News: Apple Releases iOS 13.4 Public Beta 2 for iPhone with New TV Settings & Mail Shortcuts

Apple Releases iOS 13.4 Public Beta 2 for iPhone with New TV Settings & Mail Shortcuts

When it comes to iOS beta updates, developers get their updates first, and once they do, public testers play the waiting game. Sometimes Apple releases the public version three hours later. Other times it waits 24 hours. It's a roll of the dice almost every time. As for iOS 13.4 public beta 2, it's the latter case, coming exactly one after developer beta 2.

To be specific, 13.4 public beta 2 came out today, Feb. 20, at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST). We've had the pleasure of testing out the dev version for 24 hours, so we've had plenty of time to see what beta 2 would include. The answer? Not a ton, but not a little, either.

Brand new to beta 2 is a suite of settings for the TV app. Under the new Streaming Options section, there's:

  • Use Cellular Data: Toggled off, but you can enable it to stream movies and TV shows when Wi-Fi is unavailable. Just make sure your cellular plan can handle all of that data.
  • Cellular: If you turn on "Use Cellular Data," you can pick "Data Saver" (up to 600 MB per hour) or "High Quality" (uses more data, but not stated).
  • Wi-Fi: Here, you can pick the same "Data Saver" and "High Quality" options. However, Data Saver goes up to 1 GB per hour. Data Saver can come in handy when connected to a personal hotspot or when you're low on bandwidth.

There's also a new Download Options heading with the following options.

  • Use Cellular Data: Just like the streaming setting above and also off by default.
  • Cellular: With the "Use Cellular Data" toggle on, choose either "Fast Downloads" or "High Quality." The latter will take longer.
  • Wi-Fi: There's also "Fast Downloads" and "High Quality" picks here.
  • Audio Languages: If you want to listen to a film or TV series in a different language than your current region, you can add audio for other languages. Matching subtitles will also be included for each language, as well as audio descriptions if it's enabled in Accessibility. If your chosen language isn't available for a movie or TV show, Apple will use the default language.

The Mail toolbar now looks more like it did in iOS 12. The first beta added back the Move and Flag buttons, but beta 2 takes away the brief reappearance of Flag to throw back in the Compose shortcut. Really, Apple should just add Flag back to match iOS 12 since they're already thinking that anyway.

Also new is a slight tweak to the "Home Button" settings in "General" where it changed from "Choose Your Clicks" to "Home Button Haptic" with a better description of what the tool is for (changing how the button feels). There's a new prompt when turning on AssistiveTouch for the first time that asks you if you want to add "Dwell" and "Scroll" to the top-level customization.

And hidden in the code are hints that there are two more computer mice supported, the Corsair Harpoon RGB Gaming Mouse and MX Anywhere 2, as well as the suggestion that CarKey will let you share your key with others via iMessage.

According to Apple's release notes, the QuickType Keyboard supports predictive input for Arabic and live conversion for Japanese and Chinese (Zhuyin). The update also fixes an issue where the Siri interface in CarPlay might not work as expected.

You can see the full release notes below:


The iOS & iPadOS 13.4 SDK provides support to develop apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices running iOS & iPadOS 13.4. The SDK comes bundled with Xcode 11.4, available from Beta Software Downloads. For information on the compatibility requirements for Xcode 11.4, see Xcode 11.4 Beta 2 Release Notes.

General - Known Issues

  • After a user views specific app settings and then returns to the main Settings page, the Settings app might quit unexpectedly. (59124369
  • To install iOS 13.4 beta 2 using the Restore Image, first install Xcode 11.4 beta 2.

CarPlay - Resolved Issues

  • Fixed an issue where the Siri interface may not appear as expected. (58685659)

Keyboard - New Features

  • QuickType Keyboard now supports predictive input for Arabic.
  • QuickType Keyboard now supports live Conversion for Japanese and Chinese (Zhuyin).
  • Keyboard now supports Swiss German layout for 12.9" iPad layout.

Keyboard - Resolved Issues

  • 12.9" iPad layouts for several languages now match the hardware keyboard layouts accurately.

Location Services - New Features

  • When an app requests Always authorization for the first time after having previously been authorized for While Using the App, the device immediately presents the location authorization prompt. (57106235)

Photos - New Features

  • New keyboard shortcuts are available in Photos on iPadOS, which allow you to quickly navigate between tabs, search, and create albums. While in full screen mode, you can also delete, duplicate, and enter Edit mode using a keyboard. (57195967)

Photos - Known Issues

  • Photos might not sync as expected to Apple Watch. (59324590)

RealityKit - Resolved Issues

  • The code-generated loading methods load Reality Files. (58925510)

SwiftUI - New Features

  • When using a NavigationView with multiple columns, the navigation bar now shows a control to toggle the columns. (49074511)
  • The onDrag and onDrop modifiers are now available on iOS. (49661347)

You can see just how stark an update beta 2 is when compared to beta 1's features list:

  • 9 New Memoji stickers
  • An update Mail toolbar, featuring "Move" and "Flag" options
  • Developers can now sell iOS and macOS apps as one purchase
  • iCloud Folder sharing is back; Family Sharing integration is now supported in TV
  • Third-party navigation and new call controls support in CarPlay
  • Control Center on Home-button iPhones resembles the layout of Face ID devices, with network information in the top left and battery information in the top right
  • When an app previously authorized for "While Using the App" location permission requests "Always" authorization, your iPhone will then show the location authorization prompt
  • You can now create Shazam shortcuts
  • A new "Always Listen for 'Hey Siri' " option which will listen for commands even when your iPhone is face down or covered
  • You'll see a new temporary VPN Disabled icon in the status bar
  • You can tell Siri to go to the home screen
  • Apple Music lyrics identify instrumental sections with an ellipsis

To download and install iOS 13.4 public beta 2, sign up through Apple's beta site, download and install the configuration profile, then update over the air. If you already have the profile, go to Settings –> General –> Software Update to begin the installation of the latest beta build, or you can wait until it installs automatically if "Automatic Updates" is enabled.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image and screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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