Apple iOS 13 was released in September. Since then, the headlines have been dominated by issues and problems which minor-point updates have sought to solve.
Now, the very latest version has gone live and aims to refocus our attention on new features rather than correcting problems – though there are bugs squished this time around, too.
Read on for details of all the new software includes and how to get it. You’ll also find Apple’s full changelog below, where the company details all the changes (in rather dry terms), plus a full run-down of all the important changes that have featured in iOS 13 since day one.
How to get it
It’s now available to download on compatible iPhones, with iPadOS 13.2 for suitable iPads. Go to the Settings app on the device and then choose General, then Software Update. Once you’ve clicked on Download and Install, it’ll do its work and you’ll have the very latest operating software on board your device in a matter of minutes.
What’s in the update?
Oh, there’s a lot. First up, and one of the most exciting new elements, is a feature for iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro handsets, called Deep Fusion.
It’s a system for the wide and telephoto lenses on the latest iPhones (it doesn’t work on the iPhone 11 Pro’s ultra-wide lens) that captures multiple frames as you shoot. It then combines a series of regular exposures, one long exposure and then uses machine learning to do pixel-by-pixel analyses of the images to work out which bits to use for the final picture.
Like night mode on the iPhone, the idea is that the phone will decide whether to turn Deep Fusion on and off automatically – you don’t have to think about it.
Deep Fusion is designed for a particular lighting condition – indoor photos and low-to-medium lighting situations. These are often the ones where we snap away and are just immediately disappointed by the results: grey, just that bit too dark and with lots of image noise.
Deep Fusion aims to overcome all this. It’s not cost-free: Apple says to take a photo with Deep Fusion takes a lot of processing power so it can take up to one second to fully processs.
The good news is you don’t have to wait for that processing if you want to keep on snapping, it will record the information and do the processing later.
This is potentially something really amazing. Traditionally, when an organization sought to conduct research, it would send out hundreds or thousands of letters, often receiving a tiny number of responses. So, amassing information took time. The Research app lets users volunteer to participate in medical research. The numbers of iPhone users mean data can accrued fast, and medical knowledge greatly increased. The app follows soon, and this update puts the settings in place for it.
As mentioned in the summer, Apple is adding a bunch of emoji to its devices and these are now here. Some of them, especially the bored face, are likely to become heavily used staples. Read more about the new emoji here.
Got a HomePod? Now you can hand the music you’re playing on your iPhone, say, on to the HomePod. Useful.
On a related note, you can stream music from your phone to a nearby Apple TV or AirPlay 2-enabled TV, though the latter are still very thin on the ground just now.
Announce Messages with Siri
Something for AirPods users: Siri can read your messages through your wireless earbuds without the need for you to touch your iPhone or Watch. And with the announcement of AirPods 3, actually called AirPods Pro, there’s another pair of headphones on which you can make the most of this feature.
Siri Privacy Settings
Apple promised some time ago a greater level of control for users over the things they say to Siri. With this update, you can delete your Siri and Dictation history, something that’s used to help train Siri better. But you may not care to have these things on Apple’s remote servers.
There are more features yet. For instance, changing your video recording settings in the camera hasn’t always been as straightforward as it could be. In iOS 13.2 you can do this in the app rather than going to Settings. Handy.
You know how a long press on the display allows you to rearrange your apps? Right now, the message says Rearrange apps. With iOS 13.2 it will say Edit Home Screen. There are a few more fixes included, which you can read about in the Apple changelog at the bottom of this post.
The previous iOS 13 updates
This was another surprise release, out on October 15, 2019. It was aimed at fixing issues more than anything else. Some devices didn’t ring or vibrate when a call came in – kind of important for a phone, right? The intention was to fix this in this update – although some users reported the problem still persisted. As was an issue with Voice Memos not downloading or problems where meeting invites didn’t open in Mail. A U.K.-focused repair was made so that Health data would display properly after British Summer Time ended (which was yesterday, October 27, by the way).
Issues which saw the Apple Watch not pairing with an iPhone and notifications not coming through to the Watch were also fixed. Other fixes included apps not downloading after an iCloud Backup and better connectivity between Bluetooth hearing aids and Apple devices. Launch performance of apps in Game Center were addressed and one relating to Bluetooth connectivity in certain vehicles. Lots of fixes, then.
September 30, 2019 was the release date for this recent update, just one weekend later than 13.1.1. It’s another bug fixer to do with iCloud Backup, for instance which showed a progress bar even after being completed. A malfunctioning camera was fixed here, too, as was the flashlight failing to initiate. Like in 13.1.3, this update sought to address an issue with Bluetooth dropping on some vehicles. There was also a display issue for the iPhone and a fix for problems running shortcuts from Apple HomePod.
This update launched on September 27, 2019. The big element was a fix for the flaw which led some third-party keyboards access the iPhone even when permission hadn’t been granted.
It also offered a solution to problems with battery drain, rather in contrast to the battery life gain which iOS 13 is all about.
Restoring from a backup was a problem in this update as well as the latest one. Siri recognition is better and syncing in Reminders shouldn’t be slow any longer.
This came out on September 24, 2019 and sought to fix issues and squish bugs such as problems opening the camera properly, improperly behaving wallpapers, text entry issues and so on. There was also a fix to a battery management problem. New features included activating the U1 chip in the latest iPhones which gives the handsets a form of spatial awareness, improving AirDrop immediately and with other benefits set to follow. The Shortcuts app also saw extra support and more features. The facility to send your ETA to others from Maps was added.
Released on September 19, 2019, this was a very big release with an awful lot in it. For full details, read the indepth analysis here.
Dark mode to make the iPhone’s interface less glaring in a low-light environment, for instance. App developers can integrate Dark Mode into their apps so that the iPhone has a consistent look. Sign in with Apple lets you sign up to apps with your Apple ID and Apple will keep the site or app at arm’s length. You can sign in using Face ID or Touch ID as appropriate. Maps has been updated with a new street-level look and in-depth mapping on selected cities.
Photos and Camera apps have been seriously altered with a new look to the Photos tab and significant editing upgrades. Siri sounds more natural and will offer personalized recommendations. Reminders has been completely overhauled, and Notes has a new gallery view. Find My combines Find My iPhone and Find My Friends. It will help to locate offline devices, too.
QuickPath is the new way to enter text by swiping. It’s very cool.
Text editing has been improved, though the elegant magnifying glass which used to appear when you touched a word, making it visible even though the word itself was hidden under your thumb, say, has gone. I hope it’s coming back soon.
Among the miscellaneous treats are a pro-active system that tells you which apps have been accessing your location, for example. A message says how often it has done so in a set period of time and you can leave things as they are or adjust. It’s a very simple but highly reassuring detail.
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Here’s Apple’s changelog for the completists among you.
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.
• 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, detail 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
• Over 70 new or updated emoji, including animals, food, activities, new accessibility emoji, gender-neutral emoji, and skin tones selection for couple emoji
• Announce Messages with Siri to read your incoming messages aloud to your AirPods
• AirPods Pro support
• 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
• 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 third-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 Back Up 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: support.apple.com/kb/HT201222