iOS 13.5: All The New Features, Including COVID-19 Contact Tracing

iOS 13.5: All The New Features, Including COVID-19 Contact Tracing

This week Apple released iOS 13.5 to the public and with it came some COVID-19 related features such as Exposure Notification System and Face ID improvements to help with mask-wearing. Here’s the full list of what’s new.

iOS 13 Coronavirus Tracing Update

The biggest new feature is the new Exposure Notification System API which Apple developed in collaboration with Google. Using bluetooth beacons it allows users to be notified if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive to COVID-19. Importantly, it will only work if the functionality has been rolled into a contact tracing app, such as COVIDSafe here in Australia.

According to the DTA, Australia is still in the testing phases, so we don’t know when the Exposure Notification System may be utilised with COVIDSafe. So if you have downloaded iOS 13.5 your phone will have the capability to use the new API but it won’t actually be doing anything yet.

It’s also important to note that consent and privacy has played a major part in the API’s development. Updating to iOS 13.5 does not mean you will be forced to engage with contact tracing. If you are interested in a deeper breakdown and what we know about the API, its privacy and its impact on Australia so far, we have an article about it here.

Everything You Need To Know About Apple And Google's Contact Tracing Software In Australia

On Thursday Apple and Google released their COVID-19 contact tracing API to countries across the world, including Australia. The technology, known as a Exposure Notifications System, has been released to public health agencies (PHA) for their use is developing or improving their own contact tracing apps, such as COVIDSafe.

Read more

iOS 13.5 Face ID For Masks

iOS 13.5 has also updated the device unlock process to detect when the user is wearing a face mask. If it detects one you can swipe up from the bottom of the phone to bring up the passcode option.

This functionality will also work for authentication with Apple Pay and all other apps that include Face ID as a sign-in option.


iOS 13.5 Group FaceTime

The last update now gives users to control Group FaceTime calls so the tiles don’t change when another person speaks.


What iPhones can updates to iOS 13?

Anyone with an iPhone 6S or later can get iOS 13 and all of its patch updates. Select iPad and iPod Touch devices are compatible as well. Here’s the full list.

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone SE 2020
  • iPod touch (7th generation)
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • 11-inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

How To Update To iOS 13.5

You can do this through an over the air update by going to Settings > General > Software Update.