iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 will bring two big COVID-19 specific features to the iPhone and iPad.
Apple is now rolling out iOS 13.5 for iPhone and iPadOS 13.5 for iPad. iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 will bring two big COVID-19 specific features to the iPhone and iPad. The biggest feature is undoubtedly Apple and Google’s joint Exposure Notification API, that will allow governments and health agencies “reduce the spread of the coronavirus” through contact tracing apps. The Exposure Notification API will basically allow interoperability between iOS and Android devices so contact tracing apps built on top of the technology will be able to communicate with each other seamlessly across both the iOS and Android platforms.
Just to be clear, Apple and Google haven’t built any COVID-19 tracking app. They are merely giving other app developers and reputable health organizations tools that will allow them to bring contact tracing technology to smartphones, to help users curb the spread of COVID-19. Both the companies are also working on implementing COVID-19 tracking within their respective operating systems so more and more apps will be able to make use of it. This is due in the coming months. “This is a more robust solution than an API and would allow more individuals to participate, if they choose to opt in, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities,” Apple and Google had said in a joint statement in April.
The focus here is to bring COVID-19 contact tracing smarts to all smartphones, Android and iOS, in the days to come, while also “preserving” user’ privacy — at least, that’s what Apple and Google would like you to believe. The whole process will be opt-in for users and will follow a completely “anonymous” approach, one that will involve Bluetooth rather than location or GPS that’s used by more conventional COVID-19 tracking measures, including India’s Aarogya Setu app.
Moving on, iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 will also allow users of the newer iPhones and iPad Pros to unlock their devices “faster” while wearing protective masks. Newer means all iPhones and iPad Pros that ship with Apple’s Face ID biometrics. Once updated to iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5, such iPhones and iPad Pros will bypass face unlock and directly switch to passcode mode if the user has a mask on.
There are other changes too, in iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5, in addition to the usual big fixes. For instance, in iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5, users will be able to control automatic prominence of video tiles on Group FaceTime calls so all tiles will remain similarly sized — as opposed to the tile of the person currently speaking becoming larger.