/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

The best features in iOS 13 and iPadOS public beta

We take a quick spin through the highlights that make iPhone and iPad shine.

Scott_Stein.jpg
SarahTewHS2012urbanSuare01.jpg
Scott Stein, Sarah Tew
iOS 13 Beta
1 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

iOS 13 and iPadOS aren't officially arriving in final polished versions until the fall, but public betas are here now to download and try on your own devices. Be forewarned, these betas are buggy, and works in progress. Our advice: Don't install on your main device. But I've tried both iOS 13 and iPadOS betas, and here are some things worth noting.

iOS 13 Beta
2 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

iPadOS (left) now has a different name than iOS 13 (right), but the iPad has already had a different-feeling OS for years. iOS 13's features are in iPadOS, plus iPadOS has a bunch more extras.

iOS 13 Beta
3 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

For instance: iOS 13 and iPadOS both have the new Photos app, which aims to make everything look even more like a living photo book. It's pretty, but how well it machine-learns my photo library remains to be seen.

iOS 13 Beta
4 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

The new Maps app, on both iPadOS and iOS 13, has Dark Mode, grouped Collections for favorite locations, and Google Street View-like mode called Look Around that is, for now, only available when when browsing San Francisco.

iOS 13 Beta
5 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dark Mode is everywhere: It's Apple's way of making apps easier to look at in the dark. Some people like the aesthetic. Sometimes it's too much, but it's great that it can be toggled in settings. 

iOS 13 Beta
6 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dark Mode has a handful of new wallpapers that change their color schemes slightly in light and dark modes... can you tell the difference?

iOS 13 Beta
7 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Toggling Dark Mode in settings also allows automatic shifts at night, which is the best way to do Dark Mode (or you could make a custom schedule).

iOS 13 Beta
8 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

iOS 13 doesn't always make the iPhone look wild and new. But there are some things work checking out, even if the two coolest features, Sign in With Apple and ARKit 3, aren't here yet.

iOS 13 Beta
9 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

The main keyboard has swipe now! It's called... I forget what it's called. But it doesn't matter, because you'll call it swipe. (You can download a third-party keyboard to do this too, but now you don't have to.)

iOS 13 Beta
10 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Camera app now has fantastic video editing tools. Videos can be cropped and flipped and turned from landscape to portrait, which will be a huge help.

iOS 13 Beta
11 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

There are more Memoji extras and avatar decorations, if you use Memoji. There are three new Animoji (including an octopus). But what I may use more are the Memoji stickers, which generate little reactions to send in messages. Not original, but hey.

iOS 13 Beta
12 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

A closer look at virtual me doing stuff.

iOS 13 Beta
13 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Maps wants to be even more useful, but a lot of it feels familiar. More to come as I drive with it.

iOS 13 Beta
14 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Siri has a new voice, and it sounds better. But how much smarter is Siri now? So far, it's not easy to judge.

iOS 13 Beta
15 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Voice Control is a groundbreaking way to totally hands-free operate an iPhone or iPad with just voice. It's in Accessibility settings, if you're curious. But the feature listens all the time, and has a specific set of commands you'll need to know.

iOS 13 Beta
16 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

The iPad makes a greater leap in iPadOS, but you'll need to look closely. Widgets now live on the home screen, finally.

iOS 13 Beta
17 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Widgets stay stuck to the left side of the screen, and only stick to the first page of the home screen. But it's a start.

iOS 13 Beta
18 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Safari now has more Mac, PC and Chromebook-like browsing. And yes, it can handle Google Apps and Google Docs. I can finally track changes in the browser.

iOS 13 Beta
19 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Flash drives, SD cards and hard drives can work with USB-C or with dongles or Lightning adapters. Files can now be read in Apple's Files app. It's not the same as using an external drive on a PC, but it helps.

iOS 13 Beta
20 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pencil's lag is reduced and it's noticeable. For fast scribbling and writing, it's great.

iOS 13 Beta
21 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Annotation and markup is more supported across iPadOS, and apps can switch between marking up a screenshot and marking up the whole document. It's cool to try with web pages.

iOS 13 Beta
22 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

That being said, I wish annotations could be converted to text from my terrible handwriting.

iOS 13 Beta
23 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Will this make me use the Pencil more? We'll see.

iOS 13 Beta
24 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

PencilKit tools will be more widespread to third-party apps in the fall, but we can't test that yet.

iOS 13 Beta
25 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

More apps can have side-by-side split-screen windows: Maps, for instance. I want this in Google Docs and Pages.

iOS 13 Beta
26 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

The funky Slide Over tool, which almost feels like a virtual iPhone living inside the iPad, pops up and shows a floating smaller display. Now that display can have multiple windows and swap apps easily. It's kind of weird but helpful?

iOS 13 Beta
27 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Can we talk mouse support, please? Yes, you can use a mouse with iPadOS! No, it's not what you think.

iOS 13 Beta
28 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple enabled mouse support in Accessibility settings as an alternative to touching the screen. It's not meant for everyday use: It only has one large cursor, supports mostly one button clicks, and when editing text, the on-screen keyboard pops up. Just FYI. I won't be using it much for my needs.

iOS 13 Beta
29 of 29 Sarah Tew/CNET

I'd love to see deeper, fuller trackpad and mouse support in iPadOS 2. Maybe next year.

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

40 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

65 Photos
2022 Lexus LX 600 is the only Land Cruiser we're going to get

More Galleries

2022 Lexus LX 600 is the only Land Cruiser we're going to get

21 Photos
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has rugged style and hybrid power

More Galleries

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has rugged style and hybrid power

74 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

63 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos
2022 BMW M5 CS is one hot sedan

More Galleries

2022 BMW M5 CS is one hot sedan

32 Photos