E5231a, and also includes support for Playstation 5 and Xbox X game controllers, Reminders regains the ability to print and show a list view, new customization options for Safari, and there’s a new system preference panel for Touch Alternatives aimed at when using iOS and iPadOS apps on a compatible Apple Silicon Mac. The new emoji icons are also available in macOS 11.3 beta.
Those currently enrolled in an iPhone and iPad beta testing program can download iOS 14.5 beta 8 or iPadOS 14.5 beta 8 from Software Update in Settings app.
Mac beta testers can find and download the latest macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta 8 build from the Software Update section of System Preferences.
Apple usually goes through a handful of beta updates before issuing a final version to the general public, and with this being the eight beta release it seems likely the final version will be available sooner than later, perhaps as soon as next week. It may be coincidental, but Apple also announced an online event for next week on April 20, which is speculated to be where updated iPad models will be released. Often software updates are released with new hardware in order to support the new hardware.
While any user can technically run a beta build through the Public Beta program (or the developer beta if they have access to it), it’s generally not recommended for standard usage due to the buggy nature of beta system software. Thus beta builds are typically best reserved for advanced users, and most people are better off waiting until the final builds of macOS 11.3 and iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are made available.