iOS 13.5 beta brings COVID-19 exposure notification API, easier iPhone unlock with face mask

The API is expected to release to everyone in May

Highlights
  • iOS 13.5 beta update includes the first version of COVID-19 contact tracing exposure notification API
  • The API has been released to public health authority developers
  • iOS 13.5 beta update promptly ask you to enter the passcode if you’re wearing a face mask

iOS 13.5 beta update has been released and it includes the first version of the COVID-19 exposure notification API. This is the first step towards launching the COVID-19 contract tracing feature that Apple is working on with Google. This is an opt-in feature and can be enabled from system settings. Similarly, the Mountain View giant has released Google Play Services beta update that also includes the same exposure notification API. Both companies have mentioned that they are releasing the exposure notification API to the public health authority developers with an aim is to collect feedback and further improve the API ahead of the public release in mid-May.

Apple and Google exposure notification API uses Bluetooth to track those people who have been exposed to a COVID-19-positive person. If the individual is diagnosed with COVID-19, public health agencies can notify other people who may have come into contact with the patient. Apple and Google has assured that privacy will be of utmost importance, and patients’ identities and location data will not be shared. iOS and Android phones will receive opt-in exposure updates later this year. For now, the API will allow public health authorities to develop their contact tracing apps with privacy.

The iOS 13.5 beta 3 update also includes face mask detection, which means Face ID will now identify if you’re wearing a mask and will quickly take you to the passcode screen without having to wait too long. This process is faster and more streamlined and when you swipe up to unlock your iPhone.