Despite some significant problems, you will know from my iOS 12.1.4 Upgrade Guide that it is an essential upgrade for every iPhone and iPad running iOS 12.1 or later. And it turns out there’s a sweetener as well because Apple AAPL -0.22% has hidden a great secret feature within it…
‘Great Secret Features’ and ‘Nasty Surprises’ are my regular columns investigating the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.
Spotted by the eagle eyes of MacStories editor Federico Viticci, iOS 12.1.4 has a significant undocumented change to make managing App Store subscriptions easier and more intuitive.
Whereas iPhone and iPad owners previously had to navigate through an overly complicated path (Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > View Apple ID > Subscriptions), now iOS 12.1.4 upgraders simply tap their profile icon in the App store (top right corner) and ‘Manage Subscriptions’ is there.
For those who like to toggle subscriptions (for example, sports apps during the offseason) this switch will be very welcome. For iPhone and iPad owners who may simply have forgotten what they are subscribed too, it is also now quick and easy to find out. Checking may even save you some money you didn’t realise you were spending.
So why would Apple hide this useful change? I suspect because the timing was wrong.
The role of iOS 12.1.4 was to bring a crucial fix to the infamous FaceTime bug which enabled iPhone audio and video to be monitored undetected. Apple promised the fix within a week but then missed its own deadline, so any suggestion this could have been because of UI tweaks would probably have met a hostile reception.
Whatever the reason, however, you will find no mention of the subscription change anywhere in the iOS 12.1.4 release notes. But it is here to stay as iOS 12.2 beta testers are finding the change is in there as well.
Ultimately, this is a welcome addition and a small win for Apple after a particularly difficult few weeks. If you haven’t already upgraded your iPhone or iPad to iOS 12.1.4 you should do so now – warts and all.