Apple iOS 14.4 Release: Should You Upgrade?

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Apple iOS 14.4 has been


and it is perhaps the most important iOS 14 update yet for iPhone owners. Why should you upgrade ASAP? Here’s everything you need to know.

Tip: bookmark this page because I will keep it up to date if/when new problems are found. I will deliver my final verdict in a week.

02/05 Final Verdict: I have not seen any significant new problems with this update over the last week. Isolated reports of high battery drain are the most notable, but not to an extent where I would be concerned. This is an important iOS release and it is also one of the most stable I have seen in recent times. iOS 14.5 is already in beta testing, but I would urge everyone to upgrade to iOS 14.4 right now.


Apple iOS 14



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Gordon Kelly

Who Is It For?

Apple iOS 14.4 is available for all iOS 13-compatible devices. This means the iPhone 6S and newer and 7th generation iPod touch. If you don’t receive an automatic update notification, you can trigger the update manually by navigating to

Settings > General > Software Update

. Beta testers, if you are running a later version of iOS 14 when you read this (see ‘The Road Ahead’ section at the end), you must

unenroll your iPhone

before iOS 14.4 will show up.

iPad owners, Apple has moved you to


. This is not an iPadOS-focused guide, but I will touch upon pertinent issues in these guides.


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The Deal Breakers

As always, jailbreakers may want to avoid this release. Popular jailbreaker


remains stuck on iOS 13.5 while


has an iOS 14 jailbreak (not iOS 14.4), but it is limited to Apple devices running

A9(X) chipsets

and older.

Aside from this, however, the signs look good and initial reaction on social media and message boards to the release has been positive. Notably, the

serious messaging problems

impacting earlier versions of iOS 14 appear to have been eradicated at last (despite no mention of a fix in the official release notes, which isn’t uncommon).

What I am seeing are reports of

performance lag

, particularly in terms of animations (something which was present in the betas) and a higher than normal number of complaints about battery drain (










etc). Battery drain is often higher after updating to a new version of iOS while the system reindexes so there is no reason to panic, but it is something to keep an eye on.


So What Do You Get?

Apple lists the following new features in iOS 14.4:

Smaller QR codes can be recognized by Camera

Option to classify Bluetooth device type in Settings for correct identification of headphones for audio notifications

Notifications for when the camera on your ‌iPhone‌ is unable to be verified as a new, genuine Apple camera in ‌iPhone 12‌, iPhone 12 mini, ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ and iPhone 12 Pro Max

This release also fixes the following issues:

Image artifacts could appear in HDR photos taken with ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌

Fitness widget may not display updated Activity data

Typing may be delayed and word suggestions may not appear in the keyboard

The keyboard may not come up in the correct language in Messages

Audio stories from the News app in CarPlay may not resume after being paused for spoken directions or Siri

Enabling Switch Control in Accessibility may prevent phone calls from being answered from the Lock Screen


While all these updates are fairly self explanatory, the real importance of iOS 14.4 is buried away on Apple’s

official security page

. This update fixes three new vulnerabilities (CVE-2021-1782, CVE-2021-1871 and CVE-2021-1870), all of which are known to hackers and “may have already been actively exploited.”

One flaw was found in the operating system’s


, while two others were discovered in WebKit, which powers the Safari web browser. Apple has not revealed detailed information about the flaws and is unlikely to do so before users have a chance to upgrade. Consequently, iOS 14.4 is an update iPhone users (and iPadOS 14.4 users) should take seriously.

Note: it is unclear at this stage whether the exploits are also in older versions of iOS beyond iOS 14.3, but I would assume so.

Apple iOS 14.4 Verdict: Upgrade


Apple iOS 14.4 is not the most exciting ‘major point’ update (certainly compared to

feature-packed iOS 14.3

), but it is significantly more important due to the actively exploited flaws that have been found.

Crucially, early feedback from users who have upgraded is positive with no obvious deal breakers so far so I would advise updating as soon as possible. I will keep this guide updated should that change and, for those who are highly cautious about updating, I will offer my final verdict in a week.

The Road Ahead

No new iOS versions are currently in testing at the time of publication. An iOS 14.4.1 bugfix is possible, if the battery problems are shown to be more than the usual drain associated with iOS updates, but otherwise I would expect iOS 14.5 to enter testing relatively soon.



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Gordon Kelly

I am an experienced freelance technology journalist. I have written for Wired, The Next Web, TrustedReviews, The Guardian and the BBC in addition to Forbes. I began in


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I am an experienced freelance technology journalist. I have written for Wired, The Next Web, TrustedReviews, The Guardian and the BBC in addition to Forbes. I began in b2b print journalism covering tech companies at the height of the dot com boom and switched to covering consumer technology as the iPod began to take off. A career highlight for me was being a founding member of TrustedReviews. It started in 2003 and we were repeatedly told websites could not compete with print! Within four years we were purchased by IPC Media (Time Warner's publishing division) to become its flagship tech title. What fascinates me are the machinations of technology's biggest companies. Got a pitch, tip or leak? Contact me on my professional

Facebook page

. I don't bite.

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