Apple iOS 13.2 has arrived and it’s a dumpster fire. Following the multitude of iOS 13 launch problems, Apple’s fifth rapid-fire update not only ignores serious issues but introduces new ones. All of which is a great shame, because iOS 13.2 delivers some big new features.
Who Is It For?
iOS 13.2 is for all iOS 13-compatible devices. This means the iPhone 6S and newer and the current iPod touch 7th generation. Upgrade notifications are usually automatic, but if you need to trigger them manually, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Beta testers, if you are running a later version of iOS when you read this (more in ‘The Road Ahead’ section below), remember to unroll your iPhones or iOS 13.2 won’t show up.
iPad owners, Apple has moved you to a new dedicated platform: iPadOS.
The Deal Breakers
The headline news is iOS 13.2 has been bricking the Apple HomePod. Working in unison with a new version of the speaker’s audioOS, HomePod owners have found that connecting to iPhones upgraded to iOS 13.2 breaks Apple Music, and if they try to reset their HomePods, they are stuck in an endless boot loop. Apple has now issued a warning about this and pulled the respective updates. What a mess.
“@AppleSupport I am glad to learn that the iOS13 battery drain is not a hardware defect but an iOS thing. I updated (iPhone 6s) today to the latest 13.2, and the problem is as bad as before. #fixbatterydrain” – source
“Updated to iOS 13.2 after 13.1 in the hope that the battery drain issue would be fixed. Now it is worse! Really not a great experience” – source
“@AppleSupport the battery drain is still crazy bad on 13.2 and iPhone SE. Is this a sneaky way to force me to upgrade?” – source
Mail problems are also unresolved (“@AppleSupport I downloaded iOS 13.2 on my iPhone 8, and now I cannot see any emails – source, “#iOS 13.2, and Mail app is stupidly still broken. Thanks, @apple @AppleSupport for the $700 useless communication device – source) and Messages still has issues.
So What Do You Get?
While it seems Apple didn’t spend much time trying to fix existing problems in iOS 13.2, it does introduce a lot of new features. They are as follows:
- Deep Fusion for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
- Change video resolution directly from the Camera app for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
- Over 70 new or updated emoji
- AirPods Pro support
- Siri can read your incoming messages to AirPods
- HomeKit Secure Video to privately capture, store, and view encrypted video from your security cameras
- HomeKit enabled routers to control HomeKit accessories over the internet or in your home
- Siri privacy settings to stop Apple storing the audio of Siri and Dictation interactions
- Option to delete your Siri and Dictation history from Siri Settings
The headline here is Deep Fusion. This is a new form of image processing which shoots multiple images at different exposures then fuses them together (much like the technique Google Pixels use). It’s an automatic mode, so you can’t manually select it, but when enabled, it has the potential to produce significantly better texture and detail for photos taken in mid-to-low light.
iOS 13.2 also sees Apple step up its HomeKit efforts after they had started to stagnate, and the new Siri modes are essential after the Siri privacy debacle.
Apple has also been working on things under the hood. The company’s official security page lists 26 security fixes (14 of which are for WebKit), and Apple has actually quashed some bugs, just not the big ones:
- Fixes an issue that may prevent passwords from auto-filling in 3rd party apps
- Resolves an issue that may prevent the keyboard from appearing when using Search
- Addresses an issue where swipe to go home might not work on iPhone X and later
- Fixes an issue where Messages would only send a single notification when the option to repeat alerts was enabled
- Addresses an issue where Messages may display a phone number instead of a contact name
- Resolves an issue that caused Contacts to launch to the previously opened contact instead of the contact list
- Fixes an issue that may prevent Markup annotations from being saved
- Resolves an issue where saved notes could temporarily disappear
- Fixes an issue where iCloud Ba,ckup might not successfully complete after tapping Backup Now in Settings
- Improves performance when using AssistiveTouch to activate App Switcher
Helpful as these are, the serious ongoing problems with Mail, Calls, and Battery Life need to be treated as a priority at this point.
Apple iOS 13.2 Verdict: Upgrade From iOS 13, Avoid From iOS 12
With the exception of HomePod owners who need to avoid this update like the plague, existing iOS 13 owners should upgrade since they have little to lose at this point. iOS 13.2 has a lot of new features (particularly for iPhone 11 series owners) and the security and bug fixes are worth having, even if the big issues continue to slip by Apple’s attention.
Meanwhile, iOS 12 owners should continue to stay put. Deep Fusion isn’t available to older iPhones so only emoji addicts and owners of AirPods Pro need to make the move. Right now the grass on the other side is not greener.
The Road Ahead
I had high hopes for iOS 13.2 delivering more substantial bug fixes, but their absence means I suspect we will see iOS 13.2.1 very soon. In fact, I’d be surprised if it is not released within a week. There are simply too many ongoing problems with iOS 13 and a lot more ‘minor point’ dedicated bug fixes are needed.