Apple releases iOS 13.5 public beta with COVID-19 features

iOS 13.5

Apple has launched the latest iOS 13.5 beta to the public through the Apple Beta Software Program. The finished update is expected to drop later this month, with new features mostly related to the global coronavirus pandemic. Siri has already been updated to deliver answers to questions regarding COVID-19, and Apple has launched a separate screening website and app.

iOS 13.5 continues along these lines, with COVID-19 contact tracing capabilities added to the Health app. Public health agencies across the globe can use the feature to develop their own apps, which use anonymous Bluetooth beacons to log COVID-19 exposures. Anyone who was in proximity to a person who tested positive for the disease can receive a notification on their mobile device. These features were developed by Apple in partnership with Google.

For those often wearing a face mask, iOS 13.5 makes it easier to skip Face ID when wearing a mask. Instead of waiting for a Face ID scan and tapping the screen to enter a passcode, the biometric security feature quickly recognizes the user is wearing a mask and prompts for a passcode immediately.

iOS 13.5 also tweaks Group FaceTime calls, which currently support up to 32 people on one call. An option under Settings -> FaceTime -> Speaking can toggle automatic prominence, which normally makes the person speaking larger on the screen. When many people are speaking on a call, this can mean a lot of bouncing around. Toggling this feature off calms things down by keeping everyone on the screen the same size.

Profile signing certificate iPhone
As usual, installing the public beta requires enrolling your device to install the beta program profile on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.