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Everything you need to know about iOS and iPadOS 13.2


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Everything you need to know about iOS and iPadOS 13.2

AirPods Pro support, Deep Fusion photography, and new emoji are part of the update.

Today, Apple released iOS 13.2, iPadOS 13.2, and tvOS 13.2 for supported iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Apple TV devices. The company also released a minor update labeled iOS 12.4.3 for iPhones and iPads that saw end-of-support with last month's iOS 13 release.

iOS and iPadOS 13.2 represents the first major new feature release since iOS 13 came out several weeks ago. Up to this point, Apple's unusually frequent updates have been focused on either bug fixes or on introducing features that were originally planned for the first version of iOS 13.

 

There's a mixture of new and previously planned here, but it marks the biggest update yet for iOS 13 users. Additions include Deep Fusion computational photography for better low- and mid-light photos on the latest iPhones, the ability to opt-out or opt-in to sharing Siri voice recordings with Apple, support for AirPods Pro and the Announce Messages with Siri feature, a bunch of new emoji, new smart home features, and a number of bug fixes.

 

The updates are available today on all devices already supported by iOS 13, tvOS 13, and iPadOS.

Table of Contents

iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2

Choose whether to share Siri recordings with Apple

Like many of its peers in the tech industry, Apple recently found itself the subject of criticism for how it worked with third-party contractors to process and analyze recordings of its users' interactions with Siri in its efforts to improve the virtual assistant.

 

Reports indicated that Apple's contractors reviewed Siri recordings as part of a process to increase accuracy but that the contractors heard personal conversations and even sex. Devices sometimes even made accidental activations. Apple has sought to position Siri as the privacy-friendly alternative to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and Apple responded to the criticism swiftly by suspending that program and its relationship with the contractors. From that point on, only Apple employees would be able to analyze the recordings, the company said, and a software update would make even that opt-in.

 

iOS and iPadOS 13.2 represent that next step in Apple's efforts to address those complaints. Once users update, turning their devices on for the first time after said update will present them with a question: do you want to share Siri recordings with Apple for optimization purposes or not? Users make a decision one way or the other before proceeding to use the device, though they can change it later in the Settings app. This essentially makes sharing these recordings opt-in only.

Support for AirPods Pro and Announce Messages with Siri

Today, Apple also announced a new hardware product: AirPods Pro, more expensive versions of the popular AirPods wireless earbuds that feature improved sound quality, active noise cancelation, and some other new features. iOS 13.2 is timed closely with that release (AirPods Pro will be available on October 30), and updating your paired iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iOS 13.2 is required to use them, as the update adds features like the ability to enable or disable noise cancelation from your phone.

 

iOS and iPadOS 13.2 also bring a new feature to second-generation AirPods, Beats Pro, and AirPods Pro: "Announce Messages with Siri." When this is enabled, Siri can read your incoming text messages to you through your AirPods without requiring you to unlock your phone first.

Deep Fusion computational photography

Supported on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max only, Deep Fusion captures multiple images at different exposure levels in rapid succession, then does a machine learning-driven, "pixel-by-pixel" analysis of the images. Apple says it composites what it deems to be the highest-quality parts of hte images into one image to reduce noise, better represent details and texture, and generally improve photo quality.

 

In practice, this means that the phone takes four images: three normal photos, and one long-exposure shot. It takes what it considers the best-quality normal photo and merges it with the long-exposure shot, then runs four different processing steps to come out with a final image. It is similar in basic concept to Smart HDR, an existing feature for iPhone cameras, but it differs in the steps it takes and how many images it uses.

 

As with other computational photography features, this happens under the hood and is largely not under your control. You cannot disable or enable it; the phone will decide to use Deep Fusion when the lighting calls for it; Apple says this feature is intended for "mid- to low-light scenes."

59 new emoji

As has become an annual custom, there are a bunch of new emoji. Apple's update notes say there are over 70, but it depends on how you count; they're are 59 new emoji concepts, but it's more than 70 if you account for versions for each gender. There are more than 200 if you factor in skin tone.

Additions include, but are not limited to, individuals in a wheelchair or with a cane, a bionic arm, swimsuits, an ice cube, butter, waffles, seeing-eye dogs, a sloth, a skunk, a Saturn-like planet with rings, coach cars, snorkeling gear, a banjo, a fire axe, a kite, a stethoscope, and, well, numerous others.

 

All these new emojis will automatically appear as options in the iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad's built-in emoji picker keyboard.

 

Listing image by Samuel Axon

Smart home features and HomeKit

Apple has teased this feature before, and it's now here; iOS 13.2 introduces HomeKit Security Video. (HomeKit is Apple's smart home platform.) Announced at the company's developer conference back in June, HomeKit Secure Video is Apple's answer to features from Google and others that automatically record short videos of people, animals, or cars that come into view of any home security cameras you have that are HomeKit-compatible.

 

Unlike offerings from some other smart home companies, Apple executives noted on the stage, this implementation does not immediately upload your footage to the cloud for analysis. Rather, it analyzes and processes the videos on a local device like an iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV, then encrypts them and places them in iCloud storage "where no one, not even Apple, can see it." Videos are stored for free for up to 10 days, and don't count against users existing iCloud storage plans. Users can access the videos themselves, or decrypt them with a key that is only available to them.

 

Additionally, Apple's update notes say that with this update, "HomeKit enabled routers put you in control of what your HomeKit accessories communicate with over the internet or in your home."

Bug fixes, security updates, and other small changes

As is the case with virtually every iOS or iPadOS software update, Apple has fixed a number of bugs. Issues addressed include one that frequently led to users being unable to pull up the on-screen keyboard when trying to perform a search, another that caused Messages to display phone numbers instead of contact names, and yet another that saw users' newly created notes vanishing in the Notes app. There are a few others too, and Apple claims "improved performance when using AssistiveTouch to activate App Switcher." Users should also see stored passwords appear as options more often within third-party apps.

 

This isn't documented in the patch notes, but Apple has renamed the "Rearrange Apps" option that appears when you do a long-press on a home screen app icon to "Edit Home Screen." Also, there is now an option right there in that pop-up context menu to delete that app directly; you previously had to go into the rearrange apps mode and then tap an X on the app in question, so this removes some steps to perform that action.

 

You can also now edit your video capture settings from right inside the Camera app on the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max, and there are new privacy settings that relate to Apple's opt-in Research app.

 

Apple includes a plethora of security updates with each release, and typically documents them on its website. Counter to the usual, that list of updates is not currently available, but the site promises they're forthcoming.

For older devices: iOS 12.4.3

iOS 13 already ended support for a number of older devices, including the following:

  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPad Air
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPod touch (6th generation)

Today, the company released a new software update for those devices that are not supported by iOS 13.2: iOS 12.4.3. Reports indicate that this is a very minor update that improves device security in the face of new threats, and that it brings minor two-factor authentication improvements to those devices.

 

Apple recently also issued a pop-up notification warning to iPhone 5 users that if they don't upgrade to at least iOS 10.3.4 by November 3, they could lose network connectivity and access to services like the App Store and iCloud. The iPhone 5 has not been sold since late 2013. Some other older iPhones must update to avoid a bug that would make GPS features nonfunctional, as well.

13.2 for Apple TV and HomePod

While iOS and iPadOS saw major updates today, Apple also released smaller packages for HomePods and modern Apple TV devices. Like its iPhone and iPad counterparts, tvOS 13.2 lets users decide whether they want to share Siri audio recording with Apple. Users will be presented with an explanation and a choice on whether to opt-in once when they boot up the device after updating.

 

It seems plausible that the tvOS update also lays some groundwork for Apple TV+, the streaming media service Apple plans to launch in just a couple of days, but we can't be sure from the information Apple has released.

 

The HomePod software update is more substantial, though it is technically classified as a subset of iOS 13.2. HomePod-releated release notes are as follows:

iOS 13.2 provides support for new HomePod features:

  • The ability for HomePod to recognize the voices of different family members to provide a personalized experience
  • Handoff music, podcasts or phone calls by bringing your iPhone close to HomePod
  • Add music to your HomeKit scenes
  • Play relaxing high-quality soundtracks with Ambient Sounds
  • Set sleep timers to fall asleep to music or Ambient Sounds

This update caps a rapid post-launch release cadence

As we’ve noted before, this continues to reflect a very aggressive update cadence. When Apple released iOS 12, the first bug fix update (12.0.1) came about three weeks later, and the first major feature update (12.1) arrived after that. From there, users waited more than a month for the following bug fix update (12.1.1).

 

By contrast, iOS 13 released on September 19, with the first feature release (iOS 13.1) a mere 5 days later on September 24. Two bug fix releases—13.1.1 and 13.1.2—followed within just one week, with a third arriving on October 15.

 

Apple has clearly changed its internal development processes for software updates. This could be in response to public criticisms of bugs in iOS 12, as well as a rocky launch for iOS 13.
Reviewers and early adopters widely noted that iOS 13 had some kinks at launch, and it didn’t instill confidence that Apple both held key iOS 13 features for 13.1, and actually launched the newest version of macOS weeks after the mobile operating system hit.

 

While it’s difficult to see behind Apple’s curtain and ascertain why iOS 13—which we deemed a major and attractive update despite its roughness around the edges—has had such a fast-paced launch period, former Apple engineer David Shayer wrote an article for TidBits speculating as to why Apple found itself in this situation, which could shed some light on it. Among his theories: lack of strong reporting tools for non-crashing bugs, triage and scheduling challenges, and ballooning complexity, among other things.

 

In any case, this marks the second major feature release for iOS 13, and whereas iOS 13.1 primarily just introduced features that were meant for the initial iOS 13 launch, iOS 13.2 is in both timing and feature set an equivalent to iOS 12.1—the first major “new features” update after the launch.

Full iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 update notes

Here are the complete update notes for iOS 13.2 written by Apple. The iPadOS 13.2 notes are the same, but with the omission of the camera features.

iOS 13.2 introduces Deep Fusion, an advanced image processing system that uses the A13 Bionic Neural Engine to capture images with dramatically better texture, detail, and reduced noise in lower light, on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Additional features include updated and additional emoji, Announce Messages for AirPods, support for AirPods Pro, HomeKit Secure Video, HomeKit enabled routers, and new Siri privacy settings. This update also contains bug fixes and improvements.

 

Camera

  • Deep Fusion for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max uses the A13 Bionic Neural Engine to capture multiple images at various exposures, run a pixel-by-pixel analysis, and fuse the highest quality parts of the images together resulting in photos with dramatically better texture, details, and reduced noise, especially for mid to low light scenes
  • Ability to change the video resolution directly from the Camera app for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max

Emoji

  • Over 70 new or updated emoji, including animals, food, activities, new accessibility emoji, gender neutral emoji, and skin tones selection for couple emoji

AirPods support

  • Announce Messages with Siri to read your incoming messages aloud to your AirPods
  • AirPods Pro support

Home App

  • HomeKit Secure Video enables you to privately capture, store, and view encrypted video from your security cameras and features people, animal, and vehicle detection
  • HomeKit enabled routers put you in control of what your HomeKit accessories communicate with over the internet or in your home

Siri

  • Privacy settings to control whether or not to help improve Siri and Dictation by allowing Apple to store audio of your Siri and Dictation interactions
  • Option to delete your Siri and Dictation history from Siri Settings

This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements. This update:

  • Fixes an issue that may prevent passwords from autofilling in 3rd party apps
  • Resolves an issue that may prevent the keyboard from appearing when using Search
  • Addresses an issue where swipe to go home might not work on iPhone X and later
  • Fixes an issue where Messages would only send a single notification when the option to repeat alerts was enabled
  • Addresses an issue where Messages may display a phone number instead of a contact name
  • Resolves an issue that caused Contacts to launch to the previously opened contact instead of the contact list
  • Fixes an issue that may prevent Markup annotations from being saved
  • Resolves an issue where saved notes could temporarily disappear
  • Fixes an issue where iCloud Backup might not successfully complete after tapping Backup Now in Settings
  • Improves performance when using AssistiveTouch to activate App Switcher

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

 

Source: Everything you need to know about iOS and iPadOS 13.2  (Ars Technica)

 

(To view the article's image galleries, please visit the above link)

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