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Apple Pushes Out iOS 13.3, iPadOS 13.3, iOS 13.3 for HomePod, macOS 10.15.2 Catalina, watchOS 6.1.1, and tvOS 13.3

We suspect that Apple engineers are clearing the decks for the holidays, given that Apple just updated all of its shipping operating systems at once. Hold on, there’s a lot to cover.

iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3

The iOS 13.3 update (659.8 MB on an iPhone 11 Pro) and the iPadOS 13.3 update (609.6 MB on a 10.5-inch iPad Pro ) are essentially the same. Most notable are new parental controls that allow parents to manage with whom their children can communicate via phone calls, FaceTime, and Messages, and who appears in their Contacts lists. Unfortunately, these new parental controls don’t apply to third-party apps like Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, or Skype.

iOS 13.3 release notes

iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3 also make some improvements to Apple News, such as a new layout for Apple News+ stories from the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. You can now also like or dislike stories with a tap, something that had become more difficult in the transition from iOS 12 to iOS 13.

The Stocks app receives some small enhancements as well, most notably with regard to its Apple News integration. You can continue reading with links to related stories from the same publication; there are Breaking and Developing labels for Top Stories; and in Canada, News stories are available in both English and French.

Beyond these minor new features, iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3 resolve a multitude of bugs, especially in the Mail app. They:

  • Fix issues in Mail that may prevent downloading new messages
  • Address an issue that prevented deleting messages in Gmail accounts
  • Resolve issues that could cause incorrect characters to display in messages and duplication of sent messages in Exchange accounts

The updates also:

  • Enable the creation of a new video clip when trimming a video in Photos
  • Add support for NFC, USB, and Lightning FIDO2-compliant security keys in Safari
  • Fix an issue where the cursor may not move after long-pressing on the space bar
  • Address an issue that may cause screenshots to appear blurry when sent via Messages
  • Resolve an issue where cropping or using Markup on screenshots may not save to Photos
  • Fix an issue where Voice Memos recordings may not be able to be shared with other audio apps
  • Resolve an issue where the Cellular Data setting may incorrectly show as off
  • Fix an issue that prevented turning off Dark mode when Smart Invert was enabled

iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3 have 12 published security fixes. You can install them in Settings > General > Software Update, in the Finder in macOS 10.15 Catalina, or using iTunes in earlier versions of macOS.

As in the past, if you have already upgraded to iOS 13, we recommend installing these updates soon. The bug and security fixes are sufficiently important that you don’t want to wait long. Those who are still using iOS 12 should wait a bit to make sure Apple didn’t introduce new bugs with 13.3, but it’s probably safe to upgrade after that.

iOS 13.3 for HomePod

The 184.1 MB iOS 13.3 update for the HomePod resolves a few annoying bugs, according to Apple. It:

  • Improves the ability of HomePod to recognize the voice profile of family members
  • Allows individual family members to enable/disable personal requests
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent music playback from resuming on a stereo pair after a phone call

iOS 13.3 release notes for the HomePod

To update the HomePod manually (it should update itself soon enough), open the Home app, touch and hold the HomePod’s tile, tap the gear icon to bring up HomePod settings, and then tap Install.

macOS 10.15.2 Catalina

The 3.02 GB macOS 10.15.2 update includes the same improvements to News and Stocks as are in iOS 13. More interestingly, it also responds to a pair of common user requests by bringing back the column browser in the Music app and restoring compatibility with the iTunes Remote app for controlling Catalina’s Music and TV apps.

macOS 10.15.2 release notesLike the iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3 updates, macOS 10.15.2 includes a litany of bug fixes.

Music

  • Resolves an issue that may prevent album artwork from appearing
  • Fixes an issue that may reset music equalizer settings during playback

Photos

  • Resolves an issue that may cause some AVI and MP4 files to appear as unsupported
  • Fixes an issue that prevents newly created folders from appearing in Albums view
  • Addresses an issue where manually sorted images in an album may be printed or exported out of order
  • Fixes an issue that prevents the zoom-to-crop tool from working in a print preview

Mail

  • Addresses an issue that may cause Mail Preferences to open with a blank window
  • Resolves an issue that may prevent using undo from retrieving deleted mail

Other

  • Improves the reliability of syncing books and audiobooks to your iPad or iPhone through the Finder
  • Fixes an issue where reminders may be out of order in the Today smart list in the Reminders app
  • Resolves an issue that may cause slow typing performance in the Notes app

Enterprise

  • Fixes an issue where the user password might not be accepted at the login window after upgrading a Mac with a T2 chip to Catalina
  • Improves compatibility with video conferencing apps on MacBook Pro models introduced in 2018
  • Users logged in as a standard user can now install apps from the Mac App Store

The macOS 10.15.2 update includes 13 published security fixes. You can install the update from System Preferences > Software Update.

If you’ve been delaying an upgrade to Catalina, should you install now? No, definitely not. Give 10.15.2 some time to percolate, so the Mac community can weigh in on whether or not it’s ready for prime time. In particular, we’re curious about the previously reported problems with Mail because neither 10.15.1 nor 10.15.2 have mentioned them in their release notes (see “Beware Mail Data Loss in Catalina,” 11 October 2019).

watchOS 6.1.1

The watchOS 6.1.1 update “provides important security updates and is recommended for all users.” It includes 9 security fixes. You can install the update, which weighs in at 174 MB on an Apple Watch Series 4, from the iPhone’s Watch app: go to Watch > General > Software Update.

watchOS 6.1.1 release notes

Apple has also released watchOS 5.3.4 with a security fix for FaceTime for watches paired with iPhones running iOS 12. Install it in the same way.

There’s no reason to avoid these updates, but it’s hard to get excited about installing them quickly. Do it some night when your Apple Watch is charging anyway.

tvOS 13.3

As usual, the tvOS 13.3 update notes are sparse: “general performance and stability improvements.” The update includes 9 security updates, largely shared with the other operating systems. If automatic updates aren’t on, you can update your Apple TV HD or Apple TV 4K by going to Settings > System > Software Updates. We just let ours update automatically when they get around to it.

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Comments About Apple Pushes Out iOS 13.3, iPadOS 13.3, iOS 13.3 for HomePod, macOS 10.15.2 Catalina, watchOS 6.1.1, and tvOS 13.3

Notable Replies

  1. Is it safe?

    (That is, can I still possibly lose email?)

  2. That’s what is keeping me from upgrading.

  3. The only way we’ll know is if several users like you, who haven’t installed macOS Catalina yet, do so and let everybody know. That issue has affected such a small number of users that has made it difficult to determine what causes it.

  4. I don’t think that was the reason you had to reboot the router. In my experience, having to reboot a router once in a while isn’t that unusual. I didn’t have a similar issue with my Apple Extreme Base Station, nor read of anybody else experiencing similar issues, so suspect it was coincidental.

    Did the reboot also solve your printer access?

  5. I have had a bizarre experience after updating an iMac Pro and a MBA to 10.15.2 - I lost all connections to my WiFi connected printers. I couldn’t print, I couldn’t check consumables, etc. At the same time, I lost all connection to my home automation devices. This happened immediately after updating. I checked my Netgear WiFi router and there were no recent firmware updates. My Macs are connected to the network via the 5GHz band and my printers (and Home devices) all connect via the 2.4GHz band.

    This morning, I lost all internet connectivity for all my devices. I rebooted the Netgear router, and all is back to normal now. All I can figure (guess) is that after software updates, the computers and iOS devices don’t “really” connect to the network - that requires that the router be rebooted.

    I think I will start using astrology and fortune telling to help me manage my Apple devices.

    (I have one new iMac that is not yet updated to 10.15.2 - I think I will wait a while.)

    David

  6. Have the Mail problems been solved yet?

  7. Nobody here knows yet. Several users will need to newly install Catalina first, and even then, with such a small group having experienced the problem previously, I don’t know how any one but Apple can say for sure, and I haven’t seen a single statement from them on it to date.

  8. I keep reporting this bug report to Apple Feedback, but nothing seems to get done about it.

    Since iOS 13 - never before - there are problems when inputting text or dictating in Japanese if you have both the U.S. keyboard and Japanese keyboard (romaji or 10-key) enabled.

    The symptoms are that you can start entering in Japanese, you will initially see Japanese characters, and then they switch suddenly to nonsense English words.

    When this happens you need to start over again, perhaps toggle the keyboard language back and forth, and repeat.

    It happens multiple times a day. I’ve seen it on my iPhone with the QWERTY Japanese keyboard and on another person’s iPhone with the 10-key Japanese keyboard.

    I even have a screen recording showing it happening.

    Anyway, this is still not fixed in iOS 13.3.

  9. Importing/rebuilding and moving messages between mailboxes can both still lose e-mails in macOS 10.15.2.

  10. After the (automatic) tvOS 13.3 update, my TV Home Hub wasn’t working. I had to disable/re-enable it on the AirPlay and HomeKit screen in Settings to get it to work again.

  11. Since updating the HomePod to 13.3, Siri no longer recognizes my wife or me. I rechecked all the configuration per Apple’s instructions without success. I reset my HomePods and then configured them. When I am the only one listed in the Home software as a user, HomePod does fine. When I added my wife back on, HomePod is no longer recognizing either of us. This had worked fine in 13.2.1. Anyone else having problems with HomePods with multiple users on 13.3? I haven’t seen any reports on internet searching.

  12. Apple has also released an iOS 12.4.4 update with security fixes for users who can’t upgrade to iOS 13.

  13. Norm, I haven’t had that problem, but both Jeff Carlson and I can’t get handoff to work on our wives’ iPhones. They work fine on ours, but not theirs.

  14. After about an hour and a half on the phone with Apple and an escalation to a second level tech person, we found the problem. We had to turn off the listen for Siri command on both our iPhones and then reenable that setting. Doing a physical reset of the HomePods or adjusting settings within the Home app did nothing. It appears that one or both of our phones had the voice recognition store impacted in some way during the latest updates (likely iOS 13.3, but possibly an interaction with HomePod 13.3). Glad it is fixed and it is working great now.

  15. In regard to Handoff problems, I talked to Apple today about Safari tabs not being handed off between my iPhone 8 (iOS 12.4.1) and my iMac (Mojave 10.14.6). They referred to an article “Set up and use iCloud Tabs” which shows they are incompatible for this feature (10.14.3 or earlier is supposed to work with 12.x):

    HT202530 (link https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202530 ).

    Also the article says that my iPad (13.3) should work with my iMac (10.14.6). But they only work somewhat. A ticket has been opened - I await the engineers’ viewpoint!

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