iOS 13.5 features: the new coronavirus features included in Apple's update, and how to download it

(Photo: Shutterstock)(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock)
An update to Apple's iOS 13 software for iPhone and iPad is now available to download, and contains a raft of new features and upgrades

iOS 13.5 introduces features that the tech giant hopes will be vital in helping to curb the spread of Covid-19.

It also brings a number of 'quality of life' upgrades to users, which seem rather trivial in comparison.

Here's everything you need to know:

The new COVIDSafe app by the Australian government (Photo: SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)The new COVIDSafe app by the Australian government (Photo: SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
The new COVIDSafe app by the Australian government (Photo: SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

What coronavirus features are included?

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The 'headline' update is the arrival of the Exposure Notification API, which will allow coronavirus contact tracing across both Apple and Google devices.

iOS and Google's Android operating systems run on 98 per cent of phones and tablets globally, and the joint effort to permit devices to be used for contact tracing will enable authorities to track people who have been exposed to coronavirus carriers.

The feature uses Bluetooth technology to track phones that are within close proximity to each other, allowing health officials to easily identify anyone who has been close to someone with Covid-19.

It's not something that will be apparent to many users, and the initial phase of the roll-out requires users to download apps from public health authorities in order to enable contact tracing on their devices.

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Apple say that public health bodies like the US' Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have already requested access to the API.

"In the coming months", Apple and Google plan to do away with the need for dedicated apps and bake "a broader, Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform" into their operating systems directly.

But the feature won't be getting used for contact tracing in the UK.

The NHS confirmed it would be using its own centralised system over the decentralised approach favoured by the tech companies, despite fears its methods will not be as secure or efficient.

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Another new feature tailor made for the age of coronavirus is the update to Face ID.

With the update, your iPhone or iPad will now skip Face ID authentication and go directly to the passcode screen if it detects the user is wearing a mask.

The passcode field will be automatically presented after swiping up from the bottom of the lock screen; this will work with the App Store, Apple Books, Apple Pay, iTunes, and other apps.

What else is new?

Aside from the Exposure Notification API and the changes to Face ID, the other new updates seem slightly less important given the circumstances, and seem to solve some 'first world problems'.

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On FaceTime - something that many people will have been making more use of recently - there is now the option to control automatic prominence on group calls, so video tiles do not change size when a participant speaks.

The update also includes bug fixes and improvements, like fixing an issue where users would see a black screen when trying to play streaming video from some websites.

How do I download iOS 13.5?

You can update to iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 on your iPhone or iPad by heading to the Settings app, then choosing 'General', then 'Software Update'.

If you are not yet being given the option to update your device, don't fret; the update is rolling out and you should see it soon.

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