iOS and iPadOS 13.6: Apple releases third beta for developers

After the COVID-19 focused 13.5 release, this update may pave the way for future devices and features.

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Jason Cross/IDG

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In addition to releasing important security updates for all its operating systems on June 1, Apple released the first beta of iOS and iPadOS 13.5.5. A week later, the second beta was released, along with a new version number—it has now been updated to iOS and iPadOS 13.6, signifying more significant new features.

Update 06/30/20: Beta 3 is now released, while Apple continues it's iOS 14 developer beta.

What’s new in iOS 13.6

The beta was released with no release notes, even on Apple’s developer site. That typically means that the release either focuses on bug fixes and performance, or that it incorporates code for testing unannounced features or products. The full point-release version number change (from 13.5 to 13.6) is typically indicative of at least a few user-facing features.

Audio News+

The sleuths at MacRumors found some references within iOS 13.5.5 for a new feature within Apple News: the ability to listen to audio versions of some news stories for Apple News+ subscribers.

Automatic updates control

New in iOS and iPadOS 13.6 is finer control over automatic OS updates. Instead of a single toggle, you now have two. You can choose to only download OS updates but not install them, or to download them and install them overnight (provided your device is charging and connected to Wi-Fi).

ios 13 6 updates IDG

Car Key

Though Apple first demonstrated its support for a new electronic car key format as part of iOS 14, it's actually coming earlier than that, in iOS 13.6.

How to get the iOS 13.6 beta

Registered developers can go to developer.apple.com/download using the device upon which they wish to run the iOS or iPadOS beta. Download the beta profile, then open Settings > General > Profile and activate it.

If you’re not a registered developer and want to take part in the beta test, go to beta.apple.com using the device upon which you wish to run the beta. Tap on “Sign up” and then follow the instructions to download the beta profile. Go to Settings > General > Profile to activate it. Then update your device as usual: go to Settings > General > Software Updates.  The public beta is usually released within a day of the developer beta.

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