iOS 13.5 update for iPhones is reportedly set to to roll out for all users soon, bringing a much needed update that makes it easier for iPhone users to unlock their devices while wearing masks. The update takes into account the prevailing healthcare regulations across the world, which suggests individuals to wear masks at all times in public. Alongside the update to Face ID to accommodate masks on faces, Apple’s iOS 13.5 update will also bring the Exposure Notification API, which Apple built in collaboration with Google to enable seamless integration of Covid-19 contact tracing apps by national or regional healthcare departments.
According to 9to5Mac, the iOS 13.5 release notes state that iPhone users looking to unlock their devices while wearing a face mask will automatically see the numeric passcode field presented to them as soon as they turn on the iPhone display and attempt to unlock the device. This small but crucial enhancement may significantly help ease the ordeal for users, who are now stuck at either needing to remove their masks in order to unlock their iPhones, or wait for repeated failed face recognition attempts to register, before the passcode field turns up automatically. The update may be of significant help to healthcare professionals, for whom repeatedly removing their face masks or waiting too long to be able to unlock their devices can be a major deterrent.
Furthermore, the iOS 13.5 update also brings to devices the Exposure Notification API, developed jointly with Google in order to enable cross-platform Covid-19 contact tracing. While the update is being rolled out worldwide, what remains to be seen here is how this update reflects in Aarogya Setu, India’s official Covid-19 contact tracing smartphone application. While the API will be introduced in all iPhones, contact tracing app developers will be required to enable the use of the API by the respective apps, in order for them to come into effect. Apple and Google’s contact tracing API has paid heed to privacy debates around contact tracing, and it now remains to be seen as to how this update reflects upon all the existing contact tracing apps across the world.
Other aspects of the iOS 13.5 update include minor fixes to FaceTime group video calls, a black screen issue in some video streaming apps (names of apps unspecified) and a bug in the slide-out menu that appears when you try to share a file from your iPhone. With the iOS 13.5 GM (golden master) version of the update out for developers already, it now remains to be seen as to how soon can Apple push this update as a fully prepared stable build to all users.