iOS 13 starts off with a bold new look, a dark mode. Finally. But it doesn’t stop there. There are a couple of redesigns for Apple’s own apps as well. And much better privacy controls. Plus, some small features we weren’t even expecting. Here’s our rundown of the best iOS 13 features for iPhone.
Best iOS 13 Features for iPhone
If you want to see all the new features in iOS 13, big or small, in a continuously updated list, take a look at our What’s New in iOS 13 post.
1. System-Wide Dark Mode
iOS 13 has a beautiful new look with the Dark mode. It extends from dynamic wallpaper, dark lockscreen, dark widgets to the dark stock apps.
The Dark mode can be turned on manually from Control Center or can be scheduled to turn on based on sunset time. Once the dark mode is enabled, it is enabled everywhere, including apps. And if third-party developers update to iOS 13 APIs, third-party apps can automatically switch to the dark theme inside the app as well.
2. Redesigned Photos App
Apple has redesigned the photo viewing and editing experience. Photos app has a beautiful dark mode that puts the focus on the photos first.
In the new Photos tab, you’ll find sub tabs for Days, Months and Years. The photos can be zoomed in using pinch to zoom gesture. The Days tab removes all the clutter from your library and only shows the best photos for the day. It hides screenshots, photos of receipts and anything with text on it.
The Years tab is contextual and shows a photo from the particular day across the past years.
3. Brand new Reminders App
The Reminders app has been redesigned from the ground up and it’s a modern app now. It supports natural language input.
So you can just start typing your reminder and it will figure out the reminder part, the date, time and the place automatically.
Or you can use the new toolbar to quickly add time, date, location, flags, photos and scanned documents to your reminders.
There’s a Smart Lists feature that automatically organizes your reminders and groups them based on Flagged, Scheduled and Today.
4. Sign in With Apple
Sign in With Apple is Apple’s genius way to protect your privacy when logging into a new website or service. If they choose to use the Sign in with Apple button, the app won’t get any of your personal data. No name, email, phone number. You’ll be authenticated using Face ID and that’s it.
Optionally, if an app requires an email, you can also choose to hide your real email address. In that case, Apple will automatically create a random email address that’s unique for the given app and will forward the emails to your real email.
5. Better Privacy Controls for Location Access
Apple is getting much stricter with who has access to your location and when. Now, you can choose to allow location to an app just once.
Apple will also send alerts when an app is using location data in the background. Apple is also blocking apps from accessing metadata for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices so it can’t use that to estimate your current location either.
6. New Maps Features
Maps app has a new start page. At the bottom sheet, you’ll see a row of your frequent places. You can customize this to add locations that you go to often.
There’s a Collections feature that lets you create a collection of multiple places and add photos as well. This is very helpful if you’re planning a trip. Then you can share the collection as well. Speaking of sharing, you can now instantly share your ETA from the navigation screen on the Maps app.
Apple also revealed that its new remapping project is going well. They will have covered the whole US by the end of the year.
Apple is also adding a Street View-like feature called Look Around to the Maps app.
7. Siri Improvements
Siri’s voice is new and improved. It now only uses Neural text to speech engine to generate the voice. This means it’s much smoother and easier on the ears. Siri also works better with AirPods. When you get a message, Siri will read it to you automatically and you can choose to reply instantly.
Siri on the HomePod is also getting better. It can now recognize multiple users. Multi-user support is available for music, notes, calendar, reminders and more.
8. Memoji Everywhere
Memoji creation is a lot more diverse now. They now feature new hairstyles, headwear, makeup, piercings, and accessories.
But the best part is that the new Memoji Stickers are available everywhere. If an iOS device is running an A9 chip or higher, it can create a Memoji from the Messages app. Once a Memoji is created, Apple automatically creates a sticker pack for it! That sticker app is available in the Messages app and is integrated directly into the stock keyboard.
So now, you can send Memoji Stickers even in apps like WhatsApp and WeChat.
9. An Upgraded CarPlay Experience
Apple has redesigned the CarPlay experience with iOS 13. There’s a new three-pane dashboard view which has music controls and suggested actions on the right side. Plus, you get a new Calendar app, in dark mode.
Siri on CarPlay now works with third-party apps like Waze and Pandora.
10. New Volume and Silent Mode HUD
Apple has finally redesigned the Volume HUD and the ringer HUD. Now, the volume indicator shows up in the top-left corner, next to the volume buttons. While it’s full size at first, clicking the volume button the second time shrinks it and it becomes unintrusive.
The Silent Mode HUD now comes up from the top as a pill-shaped drop-down.
11. Real Automation in Shortcuts
Shortcuts app does not have a big visual or feature wise change. It looks flatter and the design language is similar to the Reminders app.
But the best part about it is the new Automation tab. It brings real automation to Shortcuts. Previously, a shortcut could only be initiated manually by the user. Now, you can set up Shortcuts to automatically trigger a shortcut based on the time or the place.
Oh and there’s support for NFC tags as well. And it integrated with Apple Home app. So you can set up complex workflows involving HomeKit that get triggered by tapping your iPhone to an NFC tag.
12. Better Health App
Health app has been redesigned to show you highlights of your activity and to give you insight into your health and fitness. You’ll see your favorite data at the top but if you scroll down, you’ll see insights from the app based on your health data.
You can tap on the Search button to switch to a specific feature. Here you’ll find the new Cycle Tracking feature as well. This is for tracking women’s menstrual cycles. It features period reminder, logging details like period flow, symptoms and more.
13. Safari Gets a Real Download Manager
One thing that I did not think would ever make it to Safari was a download manager. But now, here it is. And it integrates directly with the Files app.
When you open a link that is a download, you’ll see a popup. Tap on the Download button and you’ll see a new Downloads tab at the top. Tap on it to monitor the download. Once it’s done, tapping on it will play the media or show the preview. Tap on the Magnifying glass icon to open the file in the Files app. All files are saved to the downloads folder and are saved locally.
This coupled with the new start page, the expansive options tab and the new full-screen mode, makes Safari very appealing.
14. Share Sheet Is Much Improved
Share Sheet has been improved across iOS. Now, at the top you’ll see intelligent suggestions for sharing the data with a contact from iMessage or AirDrop.
Below, the actions tab has been changed into a vertical scrolling list. And it looks like all available actions are shown by default. So you can just keep scrolling downwards to find an action.
15. iOS 13 Solves Little Annoyances
iOS 13 is a release of little features. Here are just some of the small annoyances that it helps solve.
- Gesture typing: You can now use gestures to easily type on the iPhone using just one hand.
- Share Audio with two AirPods: One iPhone can play music with two different AirPods, in sync.
Your Favorite iOS 13 Features?
What are some of your favorite features in iOS 13? What are you looking forward to the most in Fall? Share with us in the comments below.