Some iPhone owners refuse iOS 13.7 update over fear of COVID-19 contact tracing

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iOS 13.7 contact tracing feature: Life-saver, or NSA spy tool?
Life-saver, or new NSA spy tool?
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Some iPhone owners are refusing to install Apple’s latest software update for fear of being tracked. iOS 13.7, which Apple released Tuesday, makes COVID-19 contact tracing easier for government health agencies to implement — but some people claim its true purpose is more sinister.

“Another step towards a totally surveillanced state,” said one iPhone user on Twitter — and many others continue to voice similar complaints and fears.

iOS 13.7 brings contact-tracing update and other new features [Updated]

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iOS 13.7 includes COVID-19 Exposure Notifications without an app.
iOS 13.7 brings optional COVID-19 Exposure Notifications without needing any other application. But only in limited areas.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple released iOS 13.7 on Tuesday, with an update that makes it easier for public health agencies to take advantage of the recently launched COVID-19 Exposure Notifications system.

The software brings other new features, too. The update improves iCloud Drive folder sharing, and adds new Memoji stickers.

Surprise! Apple isn’t done with iOS 13 yet

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iOS 13.7 developer beta: iPhone's use in the fight against COVID-19 continues to grow.
iPhone's use in the fight against COVID-19 continues to grow.
Photo: Brian McGowan/Unsplash CC

Apple seeded the first beta of iOS 13.7, along with an iPadOS equivalent, to developers on Wednesday. These include a coronavirus-related change Apple considers important enough to justify a system-software update that includes no other new features.

With iOS 14 expected to launch soon, it would be easy to assume that Apple is done releasing new versions of iOS 13. Nope.

iOS 13 eats away at battery life, but iOS 14 offers hope

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iOS 13 battery life eroded. But iOS 14 offers better.
Reversing a trend, iOS 14 battery life could be noticeably longer than iOS 13.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Tests done on a range of iPhone models running the just-released iOS 13.6 reveal that it slightly reduces the battery life of all these handsets when compared to the previous version. And, generally speaking, that has held true for the last six iOS 13 updates.

But there’s good news. Tests with an early iOS 14 beta showed this upcoming version brings a significant increase to battery life.

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.

How to downgrade to iOS 13 after installing the iOS 14 beta

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How to use widgets in iOS 14
Not ready for iOS 14? Here's how to go back.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

If you caved and installed the iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 betas on your iPhone and iPad, and now you’re running into problems, you’ll be pleased to know you can downgrade to iOS 13.

It’s a relatively simple process that shouldn’t take you long, and as long as you’ve backed up, you won’t lose too much data data. We’ll walk you through the process in this step-by-step guide.

Adoption of iOS 13 by iPhone users is nearly total

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iOS 13
iOS 13 adoption is almost universal.
Screen capture: Apple

Even as Apple is expected to unveil iOS 14 on Monday, the company revealed that 92% of all iPhones introduced in the last four years run iOS 13. That’s a higher adoption percentage than for iOS 12 this time last year.

And it’s vastly ahead of the percentage of Android users who’ve been able to upgrade to the latest version of Google’s operating system.