We may finally be done with the phase of iOS 13 releases introducing bugs as much as they bring in fixes. Granted, this new 13.3.1 release is not that big of an update but considering it wasn’t rushed out the door, it meant there was no emergency Apple needed to address in haste. Still, iOS 13.3 did leave some rather nasty holes open for others to potentially invade your privacy and safety. More than a month later, those are finally being closed shut.
iOS 13.3 introduced a new Communication Limits feature that blocked younger users from adding contacts without their parents’ or guardians’ intervention. It came with rather glaring bugs, however, that basically made those protections moot, like being able to add contacts without the Screen Time passcode. Fortunately, that’s now fixed in 13.3.1.
The other privacy-related change fixes a problem of Apple’s own making. The iPhone 11 series included a U1 Ultra Wideband chip for more precise location services but ultra wideband isn’t available or even legally allowed in some areas. Unfortunately, the U1 chip still queries the phone’s location to check if it’s in an allowed area or not, which means it keeps track of the user’s location all the time. This update adds an option for them to toggle the feature on or off as they please.
MacRumors also found a clue pointing the existence of an unannounced Powerbeats wireless earphones. Currently expected to be called the Powerbeats 4, the accessory’s icon suggests it will mix the design of the truly wireless Powerbeats Pro with the wired around-the-neck functionality of the Powerbeats 3.
iOS 13.3.1 also addresses other bugs, including one that causes a slight lag when using the machine learning-powered Deep Fusion camera feature. It also fixes loading external images in the Mail app even when you told it not to, which can also be another potential source of a privacy leak.