After three rounds of beta testing, Apple finally released iOS 13.3.1 today, Jan. 28. It's the latest update to iOS 13, coming exactly seven weeks after the release of iOS 13.3. So, what's new?
Apple dropped iOS 13.3.1 at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST) five days after it seeded beta 3 to developers. In hindsight, that last beta update was a good signal that a public release was coming, as the update included virtually no new surface-level features or changes.
In general, iOS 13.3.1 is a stability patch. Through beta testing, we knew that 13.3.1 included a fix for a Communication Limits bug, where contacts could be added to an iPhone without entering the correct Screen Time passcode. That said, we also learned it adds a toggle to disable location services for the UWB chip found in the 2019 iPhones.
Thanks to the release notes, we now know that 13.3.1 also includes two bug fixes for Mail, one that stops multiple undo dialogs from appearing, and another for a bug where remote images would still load with "Load Remote Images" disabled. This second fix is particularly important — "remote images" aren't just the photos in your emails. They also include pixel trackers, which are included in emails to track your activity. These pixels notify the sender whether or not you've opened the email in question, and can even send along when and where you opened it. Apple's Mail program thankfully makes loading remote images optional, so when disabled, you're protected from this type of tracking — unless, of course, the feature is buggy.
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You'll also see a fix for failed push notification delivery over Wi-Fi, in addition to introducing support for Indian English Siri voices for HomePod. There's a bug fix for the slight delay when taking photos using Deep Fusion, Apple's intelligent camera feature for the 2019 iPhones. CarPlay calls will no longer sound distorted in certain cars, and FaceTime will no longer use the ultra-wide cameras on the 2019 iPhones when the wide camera is supposed to be used.
You can view the full release notes below:
iOS 13.3.1 includes bug fixes and improvements. This update:
- Fixes an issue in Communication Limits that could allow a contact to be added without entering the Screen Time passcode
- Adds a setting to control the use of location services by the U1 Ultra Wideband chip
- Addresses an issue that could cause a momentary delay before editing a Deep Fusion photo taken on iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro
- Resolves an issue with Mail that could cause remote images to load even when the "Load Remote Images" setting is disabled
- Fixes an issue that could cause multiple undo dialogs to appear in Mail
- Addresses an issue where FaceTime could use the rear facing ultra-wide camera instead of the wide camera
- Resolves an issue where push notifications could fail to be delivered over Wi-Fi
- Addresses a CarPlay issue that could cause distorted sound when making phone calls in certain vehicles
- Introduces support for Indian English Siri voices for HomePod
For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:
To update to iOS 13.3.1, open the Settings app on your iPhone, then tap "General" –> "Software Update." Follow the on-screen instructions to begin downloading the software to your device, then continue to start updating. You can also just wait for it to install automatically if you have "Automatic Updates" enabled.
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