As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple released iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 today with two new features. Both these features will encourage people to stay safe.
The most prominent amongst them is simplified face unlocking for devices with Face ID. This means users will be able to unlock their phones even if they’re wearing a face mask. In addition to this, support for the first phase of Apple and Google’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing apps is also released.
Technology can help health officials rapidly tell someone they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Today the Exposure Notification API we created with @Google is available to help public health agencies make their COVID-19 apps effective while protecting user privacy.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 20, 2020
Is Apple making any other changes?
In addition to making changes to Face ID and launching relevant features to support Exposure Notification API, Apple is also changing the way automatic prominence feature works during Group FaceTime calls.
Presently, when you make a Group Call via FaceTime, the video tile of the person speaking is highlighted, but with this new update, the user will have an option to disable the feature.
Moreover, for US users, Apple also added an option to share health and other information via Medical ID automatically.
The update is not only about adding features. It also included some bug fixes like:
- Black screen while streaming video and playing them.
- Sharing sheet suggestions not loading.
What made Apple make changes to Face ID?
While using older versions of iOS users with Face Mask were facing problems in using Face ID. This means they had to wait for a couple of seconds for the phone to identify their face. In most cases, Face detection failed due to which users were facing problems. To resolve it and to make Face ID more efficient during these times when Face Mask is important, Apple had to make changes.
The change made in iOS 13.5 will now give users an option to enter the passcode when they swipe up once from the bottom of the screen.
How will Contact tracing work?
Since iOS 13.5 supports Google and Apple’s exposure notification API, users will be able to use the apps developed by public health agencies. This means they will be notified if they have met someone who is coronavirus positive.
But this system will only work if you have installed an app that uses this API.
If you have the app installed, the device will enable the feature and will send out a signal using Bluetooth that will have a Bluetooth identifier. From there, Exposure Notification API will download a list of keys from the device to which the signals have been sent. This will give information if you have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient.
However, Apple and Google will soon build functionality into the operating systems so that they can be notified if they have been exposed to the virus.
This shows how technology is advancing and in unprecedented times like this how tech companies play an important part. To help people, both Apple and Google have come together, and the API they have developed will certainly be supportive.
In addition to this, changes made to Face ID encourages people to wear masks and stay safe.
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