iOS 13.6 golden master means the future’s almost here

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iPhone car key feature is a rumor no more.
A fortunate few can use iOS 13.6 to unlock their car. Only a handful of models are supported at launch.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple seeded what might be the last version of iOS 13 and the iPad equivalent exclusively to developers on Thursday. This “golden master” update brings the debut of CarKey, allowing iPhones to unlock or start vehicles. There are other new features as well, not just bug fixes.

In addition, what are apparently the final betas of watchOS 6.2.8 and tvOS 13.4.8 went to developers too.

Near the end of the line for iOS 13.6

In some ways, iPadOS 13.6 and iOS 13.6 beta 4 are like their predecessors. But as golden masters, they’re almost certainly the versions Apple will release to the public very soon.

The release notes for the iPhone version say “iOS 13.6 adds support for digital car keys, introduces audio stories in ‌Apple News‌+, and contains a new symptoms category in the Health app.”

The tablet version says “ iPadOS 13.6 introduces local news in your Today feed in Apple News and includes bug fixes and improvements for your iPad.“

Both versions also give users the option to not download new system software updates, removing an irritant for some people.

Apple announced iPhone support for virtual car keys in Wallet at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and it’s apparently debuting early.

iOS, iPadOS, macOS 11, etc. betas just for developers

Only paying members of Apple’s developer program got access to iOS 13.6 golden master and all the other new betas on Tuesday. But the full versions of the iPhone and iPad updates are likely to be introduced to the public in the next few days.

Alternatively, the first public beta of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 also came out on Thursday.