Like us, iPhones are adjusting to the world with COVID-19.

By Andrea Romano
May 20, 2020
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Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Apple’s new iPhone update is coming soon, and it’ll be very useful for all people touched by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Hypebeast, Apple is now working on an update, iOS 13.5, that will make Face ID smarter — essentially making it easier for phones that use Face ID to recognize owners while they’re wearing a protective face mask.

At the moment, Face ID will go directly to your phone’s lock screen in order to put in a passcode. The new update, according to Hypebeast, will still require owners to put in their passcode, but it will do so in a faster, more streamlined way. The new update will still require a user to remove their mask in order to use Face ID, since the feature is a security tool for iPhone users, having Face ID unlock your phone, even while wearing a mask, could pose some risks.

Not only will the new update apply to lock screens, but it will also be used for the App Store, Apple Pay, iTunes, and other apps that use the feature, according to Hypebeast. 

In addition, the new update will make it easier to trace your exposure to coronavirus. Whenever two phones are in close proximity, it will be noted anonymously by your device. If anyone you’ve been in contact with is diagnosed with coronavirus, you will receive a notification — allowing you to take appropriate healthcare steps, according to Forbes

“One of the most effective techniques that public health officials have used during outbreaks is called contact tracing,” Apple said in a statement, according to Forbes. “One new element of contact tracing is Exposure Notifications: using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus. Exposure Notification has the specific goal of rapid notification, which is especially important to slowing the spread of the disease with a virus that can be spread asymptomatically.”

The new feature could potentially help people get treatment and testing earlier, and possibly save lives in the process.

The new update will also help control automatic prominence within the FaceTime app during group calls, so video tiles do not suddenly change size whenever a participant speaks, according to Forbes. Instead, individuals will be able to select a tile to make it larger themselves.

Overall, the new update should greatly improve accessibility, as well as the health of iPhone users. According to Hypebeast, details on the release of iOS 13.5 will be made public shortly.