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Apple releases iOS 14.2 with new emojis, People Detection, HomePod intercom support and more

The latest version of Apple's software for iPhones and iPads is available to download now.

Along with other new tricks, iOS 14.2 allows blind and vision-impaired users to put the People Detection capabilities of the iPhone 12 Pro's lidar sensor to work.
James Martin/CNET

iOS 14.2, the latest version of Apple's iPhone operating software, is now available for download, along with a new iPadOS 14.2 update for iPad users. Along with cosmetic add-ons like new emojis and wallpapers, the software teaches the iPhone a couple of new tricks, including intercom support with the Apple HomePod smart speaker and lidar-based People Detection for the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max.


To download iOS 14.2, head to the your iPhone settings, tap General, and then tap Software Update.

Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Pitched as an accessibility feature for the blind or vision-impaired, People Detection uses the lidar sensor built onto the backs of the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max to detect people within a 15-foot radius of the phone, along with how far away they are. Quick alerts about people nearby could, for instance, help someone who can't see them tell when to move up while waiting in line.

Meanwhile, intercom support for the Apple HomePod is just what it sounds like -- it'll let you use your phone to broadcast a quick message through the speaker. For example, you could alert family members in another room that dinner is ready. The feature offers similar functionality to what Alexa and the Google Assistant provide through their own smart speakers, and it arrives just in time for the launch of Apple's new, lower-priced HomePod Mini.

As for the emojis, newly added options include more animals, food items and household objects, along with new gender-inclusive emoji.

To download iOS 14.2, head to your iPhone settings and tap General, then Software Update.