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iOS 13.5 and its New Features

Posted on August 20, 2020

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iOS 13.5 is finally open to the public domain and its latest features are explicably incorporated to help users in the changing global scenario. Apple’s latest release amongst other features has two new ones, enhancements to Face ID and the Exposure Notification API.


Exposure Notification System API

Besides the Face ID update, another major update is the Exposure Notification API created in partnership with Google. Designed to allow public health authorities to handle contact tracing apps for the current pandemic, the API works in the background.

When the user enables the feature and installs a verified contact tracing app, the device will keep sending beacons from time to time via the Bluetooth functionality. This will enable the Exposure Notification API to download a list of keys for the authenticated beacons of those people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and verify against that list. On a match, the user would be alerted and sent recommendations on the next steps.

This particular update ensures that public health care agencies can initiate the installation of their apps that benefit from the Exposure Notification API feature. The feature takes into account the agencies’ feedback which incorporates:

  • The constitution of an exposed event as per the agencies;
  • Ascertaining the number of exposures a person has had;
  • The risk of transmission in positive cases also factored in the definition of an exposure event;
  • And the ability to contact exposed users basis an API and data combination made by voluntary inputs from the users.

Further privacy adjustments have been made by Apple and Google, which generate temporary exposure keys randomly as opposed to those originating from a tracing key, all Bluetooth associated metadata’s now encoded to disallow easy identification of a COVID-19 positive person.

This particular technology enables better apps functioning. It allows users to choose opting for Exposure Notifications without the hassle of personal data being collected from the device. And if someone’s detected positive to COVID-19, the choice lies with them to report it in the public healthcare app.


Face ID

iOS 13.5 has updated the unlocking process. It has become easier to unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask. On detection, the update allows the user to access the passcode option by swiping up from the bottom of the phone. However, this functionality is limited to iPhones with Face ID and all other apps as the sign-in option as well as Apple Pay authentication. This update is a blessing in disguise, especially for those in the healthcare sector.


Security Updates

The latest features in iOS 13.5 also cover two security challenges, also including the one that affected the mail app on both the iPhone and the iPad. The earlier susceptibility could allow attackers to remotely hack the device and consume a considerable volume of memory by sending emails. The update also took care of the problem of black screen surfacing during streaming video play on certain websites.


Group Facetime

Apple has also updated the functionality for Group Facetime with a new command to deactivate the automatic enlargement of the speaker’s inset. This feature can now be accessed from the ‘automatic prominence’ segment in the Facetime app setting.

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