With WWDC and the announcement of Apple’s operating systems for 2022 coming in a few weeks (see “WWDC 2022 Stays Virtual Starting June 6,” 5 April 2022), it’s likely that today’s releases of iOS 15.5, iPadOS 15.5, macOS 12.4 Monterey, watchOS 8.6, tvOS 15.5, and HomePod Software 15.5 are the last ones we’ll see that include new features. These aren’t major releases, but they include some small new features in the Podcasts and Wallet apps, along with a few bug fixes and numerous security improvements, although none for vulnerabilities that are being actively exploited.
Unless you’re running into an issue that Apple has explicitly addressed, you can wait a week or so to install these updates.
iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5
In iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the Podcasts app on the iPhone and iPad finally lets you limit how many episodes are stored on your device and automatically purges older ones so Podcasts doesn’t eat up your storage space. Hopefully, that will address the issues I highlighted in “Prevent Apple’s Updated Podcasts App from Eating Your Storage” (4 May 2021). Go to Settings > Podcasts, scroll down to Automatic Downloads, and tap the new Automatically Download option. You can set it to keep up to 10 new episodes or all episodes over a given amount of time.
On the iPhone, the Wallet app also now lets you send and receive money using your Apple Cash card, and the iOS 15.5 update fixes a bug that could cause automations triggered by people arriving or leaving to fail. The updates include 27 security fixes.
macOS 12.4 Monterey
Like the iOS and iPadOS updates, macOS 12.4 Monterey now provides an Automatically Download setting in Podcasts > Preferences that lets you limit how much storage the Podcasts app consumes. Universal Control is now out of beta, though Apple says nothing about what might have changed.
macOS 12.4 also includes support for the separate Studio Display Firmware 15.5, which reportedly somewhat improves the disappointing video quality. The macOS 12.4 update includes 54 security fixes.
The watchOS 8.6 update reportedly includes improvements and bug fixes, but the only ones that Apple is willing to share are the presumably regulatory approvals that allow it to provide the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications to users in Mexico. It includes 18 security fixes.
tvOS 15.5 and HomePod Software 15.5
For Apple’s dedicated entertainment devices, the Apple TV and HomePod, tvOS 15.5 and HomePod Software 15.5 receive nothing more than “general performance and stability updates.” Neither needs any security updates, at least as far as Apple says.