iOS 15.5 and macOS 12.4 update podcasts, digital payments and more

Increase / Apple Studio Display today received a firmware update to improve webcam performance.

Andrew Cunningham

Apple released new software updates for all of its platforms on Tuesday. This includes the following:

  • iOS 15.5 for iPhone and iPod touch
  • iPadOS 15.5 for iPad
  • macOS 12.4 for Mac
  • watchOS 8.6 for Apple Watch
  • tvOS 15.5 for Apple TV
  • HomePod 15.5 software for HomePods
  • Studio display firmware 15.5 for studio display
  • Swift Playgrounds 4.1 for iPad and Mac

This is almost certainly the latest update ahead of the company’s annual developer conference, which is scheduled starts June 6. Among other things, Apple will announce iOS and iPadOS 16, macOS 13 and watchOS 9 at the conference, but these updates will only arrive later this year.

iOS 15.5

Today’s iOS update offers enough new features for users to get a 15.x shortcut instead of 15.xx, which is usually reserved for debugging and the like.

But still, it’s a small update. The built-in Podcasts app gets “a new setting to limit batches stored on your Mac and automatically delete old ones.”

And 15.5 allows you to use the iPhone as a trading device without additional hardware like reported in February.

Previously, vendors such as farm kiosks and home repair services used iPhones with additional equipment from companies such as Stripe to receive payments.

Now the iPhone doesn’t need these attachments; Stripe works great with the iPhone, just out of the box.

In addition, iOS 15.5 contains security features in the Messages program designed to prevent children from coming into contact with inappropriate content in the following new countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

macOS 12.4

As for macOS, Apple mentions only two user-related changes in its pre-release notes. It adds support for the Studio Display 15.5 firmware update (which claims to improve webcam performance on the new Apple monitor), and the built-in Podcasts app gets the same new feature as iOS.

However macOS 12.4 includes more than 50 security updates under the hood, according to Apple support documentation.

watchOS 8.6

watchOS 8.6 is a relatively minor update. It extends some of the health features of the watch, namely irregular heart rate detection and ECG, for Apple Watch users in Mexico.

Other updates

Studio Display Firmware 15.5 is trying to resolve some user complaints about the quality of the webcam monitor. Apple does not reveal any details about what is in the HomePod or tvOS 15.5 firmware update.

There is also Swift Playgrounds 4.1 for Mac and iPad. It’s not an OS update, but it appeared around the same time. This allows users to use Playgrounds to build apps using SwiftUI on the Mac, and deepens the integration of App Store Connect to publish apps, among other things.

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