News: Apple Releases iOS 13.5 for Public Beta Testers, Includes Updates to Face ID, COVID-19 Exposure Notifications & More

Apple Releases iOS 13.5 for Public Beta Testers, Includes Updates to Face ID, COVID-19 Exposure Notifications & More

Apple just released iOS 13.5 for public beta testers today, Monday, May 18. The GM (golden master) for iOS 13.5 arrives just three hours after Apple released it to iPhone developers, and 12 days after the release of iOS 13.5 dev beta 4.

Apple released this update at 1 p.m. PDT. While not a surprise, as Apple often releases software for public beta testers at this time, we also anticipated a 10 a.m. PDT release time for tomorrow. If you're a public tester, this is good news for you, as you won't need to wait for software that developers received three hours prior.

After testing the developer release of the 13.5 GM seed, we haven't seen many new features or changes. So far, it appears the COVID-19 exposure logging settings page is now deactivated, as we await apps to activate the API and take advantage of the technology.

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

That said, 13.5 as a whole does add new features to the mix. 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. That's not to mention updates to Face ID to make your iPhone easier to unlock with a mask, changes to Group FaceTime Tiles, among other new additions 13.5 brings to the table.

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 download and install the iOS 13.5 GM, 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.

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Cover image by Marques Brownlee/YouTube

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