iOS 13.6: What’s New?

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While there is a lot of focus on iOS 14 and what Apple will be launching this Fall, there’s still a lot happening today. The company has just released iOS 13.6 to the masses, as it’s rolling out to users now.

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This update is filled with the normal bug fixes, but Apple has also thrown a few extras in. From Apple News updates to CarKey support and more, iOS 13.6 is more feature-packed than you would expect.

Apple News updates

The largest updates in iOS 13.6 came to Apple News, as the company continues to try and make this useful for more. It seems that Apple is trying to turn its News service into Flipboard, along with making it more useful than before.

Saved Reading Position

One major frustration when it comes to reading articles in Apple News is that you lose your position whenever exiting. This has been fixed with iOS 13.6, as you can now have your position saved even if you exit the app entirely.

There is a catch, however, as Apple has integrated a delay before saving the position. If you are reading an article, it will not immediately save your position. Instead, you’ll have to wait for about 30-seconds before News will save where you were at. Nonetheless, it’s a welcome addition for the news-junkies out there.

Improved Local News

If you are an Apple News+ subscriber, you may have noticed a few more options available for local news. With iOS 13.6, this has been expanded even further. Essentially, this Local News portion provides news pieces from your local newspapers. Here are the new additions:

  • Charlotte Observer
  • Idaho Statesman
  • Kansas City Star
  • Miami Herald
  • News & Observer
  • The State
  • Le Devoir (Canada)
  • The Globe and Mail (Canada, coming later this summer)

For those who haven’t given Apple News+ a chance yet, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. Then, after the trial has ended, you can continue your subscription for $9.99 per month.

Apple News+ Audio Stories

This last addition to Apple News is enormous, especially when you consider how many folks listen to podcast. Starting with iOS 13.6, News+ subscribers will be able to listen to Audio Stories. These are 20 stories spread across various interests, while being narrated by professional voice actors. The Stories cover popular news sources such as GQ, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and more.

Apple News Today

For fans of the “The Daily” from The New York Times, Apple News Today may be for you. From Monday through Friday, a daily audio news briefing will hit your inbox in the morning. Found in the News app, this will be nestled under the all-new “Audio” tab in the bottom toolbar.

This will give you a brief summary of what’s going on in the world. Plus, it’s completely free, and you can even subscribe to it from the Apple Podcasts app if you want to.

It’s clear that Apple is making moves in the podcast territory. These new changes just confirm that, while aiming to entice more users to the Apple News app.

CarKey integration

CarKey in Apple Wallet

After being introduced at WWDC 2020 with the announcement of iOS 14, CarKey integration is now rolling out. Apple has stated that all iPhones compatible with the iOS 13.6 release will be able to take advantage of this. Here’s a breakdown of what you can do with CarKey:

  • Unlock, lock, and start your compatible car with your iPhone
  • Securely remove digital keys from a lost device via iCloud
  • Share digital keys easily with iMessage
  • Driver-specific profiles so you can configure shared keys for full-access or restricted driving
  • Power reserve lets you unlock and start your car for up to five hours after iPhone runs out of battery.

The only catch here is that CarKey is currently only compatible with specific BMW cars. Apple is expecting this to become available from more car manufacturers over the next year. We’re holding out hope this can be an after-market addition, similar to installing a new car stereo with CarPlay.

Customized Automatic Updates

Have you ever received the notification for a new software update, but weren’t ready to install it? Previously, you would have to hope that your software would be installed overnight, but Apple has changed that.

With iOS 13.6, you can now customize your Automatic Updates for the iPhone and iPad. Now, users can have the updates downloaded automatically over Wi-Fi, then install them manually at a later time.

iOS 13.6 Automatic Updates

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. Select Automatic Updates at the top of the screen.

From this screen, you will find a toggle to “Download iOS Updates”, along with “Install iOS Updates”. In previous iterations, users only had the ability to download and install an update automatically. Now, you can download the software update, and install it manually at a later time.

Potential issues

Although these “point-releases” of iOS usually have bug fixes in-tow, there are a few issues that have appeared.

Battery draining faster than normal?

Reset All Settings iOS 13.6

This is something that seems to make its rounds every few iOS releases. If you are running out of battery much quicker than before, it may be related to the iOS 13.6 update. In the event that this happened to you, here’s what you can do to try and get your battery in working order.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down and select Reset.
  4. Tap Reset All Settings.

This does not completely wipe your phone, but it resets the following:

  • Network Settings
  • Keyboard Dictionary
  • Home Screen Layout
  • Location Settings
  • Apple Pay Cards

So think of this as more of a solid alternative, versus resetting your phone to factory settings.

iMessage Not Working

When iOS 13.5 was released, most things worked just fine, but there was one prevalent issue that kept appearing. iMessage and FaceTime have been “buggy” in recent releases, and it seems that the issue is still around. Here’s what you can do if iMessage is not working in iOS 13.6:

Turning Off iMessage & FaceTime in iOS

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and select Messages.
  3. Tap the toggle to turn iMessage Off.
  4. Press the Settings button in the top left-hand corner.
  5. Tap FaceTime.
  6. Tap the Toggle to turn FaceTime Off.
  7. Restart your iPhone.
  8. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  9. Verify that FaceTime is still turned off.
  10. Enable iMessage and wait 30 seconds.
  11. Restart the Settings app.
  12. Verify that the correct number is select under Send and Receive.
  13. Turn on FaceTime.

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