• Apple has released iOS 13.5
  • The new iOS version aims to make the iPhone more useful amid the COVID-19 pandemic
  • It includes health- and ease of use-focused features and enhancements

Apple has officially released iOS 13.5, the latest iOS version for iPhones. The new version adds features and enhancements focusing on making the iPhone a more helpful tool amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

iOS 13.4 was supposed to be the last major iOS 13 update before Apple releases iOS 14, iPhoneHacks reported. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, was enough reason for Cupertino to work on adding new features to iOS 13, most notably the controversial contact tracing system and exposure notification API.

Here's what's new with iOS 13.5, according to the release notes (via 9To5Mac):

Exposure Notification API

iOS 13.5 includes the exposure notification API that will support contact tracing apps from respective public health authorities. This is not an app; rather, it's a feature that users can enable if they have a contact tracing app installed on their device.

When enabled, this feature will allow iPhone users to receive alerts if they have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Users will be given freedom to decide whether to opt-in or not. Those who are positive with the virus are also given freedom whether to upload the information or not.

Simplified Authentication

Apple added a feature that will simplify the unlock process when users are wearing masks. Face ID doesn't work with masks, so iOS 13.5 will automatically take mask-wearing users to the Passcode Screen so they can unlock their handsets. The feature also works when authenticating with apps that support signing in with Face ID, including the Appe Store, Apple Pay, Apple Books, iTunes and more.

Automatic Medical ID sharing

iOS 13.5 gives users the option to automatically share their Medical ID with emergency services when an emergency call is placed. This feature will assist users in getting appropriate medical help faster. This feature works in the U.S. only.

Control over automatic prominence

COVID-19 brought about a rise in the number of users relying on video chat platforms to communicate. In response, Apple updated FaceTime so that it will allow users to disable the “automatic prominence” feature that changes the sizes of video tiles whenever a call participant speaks.

The iOS 13.5 update also includes bug fixes for some issues. Users can update by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

iPhone 11 Pro Unboxing iPhone 11 Pro. Photo: Aaron Yoo(CC BY-ND 2.0)