What you need to know
- Apple has released new beta versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
- This beta software includes iCloud Shared Folders, among other enhancements.
- We expect this software to launch some time in the next few weeks.
Apple has just released the first beta versions of iOS 13.4, iPadOS 13.4, and macOS Catalina 10.15.4 and when these updates arrive for the general public in a few weeks, they'll have some important features in tow. Among these are new Memoji stickers and CarPlay enhancements on iOS, while macOS sees updates for Screen Time and Accessibility features. But most important to iCloud users is this: iCloud Shared Folders are finally (yes, that merits a 'finally') on their way.
Let's dive in to the changes coming down the road.
The big one is coming to iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and that's iCloud Folder Sharing. This one was originally slated for the initial releases of iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and macOS Catalina, but it got pushed back late in the game. Now, it's really on its way.
Like folder sharing for services like Dropbox, iCloud Shared Folders allows you to share the contents of your folder with anyone you choose. You can allow only those specific people that you select to view a folder, or anyone with a link. You can also set the folder to read-only, or allow those with access to make changes to folder contents.
If you're a big fan of Memoji stickers, you'll now have nine new ones to play with on your iPhone or iPad. Including celebrating, rolling your eyes, and huffing with anger, these new stickers give you even more ways to express yourself.
Probably more important to a number of iPhone users are the CarPlay enhancements. Specifically, the CarPlay Dashboard introduced in iOS 13 is getting a tuneup. You'll now be able to display data from third-party navigation apps like Google Maps and Wave in the Dashboard, while call controls for the Phone app or any VoIP app that you use will also be available.
If you use Screen Time to manage your children's Macs, you can now set Communication Limits on macOS. This feature, previously exclusive to iOS and iPadOS, lets you set limits on who your children can communicate with, as well as who can talk to them. You can set different communication limits during particular times of day, as well as keep separate Downtime settings.
On the accessibility front, macOS 10.15.4 will add support for head pointers. Another iOS/iPadOS feature making its way to the Mac, this lets your Mac's camera watch for specific head movements and move the cursor in response to those movements.
Those are the big hits coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac in the next several weeks, though these updates are sure to come with the standard slate of bug fixes and other improvements. We'll keep you in the loop if any other major changes appear.
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Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.