iPhone and iPad users will start seeing the notification that the next free update is available from Apple, bringing with it a range of new features.
The new update – iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 respectively – has gone through no less than six beta releases, meaning it should be stable and free of bugs. If you’re an iOS user then you’ll be prompted to install the update right away or leave it to install automatically during the night.
There are a few big new features that arrive with the update and several smaller tweaks. As ever, the all important security and usability settings have also been updated in the background, making your device more secure against rogue apps and malware.
Here are the biggest new features in iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4:
Apple leant on this pretty heavily when it announced the new iPad Pro as it helps to make the company’s tablet even more of a laptop replacement than it already is.
Until now if you wanted to use a cursor on an iPad, you had to find the option buried in the accessibility settings.
Apple hasn’t just slapped any old cursor protocol on the operating system, it’s created a new one that works to augment the touch-first approach of iPadOS. The cursor itself is a small, translucent circle that adapts to highlight apps and options when you glide over them. It’s trying to mimic what your fingers do when they touch the glass.
You can add your own advanced customisations to tailor the cursor support to your liking and it works with a range of Bluetooth mice and trackpads. Productivity on an iPad is now much, much easier.
iCloud Folder Sharing
Apple has been talking about this option for a while – it was supposed to land on the original iOS 13 release.
But now we have the ability to share entire folders inside iCloud Drive either via a link or individually. Just like sharing documents on Google’s suite of apps, you can decide whether the recipient can just view the files or edit them too.
Universal app purchasing
If you had an iPhone, MacBook, iPad and Apple TV then you had – pretty much – four different app stores to navigate and use. If you bought one app on one device then you weren’t able to use it on another. Until now.
With iOS 13.4/iPadOS 13.4 Apple is allowing developers to offer ‘Universal Purchase’ bundles that unlock the same app on all your Apple devices.
This one is up to developers – such as Adobe or Microsoft – to implement but it will hopefully simplify the end result for Apple fans that have several pieces of hardware from the company.
For the uninitiated, Apple has these cartoon avatars that users can set as themselves for chatting or messaging. It’s a lighthearted feature but some people really do like these things.
Anyway, for iOS 13.4 Apple has added nine new stickers for you to use with your custom Memoji. These include things like ‘Smiling Face with Hearts’ and ‘Party Face’. To be honest, given the amount of extra communication we’re all doing through digital apps now, these new stickers may prove to be a big crowd pleaser.
More CarPlay support
CarPlay is Apple’s car-friendly application that lets you access your iPhone apps through your car’s infotainment system. With iOS 13.4 third-party navigation apps are now supported.
So whereas you could hook your iPhone up to your car, you wouldn’t be able to use services like Waze, Google Maps or Citymapper – well, now you can.
A few smaller updates are now present in iOS 13.4, such as the option to have ‘Hey Siri’ activated regardless of whether your phone is face down (which would previously disable it) or not. You can find this option in the accessibility option for Siri.
Also, the Shortcuts app now has an extra action for Shazam and the Photos app now has keyboard shortcuts for navigating and editing.
Lastly, when a VPN is disabled it will now notify you directly in the status bar.
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