The Best New Features in iOS 13 Available Now

Apple released iOS 13 today on September 19, 2019. It comes with a new dark mode, improvements in stock apps, better privacy controls, and much more. Head to Settings > General > Software Update to get it.

Another update is coming soon, too. iOS 13.1 will include additional software features and will launch on September 24.


A Note About iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Release

For the first time, Apple is splitting the iOS release into two. iOS 13 for iPhone and iPadOS 13 for iPad. We’ve already talked about how iPadOS 13 will almost turn iPad into a real computer. So in this article, we’ll focus purely on the iPhone specific features. iPadOS 13 won’t arrive until September 24.

Dark Mode

Widgets screen in dark mode in iOS 13
Khamosh Pathak

This is the big one. The one you’ll push that update button for. iOS 13 brings a system-wide dark mode that flips the script—white text on a black background.

It uses a true black theme, meaning that the background in many apps is pitch black. On iPhones with OLED screens (iPhone X, XS, and XS Max), this looks exceptionally beautiful because the black pixels don’t light up. This also might help save a small bit of battery life.

To enable the dark mode, go to the Control Center, tap and hold on the Brightness slider, and then tap on the “Dark Mode” button.

Dark Mode toggle in Control Center shown on an iPhone running iOS 13
Khamosh Pathak

You can also set up a schedule by going to Settings > Display and Brightness > Schedule. You can enable dark mode based on when your local sunset takes place or a custom schedule.Just like macOS Mojave, the dark mode switch extends to apps and websites (in Safari). If the app or website supports it, they’ll automatically switch between the light and dark appearance.

New Photos Tab

Photos tab with better organization in iOS 13
Khamosh Pathak

Apple is making it easier to browse through your photo collection by organizing them down into years, months, and days. When you open the Photos app in iOS 13, you’ll see a new “Photos” tab in the bottom toolbar. Tap on it and you’ll see four sections: Years, Months, Days, and All Photos.

Apple intelligently selects the best photos from your library. You’ll find autoplaying videos and Live Photos as you scroll through. Thankfully, screenshots and downloaded images don’t make the cut in this feature.

The Year section displays your best photo from the given day across all years in the past, making it a simpler alternative to Timehop.

Smart Battery Charging

In Settings > Battery > Battery Health, you’ll find a new toggle called “Optimized Battery Charging“. This feature is designed to reduce battery aging.

Once updated to iOS 13, your iPhone will learn your charging pattern and will only charge the phone up to 80 percent. When it thinks that it’s almost time for you to wake up, the smartphone will recharge to 100 percent.

Download Large Apps Over Cellular

iOS 13 removes the download limit for app downloads over cellular data. When you try to download an app larger than 200MB using mobile data, you’ll get a popup asking if you’re sure you want to go ahead with the download.

You can also disable the popup by going to Settings > iTunes & App Store > App Downloads > Always Allow.

Gesture Typing for The Keyboard

Apple iPhone Swipe Keyboard
Justin Duino

You now have access to gesture typing on your iPhone. Similar to how the feature works on Android, you can use one hand to swipe between letters on the keyboard to write out a message.

The feature can be disabled by going to Settings > General > Keyboard and toggling off “Slide to type”.

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