Today, Apple released iOS 13.2, iPadOS 13.2, and tvOS 13.2 for supported iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Apple TV devices. The company also released a minor update labeled iOS 12.4.3 for iPhones and iPads that saw end-of-support with last month’s iOS 13 release.
iOS and iPadOS 13.2 represents the first major new feature release since iOS 13 came out several weeks ago. Up to this point, Apple’s unusually frequent updates have been focused on either bug fixes or on introducing features that were originally planned for the first version of iOS 13.
There’s a mixture of new and previously planned here, but it marks the biggest update yet for iOS 13 users. Additions include Deep Fusion computational photography for better low- and mid-light photos on the latest iPhones, the ability to opt-out or opt-in to sharing Siri voice recordings with Apple, support for AirPods Pro and the Announce Messages with Siri feature, a bunch of new emoji, new smart home features, and a number of bug fixes.
The updates are available today on all devices already supported by iOS 13, tvOS 13, and iPadOS.
Table of Contents
iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2
Choose whether to share Siri recordings with Apple
Like many of its peers in the tech industry, Apple recently found itself the subject of criticism for how it worked with third-party contractors to process and analyze recordings of its users’ interactions with Siri in its efforts to improve the virtual assistant.
Reports indicated that Apple’s contractors reviewed Siri recordings as part of a process to increase accuracy but that the contractors heard personal conversations and even sex. Devices sometimes even made accidental activations. Apple has sought to position Siri as the privacy-friendly alternative to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and Apple responded to the criticism swiftly by suspending that program and its relationship with the contractors. From that point on, only Apple employees would be able to analyze the recordings, the company said, and a software update would make even that opt-in.
iOS and iPadOS 13.2 represent that next step in Apple’s efforts to address those complaints. Once users update, turning their devices on for the first time after said update will present them with a question: do you want to share Siri recordings with Apple for optimization purposes or not? Users make a decision one way or the other before proceeding to use the device, though they can change it later in the Settings app. This essentially makes sharing these recordings opt-in only.
Support for AirPods Pro and Announce Messages with Siri
Today, Apple also announced a new hardware product: AirPods Pro, more expensive versions of the popular AirPods wireless earbuds that feature improved sound quality, active noise cancelation, and some other new features. iOS 13.2 is timed closely with that release (AirPods Pro will be available on October 30), and updating your paired iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iOS 13.2 is required to use them, as the update adds features like the ability to enable or disable noise cancelation from your phone.
iOS and iPadOS 13.2 also bring a new feature to second-generation AirPods, Beats Pro, and AirPods Pro: “Announce Messages with Siri.” When this is enabled, Siri can read your incoming text messages to you through your AirPods without requiring you to unlock your phone first.
Deep Fusion computational photography
Supported on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max only, Deep Fusion captures multiple images at different exposure levels in rapid succession, then does a machine learning-driven, “pixel-by-pixel” analysis of the images. Apple says it composites what it deems to be the highest-quality parts of hte images into one image to reduce noise, better represent details and texture, and generally improve photo quality.
In practice, this means that the phone takes four images: three normal photos, and one long-exposure shot. It takes what it considers the best-quality normal photo and merges it with the long-exposure shot, then runs four different processing steps to come out with a final image. It is similar in basic concept to Smart HDR, an existing feature for iPhone cameras, but it differs in the steps it takes and how many images it uses.
As with other computational photography features, this happens under the hood and is largely not under your control. You cannot disable or enable it; the phone will decide to use Deep Fusion when the lighting calls for it; Apple says this feature is intended for “mid- to low-light scenes.”
59 new emoji
As has become an annual custom, there are a bunch of new emoji. Apple’s update notes say there are over 70, but it depends on how you count; they’re are 59 new emoji concepts, but it’s more than 70 if you account for versions for each gender. There are more than 200 if you factor in skin tone.
Additions include, but are not limited to, individuals in a wheelchair or with a cane, a bionic arm, swimsuits, an ice cube, butter, waffles, seeing-eye dogs, a sloth, a skunk, a Saturn-like planet with rings, coach cars, snorkeling gear, a banjo, a fire axe, a kite, a stethoscope, and, well, numerous others.
All these new emojis will automatically appear as options in the iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad’s built-in emoji picker keyboard.
Listing image by Samuel Axon