Apple’s iOS 13.5 is on its way out. The mobile operating system update comes with a host of minor upgrades and two key health-related features to help with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
When wearing a face mask, iPhone and iPad users with Face ID enabled can now immediately enter their password when unlocking their mobile device. Previously, there was a slight delay when the facial recognition software needed to fail at unlocking before offering the passcode alternative to users. What makes this feature handy is that Face ID still works, so there’s no extra settings to go back to using Face ID to unlock your phone. Here is a sample of how the unlocking feature works by an app developer on Twitter.
The contact tracing features in iOS 13.5 are interoperable with Google’s contact tracing software efforts as it was created in partnership between both companies. Source: Apple.
Additionally, Apple introduces its important Covid-19 contact tracing technology, which was done in partnership with Google. iOS 13.5 comes with an Exposure Notification API for health officials and governments who are developing contact tracing tools to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in their respective domains.
How the contact tracing API envisions to help health officials to track the spread of Covid-19, as told through the story of Alice and Bob (part 1). Source: Apple.
How the contact tracing API envisions to help health officials to track the spread of Covid-19, as told through the story of Alice and Bob (part 2). Source: Apple.
In short, the API allows governments to develop contact-tracing apps that can alert their citizens if they’ve come into contact with a positive Covid-19 patient, all while protecting the user’s privacy. According to the Exposure Notification API FAQ, this feature does not collect location data, and it uses proximity-based Bluetooth detection to trigger the necessary alerts. It is still incumbent on health authorities to build a suitable contact tracing app for their country and to update the database with positive Covid-19 cases for Exposure Notification to be valid.
The sample code can be found here, and the API’s framework and documentation can be accessed here.
Besides the Covid-19-related features, some bug fixes in iOS 13.5 include a fix for black screens when users try to stream videos from certain websites and various security patches.RELATED VIDEOFace ID vs Face Masks: Why the iPhone SE is the phone for the coronavirus era
Update for iOS 13.5. Source: Settings app on iPhone.
Apple also updated tvOS and HomePod to version 13.4.5, with no new significant features. A small watchOS update was available earlier this week as well (watchOS 6.2.5), which included Pride Day watch faces.
iPhone and iPad users should be receiving iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 push notifications on their iPhones, iPods, and iPads starting from today (20 May 2020). Alternatively, users can hit the Software Update category in their Settings app to check for updates coming your way.