Apple releases iOS 13.5 beta 4 with contact tracing API

Apple today released the fourth betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.5 updates to developers, one week after seeding the third betas. iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.5 introduce the exposure notification API designed by Apple and Google, which is designed to allow public health authorities to create COVID-19 digital contact tracing apps.

Developers can use the ExposureNotification framework to inform people of potential exposure to COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Developers can build a notification system that employs random, rotating keys and identifiers to convey positive diagnoses in addition to data such as associated symptoms, proximity, and duration.

COVID-19 Exposure Notifications
Apple’s iOS 13.5 COVID-19 Exposure Notifications settings screen


The API Apple has introduced is for health-related apps that will incorporate the new API, but there is a toggle in the Settings app that is designed to allow users to opt out of participating in COVID-19 exposure notifications.

Along with laying the ground work for the exposure notification API and accompanying apps, iOS 13.5 makes it easier to unlock an iPhone with a passcode when wearing a mask, as many people are wearing face coverings at the current time.

With the update, the passcode interface pops up more quickly when an ‌iPhone‌ detects that a mask is obscuring the face after a user swipes upward, so it’s quicker to get into an ‌iPhone‌ using a passcode than before.

MacDailyNews Take: Expect the public release of iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 soon.

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