After quite a bit of testing and beta rollouts, Apple has today released iOS 13.5 in stable channel to all compatible iPhones. The update brings some Coronavirus specific improvements to iOS. Here is what’s new.
Exposure Notification API
First up, the update brings the Exposure Notification API that the company was working on for quite some time. This new API is going to help with contact tracing Coronavirus patients. However, to use this, users need to install an authorised app. So far, India is not in the list of regions where this API will work, so we can’t test it out yet.
However, the Apple and Google developed system is in use by 22 countries around the world. The feature is “opt-in” which means it is disabled by default and users will have to opt-in to use it.
Face ID Improvements for Masks
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, most of us are wearing masks in all public places. Obviously, that interferes with Face ID requiring users to input their passcodes. The problem is that it takes very long for the passcode keypad to show up and that can be very annoying. With iOS 13.5, your iPhone will recognise when you are wearing a facial mask and will pop up the passcode keypad quicker.
I have tried this out and it’s a markedly better experience than it was before. Here’s hoping we get those transparent face masks soon though.
Group FaceTime Improvements
Apple’s group FaceTime feature is pretty great, true. However, it’s auto-focus on people in the call based on who is speaking can be very distracting in larger group calls. Fortunately, with iOS 13.5, Apple allows users to disable “automatic prominence”.
iOS 13.5 is live now, and you can install it on your phone by heading over to Settings -> General -> Software Update.