From trackpad support to a true dark mode, there's a lot to learn about Apple's current phone and tablet software.
Don't let yourself get distracted by all of the shiny new features in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. The upcoming updates are currently available in public beta for iPhone and iPad, and most users should avoid installing until the official release later this year. There are plenty of features and capabilities tucked away in iOS 13.7 and iPadOS 13.7, some of which have been added since its launch last September.
For instance, are you using the dedicated dark mode to your advantage, or a feature to stop unknown callers from ever ringing your phone? How about the feature Apple added in March to bring trackpad and mouse support to iPadOS 13.4? The release of iOS 13.5 introduced improvements to using Face ID while wearing a face mask. And the most recent release of iOS 13.7 added COVID-19 exposure notifications that forgo the need for third-party apps from your local health department for contact tracing.
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.
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.
With a single button, you can effectively stop unknown callers from making your iPhone ring ever again. With the feature enabled, iOS 13 will only allow calls through from your contacts and numbers found in Mail or Messages. Everyone else, like robocallers, will go straight to voicemail.
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.
With iOS 13, Apple has finally made it possible to view and connect to available networks or devices without ever opening Settings. Hallelujah. For us, this fixes one of the iPhone's most annoying quirks.
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 feature is especially useful for one-handed typing and is ready for use as soon as you install iOS 13. Here's how to use QuickPath on iOS 13. And we found a workaround that lets you cuss on the iPhone keyboard.
Dark mode, which replaces the usual light screen with a dark screen, is available across core apps in iOS 13, including the calendar, music and photo apps.
This appears to be systemwide, but we'll need to see if there are any exceptions. Dark mode is a popular trend across apps, with Android 10 adding official support for a dark theme too. Here's everything we know about dark mode for the iPhone.
Now that Apple has fully ditched 3D Touch on the iPhone 11, the way we delete and move apps around the home screen of our iPhones and iPads has changed.
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.
Yes, that means you can apply filters, adjust brightness and even crop a video right in the Photos app. This is what you need to know about photos in iOS 13.
The iPad is growing into its own computing platform, and with that comes plenty of new gestures used to get around apps and the homescreen. Whether it's opening multiple apps or quickly switching between workspaces, we have you covered on iPad gestures.
Apple added official trackpad and mouse support to its iPad lineup with the release of iPadOS 13.4. The update checks another box in converting the tablet into a true laptop replacement, joining other features like a desktop-class Safari browser and better multitasking.
One of the best parts about using new software is finding features that weren't announced. Often these features are the most notable in a major update, and iOS 13 has its fair share of hidden features.
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.
Apple will still limit font selection for iOS 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.
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.
A new privacy feature called Sign in with Apple logs you in to accounts and apps without your having to add your email address, which Apple says will protect users from third-party apps that want to track them.
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 also blocks apps that track your location from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and lets you decide if you'd like apps to ask your permission each time they request your location data.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
iOS 13's Siri also works better with AirPods , the HomePod , CarPlay and Safari:
Here's the official list of devices that will run iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, not including the most recent devices that come with it already installed:
|iPhone XS||12.9-inch iPad Pro|
|iPhone XS Max||11-inch iPad Pro|
|iPhone XR||10.5-inch iPad Pro|
|iPhone X||9.7-inch iPad Pro|
|iPhone 8||iPad (6th gen)|
|iPhone 8 Plus||iPad (5th gen)|
|iPhone 7||iPad Mini (5th gen)|
|iPhone 7 Plus||iPad Mini 4|
|iPhone 6S||iPad Air (3rd gen)|
|iPhone 6S Plus||iPad Air 2|
|iPhone SE (2020)|
|iPhone SE (2016)|
|iPod Touch (7th gen)|