News: Apple Releases iOS 13.5 for Developers, Includes Face ID Updates, COVID-19 Exposure Notification Logging & More

Apple Releases iOS 13.5 for Developers, Includes Face ID Updates, COVID-19 Exposure Notification Logging & More

Apple just released iOS 13.5 for iPhone developers today, Monday, May 18. This GM (golden master) update comes 12 days after the release of iOS 13.5 dev beta 4, which introduced updated COVID-19 exposure notification logging settings and the ability to share your Medical ID with first responders when placing an emergency call.

Apple released this update at 10 a.m. PDT, the company's usual release time for developer updates. The keyword in that sentence is developer, as this software is exclusive to registered developers. If you're a public beta tester, you'll need to wait for Apple to seed the 13.5 public GM, which we expect to see at either 1 p.m. PDT today, or 10 a.m. PDT tomorrow.

The only new change we see so far in the GM from dev beta 4 is the COVID-19 exposure logging settings page. Now, the page reads "Not available in your region." We expect Apple is waiting until apps can take advantage of the API before making this settings page available to the public.

COVID-19 Exposure Logging settings in iOS 13.5 GM (left) vs. 13.5 public beta 3 (right).

Last week's 13.5 dev beta 4 introduced updates to the exposure notification settings we saw first in dev beta 3, including new exposure "logging" settings that are not yet active. In addition, Apple included an update to Medical ID — now, your information can be shared with first responders when placing an emergency call or text.

These features, plus others introduced in dev beta 1, dev beta 2, and dev beta 3, add up to six new features and changes that belong to iOS 13.5. We will need to see if this GM adds any more features to the mix.

iOS 13.5 GM Seed Release Notes

iOS 13.5 speeds up access to the passcode field on devices with Face ID when you are wearing a face mask and introduces the Exposure Notification API to support COVID-19 contact tracing apps from public health authorities. This update also introduces an option to control automatic prominence of video tiles on Group FaceTime calls and includes bug fixes and other improvements.

Face ID and Passcode

  • Simplified unlock process for devices with Face ID when you are wearing a face mask
  • Passcode field automatically presented after swiping up from the bottom of the Lock screen when you are wearing a face mask
  • Also works when authenticating with the App Store, Apple Books, Apple Pay, iTunes, and other apps that support signing in with Face ID

Exposure Notification

  • Exposure Notification API to support COVID-19 contact tracing apps from public health authorities

FaceTime

  • Option to control automatic prominence on Group FaceTime calls so video tiles do not change size when a participant speaks

Emergency Services

  • Option to automatically share health and other essential information from your Medical ID with emergency services when you place an emergency call (US only)

This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements.

  • Fixes an issue where users may see a black screen when trying to play streaming video from some websites
  • Addresses an issue in the share sheet where suggestions and actions may not load

Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

To update your iPhone to the iOS 13.5 GM seed, you'll need to be a registered developer. You can use the restore image for your iPhone available in the Developer portal (install with iTunes or Finder) or install the configuration profile, then update over the air. If you already have the profile installed on your iPhone, head over to Settings –> General –> Software Update to start installing the latest beta build, or you can wait until it installs automatically if "Automatic Updates" is enabled.

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Cover image by Marques Brownlee/YouTube

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