How to download iOS 13.5 now — and fix the iPhone's face mask problem

How to download iOS 13.5
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It's time to download iOS 13.5: the update that will make it easier to unlock your iPhone while wearing a face mask. We've got everything you need to download the update here, plus all the details on other new features.

Yes, the marquee iOS 13.5 feature fixes Face ID unlocking, so your phone can tell if and when you're wearing a face mask (you're wearing a face mask when you go outside, right?). When the new version of iOS detects a mask, it will stop trying to use Face ID, and let you swipe up to enter your unlock code.

This little tweak should make each trip outside a little easier to handle. When you're juggling grocery bags at the supermarket, while social distancing and trying not to fog up your glasses through a mask, every second truly counts.

Before you download iOS 13.5

Before you update your iPhone (or any device you own, really), there's one very simple piece of housekeeping you should do. Make sure your device is backed up. You can back up your files locally by connecting your iPhone to a Mac (using Finder) or a PC (using iTunes), or you can put your faith in Apple's iCloud Backups.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap your profile at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Scroll down to tap iCloud Backup. 
  5. Make sure the switch is flipped on, and check the time of the last successful backup.
  6. Tap Back Up Now, if you're not happy with your last backup date.

Need more help? Our How to download and install iOS 13 guide has complete backup instructions.

How to download iOS 13.5

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update. 
  4. Tap Download and install. The update may not appear at first, as it's currently rolling out to all users. Wait a few minutes, then try these steps again.

iOS 13.5 features

The new streamlined unlock process also works with Apple Pay confirmation, as well as App Store, Apple Books, iTunes and third-party apps that support Face ID (like 1Password, for example).

iOS 13.5 also adds support for the Exposure Notification API, which will be used by contact-tracing apps developed by public authorities.

Group FaceTime calls will also look a little less hectic, as we'll get the option to set tiles to not change size, depending on who is speaking. 

You can also set your emergency services preferences to automatically share health information from your Medical ID during an emergency call, although this functionality is available only in the U.S. for now.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.