What you need to know
- iOS 14.4 enables the new ultra-wideband (UWB) handoff feature for HomePod mini and iPhone.
- Users will now experience visual and haptic feedback when handing off audio between devices.
With a release of iOS 14.4 earlier today, Apple has officially rolled out one of the biggest new features for the HomePod mini that was originally showcased at its special event in October 2020. The new ultra-wideband (UWB) handoff feature will enable newer iPhone models to more seamlessly transfer music, podcasts, audiobooks, and phone calls between the two devices.
While both the original HomePod and the HomePod mini have supported handing off music for some time, the smaller device features a U1 ultra-wideband chip that promises to make it even easier to transfer content over from an iPhone 12 or iPhone 11 device. The new U1-enhanced functionality also adds additional features, including new visual and haptic feedback. The U1-based system also will give the option to show listening suggestions when you bring your phone close and display media controls on your iPhone without requiring you to unlock it first.
At its iPhone event in October, Apple had promised the feature would be available by the end of 2020. The company had obviously missed that goal, so it is good to see it wasn't delayed for too long. In order to experience the new handoff features, you'll need to have an iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 running iOS 14.4 as well as a HomePod mini running the latest update.
The iOS 14.4 update also includes other small features like categorizing Bluetooth devices and recognizing smaller QR codes.