Unlocking with Apple Watch requires WiFi
So far, the iPhone and iPad can be unlocked with the smart timepiece from Cupertino, even if the Wi-Fi is switched off on the iDevices. In the updated beta of iOS 14.5, Apple has changed that: The wireless network must be activated in the iDevices so that the Apple Watch worn on the wrist enables access to the home screen of the devices. Reddit users, among others, discovered this significant change brooksdbrewer, who also published a corresponding screenshot. A login to a WLAN and thus an active network connection is not required.
The reasons for the change are unknown
It is not known why Apple made this change in the updated version with build number 18E5140k. The point of this approach does not make sense because the communication between the Apple Watch and the iPhone or iPad is not handled using a wireless network when unlocking, but via Bluetooth. This is also made clear by the fact that WLAN only needs to be switched on on the smartphone or tablet, but an active network connection is not required. The feature could also be annoying for some users if the WLAN is automatically switched off by short commands in certain situations.
No other new features
According to the current state of knowledge, the updated developer beta of iOS 14.5 does not contain any other new features. Apple has apparently essentially only fixed a few bugs. The first version, published a few days ago, brought major innovations, including the improved unlocking of iPhone and iPad using Face ID when wearing mouth-nose protection and the option of using 5G in dual SIM mode.