iOS Update Includes COVID-19 Exposure Notification API for Contact Tracing

On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, Apple released a group of operating system updates to the public. While most changes made are of the typical “bug fixes and other improvements” variety, two of these updates also added something quite important to our current world: the Exposure Notification API.

iOS & iPadOS Updates

iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 also include a way to speed up access to the passcode field for devices with Face ID when you are wearing a face mask. But it’s the Exposure Notification API that is the biggest change. This is an Application Programming Interface to be used by iOS and iPadOS programmers creating contact tracing apps for public health authorities.

Apple and Google have worked together on the Exposure Notification API, which is designed to allow people to be notified that they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or future viruses without compromising on security. For details on how the API works, check out this Apple web page.

The most important thing to remember is that the API needs an app to be installed by the user to work, and at this time very few contact apps have been developed and released to the public.

iPadOS 13.5 Update Release Notes

One other change for iOS 13.5 and iPadOS 13.5 is the addition of an option to control the automatic prominence of video tiles on Group FaceTime calls.

Other OS Updates

Since tvOS is not a mobile operating system, the update to tvOS 13.4.5 is primarily a bug fix and performance enhancement tweak. The update is available for all fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV units.

Apple also released an update to HomePod’s firmware (13.4.5) and a bump to watchOS 6.2.5.