Last update: May 2021

5 mins to read - 2019/09/19

iOS 13 Is Live… Here Are Some of Its Features

It’s here! The long-awaited iOS 13 upgrade has finally landed, and we’re excited to see what this means in terms of push notifications and data privacy. iOS 13 will be implemented for every iPhone model since the 6S. And with the recent unveiling of the iPhone 11 models, September may be Apple’s month to remind the digital world that they’re still the best in the business when it comes to innovation.

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iOS 13’s Most Highly Anticipated New Features

As we mentioned in our earlier piece on the iOS 13 beta release, one of the most hyped features of the coming OS will be its Dark Mode. This will have positive ramifications both in terms of battery life and user eyestrain. A lot of people are also excited about the QuickPath swipe keyboard which will make typing a lot easier.

There will also be a few features unique to the iPhone 11 phones:

  • Ability to toggle between ultra-wide and telephoto modes
  • Take videos by holding down the photo shutter button
  • Take wide-angle and slow-motion selfies, “Slofies”, with front camera

They are also including a small but interesting correction to the FaceTime app, where your face will appear to be staring straight into the front camera. It will thus seem like both iOS users are giving each other eye contact, while they’re actually looking slightly downwards at their phone screens.

The new and improved “Find My” app also lets you geolocate both friends who use Apple as well as your missing devices via an encrypted Bluetooth signal. iOS 13 will also speed up the launch of key functions, including Facial ID and app launch. It also offers smart battery charging to learn your battery charging patterns and reduce the time your phone spends fully charged. This will result in longer battery life.

What’s more, for fans of the digital assistant Siri, her voice has received a tune-up to sound less robotic than her predecessor, using the latest neural text-to-speech technology. Apple Maps have also become more detailed and immersive, offering easier navigation and 3D 360-degree viewing.

iOS 13 Changes to Push Notifications

For those using APNS to send push notifications, using Xcode 11, they have changed the “description” attribute of the deviceToken data sent to the push token delegate. This may affect current apps’ ability to fetch push tokens.

Apple has also added a new attribute for APNS Payloads headers:

According to the Apple developers website,

“When you have a notification to send to a user, your provider must construct a POST request and send it to APNs. Your request must include the following information:

  • The JSON payload that you want to send
  • The device token for the user’s device
  • Request-header fields specifying options for how to deliver the notification
  • For token-based authentication, your provider server’s current authentication token

Upon receiving your server’s POST request, APNs validates the request using either the provided authentication token or your server’s certificate. If validation succeeds, APNs uses the provided device token to identify the user’s device. It then tries to send your JSON payload to that device.”

A connection to APNs can then be made using a HTTP/2 and TLS 1.2.

There has also been a change to how APNs handles silent, or background notifications. Priority must be set to 5, or the notification will be dropped. This lower setting means there is less battery drain, but it also adversely affects notification reliability.

Apple is also introducing a new framework called BackgroundTasks. Previously apps would rely on rare and random background fetch updated from the system using some unknown algorithm, significant location change, or silent push notifications to be able to refresh content in the background. On iOS 13, you can now schedule your app to be called in the background.

New Commitment to Data Privacy

While Apple seems to becoming more and more entangled in our personal data, both behavioral and biological – the updated iPhone 13 health app now has a period tracker, so Apple can predict your menstrual cycles – they are at least becoming more transparent when it comes to keeping third parties away from our data.

The iPhone 13 is especially proactive when it comes to requesting user consent for geolocation by apps – not just once, but at continuous intervals. This is great news for anyone who may turn on their GPS to help them find a location, but might not remember to turn it off.

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Your iPhone will also give you the option to grant an app permission to track you just once. This is instead of switching your tracker on, then having to go into your settings to turn it off again. Of course, this will likely have some consequences when it comes to location triggers for push notifications.

Apps will also no longer have the capability of accessing notes you’ve written about contacts on your contact list. This dangerous oversight which has finally been rectified. Another nifty feature is that Apple lets you sign in to apps with a private, Apple-generated email address for apps. This will allow you to protect your active email address from unknown apps – a big step for data privacy, and it will cut down on email spam too.

There are also a few WiFi changes upcoming: on iOS 13 the network SSID/BSSID is not available unless apps have either location permission, or is a VPN app, or app used to configure hotspots.

All of these are only a small sample of the many exciting features the iOS 13 has to offer. Take a look at the following related blog posts to learn more!

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