The public beta of the new iOS 14.5 is now available for download, along with its latest features like App Tracking Transparency and new emojis. Rumors say that the full version is likely to arrive later this month, ahead of early estimates putting its release in late March or early April.

Apple's latest iOS version also includes a feature that allows users to unlock their phones even when they are wearing masks. Cnet noted that for many, this functionality is very important considering there is a need to wear face coverings in public places amid the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. There is a catch, however, as you also need to have an Apple Watch in order to use the function.

Perhaps the most anticipated feature of Apple's iOS 14.5 is the App Tracking Transparency (ATT), as revealed in MacRumors. This latest addition to the iOS functionality is the subject of controversy and criticism, mostly coming from Facebook, since Apple announced its plans to integrate the privacy feature last year. According to Apple, ATT will require third-party iOS apps, such as those made by Google and Facebook, to ask permission of users before the apps can start tracking their activities and data.

For Facebook, the ATT feature will create a very huge dent in its revenue-generating capacity, considering that the social media giant relies heavily on targeted advertisements. With ATT in place, users would now have the option to opt-out of any ad tracking and monitoring practices that would help developers and advertisers figure out the preferences of iOS owners, allowing them to target users with tailored ads. Many developers, including Facebook, rely on such practices for their revenues.

Apple's iOS 14.5 public beta release also brought along hundreds of new emojis, including an exhaling face, a heart on fire, vaccine-friendly syringe emoji, couples with mixed skin tones, headphone emoji, and gender choices for people with beards. In an Emojipedia report, the latest iOS introduced some 217 new emojis, 200 of which are skin tone variants, for users to enjoy.

Apple plans to move forward with updated mobile software which limits the ability to track users for targeted advertising despite concerns raised by Facebook and others. Photo: AFP / Oli SCARFF

Industry observers are reminding everyone who is downloading the public beta release of the iOS 14.5 that the update may have some bugs. This means you should not download it on a device that you use regularly to avoid any problems. Apple is still working on the final release, but many say it may come soon.

If you want to try the new features of the new iOS beta release, you need to sign up for the Beta Software Program of Apple. Just click on Sign-Up on, then enter your Apple ID and the corresponding password. After you agree to the terms and conditions, tap on iOS, and under the Get Started menu item, tap Enroll your Apple Device. After performing these tasks, you will see a set of on-screen instructions that you need to do next to download the update.