Yesterday Apple issued the iOS 14.2 Release Candidate (GM) to developers, signifying that a public-facing release is not too far behind. iOS 14.2 RC includes over 100 new emoji characters, features eight beautiful new wallpapers, Shazam music recognition CC toggle, a redesigned AirPlay 2 interface, and much more. This iOS 14.2 release also fixes the annoying “A new iOS update is now available” message that appears upon each unlock for those on the previous beta. Watch our hands-on video as we explore iOS 14.2 top changes and features.

What’s new in iOS 14.2 RC?

Note: It looks as if Apple is replacing the term “GM Seed” for near-final versions of its software with “Release Candidate,” so we will refer to this as the iOS 14.2 (RC) Release Candidate.

  • A fix for the annoying “A new iOS update is now available. Please update from the iOS 14 beta” message that occurred with each unlock.
  • Eight beautiful new wallpapers in light and dark versions
  • Hundreds of new emoji characters
  • A fix for HDR videos thumbnails exported from Final Cut Pro X
  • Redesigned AirPlay 2 interface
  • Updated now playing controls and AirPlay 2 interface on the Lock screen
  • Redesigned AirPlay 2 controls in Control Center
  • New animation lets you see if other AirPlay 2 devices are active on your network
  • Source icon indicator for music, podcasts, etc.
  • Updated AirPlay pop-over

Video: iOS 14.2 RC top changes and features

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  • Shazam music recognition CC toggle
  • Watch app with new Apple Watch Solo Loop app icon
  • ‘Reduce Loud Sounds’ is now renamed ‘Headphone Safety’ in Settings
  • Apple Card users now have ‘Yearly activity’ tab in the Wallet app
  • Ask Siri to stop playing music on HomePod
  • Intercom support in Home app and via Siri

There are many takeaways from the iOS 14.2 Release Candidate. If you’re coming from the previous iOS 14.2 beta, you’ll be happy to know that the annoying “A new iOS update is now available. Please update from the iOS 14 beta” that occurred every time you unlocked your iPhone has been fixed with this update. That alone is enough to warrant updating in my opinion.

One of the biggest new features found in iOS 14.2 is the revamped AirPlay 2 interface in Control Center. You’ll now find much bigger album artwork in Control Center for now-playing media. You’ll also find an icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the album artwork denoting the source of the media.

In addition to these changes, both Control Center and the Lock screen will now present suggested media when nothing is playing. On the Lock screen, you’ll need to have headphones connected before suggested media is presented.

There’s also a handy new AirPlay 2 pop-over for accessing other AirPlay 2-compatible devices on your network, including a brand new animation that occurs when media is currently playing on those devices. This pop-over is accessible from anywhere AirPlay 2 devices can be selected, such as the Lock screen, Control Center, Music app, etc.

There is also a brand new Shazam toggle that can be added to Control Center. This toggle allows you to inconspicuously learn details about songs playing in your environment without needing to invoke Siri.

Arguably the two biggest new features in iOS 14.2 are the eight new wallpapers, and the 100+ new emoji characters. The new wallpapers stand out, because they are full screen wallpapers that are less abstract than Apple wallpapers in the recent past. There are also darker versions of the eight new wallpapers included for when users switch to Dark mode.

The new emojis include all sorts of new additions, such as the ninja, disguise face, boomerang, and many more. I recommend using the iOS 14 emoji search feature to find new favorites.

iOS 14.2 also brings about the new Intercom functionality demonstrated alongside the unveiling of the HomePod mini at Apple’s iPhone 12 event. You’ll find a new Intercom button in the upper-right hand corner of the Home app that can be used to communicate with HomePods in the various locations of your house. Users can also use Siri to invoke the new Intercom feature as a means to communicate with household members.

9to5mac’s take

iOS 14.2 is a huge release that brings forth all of the features listed here, and many additional changes, bug fixes, and improvements. What’s your favorite new addition in iOS 14.2? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts.

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