Hands-on: IOS 13.5 and iPad OS 13.5 can do that


Apple has released iOS 13.5 for iPhones and iPad 13.5 for iPad. Some are already calling it Apple’s year updates and highlighting the new features, which are primarily aligned with the Corona pandemic. Mask detection and contact tracing API are the keywords here.

The most important innovations in iOS 13.5

  • Contact tracking API for government COVID-19 apps with opt-in function
  • Face mask recognition for Face ID with faster input for unlock code
  • Security patch for Apple’s Mail app

Cover-upwear and Face ID – a difficult story

When talking about face masks, a topic immediately flared up among iPhone users: Then Face ID certainly doesn’t work anymore! This is absolutely right, the facial recognition algorithm needs to see large parts of your face so that it can make a distinction between different people. And that works with a face mask that covers the mouth, nose and chin, not. Apple has reacted to this quite quickly and has already integrated face mask recognition in the beta versions of iOS 13.5. It still doesn’t work the way you’d want it to be – the face with mask isn’t recognized – but now at least it’s noticed that someone wants to protect their fellow human beings here and the alternative code entry starts immediately.

Why face mask recognition makes sense in iOS

Apple uses Face ID not only to unlock the devices, but also as an authentication mechanism for Apple Pay. And since many of us are discovering the conveniences of contactless numbers with the iPhone, it is striking that Face ID is annoying in the supermarket. The new feature bypasses Face ID for mask wearers and immediately offers alternative code entry. This is fast enough and works smoothly, as Mac Life can attest after a first attempt.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that all apps respond that way. For example, we noticed in authentication apps that Face ID cannot be replaced by code input. This also applies to some banking apps. Here, the protection interest is so high that the simple unlock code is not an alternative.

Corona, Corona, Corona

The tracing interface developed in cooperation with Google for the state-owned COVID-19 app is now also active. This does not help German users yet, because the state-run Corona contact tracking app is not yet ready. It will use this interface.

(Image: Apple/Google)

The feature works with Bluetooth and detects if you’ve been close to a person infected with Corona for a certain period of time who is also using the app. However, the infected person must specify his or her status in the app. For this purpose, he will probably receive a barcode for scanning from the doctor. It is possible to disable contact tracking at any time. By the way, the contact tracking interface is disabled from the start – you have to turn it on first.

An important distinction: it is a tracing interface and not a tracking of infected people. Location data is not mixed up. In addition, the state or Apple or Google will not receive your IDs generated by the app.

What else but Corona?

We know that many people can’t hear the word Corona anymore, so we’ve been looking for small but subtle changes in iOS 13.5 and the iPad counterpart iPadOS 13.5 and found it.

Facetime group talks get less hectic

Those who were annoyed by the zooming in on the video tiles in Facetime group conversations can now be completely reassured. In iPadOS 13.5 and iOS 13.5, you can turn off the magnification of the currently speaking user. Video calls could be less hectic.

Emergency pass and emergency SOS are combined

New to iOS 13.5 and watchOS 6.2.5 is the combination of emergency pass and emergency SOS. As with contact tracking, the user can decide for himself whether he wants to do so at all. If so, the new emergency SOS function will also send the emergency passport data to the rescuers. This makes sense, for example, in the case of allergies.

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But there is also criticism. Is the function generally as successful as one might think at first glance? Why should physicians trust the information typed in by the patient himself? In blood groups, for example, the blood group is always redefined before a transfusion, even if the patient carries his vaccination passport with him or hershould be

Apple Music and Instagram united

In the new operating systems, song titles with cover style can be shared directly on Apple Music out on Instagram. An animated background is even automatically created to make the image appear more attractive.

Bug fixes and security updates for the Mail app

As with any operating system update, iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 feature bug fixes and performance improvements.

The release notes state that some video streams that previously remained black on iOS will be fully displayed again. Unfortunately, Apple did not reveal which streams affected this. Apple has also fixed a bug in the share sheet for apps. Sometimes it was empty, so users couldn’t share content.

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Two particularly critical gaps in iOS’s mail app have also been fixed. Previously, even the BSI had warned against using the app and strongly recommended its removal. The method of attack was perfidious. A compromised email was sent to the victim to take over the iPhone or iPad. It didn’t even need to be opened in iOS 13. Incidentally, the gap has existed since iOS 6 and remained undiscovered until recently. It has already been exploited to steal data. The issues raised by groomed emails have now been fixed so that the Mail app can be safely used with iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5.

Should I play iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 right away?

We know such and such users. If you want to use the mail app, don’t hesitate with the update. In other cases, the update is not strictly necessary, but a nice-to-have. Of course, it is always recommended to make a fresh backup before playing. Some readers told us that performance slumps occurred on older iOS devices after the update was run. It is not yet possible to say whether these are indexing operations that abate over time, or whether they are serious problems.

How do you like the update if you’ve already played it? Are there any performance issues? Report us!

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