iOS 14 may be just a couple of months away, but in the meantime, you can get your hands on some new features with iOS and iPadOS 13.6, released this week.
The biggest changes come to the News app, with more local news sources and the addition of audio content. These changes will affect everyone – though some new content is exclusively for subscribers to Apple’s paid News+ service, and for now it’s all centered on the US.
Users will benefit from Apple News Today, a daily audio briefing that will also be available from Apple Podcasts. Meanwhile, News+ subscribers in the US will get access to “about 20” audio stories each week across a range of topics. These aren’t necessarily brand new stories, but alternative ways to absorb long reads from existing publishers.
There’s also a renewed focus on local news. If you live in the Bay Area, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco, you’ll now get a “local news experience” curated by Apple’s editors and customizable to your tastes. News+ subscribers can now access even more local newspapers from across the US and Canada.
Finally, the News app is now compatible with CarPlay, so you can listen to the new audio content while driving.
Speaking of cars, this latest software update also brings with it support for the Car Key feature demoed at WWDC last month. If you have a compatible car like the BMW 5 Series (and presumably many more coming in the future) this allows you to use an iPhone’s NFC capabilities to securely lock and unlock your car without a physical key. The future is now!
Of course, there are the usual smaller fixes too – and we’re expecting performance improvements after iOS 13.5 introduced overheating issues for some users. Even if the features above don’t appeal to you, updating is always a good idea for the bug fixes and security improvements that come with each revision.
How to update
To get iOS 13.6 or iPadOS 13.6, head to Settings > General > Software Update. Then simply follow the instructions to download and install the update.
These days, you don’t need much storage space free to update – your device will intelligently offload apps while it installs the update and then put them right back again when it’s finished.
It’s generally a good idea to back up your device before a big iOS update, to ensure your data is safe in case anything goes wrong – the easiest way to do this is using iCloud Backup in Settings.