Apple releases iOS 13.4 developer beta 1 with huge changes

Apple today released the first beta of iOS 13.4 to developers, alongside macOS 10.15.4, tvOS. 13.4 and watchOS 6.2 previews. The update contains numerous new features, many of which are major and make this, at the moment, the largest update to iOS 13 yet.

Here’s what’s been discovered so far:

  • iCloud Drive folder sharing is now available
  • New keyboard shortcuts in the Photos app on iPadOS for navigating between tabs, searching and creating albums.
  • Minor UI tweaks to TV app, includes Family Sharing option
  • 9 new Memoji Sticker variations
  • Redesigned Mail toolbar that fixes bad usability from previous iOS 13 versions
  • Changes to app location authorization and prompts – currently limited information on this
  • Support for new call controls and third-party app navigation with CarPlay
  • New API (CarKey) for allowing devices to unlock vehicles with NFC capabilities
  • Mac and iOS apps can be sold by developers in a bundle, as a single purchase
  • watchOS 6.2: support for in-app purchases directly from a Watch app to access subscriptions and paid goods

With the update, users can now share folders stored in iCloud Drive – a feature previously announced by Apple but delayed until now. Similar to other cloud services, after sharing a folder with another user, they’ll be able to see changes you make to it and the contents, anytime.

Apple has added the ability for developers to sell Mac and iOS/iPadOS applications as a single purchase. This would mean that, when buying an app on your iPad, you’d unlock the Mac counterpart at no extra charge.

Before this, you would have to purchase both separately – although it’s not known if, after this change is applied, you’d be granted the other platform’s app if you previously purchased it on one.

In relation to this, Apple has added StoreKit to Apple Watch apps for purchasing in-app purchases directly from them.

Improved Mail toolbar in iOS 13.4

The Mail app has also been improved, with the actions on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen being returned, after much controversy over the terrible design introduced with early versions of iOS 13. The toolbar now consists of Delete, Move, Flag and Reply buttons.

The final version of iOS 13.4, and also the last major release of iOS 13, will likely be released in late March or April this year.

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Ben Ward

Senior Editor, discussing everything Apple and supporting other writers and members of Apple TLD's team of volunteers.

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