Following the rapid public releases of iOS 13.0 and 13.1 in late September, Apple today released a developer beta of iOS 13.2, most notably adding support for a new computational photography feature. The company also released new developer betas of iPadOS 13.2, tvOS 13.2, and watchOS 6.1 with unspecified “bug fixes and improvements.”
The key addition to iOS 13.2 is an option for the Camera application, which Apple announced last month under the name Deep Fusion. Similar to its previously released HDR and Night Mode features, the new machine learning-backed feature composites the best details from multiple photos into a single image. Deep Fusion is exclusive to iPhone 11-series phones, requiring the A13 Bionic processor for rapid computation. There’s no conspicuous indication when the feature is active.
Apple has also used iOS 13.2 to add OS-level support for a new, optional Research app that will be available from the App Store. Announced during Apple’s September media event, Research will enable users to opt into various types of health studies, and could apparently entail a considerable amount of on-device information gathering — more than most users might have imagined.
Disclosures in iOS 13.2’s settings application note that Research may gather sensor data from your iOS and watchOS devices, including “the number of times you pick up calls (but not the associated phone numbers)” and “information about how you use the keyboard on your iOS devices (including data about your typing speed, cadence, and accuracy, but not the content of your messages).” In this initial beta, the disclosures list apparently isn’t complete.
For now, the beta suggests that a list of apps requesting access to “Sensor & Usage” data will be maintained under the Research settings menu, but access will only be granted after the Research app is installed from the App Store. Apple notes that both the app and the specific research studies are opt-in, and can be opted-out of at any time. Notably, no reference to the Research app is included within iPadOS 13.2.
iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 are also believed to include support for a new Siri feature that will enable certain third-party applications to serve as defaults over Apple’s own iOS alternatives. As discussed in greater detail here, Siri will be able to route messages and phone calls to apps such as WhatsApp and Skype rather than iOS’s integrated Messages and Phone apps.
Apple’s iOS 13.2 developer beta is a 3.76GB download and available as an over-the-air update for iPhones. The iPadOS 13.2 beta update is available now for iPads, with tvOS 13.2 for Apple TVs and watchOS 6.1 beta 2 for Apple Watches. All of the updates except watchOS 6.1 should become available for public beta testing in the very near future.