We heard a report yesterday that Apple was preparing its first beta release of iOS 13.4.1 to developers and public beta testers, and while it appears it’s already arrived more quickly than anticipated, it also seems that Apple has thrown us a bit of a curveball with this one.
Instead of calling it iOS 13.4.1, Apple has skipped over a whole slew of numbers and gone straight to iOS 13.4.5. We’re not sure what the reasons are for this leap, but it could be that Apple already ran through the other four internally without releasing developer betas, or it may still be planning to release iOS 13.4.1 directly to the public to fix one or two important outstanding bugs.
It’s also possible Apple wanted to skip a bit further ahead to distinguish this one as something more than just a minor bug fix release; while there’s definitely not enough in here to justify releasing it as iOS 13.5, it does appear to add a few other minor new features in addition to likely fixing a couple of important bugs, and it will probably become the iOS version that ships on Apple’s new “iPhone 9” later this month.
The update features the generic release notes that simply say “This beta version of iOS 13.4.5 contains bug fixes and improvements,” without really specifying what’s been fixed, but there’s reason to expect that it fixes the VPN bug that was revealed last week but has actually been around since iOS 13.3.1 was released a couple of months ago, as well as a known problem with Personal Hotspot connections.
New Apple Music Sharing Features
According to 9to5Mac, Apple has added the ability for Apple Music users to share the songs they’re listening to on Instagram and Facebook Stories.
Although Apple Music has had sharing features since almost its inception, these have generally been limited to sharing to places that support traditional links, like Messages, Mail, and normal Facebook and Twitter posts. Sharing to Instagram and Facebook Stories was previously only possible using third-party apps.
As 9to5Mac describes the new feature, it will be integrated into the same iOS Share Sheet that’s already used for everything else, but it will automatically generate appropriate images for these services. For example, sharing to Instagram will create a vertical image that includes the album cover, the name of the song, and an animated blurred background. Once shared, other users on those networks should be able to listen to the song simply by tapping on it.
9to5Mac also found some more code under the hood to support Apple’s as-yet-unannounced CarKey feature. While most of the CarKey code was already found in the iOS 13.4 betas, the APIs in iOS 13.4.5 mention compatibility with an iPhone with Touch ID for the first time, meaning that Apple is likely to include support for this feature on its upcoming “iPhone 9” as well.
It’s important to note that from everything we’ve seen so far, CarKey will not only require an NFC-compatible phone, but it will require one that supports the new Express Transit feature so that users would have the option of unlocking their vehicles without having to authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID.
Since the iPhone 8 doesn’t support Express Transit, nor does it have the ability to scan NFC tags in the background, the new code ostensibly must refer to the upcoming Touch ID equipped iPhone model. In addition, another new line of code adds the message that “Your device does not support Car Key” which implies that there will be iOS 13 compatible devices that won’t offer support for the new feature.
While Apple hasn’t actually said anything at all about CarKey, since it’s presumably going to wait until it has at least one automaker on board to offer support for the feature, another recent report suggested that Apple and BMW are working closely together on the new technology.
Other New Betas
It’s worth mentioning that the release of iOS 13.4.5 was also accompanied of course by iPadOS 13.4.5, tvOS 13.4.5, and macOS Catalina 10.15.5, although any new watchOS betas that might be coming have yet to appear. The iPadOS 13.4.5 beta is expected to include the same features as iOS 13.4.5, with the likely exception of CarKey support. It’s less clear what’s new in macOS Catalina 10.15.5 or tvOS 13.4.5 right now, but we’re not expecting to see much, and it seems most likely that Apple is just trying to keep the version numbers consistent.