Apple has updated iPhones, iPads, Macs and the Apple Watch/Apple TV, offering up some of the features we’ve been talking about for weeks, including iCloud folder sharing, iPad trackpad support and more
The productivity update
You could argue that the update is a boost to productivity, particularly as it includes support for features that should be quite useful to remote workers – namely iCloud Folder Sharing and trackpad support for iPads.
It’s an important update that introduces a string of essential improvements:
- iCloud folder sharing.
- Mouse and trackpad support for iPads.
- Universal app purchases.
- Toolbar improvements in Mail.
- Keyboard shortcuts for Photos.
- New CarPlay controls.
You also get support for the recently introduced Beats Powerbeats 4 earphones and a selection of nine new Memoji stickers.
Mac users gain Screen Time Communication Limits (useful for remote workers attempting to keep life under control) and real-time Apple Music lyrics. And recently played Apple Arcade games now appear in the Arcade tab, making it much easier to play them across all your Apple devices.
What is iCloud folder sharing?
Without a doubt the marquee feature in this release, iCloud Folder Sharing means you can share entire folders of documents, images and other digital stuff with others. Simple to use, the feature was originally announced at WWDC 2019. (Apple may have had problems ensuring consistent behavior in the feature, which turns iCloud Drive into a Dropbox replacement for the rest of us.)
What is mouse and trackpad support for iPads?
I wrote a whole article about this feature; essentially trackpad support means your iPad becomes an even more effective (and far more use flexible) MacBook replacement. It gives you a new cursor design that highlights app icons on the Home Screen and Dock and buttons and controls in apps.
What are Universal app purchases?
Remember the old days when you had to purchase an app for iOS and an app for Mac using two separate App Stores? You still do, but now you (may) only need to pay once for the privilege, as Universal App Purchases let developers make both apps available for one price exchange.
What is the new Mail toolbar?
The new Mail toolbar is a big improvement to a little problem. People complained that the delete and reply to controls were too close together in iOS 13, which led them to accidentally delete mails they wanted to keep.
The update puts a little space between the two and adds new Folder and Compose buttons. Enterprise users will want to know that responses to encrypted emails are automatically encrypted when you have configured S/MIME for this.
What are the new CarPlay controls?
You now get support for third-party navigation apps and call controls on the dashboard when on a call via the Phone app or any (compatible) VoIP app that supports CarPlay.
Is there anything else?
You mean beyond the customary list of patched problems? Of course. You’ll find a new Shazam It Shortcut you can use to identify a song that’s playing, some new keyboard shortcuts if you happen to be using Photos and audio playback for USDZ files.
What about Apple Watch?
Apple also updated Apple Watch to watchOS 6.2. This offers support for in-app purchases on the device and brings ECG support to Chile, New Zealand and Turkey. The company also introduced tvOS 13.4, which improves Family Sharing.
You can read Apple’s notes on the iOS/iPadOS update here.
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