Apple Updates Roundup: iOS 13.4, Mac 10.15.4, and more!

Apple has released another round of updates to its various platforms.  Along with its regular round of bug fixes and security patches, the updates also add some nice new features.

iOS: Trackpads, iCloud, CarPlay, and Memoji

iOS got some pretty substantial updates bringing it more in-line with other tablet hybrids.  The “cursory” mouse support has been dramatically improved.  Apple devices such as the Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse support have been added, including their multitouch gestures so beloved (especially on the trackpad).  However non-Apple Bluetooth and USB mouse support has also been enhanced.

One the iPhone side of things, CarPlay has gotten improved enhancements for 3rd party music apps and navigation.  Most notably, you can now use 3rd party navigation apps on the CarPlay Dashboard, which is the default overview screen that typically shows basic audio controls, the map screen, the next navigation direction in text and icons, and occasionally your calendar.  If you want to use other apps like Waze, Google Maps, etc. you now have a little bit more freedom to do so, at least when the map makers update their apps to support it.  CarPlay got some minor improvements like showing you a wheel over the play button when Siri reads text messages to you, showing you how far along in the message it is.  Likewise on the Dashboard the media playback window adjusts its size better to show you the song name and the artist name of whatever song, podcast, or audiobook is playing.

You’ll see this repeated in the Mac OS update section, but iCloud Drive also got a major boost in its usability.  iCloud Drive now adds the ability to share folders with users, including being able to give read/write permissions and revoke permissions to certain user.  While nothing new per se, as other major cloud document providers have offered this for a while now, it’s good to see Apple is seriously moving forward with this.

Apple included a bunch of new Memojis, the custom 3D emojis you can create of yourself.

Below is the full changelog:

Mouse and Trackpad Support

  • All-new cursor design highlights app icons on the Home Screen and Dock and buttons and controls in apps
  • Magic Keyboard for iPad support on iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation or later) and iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation or later)
  • Magic Mouse, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad, Magic Trackpad 2, and third-party Bluetooth and USB mouse support
  • Multi-Touch gestures on Magic Keyboard for iPad and Magic Trackpad 2 enable you to scroll, swipe between app spaces, go Home, access App Switcher, zoom in or out, tap to click, secondary click (right-click), and swipe between pages
  • Multi-Touch gestures on Magic Mouse 2 enable you to scroll, secondary click (right-click), and swipe between pages

Files

  • iCloud Drive folder sharing from the Files app
  • Controls to limit access only to people you explicitly invite or grant access to anyone with the folder link
  • Permissions to choose who can make changes and upload files and who can only view and download files

Memoji

  • Nine new Memoji stickers, including Smiling Face with Hearts, Hands Pressed Together, and Party Face

Mail

  • Always-visible controls to delete, move, reply to, or compose a message in conversation view
  • Responses to encrypted emails are automatically encrypted when you have configured S/MIME

App Store with Apple Arcade

  • Universal Purchase support enables the use of a singular purchase of a participating app across iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV
  • Recently played Arcade games appear in the Arcade tab so you can continue playing on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV
  • List view for See All Games

CarPlay

  • Third-party navigation app support for CarPlay Dashboard
  • In-call information appears on CarPlay Dashboard

Augmented Reality

  • AR Quick Look supports audio playback in USDZ files

Keyboard

  • Live Conversion for Zhuyin automatically transforms Zhuyin into the correct characters without pressing the space bar to convert text or select candidates
  • Live Conversion for Japanese automatically transforms Hiragana into the correct characters without pressing the space bar to convert text or select candidates
  • Predictive typing support for Arabic
  • Swiss German keyboard layout supported on iPad Pro 12.9-inch
  • On-screen keyboard layout for iPad Pro 12.9-inch now matches Smart Keyboard

This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements. This update:

  • Fixes an issue in Camera where the viewfinder may appear as a black screen after launch
  • Addresses an issue where Photos may appear to use excess storage
  • Resolves an issue in Photos that may prevent sharing an image to Messages if iMessage is disabled
  • Fixes an issue in Mail where messages may appear out of order
  • Addresses an issue in Mail where the conversation list may display empty rows
  • Resolves an issue where Mail may crash when tapping the Share button in Quick Look
  • Fixes an issue in Settings where cellular data may incorrectly display as off
  • Addresses an issue in Safari where webpages may not be inverted when both Dark Mode and Smart Invert are active
  • Resolves an issue where text copied from web content in a third-party app may appear invisible when pasted if Dark Mode is active
  • Fixes an issue in Safari where a CAPTCHA tile may display incorrectly
  • Addresses an issue where Reminders may not issue new notifications for an overdue recurring reminder until it is marked as completed
  • Resolves an issue where Reminders may send notifications for completed reminders
  • Fixes an issue where iCloud Drive appears to be available in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote even when not signed in
  • Addresses an issue in Apple Music where music videos may not stream in high quality
  • Addresses an issue in the Home app where tapping an activity notification from a security camera may open a different recording
  • Resolves an issue where Shortcuts may not appear when tapping on the Share menu from a screenshot
  • Improves the Burmese keyboard so punctuation symbols are now accessible from numbers and symbols

Mac: Music Lyrics & Move from Chrome

The Mac doesn’t have as much to update in this time. Many of the things are cross platform things like Apple Arcade additions, iCloud folder sharing, etc.  But Mac did get its own enhancements as well.

For one, the Music app will show lyrics in real time as you’re listening to them.  These live lyrics will help you see what’s being sung in real time, which is great for those wanting to do karaoke while in quarantine.

The other new major feature to discuss is Safari now gains the ability to transfer passwords stored in Chrome.  If you saved passwords in the Chrome browser, it stores them securely in Apple’s keychain.  Safari now is able to import them easily through that method should you so choose to keep them in sync or decide to make the transfer over.

Full patch notes are down below.

  • macOS Catalina 10.15.4 introduces iCloud Drive folder sharing, Screen Time communications limits, Apple Music time-synced lyrics view, and more. The update also improves the stability, reliability, and security of your Mac.

    Finder
    • iCloud Drive folder sharing from Finder
    • Controls to limit access only to people you explicitly invite or grant access to anyone with the folder link
    • Permissions to choose who can make changes and upload files and who can only view and download files

    Screen Time
    • Communication limits for controlling who your children can communicate with and be contacted by throughout the day and during downtime
    • Playback control of music videos for your children

    Music
    • Time-synced lyrics view for Apple Music, including the ability to jump to your favorite part of a song by clicking a line in lyrics view

    Safari
    • Option to import Chrome passwords into your iCloud Keychain for easy AutoFill of your passwords in Safari and across all your devices
    • Controls for duplicating a tab and for closing all tabs to the right of the current tab
    • HDR playback support on compatible computers for Netflix content

    App Store with Apple Arcade
    • Universal Purchase support enables the use of a singular purchase of a participating app across iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV
    • Recently played Arcade games appear in the Arcade tab so you can continue playing on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV

    Pro Display XDR
    • Customized reference modes that you can tailor to specific workflow needs by selecting from several color gamut, white point, luminance, and transfer function options

    Accessibility
    • Head pointer preference for moving a cursor on the screen based on the precise movements of your head

    This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements.
    • High Dynamic Range output to HDR10-compatible third-party displays and TVs connected with DisplayPort or HDMI
    • OAuth authentication support with Outlook.com accounts for improved security
    • CalDav migration support when upgrading to iCloud reminders on a secondary device
    • Resolves an issue where text copied between apps may appear invisible when Dark Mode is active
    • Fixes an issue in Safari where a CAPTCHA tile may display incorrectly
    • Resolves an issue where Reminders may send notifications for completed reminders
    • Fixes an issue with screen brightness for the LG UltraFine 5K display after waking from sleep

 

Apple Watch:  Now with more health and buying power

The Apple Watch gets a couple more additions this time around.  The first is that if you are from Chile, New Zealand, or Turkey, you now will be able to receive irregular heart rhythm notifications and the ECG/EKG app on your Apple Watch.  It can be assumed these functions have been approved by their respective medical regulation authorities.

For every other Apple Watch user, you also are able to make in-app purchases on your Apple Watch, rather than having to go back to your iPhone to make them.

Full patch notes can be found below

  • Introduces in-app purchases for ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ apps
  • Fixes an issue where music playback could pause when switching from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth connectivity
  • ECG app on ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ Series 4 or later now available in Chile, New Zealand, and Turkey
  • Irregular heart rhythm notifications now available in Chile, New Zealand, and Turkey
  • Some features may not be available for all countries or all areas, for more information visit: https://www.apple.com/watchos/feature-availability/

 

Apple TV and Homepod: Bug and Security Fixes

There isn’t really much to cover here, this is primarily to fix a number of security flaws found, most of which are shared with iOS and macOS.  Apple TV updates to 13.4 as well as HomePod updating to 13.4

Older Systems:

Apple has continued to show some love to some of its older systems.

On the Mac side, Apple updated OS 10.14 “Mojave” and 10.13 “High Sierra” with Security Patch 2020-02, which basically includes all the shared security fixes going into OS 10.15 Catalina.

Apple also updated iOS 12 to version 12.4.6.  While this one doesn’t seem to have any listed security patches on Apple’s website, it likely does fix some as well as some other bugs.  Either way, it seems to be showing Apple’s commitment to keeping its older devices running for longer and keeping those devices that can’t run the latest and greatest secure from the same threats.  Continuing in this line, the third generation Apple TV updated to 7.5, and Watches running WatchOS 5 have been upgraded 5.3.6, also with no listed security patches at this time.

All the Security fixes:

Apple fixed a lot of security problems in its latest round of updates, far too many to cover, so if you want the full list of updates I recommend you check out their Security Updates page.

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