iOS 13 and iPadOS: features, compatible devices and release date

Apple has announced the next generation update to their popular mobile operating system for iPhone and iPod touch: iOS 13. For iPad, they announced a brand new iPadOS, which is just like iOS 13, but with added features unique to Apple’s popular tablet. Both operating systems will ship with new features like a system-wide dark mode, improved app performance, revamped Photos, Reminders and Maps apps and a lot more. Here are all the features Apple announced at WWDC 2019.

iOS 13 and iPadOS

iOS 13 Features

Dark mode

Ever since Apple introduced dark mode with macOS Mojave in 2018, fans were eagerly waiting for iOS to catch up. Apple took their sweet time and announced it this year and it looks really nice. The user interface switches for every element of the operating system, including all built-in apps as well as select new wallpapers. Tried party app developers will also be able to build support in their apps to switch themes based on the system-wide option.

The dark mode toggle is available via Settings as well as Control Center.

Performance

Continuing with their focus on performance improvements, since the release of iOS 12, Apple has announced the following enhancements for iOS 13:

  • Apps will launch twice as fast with iOS 13
  • Face ID unlock will be 30 per cent faster
  • App Store downloads will be 50 percent smaller due to a new packaging mechanism
  • App updates will be 60 percent smaller in size

These performance improvements will be available to all compatible iOS devices, when iOS 13 is released later this year.

Photos app

Photos app has received a complete overhaul this year. It has a brand new design, which looks really nice with the new dark mode. The app now auto-plays videos and Live Photos as you scroll through you library. Thanks to machine learning, the app also has improved search.

iOS 13 Photos

Another major new addition is to the editing functionality in Photos. The editing UI has a new design which it easier to preview and make edits. You can now make edits to videos as well such as trim, crop and apply filters. Just like photos edits, the edits are non-destructive which means that you can easily revert to the original file.

Apple has also introduced an API which will allow users to import photos from cameras or storage devices, directly into their apps without going through the Photos app. Finally.

Camera app

The camera app now supports a new High-Key Mono effect, which gives a black and white look to captures. Users can also change the intensity of Portrait Lighting effects

iOS 13 Portrait mode adjustments

Sign in with Apple

This is Apple’s new API which allows apps to support user sign-in with an Apple ID. Apple will not collect any personal information, ensuring complete user privacy. Even email sharing will be optional – users can chose to not share their actual email. Apple will create a unique email address for such users which will forward emails to the user’s actual email address.

iOS 13 Sign in with Apple

Sign in with Apple will not be restricted to just iOS apps – developers will be able to use it on anywhere on the web, including Android and Windows apps.

Maps

Starting with United States, the new Maps will show more details for buildings, roads and other locations. The app will also have a new 360 degree view called Look Around, which is similar to Google’s Street View. However, Apple’s offering seems to look better.

The new app will also support features like collections, favorites, junction views, ETA sharing, real-time public transport information, flight details and much more. It definitely seems like Maps will be a much better offering this time around.

Reminders

The Reminders app has gotten some attention after a long time from Apple. The new app has a brand-new design and is powered by Siri’s smart features. The app now understands your reminders and provides suggestions accordingly. It also recognizes messages and suggests reminders to be created out of them.

The app also supports smart lists, shared lists, tasks and grouped lists and customization.

Siri

Apple has improved Siri with support for Radio stations, suggestions for Podcasts, Safari, Messages and Maps as well as Indian English voice. SirKit, API for developers, also supports music, podcasts and audiobooks now. This means that Spotify should be able to deliver a full fledged app compatible with Siri and Apple Watch.

Shortcuts

Shortcuts app has been improved and now houses Siri suggestions. Automations are also suggested now. Shortcuts also support conversational actions now, which should make them more useful then ever before.

AirPods sharing

Users can now connect two pairs of AirPods with an iOS device to listen to music together or watch videos.

Memoji stickers and customization

Memojis have tons of new customization options, including make-up an piercings. You can even use AirPods on your Memojis. Three new Animoji have also been added to iOS 13: mouse, octopus and cow.

iOS 13 Memoji stickers

Users can also create Memoji stickers now, which can be used in Messages as well as many third-party apps. Apple is also bringing the Memoji creator and stickers to all devices that have an A9 chip or later.

iMessages name and photos

Users can now set their name and photo, Memoji or Animoji in iMessage and select who they share these with in privacy settings.

QuickPath Keyboard

Apple has introduced their own version of a swipe keyboard called QuickPath keyboard. It is available in the default keyboard so user can switch between key tapping or swiping, on the fly.

Voice Control

This is an amazing new accessibility feature which lets users control their iOS device using just their voice. Voice Control uses Siri’s speech recognition engine and on-device processing to recognize voice input. Users can do rich text editing, add emojis, navigate any part of the operating system or any app using just their voice.

Voice Control has a unique new feature which labels different parts of the UI with numbers, allowing users to navigate to them by speaking out the number. A grid interface is also available which provides similar functionality to numbers.

Mail

Mail app has received some useful new features like a format bar (you don’t have to long press to see formatting options), multicolored flags, desktop-class text formatting, support for system fonts and third-party fonts, a redesigned photo picker and more.

Safari

Safari has received some of the most important updates on iOS since the first version. It finally has a download manager now which lets users download files in the background. An improved new start page is also available which surfaces websites based on user’s browsing history, most visited websites and links shared in Messages.

Safari also lets users resize images before upload, similar to how Mail app supports it. Users can also set per-site settings for content blocking, location & microphone access, desktop/mobile version, reader view and camera permissions.

Notes

Notes has a new gallery view which shows a visual overview of all content in the app. Search has also been improved. Notes also supports shared folders as well as folder hierarchy so you can really organize how you want.

Health

Health app has a new design which highlights data in a much better way. The app also supports menstrual cycle tracking as well as fertile window prediction and notifications. Charts and logs are available for this data in the app. The app supports headphone audio levels and shows audiograms to let you know whether your headphones volume is in the healthy range or not.

Users can also search for their data, track Oral health and view activity trends which show user recommendations to stay on track and reach their health goals.

Files

There are some much-needed improvements to Files app in iOS 13. The app has a new Column View, a downloads folder for downloads from Safari and Mail, support for external drives and USB cards, iCloud folder sharing, local storage support, improved ZIP files support, SMB server support and much more. The app also has improved search, new keyboard shortcuts and a built-in document scanner.

Fonts

Apple officially supports third-party fonts in iOS 13 now. Developers will be able to create apps which would allow users to download and install fonts from the App Store. These fonts will be available to use in all built-in apps as well as third-party apps. Users will also be able to view and remove these fonts from Settings.

Sharing

The new share sheet is smart and automatically shows suggestions for different people and apps based on your usage. Shortcuts are also shown in the menu, which remove the need of opening another screen to view them.

Text editing updates

Apple has revamped text editing in iOS 13. The good old magnification glass is gone and users can directly move the cursor now which is more smarter and understands what you’re trying to do. Tapping and swiping now selects paragraphs, while double tapping automatically selects words and data like phone numbers, email addresses and so on. Users can also tap with two fingers and drag to multi-select photos, files and other such data. iOS 13 also allows dragging the scroll bar to move up and down in documents.

The biggest addition to text editing is the ability to pinch to cut, copy and paste content. Select content and pitch up with three fingers to copy, pinch up twice two cut and pinch down once to paste. Swipe left with three fingers to undo and swipe right with three fingers to redo.

These gestures will work with all apps that already use Apple’s native APIs for content manipulation.

Wi-Fi

iOS devices can automatically connect to another iOS device’ personal hotspot when there is no other Wi-Fi network available. You can also allow users in your Family Sharing account to automatically connect to your personal hotspot.

A new persistence personal hotspot feature means that even if the device with the hotspot goes to sleep, you will remain connected to its hotspot. This should give your on-going connectivity while saving battery life on the hotspot providing device.

iOS devices also support a low data mode which reduces data usage. This feature is available for both cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

Screen Time

Screen Time now shows usage data form the last 30 days. Parents can also use it to manage their children’s contacts and communication limits. The app also allows combined app limits between different apps, app categories and websites.

Privacy

Apple has modified app location permissions. Users can now allow apps just just access device location only once. Apps that continually use location in the background are now detected by iOS 13 and users are notified, along with the app’s history of location data gathering, allowing users to disable it if they want.

For the first time, Apple has also implemented a new permission for Bluetooth. Many apps have a habit of tracking user location via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi but this permission aims to put a stop to that.

App Store

Apple has finally given an option to users to download large apps over cellular. In the past, users always had to connect to Wi-Fi To download large apps but for users with enough cellular data, it never made sense.

Music

Music app has a new lyrics view and visualizer. The lyrics are synced to songs and scroll with them while the visualizer finally brings back a missing feature in music apps. The UX for Music app has also been updated to allow easier music queuing.

HomeKit

HomeKit now supports secure video capture and playback via iCloud. The feature stores videos for a specific amount of time, for free, based on the iCloud storage plan. The video recording does not count towards the storage in iCloud though, which makes it an amazing deal.

Apple is also introducing HomeKit-enabled routers via third-party manufacturers. These will be controllable through the Home app and will provide additional security and privacy.

Home app has also been updated with improved controls for accessories while Siri Shortcuts are now supported in HomeKit automation.

Find My

Apple has combined Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into one app called ‘Find My’. The app now supports finding offline devices via BlueTooth. This will allow devices to report lost device’s location anonymously using end-to-end encryption, even if the lost device does not have an Internet connection.

CarPlay

CarPlay has a received a redesign: home screen, calendar, Apple Music, Maps and a new dashboard. The new dashboard shows Siri suggestions, audio controls and Maps. Users can also use CarPlay without changing what shows on their iPhone.

Miscellaneous features

There are a number of other new features:

  • Optimized battery charging slows down battery degradation but slowing down charging when iPhone reaches 80% charge. It does so smartly by using machine learning and understanding your usage habits.
  • PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers are now supported natively in iOS 13.
  • You can now select Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth accessories from Control Centre.
  • Volume control has FINALLY been redesigned. It now appears on the side of the screen and doesn’t block any content.
  • Books now supports a new reading goals feature which lets users track their reading habits.
  • Dolby Atmos playback is now supported on iOS devices.
  • Long pressing on links on non-3D Touch devices now gives the same result as on devices with 3D Touch. This confirms the rumors that Apple might be removing 3D Touch in the future since all devices now have the same feature via long press.

iPadOS Features

One of the biggest announcements at WWDC 2019 was the introduction of iPadOS. It is just iOS but customized for iPad, as it always has been. The name iPadOS is supposed to show customers that Apple is taking the iPad even more seriously than ever before and that it is now its own platform. It still shares tons of features with iOS, as it has done in the past, but its unique features which are targeted towards iPad, specifically multitasking, make it iPadOS. Here are the new features in iPadOS:

Updated home screen

iPadOS now shows more app icons on screen. Users can also chose to show their widgets on the screen and pin them to always be visible. This is perhaps the most noticeable change as it makes the widget section a whole lot more useful on iPad’s large display. Even when the widgets are visible, the same number of app icons are visible on the screen.

IPadOS homescreen iPad Pro

Multitasking

The new multitasking updates in iPadOS are major game changers. iPadOS now supports multiple windows for each app so you can have multiple instances of Notes or Safari running at the same time. This makes the iPad a truly modern computer, compared to what it used to be. The method in which new instances of each app can be created is really intuitive. Notes or Safari tabs can be dragged out to use in a split-view or as new full-screen apps. They can also be used in Slide Over.

The new Slide Over is so good that it will make desktop operating systems seem archaic. It now supports app switching and lets users add/remove as many apps as they want, including multiple windows from the same app. It’s really useful and works great with Split View multitasking.

iPadOS slide over

A new App Expose feature is also available which lets users quickly see all open windows for an app. Using a combination of all these new features, users can setup multiple spaces for their apps and windows and switch with them with ease, while keeping apps in Slide Over for quick access.

Safari

Safari now loads desktop websites by default on iPadOS. Websites scale properly as per iPad’s display orientation and work just like they do on desktop browsers. This means that websites like Google Docs will work fine in Safari.

Apple has enhanced Safari in iPadOS to correctly detect touch input and translate it to mouse input so that websites can be manipulated with ease. Even hover actions can be used via touch thanks to Safari’s handling.

Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil now supports 9ms latency. Previously, the latency was 20ms so this is a major improvement. Apple has also updated the tool palette used with Pencil and made it more useful. The palette can be now moved around on the screen and new tools make it easier to use the Pencil.

iPadOS Apple Pencil

Swiping up from any bottom right corner of the screen with the Pencil now takes a screenshot of the screen. An optional button in screenshots also allows capturing full-page screenshots of websites or documents, without the need of any third-party apps.

Sidecar

If you have a Mac with macOS Catalina and an iPad with iPadOS, you can now extend your display to the iPad, effectively using it as an external monitor. Users can chose to extend or mirror their Mac desktop. With supported Mac apps, users can also use Pencil on their iPad to draw on them. Continuity allow quick annotation of documents or the ability to create and import drawings in any Mac app.

Sidecar is supported via both wired and wireless connections.

Keyboard

A pinch-down gesture on the keyboard now makes it a small-sized floating keyboard, similar to how it looks and works on iPhone. This allows easy typing with one hand, along with support for the new Quick Path keyboard.

iOS 13 and iPadOS compatible devices

Unlike iOS 12, these new operating system updates are supported on fewer devices:

  • iPod touch (7th generation)
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
  • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone Xs
  • iPhone Xs Max
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 11-inch iPad Pro
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro

iOS 13 and iPadOS Release Date

Apple will be releasing a developer beta for iOS 13 and iPadOS right after WWDC 2019, while a public beta will follow in a few weeks. After a few months of testing, the operating systems updates will be released to all users this fall, around September.

There is a lot to cover for both iOS 13 and iPadOS. Stay tuned to our in-depth coverage of all the new features in these updates.

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