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One of the most annoying things the past year is having to either remove our mask to unlock the phone or having to type in the passcode. It's especially frustrating when you're in a store and need to check an email or grocery list. Apple's next operating system, iOS 14.5 will make unlocking your phone easier, provided you have an Apple Watch.

After installing the update and swiping up on your home screen you'll be prompted to set-up, "unlock with Apple Watch" in settings. Once you do that, your phone pings your Apple Watch whenever you raise it. Your Apple Watch needs to be on your wrist and it has to be unlocked. But once it's set up, the phone will be unlocked anytime you pick it up. When I tried it the unlock feature took only a split second. The Apple Watch gives a quick vibration to let you know the phone has been unlocked.

Asking Siri to play music takes less effort in iOS 14.5. When asking for music, Siri has always played it from Apple Music or your library. That's fine unless you use Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer or another streaming service. After downloading iOS 14.5, Siri will use artificial intelligence to learn which service you use most often and play from there. The first time you ask Siri to play music it will ask you to choose a preferred streaming service. You may have to do it a few times but once Siri learns where you listen to music the most, it'll open and play from the service you choose the first time.

Apple Maps gets a big update in iOS 14.5, making it more like Waze. Now drivers can notify others about heavy traffic and speed traps with just a tap on the screen. This may not be as helpful as it would have been had Apple introduced it years ago. Most people who use apps for directions or maps have already chosen Google Maps or Waze. When I checked for trouble spots on a typical drive to work I found no reports of any accidents. That's probably because no one is using it yet.

There are also new emojis in iOS 14.5. Apple says there are 217 new emojis but most are just options of different skin tones. There is a new flaming heart emoji that may be useful and the blood spurt from the syringe emoji has been removed making it more appealing and versatile, not to mention less gross, and can be used for messages about the COVID-19 vaccine.

When can you get iOS 14.5? It was expected to be released by now but Apple has delayed it for further Beta testing. So expect it in the next couple of weeks.