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Apple releases iOS 13.5 beta with contact tracing API and update for Group FaceTime


Earlier today we told you that Apple had released the beta version of iOS 13.5 and that one of the changes coming to the iPhone will help those who have been frustrated with Face ID’s inability to recognize a user wearing a face mask. Swiping up from the bottom of the Home screen will take an iPhone user directly to the passcode screen instead of having to wait for Face ID to kick him there. The idea is not to give an iPhone user a reason to take his mask off just to activate Face ID.
As it turns out, the iOS 13.5 beta carries a lot more goodies for iOS users. First, we should point out that the beta released today was originally supposed to be the third iOS 13.4.5 beta, but that was changed by Apple because it has the SDK and API that will allow developers to create apps that will be used with the COVID-19 contact tracing system that Apple and Google have devised. In the beta, the contact tracing is opt-out instead of opt-in; users can opt-out of the program by going to Settings > Privacy > Health > COVID-19 Exposure Tracking and toggle off.

Using Bluetooth LE, if you decide to opt-in your Phone will build an anonymous database of people who have been in your vicinity for two weeks. If one of those people tests positive for COVID-19, this is reported through an app offered by a public health organization and you are then alerted that someone near you has coronavirus. With this in mind, you will then get tested while self-isolating for two weeks. This program should help reduce the spread of the virus.

Later this year, the required apps will be made part of the iOS and Android operating systems via a software update. Users won’t need to install any apps from the App Store or Google Play Store, and those who want to participate will have to opt-in.

Also found on the iOS 13.5 beta is a change to Group FaceTime. In a group, the window of the participant talking is enlarged. With the update, the user can decide who he wants to focus on in the group by tapping on a new interface. The final version of the update is expected to drop sometime in the next few weeks.

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