What could Apple be planning here? Are we going to see some revolutionary new features for the iPhone? Will we see mostly bug fixes and security patches? It's time to find out, as Apple just released the first developer beta for iOS 13.4.
Apple seeded developers 13.4 dev beta 1 today, Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST), eight days after the official release of iOS 13.3.1. If you're a public beta tester, however, you won't see this update hit your iPhones just yet. You'll need to wait for 13.4 public beta 1, which will likely release tomorrow at 1 p.m. EST. It is possible, however unlikely, that the update will arrive today at 4 p.m. EST (1 p.m. PST), so keep an eye out in either case.
The first beta update in a cycle is always exciting since it usually adds new, unannounced features and changes to iOS. According to Apple's release notes, iOS 13.4 adds some new features to the mix. On iPadOS, you'll find new keyboard shortcuts in Photos for navigating tags, searching, and creating albums. You can also delete, duplicate, and enter edit mode in full screen using keyboard shorcuts. You won't find this on iOS, but most users don't navigate Photos on their iPhone with a keyboard anyway.
Not mentioned in the release notes is the addition of new Memoij stickers. By our count, Apple added nine new stickers based on your Memojis. However, there are no new stickers for Animojis.
In addition, Mail adds two options to the bottom row of the email viewer. Instead of just the "Delete" and "Reply" options, you now get "Move" and "Flag" options as well.
What else is new?
- 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 iPhone X 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 in Accessibility –> Siri, which will listen for Hey Siri commands even when your iPhone is face down or covered
There are also some bugs, however. After you check out a specific app's settings, then return to the main Settings page, Settings might quit; you can't download this beta via Restore Image on iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max; and Photos might not sync correctly to Apple Watch, among other developer-specific bugs. You can check out the full release notes below:
iOS & iPadOS 13.4 Beta Release Notes
The iOS & iPadOS 13.4 SDK provides support for developing 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 Release Notes.
General - Known Issues
- After viewing specific app settings and then returning to the main Settings page, the Settings app might quit unexpectedly. (59124369)
- iOS 13.4 beta is available for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max using the Configuration Profile. Installation using the Restore Image isn't currently available for these models. (59163378)
CarPlay - Known Issues
- If the Siri interface no longer appears as expected, try restarting your phone. (58685659)
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. (58345344)
RealityKit - Known Issues
- The code-generated loading methods don't load Reality Files. (58925510) Workaround: Use the load(contentsOf:withName:) and loadAnchor(contentsOf:withName:) methods without specifying the scene name in the URL. If you have multiple scenes in your Reality Composer project, please create individual Reality Files and Reality Composer projects for each scene and load them using these methods.
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)
To update your iPhone to iOS 13.4 dev beta 1, you will 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.
Note: according to Apple, iOS 13.4 dev beta 1 is available for iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max using the Configuration Profile only, not the Restore Image. All other 13.4 compatible iPhones appear to be unaffected.