iOS 13

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


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]


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


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


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


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


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


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.

Apple rushes out iOS 13.5.1, macOS supplemental update with important security fixes


The iOS 13.5.1 update brings important security fixes.
iPadOS and iOS 13.5.1 are out and “recommended for all users“ by Apple.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Apple released iOS 13.5.1 on Monday, along with an iPad equivalent, bringing “important security updates” to its mobile operating systems. The speed of their introduction suggests anyone running the latest version on their iPhone or iPad should upgrade ASAP.

Also Monday, Apple dropped Small updates for Mac, Apple Watch and HomePod. Plus the latest beta versions of iOS and iPadOS for developers.

Demystifying Apple’s COVID-19 efforts [Cult of Mac Magazine 350]


Here's how Apple's COVID-19 contact-tracing system works.
Here's how Apple's COVID-19 contact-tracing system works.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

When Apple released iOS 13.5 this week, it paved the way for privacy-focused contact-tracing apps to fight COVID-19. However, these apps don’t yet exist. And, despite some panicked reports online, your iPhone isn’t going to start snooping on you as soon as you upgrade your operating system.

We set out to clear up some misconceptions about how this whole contact-tracing thing is going to work. You can read all about it in this week’s issue of Cult of Mac Magazine.

Elsewhere in the free iOS mag, you’ll get the scoop on our podcast interview with Jon Prosser, the Apple leaker who’s making headlines. Plus, the usual Apple news, reviews and how-tos. Download it now and get to reading, or get the stories in the links below.

How to customize your CarPlay setup and ditch apps you don’t need


BMW could ditch its pricey annual subscription cost for CarPlay
Don't settle for the default CarPlay layout.
Photo: Sony

CarPlay makes it safe to use some of your favorite iPhone apps on the road, and by default, anything with CarPlay support will automatically appear in your car. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Simplify your experience and make CarPlay even easier to use by customizing your layout and ditching apps you don’t need.

Why it’s taking so long for apps to add Dark Mode


Has your favorite app embraced the dark side yet?
Has your favorite app embraced the dark side yet?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

This week, I finally got around to adding Dark Mode support to Reps & Sets, the iPhone bodybuilding app I develop as a side hustle. That’s almost a year after Apple first announced the feature at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

What took me so long? Supporting Dark Mode is not as simple as it seems. It’s not just indie devs like me who have struggled with it, either. WhatsApp only recently added Dark Mode support, and Facebook is still beta-testing it.

So if you’re waiting for your favorite app to switch to the dark side, here’s why it might be taking so long.

Apple drops first public iPadOS and iOS 13.4.5 bug-fix betas


Even the best iPads have bugs
iPadOS and iOS 13.4.5 are all about killing bugs. The public can now beta test this upcoming version.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Pexels CC

More than developers can test iOS 13.4.5 and the iPad equivalent. Starting Thursday, the general public can download a beta version if they’re brave enough to run pre-release software.

Just be aware, these updates are almost entirely about fixing bugs in the iOS and iPadOS versions released March 24, not new features.

This $10 iOS simulator makes your laptop work like an iPad [Deals]


Experience iOS right on your non-Apple tablets, and run your apps like you would on your iPhone or iPad.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

If you’re comfortable with the Apple ecosystem, using a Windows machine can feel a little alien. But with iPadian iOS 13 Simulator, you can get the sleek, familiar iOS experience even on a PC.

The app re-creates the mobile Apple experience on Windows desktops or laptops. (It works on Macs, too.) And right now, you can download it for less than $10.

iOS 13.4.1 could come this week with fix for big VPN bug


Save 88% on comprehensive and essential VPN protection.
It will be essential for those who rely on a VPN.
Photo: VPN Unlimited

Apple will roll out an iOS 13.4.1 update this week to fix a VPN bug on iPhone and iPad, according to a new report out Tuesday.

An earlier investigation revealed a security flaw in Apple’s most recent iOS releases that prevents virtual private networks from encrypting all traffic. The issue can cause data and IP addresses to be exposed.

Apple quietly acknowledges Personal Hotspot problems in iOS 13


There's a temporary workaround, but no fix yet.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple is aware of Personal Hotspot problems some users are facing after updating to iOS 13, according to a report published Saturday.

The company reportedly distributed an internal document to Authorized Service Providers acknowledging the issue. There is no fix for the problem yet, but there is a temporary workaround users can employ in the meantime.

How to change the Files sort order in iOS


empty podium sort order
A metaphor for "sort order."
Photo: Joshua Golde/Unsplash

On the Mac, you probably know all the tricks for sorting things in the Finder. You can choose icon, list and column views. And you can sort the files and folders in those windows by various dates (added, created, modified), size, name and lots more. Some, but not nearly all, of these sorting options are also available on iOS in the Files app. Let’s take a look.

iOS 13.4 could roll out to everyone on March 17 with Alipay support


Apple Pay Terminal
A big deal for iPhone owners in China.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s newest iOS 13.4 update could roll out to everyone on Tuesday, March 17, according to leaked Alipay marketing materials. It should be accompanied by iPadOS 13.4, tvOS 13.4, watchOS 6.2, and macOS 10.15.4.

The iPhone update, which is currently in beta testing, is expected to bring Alipay support to Apple Wallet for the first time. That would make this release a pretty big deal for iPhone owners in China.

How to change your Safari downloads folder on iPhone and iPad


Don't let your iCloud Drive end up looking like this.
Photo: lle dnuor/Unsplash

By default, Safari on iOS downloads all files to a folder in your iCloud. This means you can access those files from all your devices. But it also means those files fill up your iCloud Drive. Worse, every megabyte you download also gets uploaded back to iCloud, doubling your bandwidth usage.

Today we’ll see how to change the location of your Safari downloads folder in iOS 13.