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  • Cheryl Tan

Apple Unveils iOS 13.5 With Plenty of QOL Features Regarding Covid-19

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Apple users who typically use Face Unlock as their security option might be frustrated recently because the requirements to wear masks do interfere with the ability of the phone to scan one’s face. Apple’s iOS 13.5 update has now rolled out with some quality of life features that definitely will be appreciated.


Instead of having to wait for the Face Unlock to fail, users can now swipe up to start the unlocking process and once the phone detects that there’s a foreign object obscuring the user’s nose and mouth, it will automatically pull up the passcode keypad.


Additionally, Apple and Google have been working on their Exposure Notification API, a Bluetooth-based contact tracing solution that will work on both Android and iOS devices.


The system works by generating two keys, a key that’s unique to the user, as well as a Daily Tracing Key based on the unique key. The daily tracing key generates a Rolling Proximity Identifier (RPI), which is the information that is exchanged over Bluetooth. The RPI is not linked to the unique key, thus ensuring privacy.


If a user is diagnosed positive with Covid-19 and informs their health authority, they will be asked if they give permission to upload their last 14 days of Daily Tracing Keys to a server. Any close contacts that also use the system will be notified then.

With regards to TraceTogether in Singapore, it’s unknown at this time if the app will use this API. As of 21 May 2020, the app has not been updated to support the API. If the app does use the Exposure Notification API however, it means that iPhone users will no longer have to leave their phone screens on to have TraceTogether active.


There were complaints previously of the app draining battery life for iPhone users, so this would be a big step forward if the API is supported.


And of course, with safe distancing measures in place, plenty of people are turning to video calling software to stay in touch with their loved ones. FaceTime also has an update, with the option to stop the app from resizing video tiles whenever the person speaking changes.


The full list of changes in iOS 13.5 can be found on Apple’s website.

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