iOS 13 will have Dark Mode, improved multitasking, updated Safari & Mail apps & more

iOS 13 will be a major release with a number of new features which would include system-wide dark mode, improved multitasking on iPad, updates to Safari, Mail and Hey Siri, a new Undo gesture for iPad, a new volume HUD (finally!) and much more. As expected, a lot of improvements in iOS 13 will be aimed specifically at the iPad to improve productivity and multitasking.

iPad Pro Smart Keyboard

iOS 13 features

9to5mac has the scoop on these new iOS 13 features through sources familiar with the operating system’s development. The main focus of the upgrades seems to be around productivity on iPad. Here’s a quick run through of all the details from the report:

Dark Mode

A dark mode has been long due for iOS. Ever since macOS Mojave got a dark mode, it has been clear that iOS will someday get the treatment too. With iOS 13, it is all but certain that a global dark mode, along with a high contract version, will be available in the operating system. It will also be available for third-party developer to implement in their apps so that apps can change their themes based on the global setting.


Floating windows and panels will be part of the new design language in iOS 13 for iPad. Apps will have multiple windows and detachable sheets which can be used as cards. The cards will be stackable and a depth effect will be used to show which one is on the top. Users will be able to swipe them away to dismiss them.

It is a bit difficult to image how it would work but I believe it might be similar to Photoshop’s floating panels. As per 9to5mac, it will be similar to PanelKit although I have not seen any app that actually uses this.

Developers will also be able to use light or dark status bars for apps in Split View for easy visibility. Marzipan apps made using iPad design will also support auto-resize when the split-screen drag control is double clicked in macOS 10.15.

Font Management

Perhaps the biggest addition for users who use the iPad for content creation is the addition of font management. Users currently have to install profiles to install new fonts. With iOS 13, there will be a new font setting that will let users easily install and manage fonts. These fonts will be available to all apps to use. Apps will also be available to notify users in case of missing fonts and guide them to install them.

Safari and Mail improvements

Safari will get smarter on iPads and will open the desktop version by default for all websites. Mail app will get some smart features, similar to Spark and Gmail. The app will automatically categorize email into different folders like travel, purchases, social, marketing etc. Users will also be able to add emails to a ‘read later’ list. Hopefully, email scheduling will also be part of the features.

File management and productivity

Apple will improve how users select multiple items in table views and collection views. This should allow for better control and management of files. Currently, users are able to select multiple items in the Files app by tapping and holding one icon, and selecting others.

Apple is also opening up collaboration for third-party apps. Pages, Numbers and Keynote already have collaboration features which would be available to third-party devs with iOS 13.

Other features include a new Reminders app and a redesigned volume HUD. The volume HUD has been an annoying UI element for years and users have been complaining to get it updated. Third-party developers have implemented their own versions of the volume control UI but Apple’s own implementation is still huge and covers most of the screen when used.

Lastly, Apple will also improve ‘Hey Siri’ so that there are lesser false activations, improve multilingual support for keyboards and voice dictation and enhance in-app printing controls.

While there is a lot to be excited about, there is still no indication whether Apple is working on allowing third-party default apps, improved social media sharing (like in Apple’s Clips app) and Shortcuts app improvements (allowing Shortcuts icons inside the share sheet) or even offline Siri functionality. These are basically part of my wishlist but I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants these features.

Back in January, Bloomberg had also published a report that iOS 13 will get dark mode, file management improvements and iPad specific home screen upgrades. While there is no mention of home screen upgrades in 9to5mac’s article, it has been widely expected that Apple will be revamping the home screen layout in iOS 13. It is not known whether the upgrade will a major departure from how current iOS home screen icons-in-a-grid layout works or just aesthetic improvements.

Expect to hear more on iOS 13 this June, at WWDC 2019.

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