20 iPhone and iPad tips and tricks: Everything you need to know about iOS and iPadOS 13.7
From trackpad support to a true dark mode, there's a lot to learn about Apple's current phone and tablet software.
Jason CiprianiContributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
If you're not sure if your device will run iOS or iPadOS 13, scroll to the bottom for a complete list of compatible devices. Otherwise, here's everything you need to know about iOS 13, from getting it on your iPhone or iPad to its best features.
Install iOS 13 if you haven't already
If you've been holding off on updating your phone or tablet, don't worry -- you won't have to install every single iOS 13 update one by one. You can update directly to the latest available version. But before you update, it's a good idea to get your iPhone ready to update by removing old apps and creating a current backup of your phone. Then, you'll be OK to install iOS 13.
For years we've thought it would make sense for there to be some way to connect to Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices from Control Center, instead of having to open the Settings app and tap several times.
Android users have been swiping on their keyboards to type for years, using a number of third-party apps, like Swype and SwiftKey. Google later added swiping to its own Gboard. At long last, Apple has added the capability, letting you trace a word to spell it out.
Apple calls it QuickPath Typing. In theory, it's faster than pecking away at the virtual keyboard, and just as accurate -- and you still get spelling suggestions as you go along.
The Photos app received a pretty significant overhaul. Organizing and surfacing photos are both now easier, and the edit tools have a new look. But most impressive is the ability to use all of the picture editing tools you're familiar with on videos in the Photos app.
Know how iOS has always had an annoying volume indicator that took over the screen, disrupting whatever it was you were watching? Well, on iOS 13, that's gone. The volume indicator is minimal and gets out of the way -- there's even a cool new trick for adjusting the volume.
11. Custom fonts inside apps
Apple will still limit font selection for
as a whole. However, the company is opening up iOS 13 to allow custom fonts inside apps. The added flexibility is perhaps an indicator that Apple is loosening its grip on controlling every aspect of the user experience. This is everything we know about installing, managing and downloading custom iPhone fonts.
14 hidden iPhone features in iOS 13 you need to know about
Apple combined Find My Friends and Find My iPhone into a single app now called Find My and added the capability to help find lost devices for people you don't even know.
When you mark one of your Apple devices as lost, Apple will crowdsource the device's location by asking all Apple devices to look for your device's Bluetooth signal. Once another Apple device finds your lost phone, tablet or computer, you'll receive an alert. Apple says the free service is completely anonymous and encrypted.
13. 'Sign in with Apple' won't share your email address
This is Apple's version of logging in with Facebook and Google, with one major exception. Those tools can be used to track you online, but Apple's version will use your iPhone or iPad to authenticate your credentials when you log in. You tap to authenticate with Face ID without revealing any personal information about yourself.
You can also choose to share or hide your email address, and can ask Apple to create a random email for the app or service that forwards to your actual email address, thereby masking your real identity without your needing to use a junk account.
Apple's Messages apps will now get support for Memoji profiles, which puts a thumbnail of your Memoji (an emoji of your face) in the Messages app. New controls let you go in-depth with customization, makeup -- even adding braces to your teeth. You also get a sticker pack across your iOS 13 devices.
15. Messages search is much smarter
With iOS 13, the ability to search old Messages conversations has been vastly improved. You can now find links, photos, attachments and even text within a message thread that's several months old.
iMessages now works on dual-SIM phones, with both phone numbers assigned to your phone. You'll need to set a primary number, but you can switch between numbers as you compose messages. The same goes for FaceTime, Apple's video calling platform.
16. Reminders has a new look
Reminders looks completely new, and it's so much smarter. You can even tell it to remind you about something the next time you talk to a contact in Messages.
17. Apple Maps improvements
There's now a Google Street View-like feature called Look Around, and a new feature that lets you share your ETA with a loved one so you'll never feel bad about being unexpectedly late again.
18. Share music or a movie with a second pair of AirPods
Instead of handing one of your AirPods to a friend or loved one so they can hear what you're listening to, you can now tell your iPhone to stream audio to two pairs of AirPods thanks to Audio Sharing. And if you've used Apple Pay to buy something, you're already a pro at setting up Audio Share.
19. Sharing photos and links is different now
Whenever you tap the Share button to share a photo or link, you use the iOS Share Sheet. And starting with iOS 13, that sheet has gotten smarter. It will now suggest contacts and apps to share with. It's also reorganized into a new list of iPhone shortcuts and actions, which can be a bit confusing.
20. Siri finds a new voice
Apple's voice assistant Siri gets an audio update in iOS 13. Instead of the clipped tones often associated with AI, Apple is hoping the new Siri will sound smoother and more natural to your ears. Using a neural talk-to-speak network, Siri will speak with fewer gaps and fewer inhuman-sounding modulations.